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Tuesday, June 01, 2004
The Partial Birth Abortion Issue
What IS the Partial Birth Abortion Issue?
A Partial-Birth Abortion is a procedure in which the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the woman’s vagina, except for the head, which the abortionist purposely keeps lodged just inside the cervix. The abortionist then punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument called a trochar. He then inserts a catheter into the wound, and removes the baby's brain with a powerful suction machine. This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby.
According to Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (1997), and other sources, it appears that partial-birth abortions are performed 3,000 to 5,000 times annually. (Even those numbers may be low.) Based on published interviews with numerous abortionists, and interviews with Fitzsimmons in 1997, the “vast majority” of partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, on healthy babies of healthy mothers.
So just to recap, about 3 months before a woman gives birth to her child she will have her babies head pierced and brain vacuumed out. After that the woman will give birth to her dead baby.
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act would ban performance of a partial-birth abortion except if it were necessary to the save a mother's life.
This bill seems to me to be obvious considering the barbaric nature of the procedure but the unfortunately we live in a country where not everyone agrees. Today, a federal judge declared the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional, saying it infringes on a woman's right to choose.
So in this wonderful Democracy of ours it is legal to vacuum the brains of our children until there scull collapses in order to protect a woman’s right to choose??
Maybe the woman should have thought that through before getting pregnant. Or maybe she should have gotten the abortion say… IN THE FIRST FUCKING TRIMESTER
Hey Pro Partial-Abotion peeps, check out this cool link!
Gotta disagree with you, Prodly, my dear. The Partial-Birth Ban does infringe on a woman's right to choose, by placing the rights above an unborn fetus above the rights of a living woman.
Even according to halacha, a fetus is not a person until it's born, and the health and well-being of the mother takes precedence over that of the unborn child. Now, whether partial-birth abaortions are being performed unnecessarily...I highly doubt it happens as much as you'd like to think. Very few respectable physicians would use this precedure unless it is necessary. But I'm not going to get into an argument on when an abortion is ok, and when it isn't.
The federal government is using the partial-birth ban as a backdoor method to banning all abortions. The language of the bill would effectively ban all abortions performed in the second trimester... aka, after 12 weeks. Some women don't even know that they're pregnant until 10-12 weeks. By the time they find out, and make a decision, the federal government would have already taken the option of abortion away from them.
posted by Cara
: 4:26 PM
I will agree that if a woman is at a health risk, ANYTHING should be done to save her.
I didnt see anything in the bill about 2nd tri or any time for that matter, only about procedure.
First of all, there is no clear halachic ruling on when a fetus is considered a person. In fact, many prominent halachic figures consider that time to be as early as 3 months.
As far as this ban infringing on a womans' right to choose.... the mother (and the father) should have absolutely NO choice when it comes to killing their baby. I know what a fetus looks like at 5-6 months. It looks IDENTICAL to how it will look at birth. Except much smaller. Most babies born at 6 months have an excellent chance of survival.
Now, let's say a baby is born full term and the mother then decides she can't handle a baby. Would anyone suggest that we let a doctor puncture the baby's skull and remove the brain?? I certainly hope not. It's no different in partial-birth abortion. Just because the baby is in the mother's womb (and out of site) does not make it any less murderous.
Why is this even an issue? No rational thinking person can seriously think partial-birth abortion is acceptable? can they??
posted by Noah
: 8:27 AM
The morality of abortion itself is not the debate here, Noah. The real issue (which conveniently gets overlooked when people only look at pictures of unborn babies) is who has the right to decide what happens to their body.
Medical decisions are the responsibility of the individual and their physician. In the case of a pregnancy, the father of the child should also have a say, but the final decision should still be left to the pregnant woman and her doctor...and not to the federal government.
Did you know that the majority of genetic disorders (many of them fatal and traumatic) are not even detectable until the 18-20 week ultrasound? If this ban were permitted, a woman would have no choice but to bring into the world a child with a debilitating disease (Tay-Sachs, Canavan, etc.) that will kill her child before its 5th or 6th birthday. Why? Because the government made her decision for her.
Again, I will not debate whether abortion is right or wrong. Even the halacha on when abortion is permitted is not black and white...except we know it is not completely banned. Any Jewish woman considering an abortion should consult with 2 people: her rabbi and her doctor. The government should have no part in this discussion.
posted by Cara
: 9:32 AM
I was wasn't arguing over the rights for abortion in general. I was arguing for the ban on PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION. First trimester abortions are a completely different issue. My problem is with murdering a baby in the second or third trimester. Personally, i think ALL (well, not all, but most) abortions should be banned, but I do understand the opposing view.
But I can't see any another rational view on Partial-brith abortion except that it's wrong. Plain and simple.
posted by Noah
: 11:01 AM
Prodly - did you read the bill? It clearly states that under NO circumstances do they believe a partial birth abortion to be beneficial to the health of woman. Nobody has mentioned the fact that the supreme court struck down Nebraska's attempt to ban partial birth abortion SPECIFICALLY because they found this statement to be untrue. I agree with everything Cara has said so far, but forgetting the question of choice: how can anyone support a bill that makes such a drastic claim? You yourself said the health of the mother is a worthy concern, but this bill leaves no room for that.
posted by dov
: 12:25 PM
Did you read the bill?
Sec. 1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited
`(a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the enactment.
I think these facts make the case for abortion after 2nd trimester. As for the procedure used: if it were in fact true that PBA's weren't safer than other methods, then an argument can be made for banning it. My understanding is that Nebraska failed to prove that fact.
posted by dov
: 12:48 PM
Prodly, your excerpt from the bill supoprts your point only when you forget to leave out one crucial part of the bill: it clearly states that "Congress finds that partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother", which results in the bill having no allowance for PBA's performed to save the life of the mother. Congress doesn't think that medically-neccesary PBA's exist, and so this "allowance" in the excerpt you provided is actually no allowance at all.
posted by Cara
: 1:05 PM
As far as abortion goes, I am not willing to completely ban them. There are always cases where an abortion in necessary for the womans health. Fine. Any female who waits until the second trimester to get an abortion for reasons other than medical should be denied. Period.
2nd tri abortion for medical reasons should be completely up to the parents and doctor. No arguements there, and the bill DOES recognize that. The abortion method however should NOT be left up to the parents or doctor. Fetuses are people too and should be protected.
The government decides the most humane and painless ways to kill a person sentanced to death, so to should they decide the most humane and painless way to kill an unwanted child.
Cara, you are correct. Congress as well as.... (E) The physician credited with developing the partial-birth abortion procedure has testified that he has never encountered a situation where a partial-birth abortion was medically necessary to achieve the desired outcome and, thus, is never medically necessary to preserve the health of a woman.
It appears that the medical exemption was added to the bill later, and in actuality may not even save the doctor from prosecution for performing the inhumane procedure. I still believe strongly in the bill with or without the medical reason exemption.
The bill states also that....
(M) The vast majority of babies killed during partial-birth abortions are alive until the end of the procedure. It is a medical fact, however, that unborn infants at this stage can feel pain when subjected to painful stimuli and that their perception of this pain is even more intense than that of newborn infants and older children when subjected to the same stimuli. Thus, during a partial-birth abortion procedure, the child will fully experience the pain associated with piercing his or her skull and sucking out his or her brain.
Brutal Murder. Plain and simple.
I looked at those pictures you linked. You win. I'm not eating any more babies.
I mostly agree with what you say. But I don't trust the people who wish to pass this law. The law needs to go out of its way to protect a woman's decision, and make it clear which procedures will be permitted if this method is banned. The judge in San Francisco included in her report some testimony from doctors that claim one of the alternatives is more dangerous, not less. It wouldn't be much different either, except that the fetus would be killed in the womb (through what I understood to be a similar method), and parts of the baby will occasionally be left behind making the mother sick. If PBA is the most humane option, than it can't be ruled out.
I disagree with your statement that "fetuses are humans too." That is purely a question of definition. We've chosen NOT to view fetuses as humans because life is a lot better (for mother and child) if we don't. Every child a wanted child. This doesn't mean women should choose abortion on a whim, but the facts don't suggest that they do. Its silly to pretend that they would. Aside for reasons of physical health, the overwhelming majority of women that choose to abort after the 2nd trimester are teenagers. We do no favors (to mother or child) by forcing a 14 year old girl to have a child because she was too afraid to tell her parents she was pregnant.
posted by dov
: 1:37 PM
Hah! Do I here the beginings of a vegetarian?
I am glad that we can mostly agree on something.
One thing that you said does bother me....
"We do no favors (to mother or child) by forcing a 14 year old girl to have a child because she was too afraid to tell her parents she was pregnant."
Here's where we disagree. If a 14 year old can have sex, she can have a child. If she can't raise the child then she will give it up for adoption, just as a woman who is mentally unstable and can no longer raise a baby would. Or would she kill the baby.
If a girl can go through the trauma of sex then she will go through the trauma of childbirth.
My friend I am a child of adoption. What if my "mother" was one of those 14 year olds? Who would you aregue with if I had my brain vacuumed?
First of all - I think its absurd to compare the difficulties of raising a child to the "trauma" of sex. Sex is easy and pleasureable; it is not surprising that children would want to experiment with it. That doesn't mean we wish each child that does to have a child of their own.
Secondly: the "what if" question doesn't contribute much in my eyes.
What if the condom hadn't broke? What if she hadn't taken the placebo at the wrong time? What if the sperm simply didn't make it to the egg? And then how many fetuses don't make it past the first tri-term? Every person alive can ask these questions, but what's the point?
posted by dov
: 2:23 PM
Dov, we are responsible for educating our children about sex. If we dont a the girl gets knocked up, we give her an abortion and a slap on the wrist and send her on her merry fucking way?
Sorry Charlie, not in SklarO world. Of course we dont need more children especially by single parents, but we also dont have the right to dispose of them. Give the child to parents who want to love them. After all, there are plenty of them out there.
The point Dov, is that a girl is to young to be a mother is not a good enough arguement for abortion.
posted by Noah
: 2:38 PM
"First of all - I think its absurd to compare the difficulties of raising a child to the "trauma" of sex. Sex is easy and pleasureable; it is not surprising that children would want to experiment with it. That doesn't mean we wish each child that does to have a child of their own."
You seemingly skipped over the part where prodly mentioned.....ADOPTION! Prodly meant (and I agree) that if a girl is old enough, or tries to pretend like she's old enough to have sex, then she should be old enough to HAVE a baby. not KEEP the baby. Do you know how many parents are out there who are on year-long waiting lists for kids, or spending thousands of dollars on fertilty treatments? Wouldn't you rather see them happy with that baby? or would you rather some doctor rips apart this poor fetus' skull so the little teenaged whore won't have to explain it to her mommy?
I'm sure you don't want babies with crackhead teenage mothers any more than I do. Let's give them over to parents who deserve them. Leave the unborn children out of it.
posted by Noah
: 2:40 PM
First of all - I'm glad Marnina's childbirth seems to have gone smoothly. My cousin had some problems and was [literaly] bed-ridden for 5 months. Couldn't get out of bed to shit. Her leg muscles atrophied, and needless to say, she was miserable. Medical concerns aside (because that wasn't supposed to come into play): A 14 year old girl would most likely have to drop out of school. I'm willing to bet most suffer serious psychological damage from the experience as well. Childbirth is no small thing (and even less so for a 14 year old). I have no interest in seeking further punishment for a child's [understandable] mistake when we have the ability to safely control the outcome. If there is a more humane way that is still safe, than I obviously have no complaint with restricting the methods we use.
2nd of all: the reason its hard to adopt is not because there's a shortage of babies. Perhaps there's a shortage of American born white babies, but if that's the criteria, I don't feel bad for the eagerly waiting couple.
posted by dov
: 2:56 PM
Regarding your first paragraph....Fine. We disagree fully and that's that.
Regarding your second paragraph I'd say at first glance that you are talking out of your ass. That was a low blow. I knew a guy looking to adopt a retarded teenager, and another looking to adopt a retarded black infant. I believe there are probably many couples looking for the perfect white baby and many who arent. For you to blast people looking to adopt ANY baby is wrong and offensive.
"Dov, we are responsible for educating our children about sex. If we dont a the girl gets knocked up, we give her an abortion and a slap on the wrist and send her on her merry fucking way? "
If we don't educate: was it her fault at all? Does she even deserve the "slap on the wrist"? And do you really think the shame, guilt and embarrasment a 14 year old girl would feel at having to go through an abortion (especially given that she felt it necessary to wait 20 weeks) is simply a "slap on the wrist"? Do you believe that girl will walk out the door saying: "I'm off free!!! bring me another!"?
I think ALL women face an extremely difficult question when they decide to get an abortion. It must be MUCH harder for any of them to choose abortion than you care to consider. The fact that they are even willing to go through an abortion is enough to convince me that the alternative option is drastic. I can sit here and rationalize about how a fetus is simply a ball of cells (something I believe, but I don't care to bring on the religious debate); but I imagine it would be extremely difficult for any pregnant woman to do the same. My sister is both passionately pro-choice and a professor of biology. When she had a miscarriage she still felt a tremendous loss, and that was in her first trimester. How can a bunch of men sit around and decide how easy or hard childbirth is, and whether or not a woman has the right to make the already painful decision to abort?
posted by dov
: 3:11 PM
Hey thanks a lot. Yeah, Marnina's childbirth was great in the fact that everyone was healthy. But it was certainly a tough ordeal. She was in labor for over 30 hours and had about a 2.5 week recovery time. But it was well worth it.
as far as your line "I have no interest in seeking further punishment for a child's [understandable] mistake when we have the ability to safely control the outcome." Safely control the outcome? Murdering an almost fully devoloped human being is safe? Safe for who?
That's like saying a teenager who has a baby but cannot handle the pressure can "safely control the outcome" by throwing the baby in the dumpster. No really, hear me out. This baby was having a traumatic psychological effect on the mother. crying 20 hours a day, unable to eat or clean up for itself. The mother even had to drop out of school. poor mom. Throwing the baby in the dumpster was the only "safe" choice.
posted by Noah
: 3:12 PM
You're right that the comment about adopting white children was uncalled for. I apologize. Having the courage to adopt is noble regardless of what race you choose. I also didn't mean to imply that most American's will only look to adopt white Americans.
What I'm trying to say (and I'm quite certain I'm right): unless you have very specific criteria for adoption, such as race, geography etc., I don't think the difficulty in adopting stems from a shortage of children. International adoption is difficult for a whole range of legal reasons, but not because the waiting lists are too long and the babies are too few.
posted by dov
: 3:22 PM
"an ALMOST fully devoloped human being is safe". Obviously, therein lies the difference.
posted by dov
: 3:24 PM
Babies are born "ALMOST fully devoloped." The exact moment in the womb when a cluster of cells becomes human baby is debatable. Calling it a fetus or baby is just language and should not be used as an argument.