Legislative Alerts

Patial-Birth Abortion
Separating truth from fiction

"I believe that Mr. Clinton was misled by his medical advisors on what is fact and what is fiction in reference to late-term abortions. Because in no way can I twist my mind to see that the late-term abortions as described -- you know, partial-birth, and then destruction of the unborn child before the head is born -- is a medical necessity for the mother. It certainly can't be a necessity for the baby. So I am opposed to... partial birth abortions."

-- World-renowned pediatric surgeon and former Surgeon General of the United States, C. Everett Koop, in an August 19, 1996 interview with American Medical News

"Doctors typically resist regulation, but this is one time when society must step in to protect its fundamental values of human life and compassion.... The counterfeit compromises being offered by pro-abortion forces would simply fuel the financial self-interest of abortionists. Allowing the abortionist to determine whether or not the mother should get a partial-birth abortion is putting the fox in charge of the hen house."

"The American people are overwhelmingly opposed to this barbaric procedure. That's because a partial-birth abortion strikes at the core of who we are as a nation. Our values call for the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. Sadly, today the most vulnerable members of our society are our own babies. It's time to stop the torture and end the tragedy of partial-birth abortion."

-- David Stevens, MD, executive director, Christian Medical and Dental Society (10,000 members)

"Pro-choice activists categorically insist that only 500 of the 1.5 million abortions performed each year in this country involve the partial-birth method, in which a live fetus is pulled part way into the birth canal before it is aborted ... But interviews with physicians who use the method reveal that in New Jersey alone, at least 1,500 partial-birth abortions are performed each year -- three times the supposed national rate. Moreover, doctors say only a 'minuscule amount' are for medical reasons."

-- "The facts on partial-birth abortion," by Ruth Padawer, adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, The Sunday Record (Bergen County, NJ), September 15, 1996

"Congress, the public -- but most importantly women -- need to know that partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to protect a mother's health or her future fertility. On the contrary, this procedure -- which has never been evaluated in mainstream, peer reviewed literature -- can pose a significant threat to both her immediate health and future fertility... We, and many other doctors across the United States, regularly treat women whose unborn children suffer these and other serious conditions. Never is the partial-birth procedure medically indicated. Rather, such infants are regularly and safely delivered live, vaginally, with no threat to the mother's health or fertility. Sometimes, as with hydrocephalus, it is first necessary to drain some of the fluid from the baby's head. And in some cases, a cesarean section is indicated. In no case is it medically necessary to partly deliver the child vaginally, and then terminate his or her life before completing the delivery."

-- Physicians' Ad Hoc Coalition for Truth (PHACT), coalition of more than 230 physicians, mostly professors and other specialists in obstetrics, gynecology, and fetal medicine

"How telling it is that although Mr. Clinton met with women who claim to have needed partial-birth abortions on account of [certain] conditions, he has flat out refused to meet with women who delivered babies with these same conditions [without partial-birth abortion] -- with no damage whatsoever to their health or future fertility."

-- Dr. Nancy Romer, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wright State University and chairman of both specialties at Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio, Wall Street Journal article

"Diana Grossheim.... had an intact D&E [similar to partial-birth abortion, but without the killing of the child during delivery] in 1995. She now has an incompetent cervix. When Grossheim's almost 21-week-old fetus died in utero, she said her physician told her she had two choices: labor, which was described as up to 48 hours of torture, or intact D&E, which her doctor described as "more merciful." Grossheim said the procedure was "three days of pure hell" -- both physical and mental."

-- AMA (American Medical Association) News, March 3, 1997

"What medical groups have in common when viewing a potential ban on the procedure is a reluctance to allow Congress to meddle in medical matters. But this stance invites criticism from those who point out that many medical groups supported congressional efforts to pass laws requiring insurers to cover minimum stays for childbirth deliveries and banning another controversial procedure called female circumcision or genital mutilation."

-- AMA (American Medical Association) News, March 3, 1997

"Ethicists George Annas, a health law professor at Boston University, and Carol A. Tauer, PhD, a philosophy professor at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minn., say they think the public's intense reaction to the "partial birth" abortion issue is probably due more to the public's discomfort with late abortions in general, whether they occur in the second or third trimesters, rather than to just discomfort with a particular technique."

-- AMA (American Medical Association) News, March 3, 1997

The abortion rights movement's newest strategy in fighting efforts to ban the procedure is to try to narrow the focus of the debate to third-trimester abortions, which are far fewer in number than those done in the late second trimester and more frequently done for reasons of fetal anomaly.

When the debate shifts back to "elective" abortions done in the 20- to 24-week range, the movement's response has been to assert that those abortions are completely legal and the fetuses are considered "pre-viable."

-- AMA (American Medical Association) News, March 3, 1997

"The pro-choice movement has lost a lot of credibility during this debate, not just with the general public, but with our pro-choice friends in Congress.... Even the White House is now questioning the accuracy of some of the information given to it on this issue."

-- Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers

"One of the unsettling things of what I found of the reporting, was the discovery that the pro-choice side was playing fast and loose with the facts, and there's a credibility gap there that there wasn't before for me,"

-- Ruth Padawer, The Record, Bergen County, NJ

"I think that the coverage of the partial-birth abortion debate has been abysmal. By and large, most news organizations have been far more willing to accept what facts, figures and examples are offered by the abortion-rights side, and to discount the other side's argument."

-- Karen Tumulty, Time Magazine

"[Partial-birth abortion] is never necessary to preserve the life or the fertility of the mother, and may in fact threaten her health or well-being or future fertility. In my practice, I see these rare, unusual cases that come to most generalists' offices once in a lifetime -- they all come into our office. We see these every day.... The presence of fetal disabilities or fetal anomalies are not a reason to have a termination of pregnancy to preserve the life of the mother -- they do not threaten the life of the mother in any way.... [and] where these rare instances do occur, they do not require the death of the baby or the fetus prior to the completion of the delivery."

-- Dr. Curtis Cook, OB/GYN Perinatologist, West Michigan Perinatal and Genetic Diagnostic Center, July 24, 1996

Beyond a Partial-Birth Abortion Ban: Family Research Council teams up with the former governor of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey

Back to Partial-Birth Abortion