By Kathy Ostrowski, Legislative Director, Kansans for Life
The new campaign to end dismemberment abortion shares many instructive parallels with the campaign to end partial-birth abortion.
A good portion of the public at first refused to believe such an unthinkable procedure as partial-birth abortions really existed. Abortion supporters even tried to claim they were merely a figment of the pro-life movement’s imagination.
But written documentation affirmed that partial-birth abortion was a commonly employed method in which–shockingly–an unborn child was delivered alive feet-first except for the head, and then held in that position while the abortionist punctured the skull — killing the child — after which the abortionist suctioned out the child’s brains.
That technique was a perversion of a textbook method for breech delivery, adapted as an abortion method by Dr. James McMahon, who called it “intact D&E,” to differentiate it from the standard “D& E” (Dilation and Evacuation), in which the unborn child is dismembered inside the womb and taken out piece by piece. The method was later made more widely known by Ohio abortionist Dr. Martin Haskell, who coined his own term for it — “dilation and extraction,” or “D&X.”
The partial-birth abortion method is now banned by federal law. But the D & E /dismemberment method of aborting a living child is the subject of new legislation in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri, and the mainstream media is nearly apoplectic about how to write about dismemberment, much less use the word in a headline. In many cases they are just not covering the story.
This matches what happened for stories about partial-birth abortion, or rather “so-called” partial-birth abortion, as the mainstream media continues to call it, despite the fact that federal legislation, and that of most states, actually use and legally define the term “partial-birth abortion” in statute.
In the reports of initial legislative hearings about dismemberment bills, pro-lifers are accused of using “grisly terms” when we describe how
D & E/dismemberment abortionists tear the limbs and shred the body parts of the unborn child.
However, it is the deeds that are grisly, not the descriptions.
The abortionists themselves have detailed the brutal acts in court, including abortionist LeRoy Carhart, the litigant in the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart.
Carhart testified under oath,
“‘My normal course would be to dismember that appendage and then go back and try to take the fetus out whether foot or skull first, whatever end I can get to first….Just pulling and rotation, grasping the portion that you can get hold of which would be usually somewhere up the shaft of the exposed portion of the fetus …”
The further question was asked, “In that situation, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?” Carhart answered, “‘Yes.’ …I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”
And in the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in a dismemberment abortion, these unborn children, “bleed to death as an adult would.” This kind of clear language is imperative.
Yet clear, descriptive language is what the media doesn’t want to print. They want to call D & E abortions ‘the standard procedure used in 8% of abortions’—without mentioning the torn-apart child!
The media should heed Kennedy’s warning in Stenberg:
“…for citizens who seek to know why laws on this subject have been enacted across the Nation, the [technical] words are insufficient. Repeated references to sources understandable only to a trained physician may obscure matters for persons not trained in medical terminology. Thus it seems necessary at the outset to set forth what may happen during an abortion.”
Yes, clarity is needed. Also, a focus on the child.
In the 2004 case where abortionists sued to keep partial-birth abortions legal, U.S. Federal District Judge Richard Casey in New York attempted to get abortionists to tell whether they thought the unborn child felt pain. Not surprisingly, their answers were disingenuous about pain.
Judge Casey asked one abortionist whether the mothers knew about the violence of D&E abortions, including crushed skulls. “Don’t you think since they’re giving authorization to you to do this act that they should know precisely what you’re going to do? The abortionist answered,“ No, sir, I don’t.”
Clearly, that abortionist does not think the mother should know how her unborn child is brutally ripped apart while she is under anesthesia.
It is also unlikely that the abortionist wants to spend much time staring at each shredded and bloody piece of the baby’s body that has to be reassembled to check if any part was left in the mother. But that gruesome contemplation is part of the procedure.
The abortion lobby and the mainstream media don’t want the public to think about these horrible truths.
But the American public does need to know —and then they will rise up in outrage to end dismemberment abortions, just as they rose up against partial-birth abortions.