partial birth abortion

  1. THE OUTCOME of what is almost certain to be a legal battle fought all the way to Supreme Court will hinge on whether the justices accept the findings of Congress that the procedure is never medically necessary and poses additional health risks to the mother.

    Abortion rights supporters have pledged a court challenge. "This bill is unconstitutional," argued Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., citing the lack of an exemption in cases where the health of the mother is in jeopardy. The bill does exempt a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother.
    The procedure involves partial delivery of a fetus until the head or part of the lower body is outside the mother's body.
    At that point, the doctor punctures the skull of the fetus with a scissors, then inserts a suction tube and vacuums out the developing brain, killing the fetus.
    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., says the procedure "blurs the line between abortion and infanticide in the killing of a partially born child just inches from birth."
    It was approved by a vote of 64 to 33, with 16 Democrats joining 48 Republicans in supporting it, while three Republicans and independent Jim Jeffords of Vermont joined 29 Democrats in opposing it.

    Not voting were Sens. Joe Biden, John Edwards and John Kerry, all Democrats.
    The House is expected to pass the bill in about a month. Congress twice before passed legislation to impose a ban, but former President Clinton vetoed both measures.

    The bill says that anyone who performs the procedure known as partial-birth abortion "thereby kills a human fetus" and will be fined or imprisoned for not more than two years.
    A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under the bill.
    The Santorum bill includes a non-binding amendment, approved by a 52 to 46 vote Wednesday, that says it is the sense of the Senate that the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized most abortions in every state, "secures an important constitutional right" and should not be overturned.

    Supreme Court Justices

    MSNBC Interactive
    * Nine who have the final say

    The battle after Bush signs the bill will center on how much deference the courts give to the findings of fact that Congress made with regard to the abortion procedure.
    The bill says that based on testimony Congress has found that "a partial-birth abortion is never necessary to preserve the health of a woman" and "poses significant health risks to a woman upon whom the procedure is performed."
    The legislation also says that Congress found that "the gruesome and inhumane nature of the partial-birth abortion procedure and its disturbing similarity to the killing of a newborn infant promotes a complete disregard for infant human life."

    In a 2000 decision called Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court affirmed lower court rulings that had struck down a Nebraska abortion statute similar to the Santorum bill.
    A five-justice majority held that the Nebraska law was invalid because it lacked an exception for the preservation of the health of the mother.
    The majority also said the Nebraska law imposed an undue burden on a woman's ability to get an abortion. The court had ruled in a case called Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 that states could regulate abortion but not place "a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus," that is, a fetus that could not survive outside the mother's womb.
    The majority relied on a lower federal court's factual findings that the partial-birth abortion procedure was medically as safe as, and in many cases safer than, alternative abortion procedures. The Santorum bill relies on congressional testimony that disputes that federal court's findings.'s
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  3. by   l.rae
    l would be interested to hear of what would constitute a medicaly nec pba where no other options are viable....l don;t know of any.......l hope this practice is banned....we treat our animals better than this.
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    I agree lrae . . . . I work in OB and think that this procedure would cause harm to the mom . . .delivering a baby feet first? Legs . . buttocks . . back . .shoulder . . .??? Only allowing it to come out to the base of the neck? Keeping the head in? Killing the baby before it is all the way out, thereby preserving some weird sense of not killing a "baby" . .just a fetus?

    This is stretching the pro-choice, pro-abortion stance to a level I'm extremely uncomfortable with and do not wish to be associated with the proponents. This is just truly barbaric.

    I think this hurts the pro-choice image. Guess there are wacko's on the extreme left and right.

  5. by   Spidey's mom
    Why not just let nature take its course with "nonviable" fetuses? Why take an action to suck the contents of the head and end the beating heart of a hydrocephalic child?

    I know of instances where a nonviable baby was born alive and the family had time to bond, say goodbye, make memories. This can end up being a very compassionate way to handle these tragedies.

    Sucking the brains out just doesn't strike me as loving or caring or compassionate.

    Now I'm really depressed.
  6. by   KaroSnowQueen
    This is the nastiest procedure I have ever heard of and cannot imagine any circumstance where it would be necessary. How horrible and unnatural for people to even think this is a procedure that anybody would want to do. I just cannot imagine the people who think up things like this and how can they participate in such a procedure either as the mother or physician.
  7. by   mark_LD_RN
    yes it is a horrible procedure and to me there is never an excuse for it. at that late in the pregnancy one should go on and deliver it, and if in the rare instance that mothers life is in danger, induce or deliver it early and hope for best
  8. by   Cynthiann

    This is stretching the pro-choice, pro-abortion stance to a level I'm extremely uncomfortable with and do not wish to be associated with the proponents. This is just truly barbaric.

    I think this hurts the pro-choice image. Guess there are wacko's on the extreme left and right.

    steph [/B]
    I agree with you completely.
  9. by   Grace Oz
    Is this horrendous, murderous act REALLY happening
    in America?????.....
    If so, I hope those mongrel murderous animals who commit this heineous crime, suffer a long, slow, agonising death!!! This is just TOO incredible to comprehend. I'm appalled.
  10. by   joe_public
    Personally I was going to vote for John McCain but he didnt make its....sooo this topic is the reason I voted for Bush...he was against this procedure and Al Gore supported keeping this barbaric act
  11. by   studentdeb
    It's a good thing that congress decided to ban it. I'm sure that President Bush will sign it also.

    I can't believe anyone would consent to the procedure in the first place.
  12. by   sixes
    I agree with Mark.
    Is this really being done???
    Why are there brains sucked out????
    If these babies are considered no viable or a health risk to Mom why aren't C sections done or induced labor???
    I personally think and it is my opinion that only GOD should decide these things.
    I'm all for pro choice. But this would never be one of my choices.
    I have an autistic son age 18 as well as 4 other boys. I just can't wrap my mind around this, I think this is barberic.
    I will pray for all those babies tonight
  13. by   RN-PA
    It is infanticide, pure and simple, and I'm thankful that this heinous, barbaric act will finally be eliminated.
  14. by   ShandyLynnRN
    I wish someone could give me an example of when the MOTHER'S condition could warrant this.

    If it is because she cannot tolerate labor, it seems pointless, and she would be 99% done once the head was delivered.

    If it is because she cannot continue the pregnancy for medical reasons, then I say fine, deliver her, and do the best you can with the baby. If it dies, then it dies on it's own, and not from HAVING IT'S BRAINS SUCKED OUT!!!!

    It's murder, plain and simple. I am pro-life all the way, and not ashamed to say that, but I CAN see the reasons why a woman would want/need an abortion. I wouldn't look down on her because of it either, but this I would. I cannot see how ANY woman could say, "yeah doc, I want you do suck the brains out of my partially born living child".

    I wonder if the procedure is truly explained to them this way.

    It is so very very sad.

    I hope the bill passes.