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Devil's in the details

Issue: "America's best & worst," Feb. 1, 2003

In some states, unborn children who make it to viability are relatively safe. Among the 35 states that regularly reported to the Centers for Disease Control the number of abortions performed at specific gestational ages, four-Indiana, Wyoming, and both Dakotas-reported fewer than 10 late second- or third-trimester abortions during the 1990s. Five more reported fewer than 50: Maine, Idaho, West Virginia, Vermont, and Utah.

But some states dispose of viable and near-viable babies at an obscene rate. In Kansas, home of late-term abortion specialist George Tiller, one in 20 abortions occurred during the late second or third trimester in 1999.

Measuring by sheer volume, California and New York City are worse. WORLD's analysis did not include the big-abortion Golden State because officials there don't obey abortion-reporting laws. But, according to CDC estimates, California doctors aborted more than 2.5 million children between 1990 and 1997. Multiply that total by the lowest national average rate of occurrence for abortions 21 weeks and over, and you get more than 25,000 additional late abortions for the 1990s-and that's a conservative estimate.

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Law-abiding New York City did report abortions by age of gestation every year through that decade. And every year from 1991 through 1999, New York abortionists at least eight times a day reached in with a clamp-or a sharp instrument-and tore apart a baby similar to the one you see on page 23.

That's assuming they don't work on Sundays.

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