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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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76 Responses

  1. mythago
    mythago September 27, 2005 at 10:54 am |

    Republicans do not consider women to be responsible rights-bearing subjects

    Bingo. The poor dears are merely victims, foolish and naive pawns in the hands of the men who knock them up, and predatory abortion doctors.

    And on a practical level, they know they’re not going to get anywhere locking up women who have had abortions. It’s a PR move.

  2. AndiF
    AndiF September 27, 2005 at 11:49 am |

    And on a practical level, they know they’re not going to get anywhere locking up women who have had abortions. It’s a PR move.

    And it’s a family values move since their families would no longer value them if they locked up all the female relatives who had abortions.

  3. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 11:53 am |

    The exemption of the mother from criminal penalty for abortion reflects a recognition that the mother is usually acting under duress and is, along with the unborn child, a victim of abortion. The prudential judgment of pro-lifers is to protect both the mother and the unborn child by criminalizing the abortionist’s role so as to not further victimize the mother. Such judgments are always made with regard to homicide. Homicide comes in many forms, each with a different penalty (and some with no criminal penalty — for example, homicide committed in self defense, while insane, or in the course of war). This does not mean the victim has any lesser worth or value. Indeed, the case of unborn children, the law already recognizes her value: in 29 states it is criminal homicide, punishable in some cases even by life in prison, for a person other than the mother to kill an unborn child (hence, someone like Scott Peterson can receive a life sentence for killing his unborn child). These laws treat the unborn child as being equal to born children. The serious contradiction is for the pro-choicers to explain: if it is murder for a father to kill his unborn child (which it is in 29 states), how can it be said that it is not a homicide if the mother does the same thing?

  4. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 12:10 pm |

    The exemption of the mother from criminal penalty for abortion reflects a recognition that the mother is usually acting under duress and is, along with the unborn child, a victim of abortion.

    More creative legal reasoning! “Duress?” Most women obtain abortions of their own free will.

    It’s not legal to kill someone in exchange for, say, a meal or shelter for the night if you’re hungry and homeless. That’s still murder. It’s also still murder if you kill someone who is blackmailing you, or someone who has threatened to get you fired or evicted–in fact, it’s murder no matter what consequences you’re attempting to escape. It’s also murder if you’re panicked, under any amount of stress, or under the influence of any number of advisors, intimates, or friends. As long as you’re an adult of sound mind, you’re responsible for not killing anyone else. Therefore, the fact that the woman is in a bad situation has no bearing whatsoever on her responsibility under the law; that logic is entirely without precendent and, if enshrined in law, would make a great many murders potentially unpunishable.

    This argument is merely a retread of the central concept Scott, Lauren and Jill object to: women are not adult people.

  5. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 12:11 pm |

    The serious contradiction is for the pro-choicers to explain: if it is murder for a father to kill his unborn child (which it is in 29 states), how can it be said that it is not a homicide if the mother does the same thing?

    Uh, “the pro-choicers” were in the trenches during the fights against these laws, dude. Precisely because of reasoning like this.

  6. other Ryan
    other Ryan September 27, 2005 at 12:12 pm |

    don’t feed the trolls.

  7. mythago
    mythago September 27, 2005 at 12:21 pm |

    if it is murder for a father to kill his unborn child

    If the mothers pays the father to punch her in the stomach, under Dan’s reasoning, she is not a murderer.

  8. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 12:38 pm |

    The exemption of the mother concerns the mother not the value of the unborn child. It simply recognizes that abortion is not like hiring a hitman or doing what Scott Peterson did; it is very different when a mother kills her own unborn child. The law permits these distinctions and the distinctions do not reflect a lesser view of the victim, as is demonstrated by the laws in fact in effect in 29 states.

    Duress almost always plays a strong role in a woman’s decision to abort. For most women the decision to abort is a shattering one. Academic studies show that most women would not abort if they felt they had the support they needed to raise the child — and in particular, if the father committed to being a father and to being there to help raise the child. In this regard, abortion is genuinely a feminist issue. Men bear much of the responsibililty for abortion. Sadly, our laws enable them to shirk this responsibility.

  9. mythago
    mythago September 27, 2005 at 12:47 pm |

    The law permits these distinctions and the distinctions do not reflect a lesser view of the victim, as is demonstrated by the laws in fact in effect in 29 states.

    As a lawyer, I am curious as to which laws you refer here.

    Legally, “duress” would mean that we excuse a woman who aborts if her husband threatens to kill her if she does not, or if she would die if she didn’t have the abortion. “The father was not in the picture” is not, legally, duress.

    I’m sure Dan knows all this, but y’all may run into these arguments someday from non-trolls.

  10. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 12:58 pm |

    I was talking about the circumstances leading up to the decision to abort, not post-abortion trauma. In any event, the statistics concerning post abortion trauma are hotly debated and I don’t want to wade into that debate right now. Suffice it to say that many, many women suffer serious psychological trauma when they come to understand that they have killed their own child. I suppose that lack of understanding at the time of the decision is another reason that the law distinguishes to some degree between abortion and infanticide (although query whether the law really does distinguish between the two: as you know, partial birth abortion is legal). All I can say is that the differences in penalties reflect the circumstances of the perpetrator and not the value of the victim. This of course is typical of the law. We don’t protect a newborn any less than a five year old or a 40 year old. Nor should we protect any less a baby that is, say, dangling out of the birth canal. As you know, the latter baby has no protection at all under the law (see Stenberg v. Cathcart (ruling that law outlawing partial birth abortion is unconstitutional)).

  11. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 1:04 pm |

    The exemption of the mother concerns the mother not the value of the unborn child. It simply recognizes that abortion is not like hiring a hitman or doing what Scott Peterson did; it is very different when a mother kills her own unborn child. The law permits these distinctions and the distinctions do not reflect a lesser view of the victim, as is demonstrated by the laws in fact in effect in 29 states.

    Restating the premise to which we objected in the first place, begging the question, mis-stating the argument behind the objection, inaccurately pointing out that the objectionable premise is already enshrined in stupid, dangerous laws–which, just so you know, explicitly absolve anyone involved in an abortion from legal responsibility.

    Why is it different when a mother makes the decision to abort? You don’t make that distinction when a mother kills a living child.

    Duress almost always plays a strong role in a woman’s decision to abort. For most women the decision to abort is a shattering one. Academic studies show that most women would not abort if they felt they had the support they needed to raise the child — and in particular, if the father committed to being a father and to being there to help raise the child. In this regard, abortion is genuinely a feminist issue. Men bear much of the responsibililty for abortion. Sadly, our laws enable them to shirk this responsibility.

    Everything Jill said, and more. This is not a valid defense for any other kind of killing. Take the example I used before: a mother can’t kill her living children because she can’t afford to take care of them or does not have support. She couldn’t kill her husband for life-insurance money if he’d threatened to leave her penniless. She couldn’t agree to become a contract killer herself because she was afraid of being able to pay the rent. Murder is not justifiable if it involves a difficult financial decision. You’re not allowed to kill–or steal, neglect, defraud, abuse, or default–no matter what kind of poverty you’re faced with. Nor does this qualify as duress; these women are free agents making their own decisions. And if that changed, it would set up an unbelievably dangerous precendent that would render a great many murders legal.

    The idea that men can shirk responsibility for their children is also not strictly accurate–and the extent to which abandonment is no longer possible is due for the most part to the work of pro-choice feminists. If you want men to be held accountable for the lives of their children, put more teeth in child-support laws. Don’t criminalize abortion.

  12. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 1:09 pm |

    All I can say is that the differences in penalties reflect the circumstances of the perpetrator and not the value of the victim.

    Exactly! One perpetrator (the doctor performing the abortion) is considered an adult person, and one perpetrator (the woman) is not. That’s what we have a problem with. This distinction is not usually made for anyone but minors, people who fit the legal definition of insanity, and people under a very specific, narrowly-defined “duress” which has nothing to do with the financial straits you’re describing.

  13. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux September 27, 2005 at 1:14 pm |

    Shoter Dan: It wouldn’t be prudent for society to treat hysterical, passive, emotional women as if they were legal persons capable of reason and responsible for their own actions.

    Dan, I’m glad you agree entirely with my analysis of the Republican platform. Thanks for your support!

  14. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux September 27, 2005 at 1:17 pm |

    “As you know, the latter baby has no protection at all under the law (see Stenberg v. Cathcart (ruling that law outlawing partial birth abortion is unconstitutional)).”

    You’re also wrong about Carhart. States are allowed to ban third-terimester D&X abortions as long as they permit exemptions for the life and health of the mother. The Nebraska law didn’t.

  15. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 1:35 pm |

    You like Jill are comparing abortion to unlike circumstances. Abortion comes about as the result of a unique set of circumstances that is not really comparable to the (rare) situations in which a mother kills her born children (but even there with regard to penalty the law allows consideration of the circumstances that led the mother to kill her children). The mitigating circumstances include the mother’s desparation and also her lack of awareness of the humanity of the unborn child — she has not seen the child (except possibly by sonogram) and has not yet bonded with it. She is thus more susceptible to doing wrong and because she causing the death without having bonded with the child she is not culpable in the same way as the mother of a born child. The law understands this and appropriately takes it into account. But what it is taking into account is the mother’s mental state and circumstances, not the value of the unborn child. If the law did not value the unborn child, why would it mandate prison for the abortionist who kills the unborn child and also for the father who kills the unborn child? I personally for example very deeply believe that that the unborn child has a right to life and that it is an “unspeakable evil” to kill an unborn child, but I do not think it would be a good policy to jail women who abort — I too would excuse them knowing as I do why abortion occurs. That I would not jail women who abort is not because I value the unborn child any less.

  16. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 1:40 pm |

    Scott, it is well known that the required “health of the mother” exemption means that the mother can abort if giving birth would upset her “sense of well being” and that the exemption thus vitiates any protection for the unborn child.

  17. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 27, 2005 at 1:42 pm |

    Yes, and we all know that “health” with regards to the mother can be anything (age, social well-being, etc.) as long as the abortionist agrees to it.

    To say that prolife people don’t think women are rights bearing citizens is a complete strawman. I’m all for a woman’s right to choose which college to attend, which man to marry, which job to work, etc., etc. but I don’t think women should be allowed the legal right have someone kill their unborn child.

    Just because someone isn’t punished for participating in an illegal act doesn’t mean that they aren’t rights bearing citizens. Numerous situations in our society, people who are involved in crimes aren’t prosecuted. You often need them to testify against the primary assailant. Or the case of suicide – no one is punished for attempting to commit suicide – does this mean that people who attempt suicide aren’t rights-bearing citizens?

  18. Dianne
    Dianne September 27, 2005 at 2:00 pm |

    “health of the mother” exemption means that the mother can abort if giving birth would upset her “sense of well being”

    Which they wouldn’t do if abortions always occured because of duress applied to the pregnant woman.

  19. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 2:01 pm |

    It is simply untrue that you have to treat all homicide as premeditated murder without regard to the perpetrator’s mental state and circumstances. The law commonly takes mental states into account and does let some “off the hook” based on mental state. In the present state of society, we include abortion in that category and, in my judgment, this is sound given the circumstances and not because the unborn child is undeserving of protection. If it reflected the latter, why would we mandate sending the abortionist to jail?

    At this point, we are going around in circles. You believe that because I would show mercy on a mother who aborts I must not really value the unborn child like a born child and I know this is not why I would show such mercy. I don’t think there is anything more that I can say to convince you.

  20. AndiF
    AndiF September 27, 2005 at 2:08 pm |

    Scott, it is well known that the required “health of the mother” exemption means that the mother can abort if giving birth would upset her “sense of well being” and that the exemption thus vitiates any protection for the unborn child.

    So you are willing to let women suffer and possibly die because you are concerned that some women might get abortions whose health risks aren’t sufficiently serious. I suppose this is because you lack of awareness of the humanity of the born woman — you do not see her (except possibly as a symbol) and have not bonded with her.

  21. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 2:14 pm |

    AndIf, partial birth abortions are not done to protect the life of the woman. There are no situations where to save the life of the mother it is necessary to have her begin giving birth and then hack the baby to death as it exits her body. Indeed, in situtations where the woman is delivering, it is substantially safer to simply deliver the baby than to crush its skull while the skull is still in her body.

  22. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux September 27, 2005 at 2:34 pm |

    “The mitigating circumstances include the mother’s desparation and also her lack of awareness of the humanity of the unborn child”

    Again, this the heart of your argument, and it’s just abject nonsense. Woman are just as capable of “knowing” the moral status of a fetus as an abortion doctor; it is an ethical, not an empirical, question. (It’s also ridiculous to pretend that all women choose to get abortions for similar reasons in similar mental states, but of course if you didn’t prentend to believe in this fiction you couldn’t issue a blanket exemption from abortion laws.) As for your “mercy,” you deserve no credit for it because 1)it compeltely contradticts your premises (as several people have pointed out, most murders are committed with the mental state you conisder “duress”, and 2)it’s based on the idea that women are not responsible moral subjects. You are literally arguing that adult women should be treated like children, and anr therfore once again proving my point. Selective “mercy” isn’t mercy; it’s just an attack on the rule of law.

  23. Dianne
    Dianne September 27, 2005 at 2:56 pm |

    Dan: There are actually a number of situations in which a woman can not survive the delivery of the fetus’ head. For example, if the fetus has severe hydrocephelus, making its head too large to fit through the cervix (already a tight squeeze), encepholcoele, fetal muscle spasm leading to a non-physiologic position, non-viable conjoined twins, fetal demise or eminent fetal demise of one twin when there is hope of saving the other, etc. Dilation and extraction is also frequently used in cases of fetal demise in utero. In this situation, of course, there is no issue of saving the fetus and so the method used is chosen strictly to minimize trauma to the mother and giving the best chance to preserve her life and fertility. Would you rather that the technique which could allow a woman who was suffering from the loss of a much wanted and nearly term fetus to maintain her fertility and health and have other children in the future be banned because of fear that someone someday somewhere might misuse it?

  24. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 2:59 pm |

    It is simply untrue that you have to treat all homicide as premeditated murder without regard to the perpetrator’s mental state and circumstances. The law commonly takes mental states into account and does let some “off the hook” based on mental state. In the present state of society, we include abortion in that category and, in my judgment, this is sound given the circumstances and not because the unborn child is undeserving of protection. If it reflected the latter, why would we mandate sending the abortionist to jail?

    First of all, not all murder is premeditated murder. A crime of passion would not be premeditated murder, but it would definitely still qualify as murder.

    None of the mitigating circumstances–legally insane, for example, or temporarily insane–can be compared to this situation. Passion, pique, terror, ignorance, emotional distance, negative consequences, and moral disagreement with the law do not qualify as defenses against what the law otherwise considers to be murder. Sometimes, the sentence is slightly less harsh because of extenuating circumstances–a woman who murders her abusive husband, for example, as opposed to a woman who murders her fourteen-year-old daughter–but those circumstances never render the killing not-murder and they never amount to a murderer getting off scot-free. This is not a comparable situation.

    Nor is your lack-of-bonding defense valid–especially given the possibility that a mother who had seen an ultrasound would be more culpable than one who had not. Would a mother who killed someone else’s children be less culpable than a mother who killed her own? Would someone who set off a bomb in a building hundreds of miles from his home be less culpable than someone who shot a convenience-store clerk at point-blank range? Would someone with racist beliefs that dictated the subhumanity of racial minorities be less culpable if he killed an African-American man than if he killed another white person? Emotional distance has never been an excuse for killing–in fact, it’s how we define our most dangerous, least redeemable sociopaths. Moeover, women have as much reason as anyone else to see fetuses as unborn children. They’re as responsible on this level as the doctor.

  25. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 3:01 pm |

    Dianne, don’t confuse the issue with actual information.

  26. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 3:42 pm |

    You are all insisting that the the mental state of a woman who aborts is comparable to, and must not be distinguished from, the mental state of someone who kills a born child or adult. This is simply untrue. And the reason it is untrue does not mean the unborn child is not human life worthy of protection.

    As for partial birth abortion, I am not a doctor but I would think that in the many of the cases mentioned a Cesarean would be performed — unless you wanted to make sure the baby was killed before being born. If there is “fetal demise” in utero, there is no partial birth abortion. If I recall correctly, the law at issue in Stenberg was struck down on the ground that it was “irrational” to distinguish partial birth abortion from abortions in which the child is dismembered in utero; the Court found there are arguably situations in which partial birth abortion could be considered safer than the latter type. Justice Breyer I think it was remarked that it is equally gruesome to dismember a child in utero as it is to dismember the child when she is dangling from the birth canal. Both sorts of abortion shock the conscience (but not Justice Breyer’s).

    For what’s it worth, it is the controversy about partial birth abortion that turned me into a pro-life advocate. For years I bumped along voting Democratic and not paying any attention to abortion or issues of sexual morality. I then read an article about what happens in a partial birth abortion and how it was for all intents and purposes legal through the ninth month of pregnancy. I found this to be genuinely outrageous, to genuinely be a crime against humanity. I was shocked to learn that our society could allow such a thing. I am now ashamed that I voted for people that know full well what partial birth abortion is and fiercely advocate laws legalizing these atrocities.

  27. Anne
    Anne September 27, 2005 at 3:54 pm |

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Dan, but I get the impression you feel that women who abort are somehow insane or don’t actually know what they’re doing. Doesn’t this strike you as at all condescending and insulting?

  28. Lauren
    Lauren September 27, 2005 at 4:02 pm |

    Just because a surgery is gross doesn’t mean it should be outlawed. Hell, I think open heart surgery and LASIK are gross, but I might need those someday too.

  29. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 4:09 pm |

    Anne, I don’t think it’s either condescending or insulting to believe that something is evil and harmful to men, women, families, born children and unborn children, even if others disagree.

  30. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 4:11 pm |

    Unlike abortion, LASIK surgery is not undertaken for the purpose of inflicting lethal violence on an innocent child.

  31. Mandos
    Mandos September 27, 2005 at 4:12 pm |

    Personally, I think that the key concept of “innocent life” is the one that people are missing in analyzing the pro-life position here. They *do* have a relative order of value of lives: those less tainted by sin are more worthy than those who are not.

  32. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 4:16 pm |

    You are all insisting that the the mental state of a woman who aborts is comparable to, and must not be distinguished from, the mental state of someone who kills a born child or adult. This is simply untrue. And the reason it is untrue does not mean the unborn child is not human life worthy of protection.

    But based on every legal definition of murder and culpability this country has uses, it is, too, comparable. She’s an adult in control of her decision. She is not legally insane, even temporarily. She is not under duress in the legal sense, not in a way that would excuse her from culpability. She does not face negative consequences that excuse her from culpability. She is not any less aware of her actions than other people involved. She is a murderer, and legally responsible just like the doctor. None of your arguments to the contrary hold up; none of your analogies are relevant.

  33. other Ryan
    other Ryan September 27, 2005 at 4:17 pm |

    Dan, it’s sad that you found the PR BS spin of “partial birth abortion” so pursuasive. It’s a lie – there’s no such medical term as “partial birth abortion” and the procedures it describes are rare and not performed in the context of a typical abortion. Even Randall Terry acknowledges that this was a huge smokescreen to push the law towards outlawing all abortions.

    “(The) partial-birth abortion ban is a political scam but a public relations goldmine…This bill, if it becomes law, may not save one child’s life…The major benefit of this bill is the debate that surrounds it.”
    – Randall Terry (Founder, Operation Rescue), News Release, September 15, 2003

  34. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 4:19 pm |

    Anne, I don’t think it’s either condescending or insulting to believe that something is evil and harmful to men, women, families, born children and unborn children, even if others disagree.

    It is condescending to say that women should bear no legal responsibility for same, though. You’re avoiding the issue; this is empty rhetoric.

    Unlike abortion, LASIK surgery is not undertaken for the purpose of inflicting lethal violence on an innocent child.

    So you concede that the squeamish argument is invalid, and you’re switching to another one?

  35. AndiF
    AndiF September 27, 2005 at 4:21 pm |

    I am not a doctor

    You got it in one. What you “think” about the medical efficacy of any procedure is absolutely irrelevant.

  36. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 4:22 pm |

    Ryan, I fully understand that partial birth abortion laws were enacted as part of the pro-life movement’s strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade. We pro-lifers do not believe that partial birth abortion is any worse than abortions in which the child is dismembered in utero. There is thus no real reason not to outlaw both sorts; the legislation focused on the partial birth method to bring to the attention of the nation the atrocities that are being committed under color of law in our nation. You are wrong however that partial birth abortion is not distinct from abortions in which the child is dismembered in utero. Personally though it doesn’t matter to me if you called the two things by the same name or not. They are horribly wrong in equal degree.

  37. Scott Lemieux
    Scott Lemieux September 27, 2005 at 4:33 pm |

    What piny says, x5.

  38. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 4:34 pm |

    IOW, it was a PR move designed to mislead the public about the nature of the overwhelming majority of abortions performed in this country. What matter the path, huh? How slimy.

    You are wrong however that partial birth abortion is not distinct from abortions in which the child is dismembered in utero. Personally though it doesn’t matter to me if you called the two things by the same name or not. They are horribly wrong in equal degree.

    These statements contradict each other.

  39. Anne
    Anne September 27, 2005 at 4:44 pm |

    Anne, I don’t think it’s either condescending or insulting to believe that something is evil and harmful to men, women, families, born children and unborn children, even if others disagree.

    You dodged.

  40. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 4:49 pm |

    The partial birth abortion law didn’t mislead the nation about anything. The law would have done real good had it saved a single life. Its “hypocricy” is only that it did not go further and ban other forms of late term abortion.

    The other arguments you make are a rehash of what you argued before; I addressed them earlier and won’t rehash what I said here.

  41. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 4:54 pm |

    Anne, O.K. here’s a clearer answer for you: No.

    Now give me an answer: is it in your view a crime against humanity to dismember a viable baby by means of abortion when the abortion is done solely to preserve the mother’s “sense of well being”?

    One other thing, Ryan says partial birth abortion is “rare.” I believe the estimate is that there are 10,000 a year, most of which do not involve any threat whatsoever to the physical well being of the mother. So, “only” 10,000 babies are slaughtered a year in this manner.

  42. Robert
    Robert September 27, 2005 at 4:56 pm |

    Piny, is it slimy for death penalty opponents to focus attention on cases where they believe law-abiding people have been wrongly convicted?

    Or are they morally obliged to instead exemplify the more politically difficult cases, such as instances where someone who definitely has killed lots of people has been sentenced to die?

    Abortion opponents are simply being intelligent in their application of examples to the political process.

  43. Robert
    Robert September 27, 2005 at 5:00 pm |

    As for the original point –

    I believe that abortion kills an innocent child. Accordingly, I believe that women should not choose to do that.

    There are women who, incorrectly, believe that an innocent child is not being killed. Accordingly, there can be no murder charge – there was no intent. This defense will dwindle and disappear as the cultural consensus continues to shift into a recognition of the humanity of the unborn.

    There are women who believe that an innocent child is being killed, but abort anyway. How the legal system handles those women would have to depend on the circumstances – much as we assess the circumstances surrounding any murder.

    If a woman believes her abortion kills an innocent human life, and she has no strongly extenuating circumstances, then yes, she should go to prison.

    There, intellectual consistency. Happy?

  44. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 5:02 pm |

    Ah my ally Robert has appeared on the scene. Maybe he can take over for me, as I’m out of here for now. If a person cannot see the horror of a partial birth abortion, I despair of persuading that person that anything is wrong.

  45. piny
    piny September 27, 2005 at 5:11 pm |

    Piny, is it slimy for death penalty opponents to focus attention on cases where they believe law-abiding people have been wrongly convicted?

    Or are they morally obliged to instead exemplify the more politically difficult cases, such as instances where someone who definitely has killed lots of people has been sentenced to die?

    Abortion opponents are simply being intelligent in their application of examples to the political process.

    It would be slimy if they were to mislead the public about the number of death-penalty cases that don’t involve people who have committed heinous crimes. The pro-life lobby gives the erroneous impression that “partial-birth” and late-term abortions are much more common than they actually are and that they are performed for reasons other than they usually are. That’s definitely politically astute, but it’s still totally dishonest.

    There are women who, incorrectly, believe that an innocent child is not being killed. Accordingly, there can be no murder charge – there was no intent. This defense will dwindle and disappear as the cultural consensus continues to shift into a recognition of the humanity of the unborn.

    This is not how specific intent works–if it did, a great many murders would be unpunishable. “Intent” means intent to kill. It doesn’t mean intent to kill a human being as the killer defines the term. It’s the dividing line between murder and manslaughter, which is when you commit some fatal act that you didn’t intend to be fatal. It doesn’t matter whether the killer considers the victim to be a human being or not. A racist murderer who sincerely believed that his victims were subhuman, or a serial killer so afflicted with misogyny as to believe that women were lesser beings, would have no defense at all. Someone from a society or country so consumed with prejudice as to designate an entire class of people subhuman would have no defense at all. As long as they intended to end the life they ended, their crime fits the definition of “specific intent,” and it qualifies as murder.

  46. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 5:21 pm |

    I intended to stop but the statement below is too outrageous to let pass:

    Piny writes: “The pro-life lobby gives the erroneous impression that “partial-birth” and late-term abortions are much more common than they actually are and that they are performed for reasons other than they usually are.”

    It was the pro-choice forces that admitted lying about how often partial birth abortions are performed and why — look it up. They were caught by a journalist in New Jersey, I believe. It is a famous episode. A similar famous episode is how NARAL lied when it claimed back in the 1970s that 5,000 women died a year from illegal abortions. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of NARAL, subsequently revealed that this figure was sheer invention and false.

  47. Anne
    Anne September 27, 2005 at 5:22 pm |

    Now give me an answer: is it in your view a crime against humanity to dismember a viable baby by means of abortion when the abortion is done solely to preserve the mother’s “sense of well being”?

    No.

  48. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 5:26 pm |

    Anne: What about infanticide then, is that o.k. too if necessary to preserve the mother’s sense of well being? Or does the baby’s head still remaining in the birth canal somehow make all the difference?

  49. Anne
    Anne September 27, 2005 at 6:06 pm |

    Infanticide is illegal. Abortion is not. Sorry.

  50. Anne
    Anne September 27, 2005 at 6:13 pm |

    Seriously though: Dan, if you’re intent on focusing on fallacies about women who are 8 months pregnant (but too stupid or insane to realize it) but who whimsically decide they just don’t feel like giving birth, and teh ebil doctors who perform these “partial birth” abortions, what’s the point in having a discussion here? It’s pretty easy to get all wanksty about a strawman (or should that be “strawwoman”?) when you ignore the actual facts….

  51. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 6:20 pm |

    Who’s ignoring the 10,000 partial birth abortions performed annually? Are you denying that such abortions occur on viable, healthy babies? Someone, maybe it was you, scolded me in a separate discussion string, that “even one child rape” is too many. Isn’t the slaughter of only one innocent unborn child to many? And what about born children (I noticed you dodged the infanticide question)? Until the “Born Alive Infant Act” was passed children who were marked for abortion but survived the procedure were being killed after birth. NARAL initially opposed the Born Alive Infant Act too — realizing that it’s implication is that all abortion is wrong — but backed off for tactical reasons.

  52. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 6:21 pm |

    But what is the difference between a partial birth abortion on a viable baby (which is legal) and infanticide?

  53. Dan
    Dan September 27, 2005 at 6:52 pm |

    Piny, set forth below is are a couple of old articles concerning how the champions of partial birth abortion lied. There are many such articles on the Internet, so you should be able to confirm it for yourself easily. Do you care to retract your claim that the pro-lifers lied about the frequency and reasons for partial birth abortion and admit that the opposite is true, that your side is the side that lied?

    Here is the first article, which is from MediaWatch:

    Ron Fitzsimmons, director of the National Coalition of Abortion Pro- viders, reignited the abortion debate February 26. He said he’d “lied through his teeth” when he insisted partial-birth abortion was rare and used only on deformed fetuses. He now admits up to 5,000 a year are done, many when baby and mother are healthy.

    That night, NBC’s Tom Brokaw still claimed: “What anti-abortionists call partial-birth abortions — that’s a provocative and mostly inaccurate statement.” On CBS, Dan Rather noted the “deceitful twist” and said that in politics, “truth can be the first casualty.” Rather should know.

    Between November 1, 1995 through the end of 1996, the networks ran 97 stories (22 full stories, 75 anchor briefs) on the partial-birth debate, tracing it through Congress, Clinton’s veto, and Congress’s failure to override. Almost one-third (28) contained disinformation.

    The deceit started the morning before the bill passed the House. Matt Lauer said on the November 1, 1995 Today it would ban one “rare abortion procedure.” That night, Tom Brokaw claimed it would make the “little-used late term procedure” a felony. Lauer claimed the procedure was “rare” or “little-used” five times in thirteen stories between November 1 and December 8, 1995.

    On March 28, 1996 the day after House passage, CBS This Morninganchor Troy Roberts stated “about 500″ were done annually, twice claiming it was “often chosen by mothers who discover serious birth defects in the fetus.”

    On the September 26 CBS This Morning, Family Research Council’s Gary Bauer cited a Bergen Record report on how 1,500 such abortions were performed annually in New Jersey alone, host Jane Robelot retorted: “The statistics we hear from both sides of the issue is more like 600 a year, nationwide. Where are your statistics coming from?” Despite the New Jersey report, that night Dan Rather returned to calling the procedure “rarely used.”

    Although the networks treated Fitzsimmons’ admission as a revelation, they had the abortion doctors’ own words years earlier. Dr. Martin Haskell told the American Medical News in 1993 that 80 percent of partial birth abortions he performed were “purely elective.”

    Only Ed Bradley (on the June 2, 1996 60 Minutes) mentioned Haskell’s comment, and only ABC’s Dr. Tim Johnson (on the September 19, 1996 World News Tonight) pointed out “no one knows how many…are done each year…Nor does anyone know how many are done on healthy fetuses versus those with severe birth defects.” Otherwise Rather and other network reporters spent 13 months dutifully endorsing abortion advocates’ claims.

    But the following report by Lisa Myers went on to describe one such procedure until the title “Partial Birth Abortion”: “The fetus is pulled partially out of the birth canal feet first, then the skull is punctured and the brain suctioned out.”

    Here is the second article:

    A foremost abortion doctor has finally come clean with the truth about partial-birth abortion. Dr. Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, has publicly confessed he lied in a 1995 interview with ABC’s “Nightline.” In an article in American Medical News the doctor says he “lied through his teeth” when he said the procedure was rarely used. He also admits now that women typically use partial-birth abortion simply as a means to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy, not because the mother’s life is in danger. He adds now that partial-birth abortion “…is a form of killing. You’re ending a life.”

    Partial-birth abortion is conducted late in a woman’s pregnancy, in the second and third trimesters, by sucking the baby’s brains out, but only after most of its body is partially delivered out the birth canal. Last year Congress passed a bill to ban this gruesome procedure, but President Clinton vetoed it. He cited women’s health concerns as his reason for keeping partial-birth abortion legal. Dr. Fitzsimmons’ admission, added to statements by so many other doctors, confirms that President Clinton’s argument is not valid. In a few weeks, Congress will bring up legislation similar to the ban in the previous Congress, what will be his argument this time?

    Dr. Fitzsimmons says most abortion advocates lied about the widespread use of partial-birth abortion, “The abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably does everyone else.” Why? All abortion rights supporters cared about was keeping it legal, no matter what lies had to be told.

    Here’s what was admitted to abortion supporters by another leading abortion advocate, “I urge incredible restraint here, to focus on your message and stick to it, because otherwise, we’ll get creamed. If the debate is whether the fetus feels pain, we lose. If the debate in the public arena is what’s the effect of anesthesia, we’ll lose. If the debate is whether or not women ought to be entitled to late abortion, we probably will lose. But if the debate is on the circumstances of individual women… and the government shouldn’t be making those decisions, then I think we can win these fights.”

    Dr. Fitzsimmons’ comments prove how easy it is to distort public opinion by using deceit. This has become “acceptable” to too many in Washington and elsewhere. The ban on partial-birth abortions, supported by more than two-thirds of the House and almost two-thirds of the Senate, represents valuable common ground for both sides of the abortion issue. Even leading Democrats who generally support abortion, such as minority leader Dick Gephardt, agreed that this is a barbaric method that should be outlawed. Soon President Clinton will need to make another choice, this time on the facts.

  54. Hissy Cat
    Hissy Cat September 27, 2005 at 7:45 pm |

    Dan–

    You are not a doctor nor a scientist nor a woman. You have never been pregnant, never will be pregnant, and it is painfully obvious that you are no expert on these or related topics. You have no grounds aside from your own arrogance to impose your personal beliefs on anyone but yourself.

    In response to earlier remarks regarding why pro-lifers shy away from calling for legal reprecussions for women who seek abortion, I’d venture the fact that about 35% of women would be jailed if seeking abortion were criminal has something to do with it. Even dear old Dan would not likely be easy with over a third of women condemned as murderers. I assure you, no matter how virtuous, Christian, upright and anti-abortion the line from which you issue forth, there are women in your family tree (or social circle) that have had abortions. Those who, lacking child-bearing capabilities an imagination, proclaim that abortion is murder might find their simplisitic belief inconveniently complicated if they considered how many of their aunts, sisters, friends, grandmothers, wives, co-workers, teachers and mothers are, by their standards, murderers.

  55. Dianne
    Dianne September 27, 2005 at 8:29 pm |

    Dan: C-section would not be a good alternative in any of the situations I mentioned for a number of reasons. First, a c-section is major surgery. It is riskier even than a normal delivery, which is itself more than 10X as risky as abortion. Possible complications include peritonitis, nicking of the bowel or bladder, cardiac or respiratory arrest, and bleeding complications, among others. Even assuming all goes well, the woman is left with a large scar in the abdomen and uterus. The uterine scar makes uterine rupture, an extremely painful and often fatal complication of pregnancy, much more likely. It also makes placenta previa and other pregnancy complications much more likely. The abdominal scarring makes future abdominal procedures more complicated, risky, and painful. All this is, of course, worth it if a viable baby can be obtained but why go through all that if the baby has malformations that are incompatible with life outside the uterus anyway? It would be better and more truly pro-life, in my opinion, to remove the fetus in the way that is most likely to preserve the health and fertility of the mother. Finally, could you explain how one can possibly remove one twin by c-section but leave the other safely in the uterus, as is necessary in the situation of fetal demise of one twin?

    You seem to have the idea that third trimester abortions are undertaken for no reason other than a desire to not be pregnant. This is very unlikely. I can’t imagine a woman going through the nausea and fatigue of the first trimester, feeling the first movements of the baby, maybe going through gestational diabetes or hypertension, carrying around a 10-15 pound weight in her abdomen for two months and then suddenly in the ninth month saying “on second thought, I think I won’t have this baby.” I won’t say that no woman has ever felt that way–people are strange sometimes–but I will say that that is not typical.

    The vast majority of third trimester abortions are performed for one of two reasons: First, some may be performed because of delay in obtaining the abortion. These could be prevented, obviously, by making first trimester abortions easier to obtain. Second, the majority are obtained because of fetal or maternal complications making the pregnancy unlikely to lead to a good outcome for mother or baby or both. These are essentially unpreventable, unless you don’t mind killing a few thousand women a year in the name of “the culture of life”.

  56. AndiF
    AndiF September 28, 2005 at 5:54 am |

    Dianne, it is really good of you to make the effort to answer Dan in detail but Dan will not be interested in your answer. If he and other pro-lifers really were concerned about dilation and extraction, they put in the exception for the life and health of the mother and then the bans would be constitutional but if they did that they would lose it as a club to fling around and they don’t want that — this point being nicely illustrated by the Dan’s continuing to harangue us about this procedure even though he said that he doesn’t think it is any worse than in utero ones.

  57. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 28, 2005 at 9:45 am |

    AndiF -
    If the language “health,” as the Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton defined it, is inserted into a ban on any kind of abortion procedure it makes that ban completely worthless. Any abortionist who performs partial-birth abortions will continue to do so.

    When do human beings obtain basic rights? Is it when they are born? Is it when part of them is outside the mother? Or is it when they are fully delivered? Does a child’s complete body have to be completely removed from the mother or does the child need some property (such as self-awareness) to be deserving of basic rights?

    The other Ryan claims there is no such medical term as partial birth abortion. If so, then why can you look it up in a medical dictionary –

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/PBAdictionary.html

  58. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 28, 2005 at 9:53 am |

    The thing that I find most interesting about the debate over if women should be punished for having abortions is that it conveniently allows pro-choicers to attack prolifers regardless of how they answer.

    If prolifers want to throw women in jail for having abortions, then they are women-hating bigots who don’t care about women and think all women should stay barefoot and pregnant. It also seems that these prolifers want to punish people for having sex.

    If prolifers don’t want women to be put in jail for having abortions, then they think women are irresponsible dunderheads who aren’t smart enough to be punished for their crime.

    Instead of proving that the unborn aren’t human beings or arguing that certain human beings should be allowed to legally kill innocent human beings based on certain criteria, it’s much easier for pro-choicers to call prolifers “inconsistent” or “sexist.”

  59. mythago
    mythago September 28, 2005 at 10:41 am |

    it’s much easier for pro-choicers to call prolifers “inconsistent” or “sexist.”

    Would you prefer that they ignored your inconsistency and sexism?

    If you were really concerned about the lives of the unborn, you wouldn’t pout and stomp your feet because a pro-choicer accused you of being sexist. You’d hold your head up and say yes, dammit, women who get abortions are murderers: is it “sexist” or “woman-hating” to say that Susan Smith should be in jail for life?

    There are women who, incorrectly, believe that an innocent child is not being killed. Accordingly, there can be no murder charge – there was no intent.

    Robert, we, ahem, beat this to death already over on Alas, and I’m rather astonished to see you try to slip this argument by again. “I thought it was just a fetus” is not a defense to murder, any more than “It was just an infant, not a full person” would be.

  60. AndiF
    AndiF September 28, 2005 at 11:09 am |

    JivinJ,

    So now we’re back to the point that Dan decided to dodge earlier — you prefer the possibility that some women might suffer harm or even die to the possibility that some other women might ‘cheat’.

  61. piny
    piny September 28, 2005 at 12:01 pm |

    The other Ryan claims there is no such medical term as partial birth abortion. If so, then why can you look it up in a medical dictionary –

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/PBAdictionary.html

    Because of the cynical PR move we were just discussing.

    The same dictionary has entries for “speed,” “crack,” “crack baby,” “poppers,” “crystal,” “ice,” “love handles,” and “saddlebags.” Are you going to argue that those are medical terms? They’re in there because not all people use proper terminology to refer to all health issues. The reason partial-birth abortion is in medical dictionaries is because pro-life groups forced it on the lexicon. Now that it’s part of our language, doctors have to frame their answers with its existence in mind. That doesn’t mean that reputable doctors use partial-birth abortion rather than their own medical terms for the related set of procedures sometimes referred to as partial-birth abortion. “Partial-birth” abortion doesn’t appear in the patient-information articles available on the medline website–take this one about the different types of abortion, for example. (There’s one mention in this article: “The procedure is also known as D & X, Intact D & X, Intrauterine Cranial Decompression and Partial Birth Abortion.” It also doesn’t mean that doctors and legislators always agree on what, exactly, qualifies as partial-birth abortion.

  62. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 28, 2005 at 12:21 pm |

    Andif,
    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I haven’t read the entire discussion in the comments section.

    Mythago,
    I’m hardly pouting – I’m merely pointing out that pro-choice people use this question to ignore the reality that prolife position stands or falls regardless of whether those that adhere to it are supposedly inconsistent just as the pro-choice position isn’t true or false based on supposed inconsistencies or lack thereof among those in the prochoice community.

    So wouldn’t call someone sexist if they thought that women should be put in jail for having abortions? You wouldn’t call someone crazy for wanting to defend unborn children by killing abortionists?

  63. piny
    piny September 28, 2005 at 12:30 pm |

    Bergen Record report on how 1,500 such abortions were performed annually in New Jersey alone.

    This statistic was disputed. God knows how I’ll find a good cite–but that isn’t a problem for you, is it?–but it was the result of one doctor performing the wrong procedure: D&Es on women who could have undergone other kinds of surgical–and in some cases, even medical–abortion.

    The national rate for intact D&Es, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, was around 2200 for the year 2000, which works out to less than.2 percent of all abortions performed. Even if the figure is in fact in line with what Fitzsimmons said, that works out to….lessee….5000 into 1.3 million, that’d be….a little more than .38 percent of all abortions performed. There’s not much reliable data on why women obtain abortions, unfortunately. However, intact D&Es have a much higher complication risk than earlier-term abortion procedures. They are more painful. They take longer. They are more expensive. They are more difficult to obtain–many states, including my own liberal one, allow them only for health reasons. And, not to sound whiny or anything, but they require the woman to remain pregnant for several extra months. So it’s doubtful that women obtain them simply because they no longer want to be pregnant–they have a great many incentives to obtain abortion earlier.

    So yes, Fitzsimmons lied, according to his own testimony. The pro-life lobby, furthermore, is lying by omission about the fact that fewer than .5 percent of abortions involve intact D&E. Three days ago, you dismissed a twenty-percent minority as insignificant. This is a switch, to put it mildly.

  64. Dianne
    Dianne September 28, 2005 at 2:02 pm |

    The other Ryan claims there is no such medical term as partial birth abortion. If so, then why can you look it up in a medical dictionary –

    http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/PBAdictionary.html

    The National Right to Life Organization’s medical dictionary is not exactly a standard ob/gyn reference.

  65. piny
    piny September 28, 2005 at 2:59 pm |

    It’s Mirriam-Webster Medline entry which is referenced on a right-to-life website. Medline is, AFAIK, non-partisan. But it still doesn’t mean that “partial-birth abortion” is a medical term as in, “created and used by doctors.” It’s a term created by pro-lifers which doctors use because it now refers, sometimes ambiguously, to a set of medical procedures. And, I’m guessing, because laypeople use medical resources like Medline as often if not more often than doctors. Doctors don’t really need to look up “hypoglycemic” and “dementia.” Doctors definitely prefer to use their own, more specific terms, as evidenced by the links I provided.

  66. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 28, 2005 at 3:35 pm |

    Piny,
    Lying by omission? Come on. Numerous places at National’s web site discuss the various estimates to how many times the procedure is performed a year. You can’t honestly argue that because they don’t break it down and say .38% of abortions could be PBAs that they are lying.

    Didn’t Dan reference earlier Haskell or Fitzsimmon admitting that most PBAs are performed on healthy women with healthy children?

    The Alan Guttmacher Institute recently came out with a study discussing reasons why women have abortions – it of course wasn’t specifically focused on PBAs.

  67. piny
    piny September 28, 2005 at 3:58 pm |

    Introducing a number that sounds large without putting it in the context of the much larger number of which it is a tiny part is inflammatory and misleading. Yes, it is lying by omission: it purposely gives the impression that intact D&Es make up a much larger proportion of abortions that they really do. It tricks people into believing something untrue. That’s lying. Or, if you prefer, deceit.

    Yes, he did. I think Fitzsimmons was wrong, because there’s no reason a woman would have an intact D&E if she could avoid it. It’s the most invasive, expensive, painful, dangerous procedure. Any reasonable woman would go with an early-term procedure, and the overwhelming majority of women do so. The women who don’t–the fewer than four in every one thousand women who don’t–do it because there’s something wrong with the pregnancy.

  68. piny
    piny September 28, 2005 at 4:04 pm |

    It’s also deceitful, btw, to pretend that a medline entry means a damn thing if you know that it, you know, doesn’t. Unless you were just naive enough to swallow the argument without doing any fact-checking of your own. “Gee, I wonder if that ‘medical dictionary’ is limited to medical terms! I know! I’ll dial in a few slangy words that definitely aren’t medical and see if they’re in there, too! How about, ‘roofie?’

    But maybe you didn’t have the minute and a half to spare.

  69. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 29, 2005 at 10:38 am |

    I’m sorry but saying how many PBA are performed a year and not including the percentage with regards to other abortion is not misleading. You’re putting thoughts onto people who’ve given honest numbers when you have no clue that’s what they were thinking. You’re just assuming they are being misleading because you disagree with their position.

    If a pro-choice person says a certain number of abortions are performed on women who have been raped I’m not going to be all “that’s misleading and deceitful because you don’t include that the percentage is 1% or less” – I’d probably mention that the relative percentage is small but I’m not going to call someone deceitful unless they were intentionally trying to act like that was a large percentage of abortions. Anyone who knows anything about abortion in this country is well aware that 5,000 abortions a year is a small percentage of our nations abortions.

    Saying there’s no reason a woman would have a PBA unless she needed one is blatantly ignoring the testimony of pro-leaders and abortionists who perform them. Why is it that you can’t accept obvious evidence that clashes with what you think women will do?

    Do you think the women getting PBAs know 100% what’s going on? Don’t most abortionists decide which procedure they prefer to perform?

    Well, if posting a link to medical dictionary that includes terms that may not be considered “medical” is misleading – isn’t it also misleading for pro-choicers to say things like “partial birth abortion isn’t even a medical term” in a lame attempt to act like the procedure doesn’t exist.

  70. piny
    piny September 29, 2005 at 11:27 am |

    If a pro-choice person says a certain number of abortions are performed on women who have been raped I’m not going to be all “that’s misleading and deceitful because you don’t include that the percentage is 1% or less” – I’d probably mention that the relative percentage is small but I’m not going to call someone deceitful unless they were intentionally trying to act like that was a large percentage of abortions. Anyone who knows anything about abortion in this country is well aware that 5,000 abortions a year is a small percentage of our nations abortions.

    Really? Wow. See, I would consider that deceitful, since the implication is that it is a significant number. And I would say that most people are not aware of the number of abortions performed in this country, thanks in part to misleading out-of-context numbers like the PBA number. That’s sad and they’re lazy, but that’s no excuse for pro-life groups to exploit that ignorance.

    Do you think the women getting PBAs know 100% what’s going on? Don’t most abortionists decide which procedure they prefer to perform?

    *Snort* “It grows back, right?” Uh, yeah, I think that women who undergo surgical abortion have a pretty good idea of what’s happening. The SOC mandates that a physician explain the available surgical procedures in detail, along with the associated risks and rationales. And like I said, women who have intact D&Es are women who wanted to give birth. They’re performed because there’s something seriously wrong with the pregnancy. They know what’s going on, and they probably have a pretty good idea of the gestational stage of the fetus.

    Well, if posting a link to medical dictionary that includes terms that may not be considered “medical” is misleading – isn’t it also misleading for pro-choicers to say things like “partial birth abortion isn’t even a medical term” in a lame attempt to act like the procedure doesn’t exist.

    Oh, not necessarily misleading–on your part, at least. It was certainly misleading on the part of the NRLC. It could just have been stupidity as far as you were concerned. The point we’re making is not that the procedure, or set of procedures, doesn’t exist, but that it’s not how physicians describe or name them. It is not how they categorize them. It’s not how they talk about them. Contrary to what the NRLC would like us to believe, it is not a medical term. (Remember how that was what the NRLC was trying to convince us of in the first place? And how the only proof they could come up with isn’t proof at all? Do you concede that, at least?)

    “Partial-birth abortion” is a PR move, a buzzword attached to a set of procedures for the sake of shaming women who have them for good medical reasons. It is also an attempt to equivocate between different procedures done at different stages of pregnancy for different reasons, for the purpose of creating legislation ambiguous enough to scare doctors out of performing any abortion procedure.

  71. piny
    piny September 29, 2005 at 11:28 am |

    Oh, and it’s not “may not be considered.” It’s definitely are not medical, for fuck’s sake. C’mon, now: “roofie,” remember?

  72. piny
    piny September 29, 2005 at 11:33 am |

    Saying there’s no reason a woman would have a PBA unless she needed one is blatantly ignoring the testimony of pro-leaders and abortionists who perform them. Why is it that you can’t accept obvious evidence that clashes with what you think women will do?

    Because when a statement contradicts all common sense–and when it also contradicts the testimony of women and other pro-choice activists and other doctors who perform abortions–I become extremely skeptical. There is no reason to undergo an intact D&E rather than an earlier, easier abortion procedure. It’s dangerous. It’s expensive. It’s painful. It’s time-consuming. It’s much more difficult to obtain.

  73. JivinJ
    JivinJ September 29, 2005 at 2:57 pm |

    Piny,
    Your claims about being NRLC being misleading because they give correct numbers but not what percentage of total abortions is so absurd that it’s not worth my time.

    You have absolutely no evidence other than your assumptions to back your claims about why women have PBAs. You’ve made unsubstantiated assertions over and over and over again based solely on how you feel.

    Because a statement contradicts what you consider common sense doesn’t make it false. Doesn’t it contradict common sense that an abortionist would lie and say that most of the PBA performed aren’t for health reasons? What good does that do him? Women don’t choose PBAs for themselves, the abortionist does – if he thinks it will be easier then he does it – I’m guessing women don’t come in and get to choose from a variety of procedures.

    My question regarding whether women know what going on during a PBA wasn’t about whether they knew they were having an abortion or how far along they are – it was about whether they knew how a PBA was performed. Have you heard how abortionists describe PBAs to women? During the trial over the federal PBA ban abortionists who perform PBAs testified about how they describe them to women.

    Partial-birth abortion is the popular term – ask some dude on the street “Do you know what an intact diliation and extraction is?” and guess what – he’s going to have no clue – ask him if he knows what a PBA is – he’s probably going to have a better idea -

    National has pictures of PBA at their site – how are they trying to include other procedures (I’m guessing you’re referring to regular D & E) ?

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