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PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION is performed during the fifth month of gestation or later. The woman's cervix is dilated, and the fetus is partially removed, feet first. The surgeon INSERTS a sharp object into the back of the fetus' head, removes it, and inserts a vacuum tube which SUCKS OUT the brains. The head of the fetus contracts at this point and allows the fetus to be more easily removed.
PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS are sometimes performed:
in the late second trimester, at a time in the pregnancy before the fetus is viable. These, like most abortions, are performed for health reasons, most often the mental health of the woman. Other PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS are performed because the fetus IS badly malformed or suffering from a serious genetic defect.
IN THE THIRD trimester The most common REASONS are:
The fetus is dead
the fetus is alive, but DELIVERY would place the woman's life in danger
the fetus is so malformed that it can only live for a short TIME after birth.
A small PERCENT of THE ESTIMATED 4000 partial birth abortions involve babies with severe abnormalities, MOST ARE FOR THE MOTHER'S MENTAL HEALTH. medical specialists regularly deliver such babies alive, usually vaginally, without RISK to their mothers.
over 300 physician specialists including former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop-- issued a statement "partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary to protect a mother's health or her future fertility."
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has said that no competent physician with state-of-the-art skill in the management of high-risk pregnancies needs to perform a partial birth abortion. Of course, many physicians lack this level of skill, and so need to resort to partial birth abortion.
You can't use the woman's health as a reason for partial birth abortion because some doctors consider pregnancy a threat to the woman's health.
FACT 4 10-27-99
A sharply divided federal appeals court has upheld Illinois and Wisconsin laws banning some late-term abortions, a decision experts predicted will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Wisconsin law, enacted last year, provides for life in prison for anyone performing the procedure except to save the mother's life. The 1997 Illinois law calls for a three-year prison term.
CON 5 10-28-99
Setting the stage for an election-year battle with President Clinton, the Senate adopted abortion ban legislation despite court rulings that found 18 similar state bans unconstitutional. The bill provides only a limited exception in the event that a woman's life is in danger, and no exceptions at all for when a woman's health is jeopardized, including blindness and her ability to bear children in the future. The bill has drawn the ire of health professionals including the American Medical Association, the American Medical Women's Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Nurses Association. The AMA no longer endorses the bill, which imposes criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment for physicians who perform the procedure.
Only 9.4 percent of late abortions at clinics that responded to a U.S. News survey were done for medical reasons, either to protect the mother's health (a rare situation) or, more commonly, because of fetal defects such as spina bifida and Down's syndrome. For the handful of very late abortions, those after 26 weeks, medical reasons do predominate.
Generally, an abortion is legal in
New York if done within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. After that (third
trimester) the Penal Law only allows a termination of pregnancy to save the
woman's life. But Supreme Court rulings have added two additional grounds: (1)
the fetus would be incapable of sustaining life outside the womb, or (2) to
preserve the woman's health. Any other third trimester termination is a crime in