While catching up on my reading of The Daily Journal, I was taken aback to read an editorial by Susan Estrich, who is a law professor at USC, writing about the latest Supreme Court decision on partial birth abortion - or what she terms "a slogan invented by smart Republicans activists."
Partial birth abortion is not a medical term. It is a slogan invented by smart Republican activists and legislative staffers who were looking for a new approach to undermining Roe v. Wade.
What "partial birth abortion" is generally understood to refer to is the D and X procedure, occasionally used by doctors in abortions after the first trimester, in which the fetus’ body is delivered largely intact rather than being dismembered first.
I fail to see the difference. Again, this is an attempt to bypass plain English - "fetal tissue" or "by-product of conception" rather than "fetus" or "baby" - in an effort to "keep it clean, keep it clinical" so no one really catches on to what the reality is. And that reality is stabbing scissors into the back of a viable baby's skull and removing its brain.
But Ms. Estrich is quite aware of that and concedes:
Gruesome? Sure. More gruesome than dismembering the body first and then counting body parts to make sure you haven’t missed anything? That shouldn’t be the standard. No one likes abortions, much less late ones. They are prohibited after viability in every state, unless necessary to save the life of the mother.The issue here is not when a woman should be allowed to have an abortion, but whether her doctor should be free to use whatever procedure is safest for her in cases where she does have a right to choose. Legislative distaste should not be a reason to subject women to unnecessary risk in the exercise of their constitutional rights.
I recall when I was pregnant with my first child who, as she neared term, remained steadfastly in a breech position. The doctors advised me that due to the risk involved, they would have to perform a caeserean delivery rather than attempt vaginal delivery in such a position.
Granted, the breech delivery of a baby with the intent to collapse its skull is less risky because there is no worry that the head will fail to pass through the birth canal, but a risk remains - and one, by Ms. Estrich's terms is imposed upon a woman in a predicament where her life is in danger.
If an abortion is needed to "save the life of the mother" in late term, then why not simply deliver the child?