Thursday, April 1, 2004
Abortionists Admit Dismemberment Horror
"Another doctor a day earlier had testified that a fetus sometimes does not immediately die after limbs are pulled off."
That's the sole reference we could find to the major piece of blockbuster testimony in searching the wire services today for accounts of the partial-birth abortion trial going on in New York.
Pro-abortion reporters and editors don't like to dwell on reality, doncha know.
Here's some slightly less horrific testimony that the media will relate from U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
"Does the fetus feel pain?" Judge Richard C. Casey on Wednesday asked another abortionist, Dr. Timothy Johnson, a plaintiff in one of three lawsuits challenging the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Johnson: "I guess whenever I ..."
Judge Casey: "Simple question, doctor. Does it cross your mind?"
The abortionist said it did not.
Judge Casey: "Never crossed your mind?"
Judge Casey: "So you tell her the arms and legs are pulled off? I mean, that's what I want to know. Do you tell her?"
Johnson: "We tell her the baby, the fetus, is dismembered as part of the procedure, yes."
Casey asked if abortionists admitted to the mother about "sucking the brain out of the skull" of the baby.
Some Settling of Contents May Occur
Johnson: "I don't think we would use those terms. I think we would probably use a term like 'decompression of the skull' or 'reducing the contents of the skull.'"
Judge Casey: "Make it nice and palatable so that they wouldn't understand what it's all about?"
Johnson: "We try to do it in a way that's not offensive or gruesome or overly graphic for patients."
April 2, 2004
Do Preborn Feel Pain During Partial-Birth Abortion?
by Terry Phillips, correspondent
The callousness of the abortion industry comes under scrutiny at a trial on the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
In a New York courtroom this week, a federal judge forced an abortion doctor into a frank discussion on the effects of abortion procedures on the preborn baby. It came in a case challenging a ban on partial-birth abortion.
The abortionist, Timothy Johnson, wants partial-birth abortions to continue — and the judge to strike down the nation's new law banning them. The judge, Richard Casey, asked Johnson if it had "ever crossed his mind" that a pre-born baby feels pain. The abortionist twice indicated he'd never thought about it.
Dr. David Stevens, who heads the Christian Medical Association, isn't surprised that an abortionist would ignore the humanity of the preborn.
"We should expect people who are trying to defend the indefensible to say anything in court," Stevens said. "We really shouldn't be surprised. What's a little lie when you're willing to kill babies in the most gruesome manner possible?"
The lie, or the admission of what — at best — can only be described as an incredible lack of caring, came after Johnson had told the judge he knew of no scientific research into preborn pain. If true, Johnson flatly ignored research published by Dr. Jean Wright, an expert on the pain of the preborn.
"Not only do they feel pain," Wright said, "they feel it anywhere from three to five times more intensely."
It's fact, but the abortion community wants to suppress legal testimony about the pain of the preborn.
"We scientists have come to grips with that," Wright explained. "but the abortion community has denied it and wanted to keep that kind of information away from the lay public."
Ironically, abortionists themselves, by suing, are being forced to expose the truth behind their industry under the questioning of Judge Casey.
"He's making the gruesomeness of this procedure a matter of court record," Stevens said.
In the process, America will, perhaps, finally see abortion in its stark, brutal reality.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about partial-birth abortion, please see the Focus on Social Issues Web site. You can find an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) article there, among other resources.
June 23, 2003
by Carrie Gordon Earll
Public opinion supports banning it and Congress has done just that. So, what are the facts regarding partial-birth abortion?
Q. What is a partial-birth abortion?
A. The term "partial-birth abortion" describes a late term abortion procedure also known as Dilation and Extraction (D & X). This particular abortion method first came under public scrutiny after a 1992 presentation by abortionist Martin Haskell in which Haskell graphically described the D & X abortion technique.1
According to Haskell's presentation, the initial step in performing a partial-birth abortion involves two days of dilating the mother’s cervix. Afterward, the abortionist uses an ultrasound probe to locate the lower extremities of the preborn baby. He then works large grasping forceps through the mother’s vagina and cervix, and into her uterus. The abortionist grasps a leg of the baby with the forceps and pulls the leg into the mother’s vagina. "With a lower extremity in the vagina, the surgeon uses his fingers to deliver the opposite lower extremity, then the torso, the shoulders and the upper extremities. The skull lodges at the internal cervical os,"2Haskell explained.
While clutching the baby’s upper body, the abortionist "takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors. . . . He carefully advances the tip, curve down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger. . . . The surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the opening. The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient."3
Q. Are Partial-Birth Abortions Medically Necessary to Save the Mother’s Life or Protect Her From Injury?
A. "With all that modern medicine has to offer, partial-birth abortions are not needed to save the life of the mother, and the procedure’s impact on a woman’s cervix can put future pregnancies at risk."
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D. Letter to the Editor The New York Times, September 26, 1996
"Most partial-birth abortions are performed on healthy mothers with healthy babies," and "there is no obstetrical situation that requires the willful destruction of a partially delivered baby to protect the life, health or future of a woman."
Nancy Romer, M.D., Curtis Cook, M.D., Pamela Smith, M.D. and Joseph DeCook, M.D. Letter to the Editor The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 1996
Q. What does the American Medical Association(AMA) say about Partial-Birth Abortions?
A. "Our panel could not find any identified circumstance in which the procedure was the only safe and effective abortion method." (The AMA supported the federal ban passed by Congress and vetoed by President Clinton.)
Daniel H. Johnson Jr., M.D. President, American Medical Association Letter to the Editor The New York Times, May 26, 1997
Q. How many partial-birth abortions are performed each year?
A. Since states do not have mandatory and uniform abortion reporting requirements, there is no way to know how many partial-birth abortions are performed each year. Abortion supporters insist that only about 500 partial-birth abortions are performed annually.4 However, Martin Haskell, the abortionist who developed the procedure, reported in 1992 performing more than 700 partial-birth abortions in his abortion practice.5 Furthermore, according to one New Jersey newspaper, physicians in that state admit performing at least 1,500 partial-birth abortions a year in their state alone—three times the national number claimed by abortion advocates.6 According to a survey conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, "an estimated total of 31 providers performed the procedure 2,200 times in 2000." 7
Q. Why are partial-birth abortions performed?
A. Supporters of partial-birth abortion say that the majority of partial-birth abortions take place in cases where the fetus suffers from abnormalities or severe defects.8 However, Haskell told one publication that most of his partial-birth abortions were elective, meaning there was no medical reason for the abortion.9 Ohio abortionist Martin Ruddock admits that more than one-half of his partial-birth abortions involve normal fetuses.10
Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, confessed to that he "lied through [his] teeth" during a 1995 interview with ABC’s "Nightline" when he stated that women had partial-birth abortions only in the most extreme circumstances of life endangerment or fetal anomaly. Fitzsimmons went on to say that a vast majority of these abortions are performed on healthy babies and healthy mothers.11
Q. What states have passed partial-birth abortion bans?
A. As of October 1, 1999, 29 states have passed bans on partial-birth abortions: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio*, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
*Does not use "partial-birth" language but describes similar procedure.
Q. What is the status of these laws?
A. Prior to the summer of 2000, the status of these laws was mixed, with some in effect and others the subject of court challenges. On June 28, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Stenberg vs. Carhart, which questioned the constitutionality of Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortions. The court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that Nebraska’s law was unconstitutional on two grounds:
• It does not clearly distinguish between partial-birth abortion (dilation and extraction, or "D&X") and the most commonly used late-term abortion procedure (dilation and evacuation,or "D&E")
• It does not include an exception for the health of the mother
In her concurring opinion, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor states that laws that meet these two criteria would be, in her view, constitutional. However, pro-life legal experts say that based on past court rulings, an exception for the mother’s health is broadly interpreted and would render the ban worthless.12 The Carhart decision effectively renders all state bans on partial-birth abortion unconstitutional.
Q. Didn’t Congress vote to ban partial-birth abortions?
A. Yes, several times. In 1995 and 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate voted to prohibit partial-birth abortions. Both times President Clinton vetoed the legislation. In response, the House voted twice to override the president’s vetoes.13 Twice the Senate attempted overrides and failed by as few as three votes. The third time Congress passed the ban - the Senate in 1999 and the House in 2000 - the bill died in conference committee.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carhart addressed a challenge to a state law banning partial-birth abortion, it is not known whether the current court would also apply the decision to any federal ban of the abortion procedure. However, in 2002, pro-life attorneys drafted new legislation designed to satisfy the court’s criteria in Carhart while still banning the late-term abortion method. On March 13, 2003, the U.S. Senate approved the new version of the ban by a vote of 64-33. The U.S. House of Representatives followed suit on June 4, 2003 by a vote margin of 282-139. The measure now goes to conference committee before heading to the White House where President Bush has pledged to sign the bill.14
Carrie Gordon Earll is the Senior Policy Analyst for Bioethics at Focus on the Family and a fellow with the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.
1Martin Haskell, M.D., "Dilation and Extraction for Late Second Trimester Abortion," Paper presented at the National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, September 13-14, 1992, Dallas, Texas.
4 Ruth Padawer, "The Facts on Partial-Birth Abortion," The Record, September 15, 1996, p. A1.
7Lawrence B. Finer and Stanley K. Henshaw, "Abortion Incidence and Services in the United States in 2000," Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Volume 35, Number 1, January/February 2003, p. 13.
8William Douglas, "House Bans One Kind of Abortion," Newsday, November 2, 1995, p. A7.
9Diane M. Gianelli, "Shock-Tactic Ads Target Late-Term Abortion Procedure," American Medical News, July 5, 1993, p. 1.
10 David Brown, "Late Term Abortions," Washington Post, September 17, 1996, p. Z12.
11Diane M. Gianelli, "Medicine Adds to Debate on Late-Term Abortion," American Medical News, March 3, 1997, p. 3; David Stott, "An Abortion Rights Advocate Says He Lied," The New York Times, February 26, 1997, p. A12.
12Dorinda Bordlee, "Abort Reform for Now," Editorial, Washington Times, July 13, 2000, p. A19.
13Chris Black, "Abortion Foes Falter in Override Bid," Boston Globe, September 19, 1998, p. A4.
14Robin Toner, "Measure Banning Abortion Method Wins House Vote," The New York Times, June 5, 2003, p. A1.
Doctor: Fetus Feels Pain After 20 Weeks
By KEVIN O'HANLON, Associated Press Writer
LINCOLN, Neb. - A type of abortion banned under a new federal law would cause "severe and excruciating" pain to 20-week-old fetuses, a medical expert on pain testified Tuesday.
"I believe the fetus is conscious," said Dr. Kanwaljeet "Sonny" Anand, a pediatrician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He took the stand as a government witness in a trial challenging the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
The act, which was signed by President Bush in November, has not been enforced because judges in Lincoln, Neb., New York and San Francisco agreed to hear evidence in three simultaneous, non-jury trials on whether the ban violates the Constitution.
Anand said fetuses show increased heart rate, blood flow and hormone levels in response to pain.
"The physiological responses have been very clearly studied," he said. "The fetus cannot talk ... so this is the best evidence we can get."
The Bush administration has argued that the procedure, referred to by opponents as "partial-birth abortion," is "inhumane and gruesome" and causes the fetus to suffer pain.
During the procedure, which doctors call "intact dilation and extraction" or D&X, a fetus is partially removed from the womb and its skull is punctured. It is generally performed in the second trimester.
Abortion rights advocates argue that it is sometimes the safest procedure for women, and that the law will endanger almost all second-trimester abortions, or 10 percent of the nation's 1.3 million annual abortions.
The law would be the first substantial limitation on abortion since the Supreme Court legalized it 31 years ago in the landmark case Roe v. Wade.
Challenges to the ban were filed by several doctors being represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Abortion Federation and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The issue is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.