Partial Birth Abortion -- Save a Woman's Life

Under what circumtances will a partial birth abortion (dilatation and extraction) save a woman’s life? What medical conditions require this procedure to prevent a woman from dying?

Well, hydrocephalus for one.

That should probably read “some cases” of hydrocephalus.

Heart disease or diabetes is sometimes serious enough in a woman that the physical trauma of labor and delivery is enough to send the body into shock and possibly death.

The hydrocephalus example doesn’t sound plausible. Intact dilation and extraction (the medical term) involves pulling the head of the fetus partially outside the mother’s body, and then crushing the skull of the fetus. If the head is too large to deliver, how do you get it through the cervix that far? And if you do get it that far, where the head is partially outside the mother’s body, why not just pull it all the way out with the help of an episiotomy (an incision to lengthen the vulva)?

I may be entirely incorrect, but my understanding is that intact d&x for hydrocephalus is done before the head gets so big that they can’t pull it out, when the fetus isn’t full term. And if you can get by without doing an unnecessary episiotomy, why put the woman through that?

I’m wondering why, in the case of hydrocephalus, a c-section wouldn’t be performed instead.

From what I’ve read, the baby has to be delivered breech, which can take days sometimes.

Wouldn’t a c-section be faster and easier, and put less stress on the endangered mother?

Not to start a debate, but the simplest and most likely answer is none. Pro-abortion activists want “an exception in the law to save the life of the mother” knowing full well it will be used as a loophole.

If you read the AMA position on this, they say there is no known situation where this procedure is the only medically acceptable procedure. As I understand it, that means that there should be no situation where this procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother. However, there may be cases where the physician believes it is (safer/cheaper/quicker/etc) to do this procedure.

In keeping with the AMA position on other issues, they oppose the recent law, not because the procedure is medically necessary but because they believe no laws should be passed which restrict the decisions of medical doctors.

My 2 cents is that I haven’t seen how they differentiate that from giving any other profession immunity in their field.

Some people can’t take general anesthesia, which is something really, really desirable when one is having one’s belly cut open.

But caesarians can be (and often are) performed under epidural anaesthesia.


Really? I was under the impression that c-sections required general anesthesia. I know that I got my hysterectomy with a general, and the doctors were pretty worried about how I was going to handle it.

If at all possible, a c-section is done with an epidural anesthetic, at least in a “typical” labor and delivery scenario. General is used if there isn’t time to place an epidural.


I had 2 sections both with an epidural and hubby in the room with me to watch and offer moral support.

They told me the only time they use general is when there is no time to place the epidural or where the mother is unable to cooperate for the epidural. You do have to sit hunched and still for a couple of minutes so they can make sure the needle goes in correctly.

The skull is not crushed. A puncture is made in the skull, and the contents are vaccuumed.

The OP:

Under what circumstances will diverting medical doctors to the deployment of a different medical procedure to accomplish the abortion do anything aside from narrowing the doctor’s range of options? What moral tenets argue for banning this procedure, aside from “let’s gradually make abortion illegal by attrition”?

The skull is not crushed. A puncture is made in the skull, and the contents are vaccuumed.

Which then “deflates” the skull making the now-dead baby easier to pull out. Quit splitting hairs.

How about “We shouldn’t kill babies unless it’s absolutely unavoidable”?

And apparently, it’s never absolutely unavoidable.

I think the difference between crushing and vaccuuming is more than splitting hairs, especially considering the amount of physical trauma to the birth canal crushing would involve. Saying that the skull is crushed is completely inaccurate, and I harbor a strong suspicion that the term is only used because it sounds barbaric to talk about crushing a baby’s head.

But banning this procedure would not prevent any abortions, it would just mean the doctor has to do them a different way.

One of us is missing something here and I don’t think it’s me.