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I was struck recently that some friends didn't know
what partial-birth abortion is. This procedure is known in
medical parlance as "intact dilation and extraction."
Partial-birth abortion has been in the news the last several months as
the current presidential campaign tempo has peaked. Also, in
June, the United States Supreme Court decided to strike down a
Nebraska law that banned partial-birth abortion.
The purpose of this column is not to comment on the morality or ethics
of partial-birth abortion. That more important issue will be
left to other forums. Rather, the purpose is to inform readers
who may not know exactly what the technique entails. An
important caveat: The descriptions below, while purposely kept
very clinical, might still be offensive to some. Particularly,
parents may want to avoid having their children read this column.
Partial-birth abortion is a technique that was developed to abort
fetuses in the late second trimester and in the third trimester of
pregnancy. The doctor uses various means to dilate or expand the
cervix, which is the opening to the uterus or womb. Then by
manipulating the mother's abdomen and by using instruments, the baby
is turned so that it is in the footling breech or feet-down position.
With an instrument, the legs of the fetus are grasped and pulled out
of the birth canal - hence the name "partial birth"
abortion. The head, being the largest part of the fetal body, remains
in the uterus. A pair of scissors or other sharp instrument is
inserted into the back of the skull creating a hole. Then a
suction instrument is inserted into the skull, and parts of its
contents are aspirated so as to collapse the head. With the head
now reduced in size, the fetal body can then be completely delivered
out of the mother's uterus and the procedure is completed.
According to the law, since the life is ended while the head is still
inside the mother's womb, the procedure is an abortion and not
infanticide. Under current law, if the baby is completely
delivered from the birth canal alive, he or she has legal protections
just as like
© George Delgado, 2001
No excuses for some pardons
Anne Seese wants to know if this is the same Teddy Kennedy of
Remember When America Had A Real President - The Reagan Farewell
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