On Fetuses, Babies, and Bathwater

Did you know that Senator Barack O-bortion Obama hates babies enough that he actually opposed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and even criticized the US Supreme Court Ruling which upheld the Act’s constitutionality?!?!?!?!!!

What if I told you that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act doesn’t do what you think it does…

Let’s begin with a little thought experiment: Imagine you live in a country in which criminals are executed by being boiled alive in hot oil. Now imagine that an exemption to this practice exists dictating that, under certain special circumstances, the convict could be executed by a single gunshot, straight through the head. Now imagine that, in this bizarre country, opponents of the death penalty have labeled this new, exceptional form of execution “head mutilation” and have mounted a vigorous and highly effective campaign against it. After years of political and legal battles, opponents of capital punishment have succeeded in getting a ban on head-mutilation written into national law, and the country’s high court has upheld the ban. From now on, no executees will have their heads mutilated, and the country has, in the view of the anti-death (penalty) movement, taken a bold new step in the direction of more fully valuing the life of all people.

Abortion is a divisive issue, even among Latter-day Saints. Yet I would assert that, for the following discussion, we can presume some common ground: we all agree that abortion as a form of birth control is immoral; we all agree (with the findings of Roe v. Wade) that abortion as a form of birth control on fetuses past the point of viability (the point at which the fetus could survive independently of the mother) should not be legal; and, apparently, we all agree that partial-birth abortions are bad, bad, bad.

Intact Dilation and Extraction (IDX) is a procedure for performing late term abortions (after 20 weeks) and making them less invasive to the mother. It involves 4 separate elements: 1) The cervix is partially dilated chemically; 2) The fetus is repositioned; 3) the fetus is partially pulled out (feet, torso, and arms) leaving only the head inside the birth canal; 4) the brain is evacuated and the skull collapsed, enabling the now dead fetus to be delivered vaginally. Pretty gruesome, no? The idea is that, because the head is the largest part of the body and passes through the birth canal with greatest difficulty, and because a typical abortion is much more invasive, involving the in-utero dismemberment of the fetus and its extraction piece by piece, IDX is the most medically safe procedure for terminating a pregnancy in the late second or third trimester. It was a procedure invented not to enable late term abortions, but to make them safer.

The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act does not prohibit late term abortions. Neither the legislation nor the SCOTUS ruling upholding it contain any mention of any gestational stage of pregnancy. It prohibits a procedure — specifically the IDX, outlined above — and threatens any doctor who performs it, except certain cases, with a steep fine and up to 2 years imprisonment. Late term abortions are still legal. If the fetus is past the point of viability (about 21 weeks), states may legally prohibit abortions except in the cases rape or incest, when the life or health of the mother is at risk, or when a competent medical authority rules that a severe fetal defect exists that would prevent the baby from surviving much beyond birth. In such cases, terminating the pregnancy is still legal, still a constitutional right. But if the health of the mother is at risk, terminating the pregnancy via IDX is not.

The term “partial-birth abortion”, of course, was not coined by the medical community to describe this procedure. It was a term invented for political purposes, for legislation writing. “Intact dilation and extraction” sounds so sterile, so technical, so procedural, so morally indifferent. And since we all know that the doctors who developed IDX were really just insidiously developing creative ways to saturate their thirst for innocent blood, to make the process of murdering babies more intimate and up-close, such language obfuscates their evil designs. “Partial-birth abortion” tells the truth, in all its barbarity.

Such logic is both seductive and self-congratulatory. It imagines a group of self-referentially evil evil-doers, conspiring against goodness and decency, and inscribes those who imbibe it in the role of heroically righteous. I mean, who would support such gruesome, horrifying madness? I’ll tell you who: democrats, women’s libbers, abortionists, and Barack Hussein Obama! Enemies of real-American decency, all of them! Seriously, doesn’t knowing that there are such terrible people out there just make you feel soooooooo righteous? It’s really quite wonderful. Of course such people don’t really exist any more than commanders in chief who delight in the shedding of innocent blood.

There’s no dismissing the effectiveness of the Right-to-Life movement’s rhetorical coup here. Labeling IDX “partial-birth abortion” has produced enormous political dividends, culminating in nothing less than what legal experts on all sides uniformly agree is a major blow at Roe v. Wade. But it also reveals something more troubling about the politics of abortion in this country. You see, what is typically lost is that the years-long legal battles over partial birth abortion have resulted in perhaps the most cynical, eye-popping farce in contemporary politics: the staggering specter of pro-life attorneys arguing with a straight face before federal judges that it is more medically acceptable, safe, and humane to insert an enormous pair of scissors into the uterus and tear a fetus limb from limb than it is to instantaneously remove its brain and collapse its skull. The former — the scissor variation — is now the only legal option for women who seek and doctors who perform late term abortions to protect the “health” (those are air quotes) of the mother.

For those of us who consider abortion to be a grievous moral problem, who believe that late term abortions should be especially restricted, and who believe that human life, however and whenever defined, deserves respect, dignity, and protection, I ask you: in what ethically convoluted universe does this constitute a moral victory? It is disturbing indeed that the Pro-Choice movement has not trumpeted these facts in defense of IDX, though not particularly surprising since the efficacy of this argument rests on extending certain human capacities (those, for example, that would render a bullet through the head less inhumane than boiling in hot oil) to the unborn (at least to those in late gestational stages). Yet far more disturbing here is what appears to be the willingness of the Pro-Life movement to throw the unborn under the bus in order to score a symbolic victory over legal abortion and secure an effective flog with which to bludgeon their pro-choice opponents. What seems like a relatively non-controversial and widely supported proposition — that “partial-birth” abortions should be banned — turns out to be a barometric reading for just how positively insane the abortion debate in this country is.

If you’re pro-choice, I’d like to know if this influences your commitment to the idea that abortion should be a constitutional right, effectively forestalling the possibility of its being debated rationally.

If you’re pro-life, I think I’d just like you to go ahead and defend this barbaric little piece of legislation.

Seriously, folks. There are plenty of reasons why rational, well-intentioned people might not want to vote for Obama (though those reasons are not the subject of this thread, neither are the merits of Roe v. Wade, the legality of pre-viability elective abortion, or the ethical status of having or performing abortions under particular circumstances), but his opposition to banning this procedure in cases where the health of the mother is jeopardized is a seriously stupid one.

Comments

  1. Adam Greenwood says:

    Not adopting a NARAL propaganda description of the Partial Birth Abortion Act = seriously stupid. Good to know.

    Perhaps it should give you pause that every argument you have offered for partial birth abortion would also justify full birth abortion.

  2. Why then did Harry Reid vote to ban partial birth abortion?

  3. Label it propaganda all you like. Can you offer a substantive criticism of my description of the Act?

    Perhaps it should give you pause that every argument you have offered for partial birth abortion would also justify full birth abortion.

    I’m pretty comfortable letting that statement just stand on its own…

  4. bbell,
    I don’t know, but I’ll ask him next time we talk.

  5. Adam, maybe you missed one of Brad’s core assumptions (4th paragraph):

    we all agree that abortion…that abortion as a form of birth control on fetuses past the point of viability (the point at which the fetus could survive independently of the mother) should not be legal

  6. #1

    “Perhaps it should give you pause that every argument you have offered for partial birth abortion would also justify full birth abortion.”

    Adam, if the life of a mother was deemed at risk later in her pregnancy, would allow for her to have an abortion?

    If so, would you rather have her receive the safer procedure of an IDX, or the more riskier procedure of going in and cutting up the fetus within her womb into little pieces and slowly removing the chunks of cut up fetus one by one?

    Either method sounds grotesque. The former just happens to be a lot safer than the latter.

    #2 Probably because the anti-choice movement has misinformed the public enough to make supporting PBA a potential election threat (as Adam Greenwood sadly attempted to do on T&S). When I learned more about PBA/IDX several months ago (I also had long bought into the misinformation), I found myself even more proud to be an Obama supporter – as his opposition to an IDX ban proved to show a level of integrity when he could have done the politically safer move to jump on the ban-bandwagon.

  7. John Mansfield says:

    The problem is that all the steps in your description of IDX, up to last one involving skull collapse, could just as well be describing a breech birth.

  8. John M., so long as it’s up to BUT NOT INCLUDING skull collapse!

  9. Token Average Member says:

    I think I am going to be sick. How can anyone justify either of these?

  10. Yes they could, John. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is still a far more humane way of terminating a late term pregnancy from the perspective of both the fetus and the mother and is not a live birth abortion. Regardless of what you label it, the facts are the same. Banning this procedure did not ban late term abortions; it just made them more gruesome from the perspective of the fetus, and more invasive and dangerous from the perspective of the mother. If the “pro-life” movement wants to pat themselves on the back for that, that’s their prerogative.

  11. Wow, this really just makes me feel sick.
    I consider myself to be pro-choice, but I really wish there was a way to prevent late-term abortion all together.
    Does anyone have stats on how many late-term abortions are done in the US? How about IDX?
    I just wonder if this is one of those issues that gets a lot of discussion, but is relatively rare.

  12. Jess,
    Late term abortions, after 21 weeks, appear to account for between 1 and 2% of all abortions in the US. IDX accounts for about .2%.

  13. A big issue with IDX after 20 weeks (to me) is that by 21 weeks you’re flirting with viability.

    Since you’ve already got the kid 75% of the way out, would it really be that much of a medical problem to just bring it the rest of the way and at least make a token effort to keep it alive?

  14. Jim,
    It’s a fair question to ask, but by no means one answered by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

  15. And Brad, 1-2% of 1.37 million is…?

  16. Brad, would the Partial Birth Abortion Act punish a physician who simply dilated the cervix, extracted the baby intact, potentially made an effort to save the baby, and let the chips fall where they may?

  17. Adam Greenwood says:

    #5, but why is this a core assumption? Bringing the foetus fully outside the womb before killing it would, after all, allow for much more humane ways of killing it than hacking it to pieces inside the womb.

  18. JimD, the baby can’t be extracted intact.

  19. Okay, I’ll answer my own question: 13,700 – 27,400.

    Big kudos to Obama and all like-minded Democratic politicians for their grand humanitarian service.

  20. Look, this isn’t my thread, but I’m going to start policing it if people are not able to discuss things the way friends and neighbors ought.

  21. Kathryn, is that because it’s impossible to sufficiently dilate the cervix?

  22. An excellent, well-reasoned post, Brad.

  23. Adam #17 – You’d have to ask Brad, I didn’t write it. My guess is so that he wouldn’t have to deal with people getting hung up on issues peripheral to his central point, in which you were apparently not successful.

    Follow-up question, Brad: Before IDX was banned, was it used on fetuses beyond the “point of viability?” If so, I could see how this would at least have impacted many people’s feelings about the practice at the time the ban was instigated.

  24. Julie M. Smith says:

    Because pro-life/choice isn’t really my issue, I’m always impressed with the depth of reasoning from people such as Adam and Kathryn–even when I don’t agree with them, it is obvious that they’ve mastered the arguments and have a reasonable response to every issue that comes up.

    Except on this thread.

    Brad has made a case for thinking Obama shouldn’t be shamed for something I had previously thought weasly at best and shameful at worst. I don’t know if his case is good, because I don’t know what the opposing argument is. I’m waiting, Adam, Kathryn, et al, for you to dissect his argument. But you’re just snarking. Which means you are losing me on this issue.

  25. I’ve been looking into this issue a little more. Wikipedia seems to hint that D&X is still legal as long as the fetus is first injected with legal drugs, and a post on the T&S thread implied that at least some doctors do this.

    So, to what degree has D&E really supplanted D&X in the wake of the Partial Birth Abortion Act?

  26. . . . as long as the fetus is first injected with legal drugs . . .

    Oops. Make that lethal drugs.

  27. John Mansfield says:

    In Brad’s debate about whether it is kinder to kill a fetus by dismembering it in the womb or evacuating its brain while its yet living, intact limbs exist outside the uterus, he ignores issues of boundary violation. The uterus wall has been the line dividing abortion of fetuses from murder of infants. IDX blurs that line.

  28. Steve: ????

    JimD: Yes. Unless labor is induced, the fetus must be removed in bits and pieces, or by sucking the brain out with a hose and collapsing the skull. (Much tidier.)

    Julie, I’m not taking Brad’s argument to task because my beef with Obama isn’t that he doesn’t support this particular bill. It’s that he considers elective late-term abortion a defensibe “freedom.”

  29. Like I explained in the post — abortions are still legal after the point of viability, but only in exceptional cases. IDX was and is still used for such abortions, but is now restricted to cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is at risk. If the health of the mother is at risk, the IDX is no longer a legal option.

    Kathryn #15,
    The PBABA did nothing to reduce the numbers of late term abortions. It banned a specific procedure (but not others) under specific circumstances (but not others).

  30. Kathy – Indeed!

  31. John,
    I agree that the line is blurred, though I somehow doubt that the “boundary” argument would convince right-to-lifers that the uterine wall obviates the moral claims that abortion is murder. My indignation is less against the Act per se than against people who, on the one hand, believe that fetuses should be considered fully human in the ethical and legal sense, whilst simultaneously defending and promoting the Act and using PBA as a bludgeon or a trump card against politicians who did not support it.

  32. It’s that he considers elective late-term abortion a defensibe “freedom.”

    Care to elaborate?

  33. And Brad, I’m not here to argue the merits of PBABA. I simply object to making a hero out of any politician who defends elective late-term abortion. To call the legislation barbaric without addressing the fact that Obama advocates barbaric practices seems seductive and self-congratulatory to me.

    I will say that if my daughter were to have a late-term abortion, I would much rather the fetus be killed first (via lethal injection), dismembered, and vaccuumed out than have it be pulled out by its legs, have its skull punctured and brains suctioned out, and then eased out of the birth canal.

  34. I simply object to making a hero out of any politician who defends elective late-term abortion.

    Care to elaborate?

  35. Q: What us your view on the decision on partial-birth abortion and your reaction to most of the public agreeing with the court’s holding?

    A: I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don’t make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy. And I think that’s where most Americans are. Now, when you describe a specific procedure that accounts for less than 1% of the abortions that take place, then naturally, people get concerned, and I think legitimately so. But the broader issue here is: Do women have the right to make these profoundly difficult decisions? And I trust them to do it.

  36. Steve Evans says:

    #35, what’s wrong with that answer? I guess it sounded pretty sensible to me.

  37. Brad, the Gonzales court noted that

    If the intact D&E procedure is truly necessary in some circumstances, it appears likely an injection that kills the fetus is an alternative under the Act that allows the doctor to perform the procedure. 127 S.Ct 1610, 1637.

    So, in the absence of additional evidence, I’m a little reluctant to accept your assertion that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban has caused a significant net increase in late-term D&Es.

  38. I don’t think it’s sensible to give women the right to have elective late-term abortions.

  39. Oh. OK. Well I guess we disagree about that, then.

  40. “Elective” meaning “because she feels like it”, as opposed to “because there’s an objectively compelling reason (eg risk to life/health) to do so”, right?

  41. You’re seeing what you want to see Kathryn. I would have put forth the same answer in defense of Obama’s moderation on the question. Yes, he answered a broader question than the one asked (gasp! in a nationally televised debate no less), but to read into that a philosophy that vastly expands the rights discovered under Roe and grants carte blanche for a woman to have an abortion under any circumstances at any time during any stage of the pregnancy smacks of Greenwoodian logic.

  42. Steve Evans says:

    Don’t make me police you too Brad.

  43. JimD: Yes.

    Brad, you’re seeing what you want to see in my comments. I never said Obama wants to “grant carte blanche for a woman to have an abortion under any circumstances at any time during any stage of the pregnancy.”

    I don’t think Obama voted against PBABA because he’s some humanitarian hero. IDX is even more barbaric than D&E. I think he voted against it because didn’t dare lose the votes of abortion rights advocates, and because he saw it as a slippery slope issue.

    I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman’s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman’s right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.

    This might not be evident from my previous comments, but I don’t call myself pro-life. I don’t call myself pro-choice, either. The camps are polarized beyond all reason. Until both parties can acknowledge that there are significant differences between abortions at 6, 12, 20, and 28 weeks gestation, no progress will be made, Until both parties give equal airtime and funding to abortion prevention than to lobbying for or against abortion rights, no progress will be made.

  44. Brad,

    You state some very valid points in your 4th paragraph regarding our common ground. But, when the discussion/fight is among those knee deep in the abortion debate, the common ground often disappears.

    From a pro-life perspective, this piece of legislation is one step in a very long battle. If the alternative to IDX is more barbaric than IDX itself, and it is legal, then when legislation is brought up in the future to ban the more barbaric proceedure, the hurdle to it becoming law might be a little lower to clear. That is how one can defend this piece of legislation. It may be imperfect, but to those who are pro-life, it is better than nothing.

  45. #2, Harry Reid voted to ban partial birth abortion on October 21, 2003. The bill under consideration is commonly known as the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act“. The Senate vote was 64-34 in favor. The House vote was 281-142. President Bush signed the bill into law a few days later.

    Other notable Democrats who voted for the act include: Biden, Byrd, Daschle, and Leahy. Chafee, Snowe, and Collins were the only Republican senators to vote against the act.

  46. Kathy,
    What exactly is the difference between the following statements?:

    Late-term elective abortion is a right.

    Women should be able to have an abortion under any circumstances at any time during any stage of the pregnancy.

    Obama opposed it for a simple reason. It didn’t include an exemption for the health of the mother. In cases where the health of the mother is at risk, IDX is no longer an option (though it is in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk), but its alternatives are. If you’d really like to argue that the alternatives to IDX are less barbaric than IDX, I’m all ears.

    Clayton,
    A procedural ban is the only thing that could possibly pass in the current climate, and it would have to be legally defended as not significantly encroaching upon abortion rights as now construed. That has nothing with any procedure’s perceived barbarity, as the now criminalized status of IDX (as opposed to its alternatives) demonstrates. No unborn babies or women were protected by the ban, though many are threatened by it, as it precludes access to the medically safest procedure for the mother and most instantaneous death for the fetus.

  47. I’m a little reluctant to accept your assertion that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban has caused a significant net increase in late-term D&Es.

    The increase would not be significant because the proportion of IDX procedures as a percentage of all late term abortions was already very low, and the PBABA still grants all of the existing exceptions besides “health” of the mother. Even if every potential IDX that fell under the rubric of maternal health were converted into a D&E, the percentage would be small. A symbolic victory for the right-to-life movement, with the human costs born by the fetuses.

  48. If you’d really like to argue that the alternatives to IDX are less barbaric than IDX, I’m all ears.

    The alternatives to IDX are D&E and induced birth.

    Induced birth isn’t barbaric.

    D&E is less barbaric because the fetus is killed before it’s dismantled.

    What exactly is the difference between the following statements?:

    Late-term elective abortion is a right.

    Women should be able to have an abortion under any circumstances at any time during any stage of the pregnancy.

    The first can be qualified, the second cannot.

    I’m fully aware that Obama wants to qualify that right. But his qualifiers reach significantly beyond what I see as moral.

  49. . . . as it precludes access to the medically safest procedure for the mother and most instantaneous death for the fetus.

    Brad, if you have any additional links as a follow-up to my Post 37, I’d be interested in taking a look at them.

    Thanks.

  50. Oops–didn’t see your 47. Let me get back to you. :-)

  51. A symbolic victory for the right-to-life movement, with the human costs born by the fetuses.

    It would indeed be appalling if this were the case. But I think the fetuses are better off with D&E.

    Funny how induced labor isn’t even on the table in these discussions.

  52. #43, Obama did not vote on the PBAPA because he was a state legislator at the time. The bill that Obama opposed was an Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, or BAIPA.

    The substantively identical federal BAIPA passed both houses of Congress by unanimous consent in 2002.

    It is worth noting here that Obama took a position here rather more radical than that of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), which stated that it did not oppose BAIPA.

  53. OK; Brad, with all due respect, you don’t seem to address the main point of the quote I posted from Gonzales: IDX, apparently, isn’t illegal at all so long as the fetus is euthanized before it begins its trip down the birth canal.

    So how can you claim that “the scissor variation . . . is now the only legal option for women who seek and doctors who perform late term abortions to protect the “health” (those are air quotes) of the mother”?

  54. I stand corrected, Mark.

  55. D&E is less barbaric because the fetus is killed before it’s dismantled.

    It can be. I don’t know the stats on how often it is or is not. But it is a far more invasive procedure as well. Every description I’ve read, even the most sterile, technical, medical ones, imply that the evacuation process kills the fetus. The language in the Gonzales ruling about lethal drugs applied to IDX.

    I’m fully aware that Obama wants to qualify that right. But his qualifiers reach significantly beyond what I see as moral.

    What are his qualifiers? Do you mean the health exemption? Is there any language regarding gestational stage in the Church’s official statements on when an abortion might a morally acceptable choice made by a woman in conjunction with her doctor and her family and her clergy? Is there any evidence that Obama believes a late term abortion should be a right under circumstances other than those the Church deems to be potentially morally justifiable?

  56. Brad,

    Regardless of whatever crass political strategy that informed this legislation, there was a simple question put before legislators, and the morally correct decision would have been to make this procedure illegal.
    Looking at Obama’s statements on abortion over the years, he shows a blanket refusal to recognize or even consider the barbarity of even late-term abortion, and his statement on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act again showed a very narrow set of considerations in his thinking about abortion.
    The abortion issue is not a deal breaker for me, but it definitely takes some mental gymnastics to not be appalled by Obama’s stand on abortion.

  57. Latter-day Guy says:

    This is horrifying. That is all.

  58. JimD,
    I’ll need to reread the ruling. You may have a point.

  59. TMI. I try and understand the church’s position on abortion, and can only determine that what constitutes human life is still a little nebulous, until we cross the boundary of viability outside the womb. Both of the late term options discussed here are repellent at best, but I understand what you are saying, Brad. I had not understood the alternative to IDX, and it does sound worse, especially if the cause behind the abortion is the health of the mother.

    If your premise is that the reasons for the PBABA are mostly political posturing, I’m not sure that I agree with you, but the thought is frightening. However, the passions on both sides of the abortion debate are highly inflamed, and rational discussion such as you have provided here is in short supply. This took courage, and I thank you for it.

  60. Brad, I don’t have the stats on feticide before D&E, either. Pro-lifers, which tend to be the more prolific stats-gatherers, also tend to de-emphasize that option, which helps nothing.

    Theoretically speaking, I’m all in favor of measures which protect women’s lives and health during pregnancy, even at the expense of the fetus. But in practice, such provisions can be (and are) stretched to cover a wide range of situations. Obviously I can’t prove that Obama would personally give a thumbs-up to late-term abortions an LDS bishop wouldn’t endorse (or excuse, or whatever). But current legislation in some states most certainly does.

  61. The good news about discussions like these is that the more the awful realities of abortion are discussed the more likely that public opinion will swing against legalized abortion, thus saving (tens of?) millions of lives. Personally, I don’t have the stomach for starting these types of discussions, but I’m glad they are taking place.

  62. Quote of the Day:
    “You make yourself a participant in the act of abortion. That’s gravely wrong and you mustn’t do it because your eternal salvation is tied up with that important choice. ”

    –Roman Catholic Bishop Robert W. Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, on Nov. 3 when asked by KCMO 710 Talk Radio about Catholics voting for Sen. Barack Obama for president.

    After I read this post I found this quote on another religion news service. Just found his quote interesting.

  63. Brad,

    Obama’s stand on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban act isn’t half as controversial as his stand on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Roughly a third of the members of Congress voted against the PBABA. None of them voted against the BAIPA. That makes his stand on the latter rather more interesting, to put it mildly.

  64. Pro-lifers, which tend to be the more prolific stats-gatherers, . . .

    In all fairness, the best statistics generally come from the Guttmacher Institute, which is an outgrowth of (though no longer affiliated with) Planned Parenthood and is generally pro-choice.

  65. From Wiki:

    In 1987, the Alan Guttmacher Institute collected questionnaires from 1,900 women in the United States who came to clinics to have abortions. Of the 1,900 questioned, 420 had been pregnant for 16 or more weeks. These 420 women were asked to choose among a list of reasons why they had not obtained the abortions earlier in their pregnancies. The results were as follows:[3]

    71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
    48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
    33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
    24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion
    8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
    8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
    6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
    6% Woman didn’t know timing is important
    5% Woman didn’t know she could get an abortion
    2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy
    11% Other

  66. Steve Evans says:

    Carl, good thing we’re not Catholic!

  67. Adam Greenwood says:

    Of course not, you excommunicate.

  68. More study results:

    http://www.holysmoke.org/fem/fem0543.htm

    The chart for early abortion was interesting. 13% of women reported “fetus has possible health problem,” 7% had a health problem themselves, and 1% were victims of rape or incest.

    It’s worth mentioning that, logically speaking, victims of rape or incest will choose abortion sooner rather than later. As rare as these abortions are in the first trimester, they’d certainly be even less common in the second trimester (the option isn’t even listed on the late-term abortion chart). So for LDS, that leaves risks to mothers’ and unborn babies’ health as the allowed reasons for late-term abortion most likely to be applicable. “Problem with fetus” was cited as a cause for late-term abortion in only 2% of the women surveyed, and “health emergency for mother” isn’t even on the chart.

  69. John Mansfield says:

    I didn’t catch on at first that this is a post about politics. Though Brad may try to claim it for him, Obama can’t claim for himself that he supports IDX due to concerns for the fetus’s experience. It is only possible to approve a form of abortion if the fetus’s experience is taken out of consideration, perhaps as something that doesn’t really exist. I seriously doubt any statements by Obama or anyone else supporting the legality of IDX can be found that consider the pro and cons of different forms of prenatal death from the fetus’s perspective. If there is something wrong with a particular method of inflicting a painful death on a late-term fetus, then felony convictions for those involved in causing the any death of a late-term fetus would be what we seek in our laws.

  70. Matt, there’s snarkiness, and there’s mudslinging. I think you just crossed that line.

  71. …as the moderation queue now attests. Seriously folks, I dislike talking about abortion in general and on BCC in particular. Please please please don’t behave boorishly.

  72. Eric Russell says:

    Were it not for SSM and abortion, the ‘nacle would not be. We have reason to be grateful for both.

  73. StillConfused says:

    Even describing it as nicely as you did, partial birth abortion sounds really gross and sad. For everyone involved.

  74. Martin Willey says:

    Brad: Excellent post. Your work on this, and the resulting comments, demonstrate that abortion is a very complex issue. And, that political consideration of abortion is usually pretty simplistic.

  75. Kathryn, I’m more of a William Lloyd Garrison style abolitionist myself. Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm.

    “I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present…I will not retreat a single inch.”

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2928t.html

  76. Steve Evans says:

    Good for you, Matt. I suppose that is why you should feel free to use such severe language on your own site, as we’ll probably just censor you here.

    Updated: Matt, how about if you take a break from commenting for a while.

  77. This might have turned out to be a failed experiment. I hesitate to yoke sir Evans with further policing duty since I will not be minding the thread until tomorrow (you guys should see the moderation queue). There are some here with whom I’d like to continue dialog, so they might look for emails. Otherwise, thanks for playing, but the comments are closed.

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