Monday, April 23, 2007

Abortion Ban Upheld by Court

Disclaimer: Abortion is a necessary and proper tool in many cases, and there are a variety of procedures used to accomplish one. The following deals with a specific class of procedure called D&E that is often used in second trimester abortions. Please don't let the details of this procedure bias you against all abortion in general.

The Unites States Supreme Court delivered a decision last week in Gonzalez v. Carhart upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Clinton had vetoed similar bills twice during his presidency, and Bush finally signed it into law on November 5, 2003 (you can just imagine his silly proud smile as he signed the thing).
The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus. The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed.
Surprise! This procedure is not the one on which the Court allowed a ban. No, this is okay. The banned procedure is similar, except instead of ripping the baby apart as they take it out, they coax it out gently and then crush the skull. This is illegal if the baby is first partially delivered until "in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother".

If I sound like I'm anti-abortion, describing the details of the procedure and all, I'm not. I'm just pro-life. Just kidding. I'm pro-abortion. No, wait, then I'd have to say I'm pro-choice, right? Talk about abortion and you suddenly get all these stupid euphemisms. Know what the pro-abortion organization that brought one of the suits in the Supreme Court was called? Planned Parenthood Federation of America. How is anyone supposed to know what they stand for? You might get a fund raising letter from them and donate thinking, "Yah, I'm on the pill and my bf uses rubbers, so yah, I support planned parenthood," and then they'll go and rip apart a little newborn baby. Planned Parenthood, indeed.

For the record, I don't have a strong opinion yet on the issue. I just find it fascinating the way different people approach the topic, with cool intellect or with all their raging emotions flying off the handle when it doesn't even concern them. If the issue comes before me for a psak, I'll render one.

Interestingly, when I first read the description of the half-born fetus flailing its little arms and the doctor sticking his scissors into its skull and spreading them and then sucking the baby's brains out with a suction tube, I thought it seemed wrong. How can we end that precious little life (my personal hesitations on the value of life aside)? But then I remembered that a life isn't just a cute little baby. That baby will grow up. An unwanted child. Cared for by a mother who doesn't believe herself capable of raising the child. Often, the unaborted fetus will grow into a criminal, making life more difficult for not only its mother and father, but also other innocent victims. The innocent baby is liable to become a monster. Does that make it right? I don't know. It's just a thought.

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