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    Saturday, March 08, 2003

    Abortion Attitudes: A reader asks:

    Under what circumstances would a partial birth abortion/dilation & evac be performed? And why would this procedure be chosen over a saline abortion?

    A good friend of mine, some two years ago, learned the son she was carrying had a number of severe congenital abnormalities incompatible with life, including severe spina bifida (exposing the cervical cord and/or brainstem, if memory serves) as well as lung, kidney and ureter malformations. She elected to have labor induced but without the saline injection, thus giving live birth to a 26-wk infant. She and her husband were thus able to hold their son as he died shortly after birth. She described it as a "painful but beautiful" experience and said she could not imagine doing it any other way. Was she a special case, or is this a procedure open to anyone?

    The late term abortions are done under just about any circumstance, from the unwanted normal pregnancy to cases of fetal deformity. The dilatation and evacuation procedure is quicker and has fewer risks and maternal side effects than the saline injection, which can take over twenty-four hours to perform.

    Whether or not someone choses an abortion or an induction depends on how a woman feels about the fetus. If she views it as an incovenient something with no connection to life at all, she’s more likely to opt for a quick disposal and to go see an abortionist rather than an obstetrician. If she thinks of it as a terminally ill child, then she’s more likely to opt for the induction and the chance to see and touch the baby she’s parting with. She’s also more likely to have been to an obstetrician in the latter case. Most obstetricians aren’t abortionists.

    The move to ban partial-birth abortion is probably partially due to the “ick” factor, but I think more largely due to the fact that these procedures are done after the twelfth week of gestation, when the fetus is clearly human and not just a bunch of cells. Logic would dictate that all the late-term methods would be banned, but it's easier to get political support for banning the obviously gruesome.

    This is why pro-abortion groups are so threatened by the ban. They understand that logically, all late-term procedures that destroy the fetus should be included in the ban. They believe that abortion should be available on demand at all stages of fetal development, so they don't want society to view the fetus as a person worthy of its protection. The ban on partial-birth abortion is the first step in offering that protection to the fetus, even the unwanted fetus.

    posted by Sydney on 3/08/2003 08:28:00 AM 0 comments


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