Jan 08

The Associated Press put out this little blurb, easy to miss on a day of big political coverage. But then, this is political, too.

The Supreme Court turned down efforts by Michigan and an anti-abortion group Monday to revive the state’s law banning the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion.

What do the procedure’s supporters call it? “Late term” just doesn’t work. Because it’s killing a baby in the middle of delivery, with the body half delivered already, for crying out loud.

The U.S. high court in April upheld a federal law banning the abortion method.

And in that ruling, Justice Kennedy described “the abortion method”, just to clarify terms.

The court quotes Dr. Kevin Haskell: “If I know I have good dilation … I reach in and the fetus starts to come out,” he said, speaking about late-term unborn babies, babies at the age when so many of us have seen their faces for the first time on ultrasounds. “At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetus and ‘hooks’ the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down).

“While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. … [T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.

Can anybody say that’s not horrible?

“Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

“‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms — everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus. … The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to 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 went completely limp. … He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’”

That’s the court’s description of “intact D&E,” or “partial-birth abortion.” Congress banned it, and the Supreme Court upheld the ban — though some politicians want to insure it stays legal.

And now, some of them are running for president.

2 Responses to “Term-inology”

  1. Christina says:

    I wonder why they got Haskell’s name wrong. His full name is William Martin Mudd Haskell, but he goes by Martin Haskell.

  2. [...] the same age as those babies in the NICU. The horrors continued when I read Gonzales v. Carhart [some excerpts here...warning: no photos, but the descriptions are extremely [...]

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