Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sarah Kliff's Abortion Viewing

In the last couple of days, Newsweek's Sarah Kliff has been writing up a storm about abortion, including her profile of Nebraska abortionist LeRoy Carhart, a piece noting Esquire's error in claiming Warren Hern is the last abortionist willing to provide late-term abortion and a piece on her experience viewing an abortion in Carhart's clinic.

While reading Kliff's piece on viewing an abortion, I was left wondering: "Why didn't she witness a late-term abortion?"

That was the focus on her other articles - late-term abortions and the individuals who perform them - so why didn't she witness a late-term abortion since that was her subject matter. She briefly touches on the issue:
I knew that I'd most likely be watching a first-trimester procedure; while Carhart does offer late-term abortions, the majority of his patients, and the majority of abortion patients nationwide, are early in pregnancy.
Yeah? So? You're not writing about the majority of abortion or abortion providers. You're writing about late-term abortion.

I wonder if Carhart wouldn't allow her the opportunity to view a late term abortion. Did Kliff not want to see a late-term abortion? Or did all the late-term patients refuse?

I can imagine that a description of him removing limbs piece by piece (an arm here, a leg there) probably wouldn't have gone over so well and probably wouldn't have left Kliff feeling like she had no physical difficulties viewing an abortion.

Also of note, in Kliff's piece about Esquire's error, she chides them for their lack of accuracy regarding Hern's claims that he's the last late-term abortionist.
Accuracy always matters in journalism, and never more so than when writing about such a sensitive and controversial subject.
Yet, her piece on Carhart is filled with inaccuracies which appear to be based solely on what Carhart has told her, not unlike Esquire lazily failing to factcheck Hern. For example,
Past viability, no doctor will terminate a pregnancy without a compelling reason....

Talking to the women reminded him of the patients he had seen as a medical student, in the days before Roe: women whose botched abortions, anywhere from the first to the third trimester, left them with perforated uteruses, intestines protruding from the vagina, or untreatable pelvic infections. The way Carhart remembers it, it was a good week for the emergency room if only five women died.....
Ummm...Carhart's 67 which means the earliest he was in medical school was 1965 and he probably wasn't seeing emergency room patients right away.

When Straight Dope was asked about abortion deaths before Roe they found this statistic regarding abortion in 1965 from pro-choice researcher Christoper Tietze:
"A statistic perhaps more typical of the pre-Roe era was reported in a 1969 Scientific American article cowritten by Christopher Tietze, a senior fellow with the Population Council: "The National Center for Health Statistics listed 235 deaths from abortion in 1965. Total mortality from illegal abortions was undoubtedly larger than that figure, but in all likelihood it was under 1,000."
Yet somehow we're supposed to believe that Carhart's lone hospital was seeing at least 250 women die a year from illegal abortions.

Then there's her description of partial-birth abortion:
The bans, which state legislatures began to pass in the mid-1990s, generally targeted a procedure called intact dilation and extraction, in which the dead fetus is removed intact after the skull is crushed. It is a rare procedure, used in 2,200 of the 1.3 million abortions performed in 2000, and only in cases where doctors believed it was the best option for minimizing risks to a woman's health, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Except the fetus is partially removed before the skull is crushed and AGI's 2,200 number is basically the lowest PBA estimate available.

The real lesson here should be to not trust late-term abortionists like Hern and Carhart. Anyone who is willing to dismember viable unborn children on a regular basis is not someone who has any remorse about lying to supportive reporters on a regular basis.

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