Prologue:  What is Partial-Birth Abortion?


Partial-birth abortion is a relatively new way of performing a second or third-trimester abortion. Known to abortionists as "intact dilation and extraction" (abbreviated as "D&X"), this procedure is a surgical method used to terminate an unwanted pregnancy that has reached at least the middle of the second trimester. It is most often used after 19 or more weeks' gestation. By this time in gestation, the developing baby is fully formed and has significant mental awareness; we are not dealing here with a small clump of undifferentiated cells! You must keep this in mind while I quote from Justice Anthony Kennedy, who described the partial-birth method of abortion in his Stenberg dissent:


The abortionist initiates the woman's natural delivery process by causing the cervix of the woman to be dilated, sometimes over a sequence of days. The fetus' arms and legs are delivered outside the uterus while the fetus is alive; witnesses to the procedure report seeing the body of the fetus moving outside of the woman's body. At this point, the abortion procedure has the appearance of a live birth. With only the head of the fetus remaining in utero, the abortionist tears open the skull. Witnesses' report observing the portion of the fetus outside the woman react to the skull penetration. The abortionist then inserts a suction tube and vacuums out the developing brain and other matter within the skull. Brain death does not occur until after the skull invasion... the heart of the fetus may continue to beat for minutes after the contents of the skull are vacuumed out. The abortionist next completes the delivery of a dead fetus, intact except for the damage to the head and the missing contents of the skull. [Kennedy dissent, Pages 4 - 5]

Because the fetus is killed while most of his body has already been delivered, most people -- pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike -- consider the partial-birth abortion method to be out-and-out infanticide. This is why Congress and many State legislatures have attempted to ban it. As the director of the Stop the Tyrants Project, I agree that this "medical procedure" is indeed the killing of an infant. I will, therefore, most often refer to the "dilation and extraction" (D&X) procedure as 'partial-birth abortion/infanticide.'

The militant abortion rights lobby has gone to extraordinary measures to keep partial-birth abortion/infanticide legal. They have been willing to lie about the effects of anesthesia on the human fetus. They have thus risked frightening pregnant women ought of needed surgery! (Does that sound like defending women?)

Dr. David H. Chestnut has testified to Congress on this very important matter. His testimony is most educational.

The argument that militantly pro-abortion people use to claim that a woman's control over her own body is at work here -- that this 'medical procedure' is reproductive freedom and not infanticide, because what is being killed is a fetus, and hence part of the woman's body -- is merely a front. A fetus is, from day one, as physiologically distinct from his mother as a newborn. The only real absolute difference between fetal and neonatal physiology concerns the flow of blood: In the fetus, blood flows to the placenta to be oxygenated; In the newborn, this flow changes so that blood now goes to the lungs to be oxygenated.

There is irrefutable evidence that this procedure is infanticide and not health care: The baby's head is kept in the uterus by the abortionist simply so he can avoid a charge of willful homicide. This fact is readily admitted by one of the foremost proponents of the partial-birth abortion procedure, Dr. Martin Haskell:

I could put dilapan in for four or five days and say I'm doing a [dilation and extraction] procedure and the fetus could just fall out. But that's not really the point. The point here is you're attempting to do an abortion . . . Not see how do I manipulate the situation so that I get a live birth instead. [Statement made at a joint hearing of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees]

Those federal judges who have ruled partial-birth abortion to be a constitutional right have deliberately ignored this fact. They have done so as a favor to the abortionists. Abortionists like this method of late abortion because it keeps the body of the fetus intact; this allows the harvesting of intact fetal body parts for medical research, which is a lucrative source of extra income for these 'abortion providers.' It also has the useful benefit of preventing a complication of late abortion that all abortionists dread: a live birth!

Selling aborted babies

World Magazine did a cover story on the baby-parts business in October 1999.

You can also read a Life Site News Special Report on the harvesting of aborted fetuses for medical research.




The Stop the Tyrants Project [page 2]: Prologue
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