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I took me a while to realize how misled some people have become purely through the device of semantic subterfuge, that the abortion profiteers and their minions, have introduced into this debate. By the Kansas state statistics for 1998 and the first 3 quarters of 1999, 100% or 273 of 273 partial-birth abortions were performed to preserve the mother's "mental health".
Here is a link regarding the WHY and the WHEN partial-birth abortions are performed according to 3 abortionists.
One of the leading methods of obscuring the issue before congress in the mid 90s was employed by Clinton/Gores use of the term "Late-Term Abortion" as a substitute for "Partial-Birth Abortion". In this fashion their intent was to discuss only third trimester PBAs, or those later than the 24th week which are more rare, and already illegal in many states (however any state that calls them illegal except for the "health of the mother" essentially has unlimited abortion on demand in all 3 trimesters). In fact, the majority of PBAs are performed in the late second trimester (20th through 24th week). Dr. Martin Haskell performs Partial-Birth Abortions on ALL of his patients at 20 weeks gestation or over and in his 1992 abortion manual explains: "Classic D&E [dialation and extration] is accomplished by dismembering the fetus inside the uterus with instruments and removing the pieces through an adequately dialated cervix. However most surgeons find dismemberment at 20 weeks and beyond to be difficult due to the toughness of the fetal tissues at this stage of development....", and so he uses PBA instead of D&E.
The abortionist profiteers are still trying to obfuscate the truth by claiming that the term Partial-Birth Abortion is vague and as a consequence may have the effect of banning all second trimester abortions. This is the excuse they use for lobbying against PBA bills and why they suddenly no longer recognize the term. "In order to avoid any possibility of such confusion, the new bill defines a prohibited partial-birth abortion as one in which 'the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother,' and then kills the baby." I believe that most would agree that any doctor who doesn't understand this language, should have his license revoked. The legal definition was necessary to cut through the smokescreen of those who would use an array of terms, some medical some not, the most popular being D&X or dialation and extraction, in order to confuse the issue, thereby rendering any laws passed impotent. It was a result of the Supreme Court striking down a state law in which the procedure was poorly defined, that called for the need for a specific legal definition.
Any abortion laws passed that use the vague reason "to protect the HEALTH of the mother", are entirely open to abortion on demand. In this link to Kansas State statistics on abortion you will find that in the four quarters of 1998, and the first 3 quarters of 1999 (wait for PDFs to load and scroll down), you will find that in these 7 quarters, of the 273 Partial-Birth Abortions that were voluntarily reported, 100% of them, OR 273 out of 273, were done for the "mental health" of the mother. In the abortion industry reasons used for "mental health of the mother" range from "depression" to reasons as creative as agoraphobia as Haskell reported. It is also interesting to note that these "doctors" who had been more than comfortable to report their numbers under the term "Partial-Birth Abortion" on the State form in 1998 and 3 quarters of 1999, suddenly find the term untenable when it appears as though it will interfere with their profits.
While some states require a "second opinion" regarding the mental health of the mother before abortions can be performed after the 24th week, it is not required to be a physician trained in the field of mental health, nor are there prohibitions on the repeated use of the same "professional" so abortionists can simply sign off on each others abortions, or find any other licensed physician to do so, and use the same one as often as they like. The law usually simply restricts them from having a business relationship with each other.
Not surprisingly many of the staunchest supporters of Partial-Birth Abortion are young people whose brains, in the opinion of some professionals, may not even be fully developed until as late as the age of 26.
As for more whys, AGI surveyed 1900 abortion patients nationwide and deliberately oversampled women that were 15 weeks gestation or greater and found "The vast majority of respondents cited a variety of socioeconomic and family considerations as their main reasons for seeking an abortion. Most of the women reported that more than one factor contributed to their decision, with the average number of reasons being four. However, 3% of respondents said that the "most important reason" for their decision was concern for their own health, and another 3% cited concern that the fetus had a health problem."
The 3% "concerned" that the fetus had a health problem, it would seem, represent more than those that actually do if you again consider the Kansas survey and the language regarding the numbers for all reported 22 month or later abortions (in 1999 for example). While it reports a high percentage of unviable fetuses under "was the fetus viable", the question for the next table is "reasons for determination of fetus viability" here we find that the overwhelming majority of "unviable" fetuses are because "it is the professional judgement of the attending physician that there is a reasonable probability that this PREGNANCY is not viable" emphasis mine. Out of a total of 574 abortions over 22 weeks in gestation it appears that 244 were in the "PREGNANCY not viable" category, and 302 deemed completely viable. Another 24 were classified as "no reasonable probability at this gestational age" which perhaps could mean that the mother was a mental basket case (extrapolating from the PBA stats). Only 4 FETUSES were deemed unviable. The total of the last two categories might be better understood in the totals for fetal unviability under Partial-Birth Abortion which is 182 out of 182 performed for "mental health" reasons in 1999. Even if all 24 "no reasonable probability" were considered as such, 28 of 547 equals 5% of all late term abortions. The unviable would be more heavily represented in this category because some abnormalities such as downes syndrome or cleft palate, for which some babies are aborted, cannot be diagnosed until later in the pregnancy.
Under the Partial-Birth Abortion chart question "was the FETUS viable" the answer is "yes" for 182 out of 182.
Absolutely NONE, ZERO, 0, of the abortions mentioned in the 574 abortion total were to "prevent the patient's death".
A lot of deception also has also been accomplished through the use of abusing, or indexing, the time between 24 weeks and 22 weeks when the lion's share of PBAs are performed. This is aided through terms such as viable or not viable, fetus or pregnancy, LTA, D&X, D&E, etc.. since most people are not familiar with these terms. Suffice it to say that the legal definition for Partial-Birth Abortion should (will) work well for everybody.
While viability is often associated with 23 or 24 weeks I would ask if the child pictured on the "abortion" page appears viable, even though his odds of survival outside of the womb at that age are extremely slim. What about a child that is cavorting in his mother's womb at 12 weeks as has been witnessed with the new ultrasound scanners? Does this sound unviable?
Abortion is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States of America. I put together the above so that noone could go away with the belief that this procedure is generally more than a matter of convenience for the mothers. We can certainly leave the debate regarding the mother's life behind, and should be able to leave behind all but a fraction of a percent of these late second or third trimester procedures being performed because the fetus is unviable. Also remember that at this time the mother has already carried the child for 2/3 of the time until birth, and has just 3 months left to term.