More than 60 percent of Americans support the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that protects a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, in consultation with her doctor and in private. Only 13 percent support access to abortion after 21 weeks. This is largely based on conflicts over when “life” begins, making it of crucial importance that we have a standard defined by science and not by false rumors.

It’s important for the public to know that only 1.3 percent of abortions in the United States occur after 21 weeks, and fewer than 1 percent after 24 weeks. It’s not a procedure that’s performed except in extraordinary circumstances.

The Supreme Court revisited the question of abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. Because of that case, abortions can be permitted in the third trimester, but only for medical emergencies that threaten the life of the mother. The court defined “medical emergency” as: “…(t)hat condition, which, on the basis of the physician’s good-faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman so as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death, or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”