Generally, science is the friend of progressive political causes. Not this one. As fetal ultrasound technology improved during the nineties, abortion providers, conditioned to reassure patients that the fetus was merely tissue, found it much harder to do so once their patients were staring at images that looked so lifelike....
On partial-birth abortion:
The procedure was extremely upsetting to behold. In it, the fetus—or is it a baby?—is removed from the uterus and stabbed in the back of the head with surgical scissors. It’s a revolting image, one to which the public was ritualistically subjected on the evening news as the debate raged on the House and Senate floors. Defending it was a pro-choice person’s nightmare.
While visiting an abortion clinic in Pennsylvania and interacting with a counselor who consents to providing an abortion to a woman who is clearly having the abortion because her boyfriend wants her to.
Keyes knows that most women refer to the developing lives inside of them as “babies,” rather than fetuses, whether they’re conflicted about their abortions or not. She knows that occasionally women want to keep sonograms of the fetuses they’ve aborted and even ask to see their reassembled remains once the procedure’s through.....She concludes with a rather negative assessment of the pro-choice movement's chances.
A few minutes later, we leave the room. Keyes is shaking. I start to ask her a question, but she cuts me off. “Do I feel good about signing this? (Expletive), no.” She wipes her eyes. “And I could deny her. We do deny women abortions.”
Well, look, I say. You told her she has trouble acting for herself. That was valuable.
Keyes brushes it off. “She was here a year ago. She might have heard the same thing from the counselor then. In fact, let’s look.” She starts flipping the pages of her chart. “Oh my God.”
“I was her counselor.”
She covers the woman’s name, and together we peer at Keyes’s old notes: Certain of her decision … not prepared for a fourth child … may have a fourth later … gave her a stone.
Given this demographic shift, plus the Stupak Amendment, plus the unavoidable fact that abortion’s essential nature is unchanging—it will always involve some brutal nexus of the heart and the mind—it’s hard for a pro-choice person like myself to see how the ball rolls forward.