'Partial-Birth' Abortions: Could So Many Doctors Be That Evil?

Late-term abortions have become a very hot topic lately in the U.S. (as any doctor will tell you, “partial birth” abortion is not a recognized medical term). I honestly don’t know how many are performed in the U.S. annually. But if you ask some Pro-Life advocates, it is supposedly a very common procedure. I just have one question concerning that stance though. Could so many doctors really be that evil? I mean, like serial killers in the general population, I would guess there might be a rare exception in the medical community. But a common procedure? Wouldn’t the average doctor be morally opposed to such a thing?

I am not trying to start an argument here:). I really am curious what the Pro-Life explanation is for why this procedure could be commonplace.

Here are some quotes from websites that are for and against this view:

Also, from the actual legal decision itself in 1973:


The Roe section you quoted is technically defunct at this point, since the Supreme Court overruled itself in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and replaced it with whether the state action places an “undue burden” on the woman.

Speaking as a pro-lifer, I’d like to see the stats on the numbers of PBAs. I think the consensus is that the number of abortion doctors in the US is staggeringly low (it’s an incredibly unpopular field to enter), so it’d have to be the same group of people doing this supposedly large number of abortions.

you probably don’t want the opinion of an anti-lifer here, but let me butt in and say, just for the hell of it, what exactly is done that is so evil?

As someone who is pro-life, it amazes me that so many other pro-life individuals have no idea what a partial-birth abortion actually is, yet continue to declare it “more evil” than other abortions. Jim B., do you know what a partial birth abortion is?

I do. At the stage in pregnancy that these are performed there are no other methods of abortion. You basically (yes, I know it is complicated) have to reach in with a tool and crush the skull of a nearly term fetus.

Disgusting. This is a person. It feels, has brainwaves, and moves. And some doctors are willing to crush it’s skull to remove it from the mother?

As to how common it is, I was under the impression that late term abortion is accounts for “only” 2% of the abortions performed each year. This is still far too many and should definitly be illegal. The argument that it doesn’t happen that often and therefore shouldn’t be made illegal is just dumb. Child abductions may be responsible for only x% of the deaths each year, but that doesn’t make them less despicable.

I think many pro-lifers think any abortion is evil… and in fact the recent law is but a step towards making or trying to make all abortions illegal… be it rape or otherwise. Which is the reason for all the fuss around it from both sides of the issue.

I think its a sad development… thou I agree that earlier abortions are more palatable than these partial birth ones.

Um, My Darn Snake Legs, I believe that 2% are cases of emergencies-where the life and/or health of the mother is in immediate danger.

I don’t think someone wakes up in her 8th month and says, “Gee, I don’t want to be pregnant anymore-I’ll just undergo a major surgical procedure for shits and giggles, mmkay?”


Yeah, I don’t know the circumstances of that 2%. If they are for emergency situations, then I have no quarrel with it. It makes me ask why someone wouldn’t just have a c-section at that point. I think there should be a proviso in the bill for emergency situations, and there may be.

The problem is that I think there are people who use abortion (of any type) as birth control and they oughtn’t be allowed to.

Because for someone who’s already in a dangerous medical situation, a C-section carries much, much more risk of her dying?

In the D&E procedure, they don’t make a gaping incision into the uterus and increase the risk of hemorrhage and other surgical complications to the woman undergoing the procedure.

Fact of the matter is, birth, whether C-section or natural, is more risky than abortion.

Fine, in that case we don’t have an arguement. If it is necessary to save the life of the mother, it must be done.

Anyone have another circumstance in which it would be permissable?

Well, let’s take what happened to a woman in my family, about 35 years ago.

She was pregnant with her second child, late in her first trimester, when she contracted the measles. She knew that this could cause major birth defects, so she contacted her doctor immediately.

He told her not to worry about it. She continued to pester him until he agreed to do some kind of tests on her (I’m not sure exactly what they were). Three weeks later, she still didn’t have the results. She called him to ask about it, and he told her, “Don’t worry about it.” She continued to pester him for a couple of weeks, and couldn’t get her test results.

Finally, she went to another doctor, who performed tests again, and determined that her fetus was profoundly damaged, and not likely to survive. The first doctor was anti-abortion, even under these circumstances, and had concealed her test results so that she wouldn’t abort. By the time she got the actual news, she was pretty late in the second trimester. She made the decision to have a late-term abortion.

I don’t know what procedure was used, but I know that it was very difficult and traumatic. Her marriage did not survive the ordeal. It wasn’t necessary to save her life, though.

Does that pass your test, Snake Legs?

Wait a minute, what’s all this ‘permissable’ talk?

This thread is about doctors being evil. In my experience, doctors are neither evil, or necessarily good. Doctors help their patients medically. Every other consideration is secondary. The problem with your argument is it supposes that abortion is somehow evil.

It’s not. Human life just isn’t that precious. The infant mortality rate used to be really high, and that fact was arguably good for humanity – only the strong and lucky were likely to survive. Humanity is stronger for that.

To assume that a procedure, designed and used primarily to help women survive to give birth again, is evil because it’s technical definition is ‘abortion’ (plus the assignment of a repulsive label by religious fanatics), is just stupid and wrong.

Is ‘spontaneous abortion’ evil, too? That’s the technical term for miscarraige.

Doctors who perform abortions are no more evil than anybody else. In fact, given their selfless dedication to help women in the face of grave personal risk, I’d say they are less evil, on the whole. Certainly less evil than the religious nuts who condone shooting them in the back as a social solution. But that’s another thread, problably already done to death. No pun intended.

It appears that only 1% of abortions in the U.S. are performed after 21 weeks. That would work out to roughly 10,000 abortions after 21 weeks, on an annual basis. I’m no expert, but that number seems reasonably explainable by medical necessity.


A 21 week fetus, by the way, is nowhere near viable on its own, and could only be kept alive outside the womb with massive medical intervention, and even then would face slim odds of survival and even slimmer odds of a normal life. I’ve personally seen premature babies as young as 26 weeks, and they’re just incredibly fragile little things.

The people who make this procedure sound as if it is usually done as a form of birth control are monsters. My sister in law had one of those on a fetus that had no brain. She wanted that child desparately and it was her last chance to have a child. She still needs to leave town around holidays because she can’t bear being near people with happy, healthy children. Would she have done anything to keep that child? Of course, and anybody who would suggest that her choice was flippant and self-centered is obscene.

I really am curious what the Pro-Life explanation is for why this procedure could be commonplace.

One word, hon. MONEY.

Say it with me. M-O-N-E-Y.

I knew a girl who had one done for a non-medical reason. Six thousand bucks.

And that was in the early 90s, no telling what it is now.

Especially considering that the development of the cerebral cortex doesn’t happen until around week 21 or 22 of gestation. Also, at that point the lungs and respiratory system are not developed enough that, born that early, some pretty extreme measures have to be taken to even help respiration.

Maybe at some point, medical science will figure out how to artificially gestate a fetus outside the uterus and give it a chance at survival and a normal life at 21 weeks or earlier, but that point seems pretty far off considering what’s necessary for the cerebral cortex and lungs to develop.

As for those fetuses that are hydrocephalic, so far as I know, there’s nothing medical science can do to cause the missing brain tissue to grow.

Is it evil? 2800 years ago, birth control/abortion was taking the baby after it was born and leaving it for the wolves.

You have decided it is evil. Society currently disagrees.

Tell us why you think it is evil.

That’s not how the procedure is done.

According to the American Medical Association:

I don’t think I’m splitting hairs to say that puncturing the skull and draining the contents is much different than “crushing the skull.”

Death would be almost instantaneous. Any pain experienced would be very brief.

You are my new hero.

This sums it up nicely. We kill our young. We intentionally kill our young, and others here seem not merely to yawn, but even to applaud.

In the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along. The abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else.

Ron Fitzsimmons, Executive Director for the National Coalition of Abortion Providers,
The New York Times, Feb. 26, 1997

The truly barbaric point to all this is: this is one of the, thankfully, rare areas in society in which one person defends, demands, and practices the right to refuse life to another. And adding in such balms as “pain experienced would be very brief” is contemptible.

There are two kinds of pro-abortion folks, I’ve found. Those who sincerely don’t know the horror that is abortion, and those who don’t care. I put Danalan and Ilsa_Lund in the latter category.