Fact Checker: Does Finkenauer support abortion until birth?

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley speaks with supporters before filing his candidacy for re-election on March 4 at the office of the Iowa Secretary of State in Des Moines. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

The abortion debate is heating up after a draft opinion leaked this month indicated that the United States Supreme Court was set to overturn its landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to abortion.

Last week, U.S. Senate Democrats worked to codify the decision into law, ensuring abortion access would be preserved nationwide even if the top court decides to overturn the case. Democrats didn’t get the votes and the bill didn’t pass.

Ahead of last Wednesday’s vote, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s campaign decried Abby Finkenauer for her support of the bill. Finkenauer, a former Iowa House representative and one-term congressman, is vying for the seat Grassley holds in the November election.

“Democrats will stop at nothing to ensure their extremist views are enacted into law. Look no further than the bill before the US Senate today – The Abortion on Demand Law until at birth – which allows pregnancies to be terminated from conception to birth. Abby Finkenauer shared her support for this sweeping bill,” Grassley’s team wrote in a campaign email.


The bill is not actually called the Abortion on Demand Law until Birth. It was invented by conservative lawmakers who opposed it. The bill is called the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, which had already passed the House.

The bill’s language prevents state governments from banning abortion before fetal viability or limiting providers’ ability to “provide abortion services immediately when the provider determines that a delay endangers health.” of the patient”. The bill also prevents states from banning abortions after fetal viability “when a provider determines that the pregnancy endangers the life or health of the patient.”

Medical experts generally agree that viability occurs at 24 weeks gestation, but can vary depending on many factors such as available medical interventions.

Grassley’s campaign pointed out a May 11 tweet from Finkenauer in which she criticized American senses Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both Democrats. Manchin voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act, while Sinema had previously refused to support Senate Democratic leaders’ decision to eliminate the filibuster.

The bill “should be able to pass, no problem – but again, (Manchin) and (Sinema) should turn their backs on the Americans and side with the ultraconservatives. We need to expand our majority in November,” she wrote.

Finkeneauer tweeted again later that day, saying, “(Grassley) just voted against codifying Roe into law. He thinks you’ll forget about him by November. Retweet now if you pledge to prove him wrong and upvote him in November.

Grassley’s team also pointed out in an email that Finkenauer was a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2019 when she was the representative for Iowa’s 1st congressional district. U.S. Representatives from Iowa Dave Loebsack and Cindy Axne — along with 214 other House Democrats — were also listed as co-sponsors.

The majority of Americans do not support overturning Roe v. Wade. The Pew Research Center found that 61% of American adults think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 37% think it should be illegal in most or all cases.

Finkenauer supports this legislation and has widely supported abortion rights, even gaining endorsement from abortion rights groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The bill’s vague language makes it unclear what, if any, abortion restrictions Finkenauer and other Democrats support. However, the term “until birth” is a misleading characterization of this legislation. NPR examined discrepancies in public comments made by lawmakers or political staff, and how they were presented by Republican organizations.

Despite their rarity, late-term abortions — or abortions at or after 21 weeks gestation — receive “disproportionate attention in news, politics, and law,” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which noted that “discussions about this topic topic are often riddled with misinformation.

“For example, intense public debates were sparked after several politicians theorized about abortions occurring ‘just moments before birth’ or even ‘after birth’. In reality, these scenarios do not occur and are not legal in the United States,” researchers said.

Late abortions are rare, accounting for less than 1% of all abortions in the United States in 2019, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly 93% of abortions in the United States occur at or before 13 weeks’ gestation, while 6.2% take place between 14 and 20 weeks’ gestation, according to the CDC.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that studies health policy, data on why individuals seek late-term abortions is limited.

The decision could be prompted by a life-threatening condition that developed later in the pregnancy, or due to fetal abnormalities. A fetal anatomy scan is usually done around 20 weeks, which is when providers discover structural abnormalities that may not have been apparent before.

Kaiser researchers also found that certain barriers — such as the cost of abortion procedures, lack of insurance coverage, and lack of knowledge about where to access an abortion — are also a contributing factor to abortions. late.


Grassley’s campaign relies on misleading terms to describe this legislation. The allegation implies that any abortion could take place at any time during pregnancy, when in reality a late abortion would only occur if the life or health of the pregnant patient is in danger.

What keeps this check from receiving a failing grade for its misleading oversimplification is that it is correct that Finkenauer supports the Women’s Health Protection Act. Rating: D.


The Fact Checker team verifies statements made by an Iowa political candidate/leader or national candidate/leader about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our marketplace.

Claims must be independently verifiable. We assign statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim that you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette.com.

The members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This fact checker was researched and written by Michaela Ramm.

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