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Media Advisory

On Recycled Partial Birth Abortion Myths

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  April 18, 2004

The following is a media advisory from Nevada LIFE on partial birth abortion myths recycled during trials concerning the partial birth abortion ban in federal courts.  It is an update of a previous advisory in November.

There are three trials in process regarding the partial birth abortion ban. Abortion advocates are recycling old myths about partial birth abortion and Nevada LIFE urges the media to check for accuracy before reporting these myths as facts or to check with right to life leaders before printing or broadcasting them.  Current testimony from these trials indicates the fallacy of these points.

1. There is no such thing as a partial birth abortion.  The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary lists a definition of partial birth abortion but not the pseudo-medical jargon terms created by abortion advocates and abortionists.  It is as much a medical term as “heart attack” which is used in preference to "myocardial infarction."  Abortion supporters need to show how this term does not describe the procedure as well as tell how it is not “a gruesome and inhumane procedure.”

2. This is a ban on late term or third trimester abortions.  This is not a ban on when an abortion is done, but how it is done and the location of the baby when he or she is killed.  Some partial birth abortions have been done as late as 32 weeks according to partial birth abortionist Martin Haskell.  However most partial birth abortions are done in the 5th-6th months. 

3. The ban does not include a health exception.  The statute has always contained a health exception, though Congressional findings indicate that it is never necessary for a woman’s health.  The law specifically says “This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

4. Partial birth abortions are necessary to protect the health of the mother.  Last week expert maternal fetal medicine witness Dr. Stephen Clark testified in the New York suit that "1. Under no circumstances is partial birth abortion necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. And an abolition of the procedure would not put any women at medical risk. 2. There are grave concerns over the long term health consequences of the procedure. There is no published data concerning the long term health consequences but the data coming out regarding this procedure is so disturbing. It confirms the problems of pre-term birth after this procedure has been used." 

5. Partial birth abortions occur only in acute medical circumstances. This argument argues with Partial Birth Abortionists themselves.  Partial birth abortion pioneer James McMahon told Congress that in one series of 2000 partial birth abortions only 9 percent were for medical reasons.  The leading medical reason was depression. 

6. Partial birth abortions are rare.  In 1997 Ron Fitzsimmons, National Coalition of Abortion Providers director said that there were 3500-5000 partial birth abortions per year.  That number must be low since one New Jersey abortion clinic admitted to 1500 in one year.  Fitzsimmons told the media that abortion advocates had been untruthful about their numbers. The rate of incidence of partial birth abortion is not what makes it wrong.  This gruesome procedure is wrong no matter how many times it is committed.

7. The description of partial birth abortion is vague and will lead to prosecution of other forms of abortion.  Abortion witnesses in the trial may claim that the law is ambiguous, but they are quite articulate when discussing the merits of partial birth abortion.  They can likewise precisely describe other procedures.  The law is carefully written.  It is very specific and meant to erase any confusion between a partial birth abortion and other abortions, especially a D & E abortion, dilation and evacuation.  D & E abortions are used in the second and third trimesters.  D & E dismembers the fetus in utero and evacuates the torn fetus in pieces.  Physicians who cannot understand the language in the law should not be performing abortions.

8. The unborn is killed painlessly by the anesthesia given to the mother, or the fetus does not feel pain.  The first claim has been repudiated emphatically by the two leading societies of anesthesiologists.  Partial birth abortionists testify that the child is alive at the start of the procedure.  In an article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, expert witness Dr. M. LeRoy Sprang who testified last week, writes, "Forcibly incising the cranium with the scissors and then suctioning out the intra-cranial contents is certainly excruciatingly painful." Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, a pediatrician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, testified that unborn children suffer "severe and excruciating" pain because "the fetus is conscious" during the abortion procedure.  He described the fetal pain as "prolonged and intense."  This makes the statute’s point that partial birth abortion “is a gruesome and inhumane procedure.  Abortionists who commit them deserve jail time and fines.

9. Government requests for partial birth abortion information undermines confidentiality.  The justice department has requested that plaintiffs present actual partial abortion records or cases which show the procedure was necessary.  They have agreed to make sure names will be protected.  Abortion advocates need to show the evidence and quit hiding behind confidentiality or their claims that partial birth abortion is necessary will continue to be hollow.

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