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The Truth About Partial Birth Abortion

     Last night Chris Wallace asked Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump about Roe v. Wade and whether or not partial birth abortions should be legal. What was really troubling to me was Hillary’s assertion that it is sometimes medically necessary to perform a late term abortion to save the life of the mother. As a physician, I instantly understood the fallacy of her reasoning, but I wanted to take this opportunity to explain, so you would also understand the ridiculousness of what she said.

     First of all, we need to realize that by the third trimester an unborn child is approaching complete development, and, for the most part, perfectly capable of living outside the womb. As an anesthesiologist who has participated in thousands of C-sections, I have seen many children born early in the third trimester survive to live normal lives. To kill a baby in the process of birth who no longer requires the mother’s womb to survive, and justify the action by saying that it is a "necessary medical procedure" is a major "logic fail." It is morally and ethically no different than smothering an infant with a pillow after they are born. It is 1st degree murder. Which brings us to Hillary’s comment last night that there are women she has talked to who had to make the gut wrenching decision of having a partial birth abortion to save their own lives. Again, this is illogical and completely unsupported by medical facts. I have attended many emergency C-sections where the baby was delivered preterm in order to “save the life of the mother” (eclampsia, severe preeclampsia, uterine rupture, placental abruption to name a few). Never once did we have to kill that child in order to save mom’s life. In other words, ending the pregnancy by delivering the baby is sufficient to save the mother. Killing the child does not improve maternal survival. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous and would be laughable if the outcome were not so gruesome.

     Even in the case of severe fetal abnormalities (which is less that 2% of late term abortions) where the child is unlikely to survive, there is an ethical assumption made that physician-assisted infanticide is more humane than allowing natural death to occur after delivery. I am troubled by this sweeping implication that allows someone other than the individual themselves to judge whether “a life's worth living or not.” Comfort care and hospice care are very different than physician-assisted suicide, and it seems to me that the same logic should apply to the beginning of life as to the end of life.

     So why do women seek abortions in the third trimester then, if not for self preservation? Well, in an article published in the pro-abortion journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health , the reasons women gave for seeking an abortion in the third trimester versus the first trimester were very similar. The most likely reasons specific to late term abortions were: 1) there were financial issues that prevented an abortion earlier, 2) there was indecision about whether to have an abortion or not, 3) there was a delay in pregnancy diagnosis.

     I am left asking the simple question, “Why not just give birth and then give the baby up for adoption?” A woman this late in pregnancy is almost finished with the pregnancy anyway, and the baby is “viable”. I cannot help but wonder if this is where the pro-abortion crowd channels Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger. Indeed, aborting a viable baby because it is “unwanted” and will be a burden on the mother or because of the societal cost of an orphan seems a more logical reason to support late term abortion, assuming person can overcome the enormous moral and ethical “red flags” that should spring up with that line of thinking. I cannot fathom it.

    So there it is, the truth behind the lies. Hillary’s support of partial birth abortion has little to do with medical necessity. Like so many issues the leftists in this country campaign on, it is a “house of cards”. Now that you know the truth, I urge you to share it with your friends and coworkers. Together, we can build a culture of life and end the atrocity of abortion in this country. 1. Foster, D. G., Kimport, K. “Who Seeks Abortions after 20 Weeks.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health . 45(4): 210-218.

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