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May 02, 2007

Comments

Thanks, Steve - great post.

Hi Steve, using data from even anti-abortion sites, it is clear that the majority of intact D & E (the medically correct term) abortions are done pre-viability. Yet you continue to mislead with this:

"even when science has clearly shown that the body hanging halfway out of the birth canal is a biological human who in many cases can survive outside the womb (I include this point not because I think it is significant that the unborn is viable in most D & X abortions, but because most pro-choice advocates I talk to think it's a no-brainer that viable humans should be protected)."

Please quantify "many", how many of the "many" are non medically necessary and how 18USC 74 accomplishes your goal. How do you justify a law that fails to have an exemption for the physical health of the mother? Have you actually read 18USC 74?

The physical health of the mother is irrelevant to the status of killing the child. No other evidence need be presented than what Steve has presented with respect to the full human status of the unborn. I would say that your inability to see that make you less viable, but I would prevent anyone from hurting you over it, never mind killing you.

Steve's point remains unanswered, and your barbarism on this issue is well documented on this blog.

Alan, the procedure is a D&X, not to be confused with a D&E.

Hi Will, ACOG and medical literature use the medical term "intact D & E. D & X is a made up term by those outside the medical field. If you are unfamiliar with the term "intact D & E", it shows that your research into this procedure has never gone past your side's talking points. Try this: google the terms "intact D & E", "D & E", "D & X", "D & X abortion".

Hummm, "Alan the Barbarian", I like that, yes, yes I do. Anyway Patrick, let me pin you down here. A woman is 19 weeks pregnant. The abortion must be terminated to protect her physical health. Her doctors have determined that an intact D & E would be the safest procedure. The fetus has no chance of survival at 19 weeks. What exactly is your objection?

The physical health of the mother is a total smoke screen. Abortions are rare based on the health of the mother, unless you use the term to mean "mental health", which is another BS category.

Just heard a about an article on the Hugh Hewitt radio show concerning "partial birth abortions". From a nurse who used to assist in this type of abortion, she basically said when the baby's body is pulled from the womb and the head remains the doctor jambs the instrument into the base of the baby's skull and the baby's (oops I mean fetus) arms stretch out as if it were scared when surprised. The arms stay stretched out until the doctor sucks out the baby's brains and then the arms go limp.

What a brave doctor providing a needed service for women's health.

Alan, I’ve been trying to understand your position more clearly, and I think I see what you’re getting at: The kind of procedure used to kill the fetus really doesn’t make any moral difference at all. It does not make a difference whether the fetus is pulled apart and removed piece by piece or whether the fetus is partly delivered and then has its brains removed. The only relevant difference, then, pertains to the effect on the woman, so that's what we should be discussing. An abortion is an abortion, and some types are easier than others on the mother. The woman is your sole focus, and since abortion is okay, you think they ought to use the procedure that makes things easier for her. Therefore, you see us as unfairly making emotional appeals to manipulate people in order to get the second procedure wrongly banned. But since abortions are a right, there’s no reason this kind of an abortion shouldn’t also be a right. Is this your basic objection?

You argue that we’re making unfair emotional appeals to manipulate people. If partial birth abortion is wrong, it logically follows that a lot of other abortions are also wrong; but since you don’t think the other abortions are wrong, then you are consistent in saying that neither is partial birth abortion wrong, regardless of what it looks like. (This is a very consistent position, by the way. More consistent than others are willing to be.)

But in order to claim this (what logically follows from your starting point that abortions are okay), you just have to live with some very nasty descriptions of what is involved. But I don’t think those descriptions are easy for anyone to live with, and that’s why you and others who hold your position have to do whatever you can to get people to set them aside. The descriptions seriously challenge people’s overall view that abortions are okay, and since that’s already decided, they’re only a distraction from the question of which procedure works best.

You think that describing the procedure is unfair because it wrongly makes people uncomfortable with something that’s okay. But maybe it’s not unfair. Maybe it’s the case that an accurate description makes clear a truth that just remains hidden in other abortions. Partial birth abortion reveals the truth about abortion—and not just this kind of abortion—because you see the baby being killed. There’s just no way to hide from it. There’s a baby right in front of you moving its arms and legs around, and then somebody kills him or her. People rightly and instinctively recoil at the thought. That’s why a majority of people are okay with banning the procedure when they see it for what it is.

For some reason, as people, sometimes we have to see something to believe it. Those who are committed to the idea that abortion is not about killing babies don’t want people to talk about the procedure because some other people might be “fooled” into thinking abortion is about killing babies, when it’s actually about helping women. (I don’t say that sarcastically. I think that pro-choicers do think that abortion is about helping women.) But what if the descriptions aren’t fooling us but instead are correcting us by bringing information out into the open that was previously hidden?

So here’s what I would ask you to consider: Rather than say that this kind of procedure is okay because the other kinds are okay, maybe your thinking ought to slide the other way—that is, maybe if the visual of the partial birth abortion procedure bothers you, it’s because it says something true about all abortions. And maybe this isn’t a distraction but the most important question of all.

And if we can only convince a majority of people of the truth in this particular case then I don't think we're wrong to do so--even though it's only for this one procedure.

That was really good Amy.

Alan
with repsect your comment about the woman whose physical health is in jeopardy. I thought I was clear, but will try agiain. The life of the fetus takes precedent over her physical health. Period. If it was her life, that is a different matter. Her health is a secondary consideration. And what form of ohysical health are you referring to? Common cold? Uterine mild discomfort? Perhaps something that would render her bedridden for the duration of the preganany?

Even if she will suffer permanent damage, the life of the child comes before the physical health of the mother. This seems intuitive to me, since both are 100% comeplete full humans, merely at different biological stages.

Imagine a scenario in which a one month old baby must be breast for some immunodeficent reason that is remedied only by that mother's milk. However, the process of breast feeding will not only render the young mothers breasts less "perky", but will cause infection to the mammary glands, compromising them so that the mother will need to be on antibiotics for the foreseeable future.

Without that mother's milk only, the child dies. But the mothers physical health must be considered. Do you let the baby die?

Alan wrote: Hi Will, ACOG and medical literature use the medical term "intact D & E. D & X is a made up term by those outside the medical field. If you are unfamiliar with the term "intact D & E", it shows that your research into this procedure has never gone past your side's talking points. Try this: google the terms "intact D & E", "D & E", "D & X", "D & X abortion".

Alan, I am absolutely NOT unfamiliar with the term "intact D&E". I think you misunderstood my post, so perhaps my brevity led to your confusion. "D&X" is merely another name for intact D&E. And it wasn't made up by someone outside the medical field, but rather by Dr. Martin Haskell, who uses the method in some abortions. Just because the ACOG has decided to standardize around the "intact D&E" phraseology doesn't mean that "D&X" isn't a valid and useful alternative descriptor for the procedure. Just like "partial-birth abortion". It's just another name for the same thing, in fact even more useful because it helps to differentiate it from the regular D&E.

http://www.eileen.250x.com/Main/7_R_Eile/Haskell_Desc.html

The only time I see this procedure as beneficial is when the baby is all ready dead as evidenced by ultrasound or other means so that the baby could be intact for burial for the family...We need to do the safest procedure for the mother at that point.

Amy, that's the best post on this topic I've ever seen. I'll have to pass it along. Perhaps it will jar some people back to reality and actually make them think.

Thank you.

Hi Amy, thanks for the lengthy reply. It is helpful. I will, of course, have a reply later today. Life intervenes.

Hi again Amy, part of it is that I abhor emotional appeals. Usually they introduce irrelevant issues. To me the central issue here is that the law and decision allow politicians to micro-manage medical practice. They have produced a law that makes no provision for the life or physical health of the mother. I cannot under how you and Steve continually fail to distinguish between the fetus being viable and non-viable.

Endlessly repeating a description of the process doesn't justify the lack of a physical health or life of the mother provision.

Would you prohibit a histeromy because it resembles birth by cesarean section? What is the difference.

Steve wrote:

"We can't answer that question until we know how many people are involved and whether one of them is being harmed by the procedure."

This is sophistry. Please answer this: When the fetus is non-viable and the life or physical health of the mother is at stake, would somebody please justify the law banning an intact D & E?

BTW, if anything the annoying Stepford-like repetition of the nuts and bolts has desensitized me. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Alan wrote "They have produced a law that makes no provision for the life or physical health of the mother."

Alan, one note here: there is a provision for the life of the mother. See page 38-39 of the Court's opinion: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/05-380.pdf

Thanks, Will. It seems you're right, unless I'm missing something. You can also find it on page 7, number 4 of the syllabus at the beginning: "In these circumstances the proper means to consider exceptions is by as-applied challenge….This is the proper manner to protect the woman's health if it can be shown that in discrete and well-defined instances a condition has or is likely to occur in which the procedure prohibited by the Act must be used. No as-applied challenge need be brought if the Act's prohibition threatens a woman's life, because the Act already contains a life exception."

Alan’s claim:

If a woman’s chance of surviving declines by 1% or .1% it is worth killing a baby 100% (if she so pleases)

This has been his claim over and over but he hasn’t said it explicitly.

Alan, moral dilemmas like you always reference usually revolve around life and death; your version of a moral dilemma revolves around choice and death or as you like to call it ‘health’ and death. Not very gripping by moral dilemma standards. Just come out and say it--then argue that point.

As a smart man once said, “Verbicide, always precedes homicide”

>>Hi again Amy, part of it is that I abhor emotional appeals. Usually they introduce irrelevant issues. To me the central issue here is that the law and decision allow politicians to micro-manage medical practice.

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to clarify--that you think it is irrelevant, why you think that way, and why I think you should reconsider.

>>I cannot under how you and Steve continually fail to distinguish between the fetus being viable and non-viable.

I'm not sure I understand you clearly here. Can you clarify why this is relevant to the argument? I won't really know how to respond until I understand your objection.

>>Endlessly repeating a description of the process doesn't justify the lack of a physical health or life of the mother provision. Would you prohibit a histeromy because it resembles birth by cesarean section? What is the difference.

This is a difficult question for me to address because I'm not sure I understand you here. Are you thinking that this procedure was banned because it "resembles" birth in that a baby is partially removed from its mother? It was banned because it is considered barbaraic to kill a child as you're looking at him or her right in front of you. As I said earlier, I think this is something we intuitively know.

Does it help you understand our view when I ask where the baby is in the hysterectomy? For us, the baby is the relevant factor, and I'm not sure you're seeing that this is our position if you're asking this question. In births, PBAs, and cesarean sections, there are babies involved that come out of the mothers. A hysterectomy involves no baby. That is the difference.

I think we might be at an impasse here (as I explained in my description of the two places we're coming from). You consider the removal of a baby to be analogous to the removal of a uterus. This is the core of where we disagree, and the key to ever finding agreement.

Can you already see my concluding response coming? (If you can't, then I urge you to reread my earlier comment to try to get where we're coming from so you can recognize where exactly it is we're disagreeing.)

Here's the response in a rearrangement of your own words: Endlessly repeating a concern for the mother's health doesn't justify the killing of a child. (I think life is a different issue, and it already has an exception for that according to the link above.)

I hope that at least clears up where we're coming from for you. I don't expect you to change your mind, but I do want to be able to explain this in a way that's clear and understandable.


Hi Will and Amy, the section you quote is one of the flaws in the decision, actually two.

Ginsberg nails it in her dissent (page 21 - p. 69 of the pdf of the slip opinion).

"Without attempting to distinguish Stenberg and earlier decisions, the majority asserts that the Act survives review because respondents have not shown that the ban on intact D&E would be unconstitutional “in a large fractionof relevant cases.” Ante, at 38 (citing Casey, 505 U. S., at 895). But Casey makes clear that, in determining whetherany restriction poses an undue burden on a “large fraction” of women, the relevant class is not “all women,” nor “all pregnant women,” nor even all women “seeking abortions.” 505 U. S., at 895. Rather, a provision restrictingaccess to abortion, “must be judged by reference to those [women] for whom it is an actual rather than an irrelevant restriction,” ibid. Thus the absence of a health exception burdens all women for whom it is relevant—women who, in the judgment of their doctors, require an intact D&Ebecause other procedures would place their health atrisk.10 Cf. Stenberg, 530 U. S., at 934 (accepting the “relative rarity” of medically indicated intact D&Es as true butnot “highly relevant”—for “the health exception question is whether protecting women’s health requires an exception for those infrequent occasions”); Ayotte, 546 U. S., at 328 (facial challenge entertained where “[i]n some verysmall percentage of cases . . . women . . . need immediateabortions to avert serious, and often irreversible damage to their health”). It makes no sense to conclude that this facial challenge fails because respondents have not shown that a health exception is necessary for a large fraction of second-trimester abortions, including those for which a health exception is unnecessary: The very purpose of a health exception is to protect women in exceptional cases.

10There is, in short, no fraction because the numerator and denominator are the same: The health exception reaches only those cases where a woman’s health is at risk. Perhaps for this reason, in mandating safeguards for women’s health, we have never before invoked the “large fraction” test."

The controversy that Kennedy mentions in Will's referenced section of Kennedy's opinion is a figment of the majoritie's imagination and totally contrived. The appropriate standard is the judgement of the attending physician not a group of lawmakers.

Creating an "as applied" standard for something like a pregnancy sets an undue burden on doctor and patient. There simply isn't a life exception for this process.

">>I cannot under how you and Steve continually fail to distinguish between the fetus being viable and non-viable.

I'm not sure I understand you clearly here. Can you clarify why this is relevant to the argument? I won't really know how to respond until I understand your objection."

Amy, I don't see the confusion here. prior to week 24 viability is very iffy and prior to week 21 is non-existent. Intact D & Es are performed prior to week 21. My question is that if an abortion is necessary at week 20 (or later and the status of the fetus is incompatible with life) what is the point of insisting we have a "baby"? Also, under those circumstances, what is the point of a ban on intact D & E's?

I really wish there were better statistics on when, how and why abortions were performed.

Sorry for the typo. Meant to type:

Hysterotomy

* Hysterotomy is reserved for very few cases. The presence of large uterine leiomyomata has been an indication for hysterotomy in the performance of an abortion, and in the past, placental previa was another indication (recent reports have shown that a dilatation and evacuation procedure can be performed safely in some of these cases).

* The uterine segment is never developed well enough to place the incision there, so virtually all hysterotomies must be performed by classic uterine incisions.

I'm not speaking of health in a trivial manner. If you would require a woman to risk serious injury or disability in order to protect the fetus, we will simply disagree. Fortunately this is rare and, I will agree that post 24 weeks every effort, compatible with the mothers safety, should be made to save the infant.

We are never going to agree on the first trimester but we may agree more than you realize on the mid-second on. Have you ever considered the effects a solid social safety net would have on the abortion rate? Universal health care, generous family allowances, and subsidized adoptions might be worth trying.

As I continue to read the responses here (and on other topics) I am amazed at how difficult we make things, especially things that should be so simple.

I find it sad and frustrating that we have to explain why killing an innocent baby is wrong, let alone having to do it over and over in a variety of ways to get the point across.

My Lord was adopted. Though having no biological father he was raised as the son of a carpenter. He vowed not to leave us as orphans (Jn 14:18) and he considers the care of widows and orphans faultless religion (James 1:27).

http://p264.news.mud.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070502/ap_on_re_us/evangelicals_adoption

He prayed "forgive us our sins" though he himself had committed no sin and instructs that we should not cause others to sin and he abhors the sacrifice of children. He commands us to love our neighbors, how better than to feed , clothe, shelter, and instruct a child? Will he not say that you have done these things for Him?

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