Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Defending the Killing of Partial-Born Children Ain't Easy

Just ask Judith Warner. In her recent column in the New York Times (available to select customers) kindly reprinted at the Free Democracy Blog, Warner sets out to attack the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. She starts by arguing the ban won't prevent other forms of abortion which are also gruesome.
What's clear, however, as the ban has become a reality, is that fetuses will be spared no brutality. Second trimester abortion is still legal and the most common method for it — dismembering a fetus inside the womb before removing it in pieces — is no less awful to contemplate than the outlawed procedure, in which an intact fetus's skull was punctured and collapsed to ease its removal.
I don't understand how pro-choice people think pointing out how other abortion techniques are also horribly brutal is a good reason to keep partial-birth abortion legal. It seems to me to be a good reason to ban those other brutal techniques. It also seems to be a rather dumb public relations technique. "Hey, that banned procedure may be disgusting and grotesque but other late term abortion techniques are just as sickening" doesn't seem to be something which will persuade people to want to keep partial-birth abortion legal. Instead it might point readers to the idea that the hideousness of partial-birth abortion tells us something about the hideousness of abortion in general.

Warner then quotes from an article in Obstetrics and Gynecology where the authors (both with association to pro-choice organizations) don't seem to understand that the Supreme Court doesn't make law but merely rules if laws are constitutional or not.

Warner continues,
But in truth, dealing with the ban is no laughing matter. You see, as it turns out, the Supreme Court didn't just outlaw "partial-birth" abortions (known in the medical community as "intact dilation and extraction" or D & X,) when it upheld Congress's ban. It criminalized any second trimester abortion that begins with a live fetus and where "the fetal head or the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother."

The big problem with this, doctors say, is that, due to the unpredictability of how women's bodies react to medical procedures, when you set out to do a legal second trimester abortion, something looking very much like a now-illegal abortion can occur. Once you dilate the cervix — something that must be done sufficiently in order to avoid tears, punctures and infection — a fetus can start to slip out.
The big problem with this attack on the legislation is the legislation includes this phrase (my emphasis) "the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until..."

Warner tries to avoid the obvious intent of the "deliberately and intentionally" phrase by saying, "But as doctors now understand it, intent could be inferred by the degree of dilation they induce in their patients. What, then, do they do? Dilate the cervix sufficiently and risk prosecution, or dilate less and risk the woman's health?"

The reasoning or evidence for why abortionists understand it that way is never explained or provided. It also assumes not dilating the cervix to a distance where the entire fetal head or the entire lower half of the child is out of the womb would risk a woman's health without a hint of evidence to back this assumption. But for Warner, this proves the ban is really about......you guessed it - punishing women.
It makes the true intent of the partial-birth abortion ban clear: the point is not (in the short term) to stop seemingly brutal fetal deaths, but rather to make all abortions as burdensome, as difficult and as emotionally and physically trying for women — and for doctors — as possible.
All abortions?? Really?? So abortion providers have to change how they perform abortions in the first trimester because they're scared they might deliberately and intentionally deliver a partial-born child at that stage of development? Please.

You gotta also love the throw in "- and for doctors -" line because we all know how difficult late term abortions are far people who make their living performing them. Excuse me if I fail to shed a tear for how this ban will make the performing of a late-term abortion "as difficult and as emotionally and physically trying" for Leroy Carhart.

It's as if Warner thinks prolifers should want abortions to be easy to obtain. She can't seem to fathom that prolifers might possibly have other reasons for pushing for a PBA ban like, I don't know - creating a line between abortion and infanticide, educating the public on the brutality of abortion, showing how extreme proponents of legal abortion are, taking incremental steps in the hopes of persuading the public, getting the public to understand and think about how abortion, as Warner says, "kill(s)" something.

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