Partial-birth abortion is barbaric

Thursday debate: Should the United States ban partial-birth abortion?

If someone was to search Planned Parenthood or NARAL Pro Choice America's web sites, he would have no idea what partial-birth abortion is, or even that it exists. Arguments against partial-birth abortion invariably refuse to even identify the issue at hand. Rather, they only focus on vague concepts such as "a woman's right to choose" and the "right to privacy." Misrepresentation of the ban and skewing of facts are the only tools that pro-abortion groups have to defend an indefensible procedure.

There are two main questions involved in the debate over partial-birth abortion: "Should partial birth abortion be banned?" And "Can partial-birth abortion be banned?" The first question focuses on the merits of the procedure and evidence about its uses, etc. The second takes in notions of a woman's "right to choose" and the constitutionality of the ban under Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and, more recently, Stenburg v. Carhart.

First, let's look at the merits of the case and the specific procedure that is involved. The procedure is performed as follows: First, labor is induced, usually in the fifth or sixth month of pregnancy, sometimes later. Next, the doctor pulls the baby through the birth canal by its legs, delivering the baby completely except for the head. He then thrusts scissors into the baby's head, opens them to make a larger hole, inserts a vacuum tube, and sucks the brains out of its head. The baby's skull collapses and the dead baby is disposed of.

Yes, I did just say that part of the procedure consists of jabbing scissors into a baby's head and then sucking its brains out. Does this not seem to be at least a little bit disgusting and barbaric to anyone? Partial-birth abortion is a heinous procedure that should be deplored by everyone who values human life on any level.

Arguments against the ban invariably refuse even to show how the procedure is undertaken. Pro-abortion leaders know that in an argument on the merits of the procedure, they are sure to lose. Many even refuse to use the term "partial-birth" when arguing against the ban. Rather, abortion rights groups and even many media outlets mislead people, saying that the bill bans "an abortion procedure" or "late-term abortions." In reality, it bans a form of legalized infanticide.

The actual bill that passed Congress is extremely limited in scope. It is narrowly tailored so that it will affect only the partial-birth technique already described. Various estimates of the number of these procedures performed range from 1,500 to 5,000 annually. The ban also makes an exception for the life of the mother, even though there is a wealth of evidence that says that this procedure is never required to save a woman's life. This bill does not limit anyone's right to an abortion; rather, it limits what type of abortion can be performed and only outlaws a particularly barbaric procedure.

Opponents of the bill banning partial-birth abortion almost always rest their arguments on the constitutionality of the ban. Pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL cite Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Stenburg v. Carhartt to say that a ban on partial-birth abortion is unconstitutional. The latter of these two cases involved a similar ban in Nebraska that the Supreme Court struck down in 2000, citing the fact that the state was criminalizing a procedure that may be necessary to save a woman's life. The ban recently passed by Congress is different in that it allows for the procedure to be performed in the rare case that it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

Of the two issues involved in this debate, pro-abortion groups have ignored the question of whether partial birth abortion should be banned. They know that they cannot win an argument defending a procedure that appalls most Americans and that evidence suggests is rarely, if ever, medically necessary. The ban on partial-birth abortion does not jeopardize anyone's "right" to an abortion, and at the same time it protects the life of the mother and ends an especially barbaric procedure. Partial-birth abortion is a disgusting and violent act that should not be allowed in such a humane society as modern America.

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