News Release

What the Data Show: Abortions Later in Pregnancy 

Following recent news about former President Trump’s potential support for a national 16-week abortion ban, KFF examines the data about how often abortions later in pregnancy occur, exploring the potential reasons why, and detailing the various laws that regulate access to abortions later in pregnancy.

The updated analysis considers 2021 CDC data, before the Dobbs decision, in a post-Dobbs policy landscape. The analysis shows that abortions at or after 21 weeks are uncommon and represent 1% of all abortions in the U.S. Ninety-six percent occurred at or before 15 weeks gestation, while 3% occurred from 16 to 20 weeks gestation.

Notably, discussions about abortions occurring later in pregnancy are often fraught with misinformation; in fact, abortions occurring “moments before birth” or even “after birth” are illegal in the U.S. and do not occur.

KFF also looks at the other issues with abortions later in pregnancy, including the expense of the procedures, which often require travel and lost wages, and the lack of availability given that they are only performed by a fraction of abortion providers. Additionally, KFF explores why people seek abortions later in pregnancy, including medical concerns such as fetal anomalies, maternal health, or life endangerment, as well as barriers to care that cause delays in obtaining an abortion.

For more information, read the full brief.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.