‘Birthday,’ ‘Heart Attack’ and ‘Toilet Seat’ Abortions Are the Latest in Right Wing Branding

The anti-abortion movement has gained much of its success due to its undeniably effective use of rhetoric that appeals to moderate and less politically engaged Americans.

In the late 1990s, the use of the phrase “partial birth abortion” became mainstream — despite the fact that there was no such procedure. Technically, the process it represented could be considered an Intact Dilation and Extraction or any standard second trimester procedure.

They were just as successful with so-called “late term abortion,” even though “late term” means after 40 weeks, by medical definition; full term is 37 to 40 weeks gestation. The right now uses the phrase as a stand-in for any abortion performed after the first trimester. “Late term abortion” has become so ubiquitous that mainstream media and medical professionals alike are using the phrase, even though no one is completely sure what time period in a pregnancy they are referring to.

But, like all movements, for every success there are a number of failures — and that includes quite a few attempts at abortion rebranding that just aren’t working. Here are a few of the most recent — and worst.

1. “Birthday Abortions”

The far-right really wants to convince the American public that there’s an epidemic of people deciding at the very last moment that rather than give birth to a baby they have been carrying for months, the pregnant person has suddenly and callously decided to have an abortion.

In this fever dream, fetuses are then born alive and killed by doctors to fulfill the pregnant person’s sudden capricious desire to obtain a last-minute abortion. Just as ludicrous as the idea that pregnant people really would consider this is the name the right is now trying to stick onto this process: “birthday abortions.”

Fred Lucas of the far right “Daily Signal” tries this twice in his column “How State ‘Birthday Abortions’ Bills Stack Up to Federal Restrictions,” arguing that:

Legislatures in liberal states are advancing bills similar to a New York law allowing mothers to abort their babies up to the time of birth. Although legal experts say such ‘birthday abortion’ measures may not directly violate federal restrictions on abortion, the more radical proposals could justify greater federal scrutiny.

Real talk: The delivery of a live fetus either through induced labor or C-section on the “day of birth” isn’t an abortion. It’s called induction or scheduled birth.

2. “Heart Attack Abortion”

Of course, some people do require abortion care later in pregnancy for a variety of reasons, all of which are valid. To ensure there aren’t any issues with a possible complication that results in a live birth instead, doctors will often provide an injection that will produce fetal demise prior to any sort of procedure, especially should the fetus be near or past the point of potential viability.

But abortion opponents want that to stop, and they’ve got a name for that process too: heart attack abortion.

Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins writes:

Heart-attack abortions, caused by exposing a baby to potassium chloride or digoxin to induce cardiac arrest, are common in later term abortion, despite the fact that the infant may suffer horribly, as scientific literature indicates babies feel pain at 5 months (20 weeks) into pregnancy.

Why cause a heart attack in a preborn baby? Because causing that kind of death takes away the complication of a live birth (for abortionists).

It’s been a few months now, and thankfully the phrase doesn’t appear to be catching on.

3. “Toilet Seat Abortions”

Of course, just because the heart attack thing didn’t pan out doesn’t mean Hawkins is ready to quit. In fact, now she has a new phrase she’s trying out: “toilet seat abortions.”

The moniker is part of the new battle to stop California from moving forward with a proposal to offer medication abortion services in college and university medical centers that would help students who aren’t able to leave their campuses to access timely abortion care. Hawkins says that allowing medication abortion on campus will lead to pregnant students hemorrhaging all over the public bathroom stalls.

According to Town Hall, Hawkins said in testimony opposing the bill:

To protect the educational environment, avoid costly liability and legal costs, and affirm student health centers’ goal of doing no harm to those they serve, I’m asking California legislators to say no to toilet bowl abortions. As a dorm room and communal bathroom toilet is no place to demonstrate the power of women’s rights. Today, I ask of you to reject the risky, costly, and dangerous proposal that is SB 24.

Between the HIV myths of the ’80s, the fearmongering against trans rights and now this, the bathroom is the most dangerous place in the world and must be protected from moral decay — just like in all good far-right hysteria trends.

Photo credit: Robin Marty


Karen H
Karen H5 days ago

A lot of the "pro-life" (really "anti-choice" or "anti-abortion") people don't do any research. They have no idea what they're talking about. They listen to their "authority figures" and take that as gospel. They don't want to know the truth because it would show that their "authority figure" is wrong, is lying, is trying to control.

Ciaron Drain
Ciaron Drain6 days ago

I remember the leaflets handed out by the creepy Pro-life people when I was at school and they contained pictures from a low budget horror film of bits of dolls in kensington gore. However, what is more hypocritical is apart from these obvious pulled out of their ass terms is that these are the very people who oppose the best solutions to prevent abortions in the first place. It does really sort of ring along the lines of they either don't like sex at all or they just want to keep women down which is more the idea.

hELEN hEARFIELD6 days ago


Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H7 days ago

wow -

Joan E
Joan E7 days ago

Toilet seat is a good name for the right wing.

Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn7 days ago


Sabrina Degasperi

Women should have the right to decide what to do with their body and their life.

Sue H
Sue H7 days ago

The Rabid Right need to Mind their Own Damn Business. STOP the War on Women.

pam w
pam w7 days ago

(Flagged the spam) OK--if you don't know this...I work at Planned Parenthood, so you already know what I think of this verbal propaganda nonsense! Call it what they will...the REAL name should be OPPRESSION of women. This is the fundamental christians at work, friends.

Karen H
Karen H7 days ago

A little education would go a long way.