A few days ago, when I wrote about the second debate, I made some observations on abortion. Specifically, I was perplexed about why President Bush is seemingly so quick to make the abortion topic the partial-birth abortion topic. I questioned how many abortions were partial-birth, and guessed that it wasn't a lot. It was late at night and I said that I did not feel like doing the necessary research then.
I have now. Here's what I found:
-"Partial birth" is a political term created by pro-life groups. The medical profession calls these procedures D&X, for "dialation and extraction."
-Estimates are that there were 1.3 million abortions performed in the United States last year. Of that number, it is also estimated that .25% of the procedures were so called "partial birth." If that is accurate that equates to 3250 partial birth abortions in the country last year.
-It is impossible to accurately peg the number of PBA's done, for several reasons. First, it is assumed that some doctors that perform this procedure report it as "regular" abortions. Also, not all areas of the country report abortions by category.
After reading several reports on this procedure, I came to a couple of conclusions. I had an extremely difficult time processing what exactly happens during a PBA. It is horrific, and I can't imagine ever being in a place of mind where I could perform one. I also realize that there are few, if any, "impartial" websites dealing with this issue. The tone of description varied according to which pro (life or choice) the site supported.
Common sense and decency should lead us to believe that PBA should not be used unless absolutely necessary. I am repulsed by the thought of someone opting to have this procedure done simply because they do not want the baby for any other reason other than health. I did receive the impression that PBA is used mostly when the mother's health is in danger or the fetus has already died or will not survive to term (the affliction I saw the most mentioned here is "hydrocephalus").
My opinion has not changed, I suppose, though I do feel that those who continually change the focus of abortion to partial-birth abortion (Bush and Alan Keyes, to name two) are using the small amount of times that it is used to paint the entire subject as wrong and immoral. That's like slaughtering all cattle worldwide to eliminate the possibility of mad cow disease.
Any pro-life legislation has to have clauses allowing abortion for life's sake. And I realize the double entendre of that sentence, but I can't put it any other way. Pregnancy can't be a death sentence.