Partial Birth Abortion: Mercy Or Infanticide? Essay, Research Paper
Partial birth abortion is a controversial method of abortion late in a woman’s pregnancy in which the baby is aborted by a craniotomy. Two organizations are commonly affiliated with abortion: Pro-choice supports abortion saying that what is in a woman’s body is her “property”, while Pro-life believes it is murder of innocent babies. Partial birth abortion is murder of innocent children and an abomination to basic human rights and values.
Partial Birth Abortion: Mercy or Infanticide?
Thesis Statement: Partial birth abortion is murder of innocent babies and an abomination to basic human rights and values.
I. The differing sides on Intact D&X are distinctly
A. Pro-choice supports abortions
1. Done 650 times a year and only when the
mother’s life is endangered or the child is
2. Says the public is mistaken in its knowledge
of Intact Dilation and Extraction
B. Pro-life doesn’t support abortions of any kind
1. Backed by medical experts it is claimed that
80% of partial birth abortions are purely
2. Believes the baby is a living human being and
deserves the rights of a human
II. There are benefits and harmful consequences to P.B.A.
A. Many abortionists claim that the benefits far out
way the consequences
1. It is safer, quicker, and easier
2. Intact D&X is less traumatic to the mother
B. There are also many harmful effects
1. Risk of uterine and breast cancer is increased
2. Rates of depression also increase
III. The issue of partial birth abortion has come into our
A. Congress made its first attempt to ban P.B.A in 1996
1.Brenda Shafer R.N. testified to what she saw in
2. Congress passed the ban, but President Clinton
vetoed the bill
B. The second attempt was made in 1997
1. Passed Congress again
2. President Clinton vetoed the bill
Imagine being in excruciating pain from a gaping hole in the back of your neck. Then you hear a slight “whirr” before your brains are sucked out through a tiny tube. Sadly this happens to many babies each day because they are unwanted, inconvenient, or imperfect. The abortionist first delivers the baby breech style except for the head, scissors are then jammed into the head at the base of the skull, and the brains sucked out, the skull then collapses. This procedure is commonly known as partial birth abortion or Intact Dilation and Extraction (Intact D&X) (“Partial Birth Abortion”, 1996). Adolph Hitler often used pregnant women for experiments, and procedures similar to this were used to torture the soon-to-be mothers. Partial birth abortion is murder of innocent children and an abomination to basic human rights and values.
The opposing sides on the partial birth abortion issue are distinctly opposite. Pro-choice, which supports abortion, says that partial birth abortion is rarely done, and only then when the mother’s life is endangered or the child is deformed. Abortion supporters also say that the baby is only a fetus, and cannot feel any pain when the abortion happens. According to Sykes (2000), people are misled into thinking that partial birth abortion happens thousands of times a year, bu
they only happen about 650 times a year. She also argues that the name “partial birth abortion”, which was given to the method in 1995, alone is misleading in that it implies that a full-term baby is being killed while it is in the process of being born. The name “late term” is also said to be confusing because it implies a third trimester abortion (Sykes, 2000). According to Sykes (2000), Intact D&X has been around for a while and says, “The procedure is not new- a 19th century medical textbook I own describes a method of abortion that involves a craniotomy, and so does a 1930 edition of Williams Obstetrics…”
Pro-life supporters argue that partial birth abortion is done up to 4,000 times a year, and is usually used in situations that aren’t life threatening. Captured in a direct quote from Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist, it is seen that the procedure is usually not necessary, “20% are for genetic purposes, and 80% are purely elective.” Medical experts have said that it is never necessary to kill an infant in order to the save the mother’s life once the baby is almost fully delivered (“Partial Birth Abortion”, 1996). Pro-lifers believe that the fetus is not just tissue, but a living breathing human being that can feel pain. By 20 weeks, the earliest an abortionist will do an Intact D&X, the infant has a regular schedule of sleeping, turning, sucking, and kicking, and all of his/her organs are completely formed (“Information Page on Abortion”). According to “Partial Birth Abortion” (1996), during an Intact D&X, a mother is given anesthesia so she won’t feel any pain. Medical experts have testified that infants of that age can experience pain. This drug has very little to no effect on the infant, which means that the infant, before it is killed, is in excruciating pain.
Benefits and Harmful Effects
There are benefits and harmful effects to an Intact Dilation and Extraction. The benefits of partial birth abortion according to Dr. Martin Haskell are that it is safer, quicker, and easier than other abortions, and there is a lessened risk of infection (Sykes, 2000). It is also less traumatic to the mother than say, Intact Dilation and Evacuation, where the baby is torn apart limb-by-limb. The harmful consequences are also definitely something to consider. According to “Information Page on Abortion”, the risk of uterine and breast cancer is greatly increased, as is the rate of depression among mothers.
Banning Intact D&X
In the past decade, the controversial issue of partial birth abortion has come to light and into our courtrooms. One of the reasons it is hard to make it ethically right is when an infant’s head sometimes slips out during an Intact D&X, the infant has full legal rights as a U.S. citizen. Yet the abortionist will still perform the abortion. The abortion is now dancing the fine line between abortion and infanticide (Sprang and Neerhof, 1998). The contentious event of Intact Dilation and Extraction finally reached Congress in 1996. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was then presented before the House of Representatives and the Senate, Brenda Shafer, R.N. testified:
…The doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now
the baby was completely limp. I was totally
unprepared for what I saw…(Shafer, 1996)
This testimony, and numerous others helped Congress pass the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in 1996. When this bill reached President Clinton for signing, he vetoed the ban on April 10, 1996. Clinton claims this was justified because it affects only hundreds and was necessary to save the mother. Again, on October 8, 1997, the ban was passed. President Clinton chose to veto the bill once more. The House then voted to override the veto, but the Senate
failed (“Partial Birth Abortion”, 1996).
Partial birth abortion’s biggest supporters and their biggest opponents are both adamant in their beliefs. Pro-life bases its beliefs on the Bible and what God has to say about abortion, whereas pro-choice bases its beliefs on what man has to say. Jeremiah 1:5a says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (New International Version). This shows that God loves the unborn child, and just like His children, will protect them. A clear statement against abortion is in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” (New International Version) I believe this applies to the child still in the womb. The difference of a couple weeks, and even just a few days separates the abortionist from a murderer, and the procedure from Infanticide. We need to take strong action against not only partial birth abortion, but also abortions of any kind by writing our representatives and senators.
Information Page on Abortion. Retrieved October 17, 2000 from the World Wide Web:
Partial Birth Abortion (1996). Retrieved October 17, 2000
from the World Wide Web:
Shafer, B. P. (1996, March 21). Hearing on the Partial
Birth Abortion Ban Act (HR 1833). Retrieved October
23, 2000 from the World Wide Web:
Sprang and Neerhof (1998, August 26). Rationale for
Banning Abortions Late in Pregnancy. American
Medical Association 280 744-747. Retrieved
October 19, 2000 from the World Wide Web:
Sykes, M. (2000). ‘Late Term’ Confusion, ‘Partial Birth’
Lies. Retrieved October 23, 2000 from the World Wide