Is 20-Week-Old Unborn Child a Human Being? Hoyer: ‘This Is Not a Real Issue’

Brittany M. Hughes | January 22, 2015 | 5:58pm EST
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Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (AP Photo)

( - Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland did not directly answer when asked the yes-no question of whether an unborn child 20 weeks after conception is a human being.

Instead Hoyer said that “this is not a real issue.” asked Hoyer the question at a press event following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union at the Capitol on Tuesday evening. asked: “Do you believe that an unborn child is a human being at 20 weeks after conception?”

Hoyer said: “Look, what I bel--first of all, a very, very few number of abortions are done after 20 weeks. And then, almost exclusively for health reasons of the mother. So I think this is not a real issue.

“However, having said that, I have long supported the ability of a mom--or the prospective mom--and her doctor, and her family to make what is a very difficult decision. And I don’t think that there are any women who at 20 weeks are looking for an elective abortion." asked the question again via email through Hoyer’s congressional press office on Wednesday and also attempted to get an answer through Hoyer’s office on Thursday. The office was unable to answer the question.

The Congressional Budget Office released a “cost estimate” this week on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions in the 20th week or later in pregnancy—except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is at risk.

The CBO estimate calculated that the bill would prevent about 2,500 babies per year from being aborted—out of the 10,000 per year that CBO estimates are aborted each year in the 20th week of pregnancy or later.

“Based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CBO  estimates that, each year, about 10,000 abortions take place 20 weeks or more after fertilization,” said CBO.

According to the most recent abortion surveillance report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 7,325 babies aborted at or after 21 weeks gestation during 2011 in the 37 states and the District of Columbia that report abortions by gestational age to the CDC.

Another 9,709 babies were aborted in those 37 states and the District of Columbia at 18 through 20 weeks after conception, the CDC reported.

The thirteen states that did not report abortions by gestational age included California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

It is not known how many babies were aborted in those states at 21 weeks or later into pregnancy.

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