Partial Birth ABortion?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2005
Partial Birth ABortion?
68
Mon, 09-15-2008 - 8:19pm

I know I do not have enough knowledge of this topic and that is why I am asking. At first blush, this completely sickens me. I was reading on how it is done, etc and I am still shaken.


BUt, I want to know why it is necessary before I decide on how I feel about it politically.


If a mother's life is in danger, than why not just deliver the baby? I mean why do they have to kill the baby in such a horrendous way? The fetus has to feel pain at that age. I am just not seeing why an abortion at that late stage is necessary.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2007
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 2:18am

"I am just not seeing why an abortion at that late stage is necessary."

I think the point is right here. I'm guessing that you don't have a medical degree and you don't have a specialization in obstetrics, so you probably wouldn't understand it. I don't understand it all, either. I do know (as do you, I imagine) that labor and delivery or a c-section are not simple procedures, and can be life-threatening in and of themselves. Now add another imminent-death scenario and you have a situation that must be rectified immediately.

The fact is that you don't understand it, I don't understand it, and most of the laypeople in this country don't understand it. We don't understand it because we don't have the training, expertise, or experience to understand it. We're not qualified to understand it. And if we don't understand it, then how in the heck can we assume that we're qualified to legislate restrictions on it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2005
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 6:13am

I am a nurse who work briefly in obstertrics at a Catholic hospital. So, no, I have never seen it.


I am a fairly intelligent person so I think I could understand it if someone could explain in what scenarios it could be necessary over a c-section.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 8:31am

<>

It's not ever medically necessary. Below is a portion of the Partial Birth Abortion Act which congress included in the law after listening to much testimony from many doctors. You're right, they've delivered everything but the head so there's no benefit to the mother.

(1) A moral, medical, and ethical consensus exists that the practice of performing a partial-birth abortion... is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.

(2) Rather than being an abortion procedure that is embraced by the medical community, particularly among physicians who routinely perform other abortion procedures, partial-birth abortion remains a disfavored procedure that is not only unnecessary to preserve the health of the mother, but in fact poses serious risks to the long-term health of women and in some circumstances, their lives. As a result, at least 27 States banned the procedure as did the United States Congress which voted to ban the procedure during the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 8:36am

Severe hydrocephalus comes to mind:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/oct2003/abor-o24.shtml

<

Where caesarean sections have been attempted to try to save hydrocephalic fetuses, the fetus has almost always died following the surgery, and in the rare case of a fetus surviving, it has exhibited severe mental retardation. The mothers who survive the caesarean section can be rendered infertile, and the risk of infection is very high. It is unclear as of the writing of this article what the fate of women bearing hydrocephalic fetuses will be under the PBABA.>>

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 9:54am

<>

Wrong. Severe hydrocephalus presents a unique and clear risk to the woman. An intact D&E is often the safest method of termination for them.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 12:51pm
As I have pointed out on numerous occasions, this form of abortion is needed in some rare cases. Furthermore, it is the only procedure for removing a dead fetus intact. Unfortunately, the law has made it difficult for women to obtain this procedure for dead fetuses, leaving them with few options for having a body to bury.

The 3 Day

Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 3:36pm

i read the article you posted and while i can understand the reasearch and all, but i dont really agree with pba. i never have. yes a c section is risky-but they do them all the time if a baby is going to be born too large. my niece was just delivered by section in june. she weighed a lil over 8 pounds-she was 3 weeks early. if they would have waited until her due date-she would have been well over 10 pounds. but they wouldnt have done partial birth abortion because she was too big. i would think THAT would be more of a danger to the mother. i know someone who was born with hydrocephalas-shes a lil slow, but very sweet and a good person. shes 20 with the mentality of a 7-8 year old. my father in law also had it but he was much older. he was diagnosed with it at 41-had brain surgery, but survived. he had a lot of health problems yes, but he was around to see 7 of his grandkids born. all im saying is that yes this could be a reason, but with all the advancements in medicine-even babies born with that can survive and have a normal life. and even if the baby is severely retarded-if the parent doesnt want to take care of it-there may be someone who will. my sister was back and forth for awhile about having her dd. long story, but she was worried about the baby being mentally retarded. and i told her if she is and my sister didnt want to raise her, i would do it. it would have been a challenge, but i would have stepped up. my niece wasnt born slow at all and my sister is a great mom, but the point is-there are people willing to step up and raise a baby, even if it is mentally retarded. i dont like pba and while i have an open mind, i do not agree with them. JM2cents
joanne
maman2goons@yahoo.com

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 4:01pm

This isn't about a rather large baby. Read this part:

"In these cases, the fetus had developed hydrocephalus—a condition that can result in the fetal head reaching a diameter of 50 centimeters, or about 20 inches! The average adult human head, by comparison, has a diameter of about 7 to 8 inches.>"

A diameter of 20 inches!

"The mothers who survive the caesarean section can be rendered infertile, and the risk of infection is very high."

I don't think she should have to risk her fertility and chance infection because someone else gets heeby jeebies. These are serious and direct risks to her health an well-being- and if a doctor concludes it is the safest, none- not the government, not a group of people, have the right to force her to comply with laws that render her health care substandrard.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2005
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 4:05pm

But, partially delivering the baby and sticking an instrument in the skull to kill it is better?


How would it help a hydrocephalus baby anyway? WOuldn't the head still be too large to deliver?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Tue, 09-16-2008 - 4:40pm

From the article:
"Where caesarean sections have been attempted to try to save hydrocephalic fetuses, the fetus has almost always died following the surgery, and in the rare case of a fetus surviving, it has exhibited severe mental retardation."

and:

"In these cases, given the desperate conditions, it is more understandable that the doctor could be required to drain the head of the fetus while it was in the uterus in order to save the mother.>"

Here's another article from Medscape:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/457581

The Federal Ban on So-called "Partial-Birth Abortion" is a Dangerous Intrusion Into Medical Practice

from Medscape General Medicine™
Posted 06/25/2003
Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH

Congress has passed the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003," the first federal legislation ever enacted that bans abortion procedures. This unprecedented intrusion by Congress into medical practice will reduce access to second-trimester abortions and defines the doctors who perform them as criminals. Moreover, by undermining a woman's right to select the reproductive healthcare most appropriate for her and interfering with a physician's ability to make medical decisions, Congress derogates the physician-patient relationship.

Proponents of this law claim that it bans only a particular procedure. However, the legislation does not define what is being banned in such a way that a physician can know exactly what is prohibited. There is no formally recognized medical procedure to which the term "partial-birth abortion" used in this legislation applies; it is therefore vague and medically incorrect. None of my colleagues know or could state whether the abortion procedures they now perform are covered under this law. Indeed, as I read the definition of the banned procedures, any of the safest, most common abortion methods used throughout the second trimester of pregnancy could proceed in such a manner as to be outlawed. One can only assume that by intimidating medical providers with the constant threat of criminal accusations, the intent of this law is to frighten the medical community -- the same community that swears an ancient oath to use its knowledge and skills to serve and protect the lives of its patients -- from performing pregnancy terminations at all.

The practice of high-quality medicine requires that physicians be knowledgeable about and able to perform a variety of procedures to accomplish a given treatment or therapy. Planning any procedure is done in consultation with the patient, and it is based on the medical judgment, experience, and training of the provider, and the individual circumstances of the patient's condition. Sometimes, as a result of developments during a surgery or in a patient's condition, it becomes necessary to adapt and choose a different course or modify the procedure as it progresses. These decisions are often quite complex and mandate that physicians use their best professional and clinical judgment, most often right on the spot. These are decisions that should be made by physicians and their patients alone. Indeed, when performing surgery, there is not time for a call to Congress, the Supreme Court, or anyone else in order to obtain clarification of the statutory intent or to request a waiver. This law evokes a preposterous image of physicians with their attorneys present in the operating room advising and counseling them at each step, and perhaps even in the middle of surgery suggesting a physician alter a technique deemed best for the patient to avoid committing a federal crime. Physicians and surgeons should be allowed to practice their art in accordance with time-honored peer-reviewed standards and with only the interests of the patient at heart.

This legislation further specifically allows certain relatives of patients (who perhaps disagree with the woman's decision and seek an outlet for their anger) to sue a physician for unlimited monetary damages by alleging that an abortion was performed that is banned by this law. If we fail to use our best medical judgment in order to avoid prosecution and civil liability under this law, however, we are exposed to charges of malpractice and negligence. Moreover, we will have violated both our own personal and professional standards, and will knowingly be forced to provide our patients with second-rate care.

To be sure, discussing abortion procedures, or any other type of surgery, is often not pleasant. Neither is it pleasant or easy to discuss, for example, such lethal fetal conditions as skeletal dysplasia. This is a group of genetic syndromes that result in the birth of infants who are destined to die within the first few minutes to hours of life, and whose only experience of life is that of suffocation as they gasp in an attempt to breathe. Advances in prenatal detection may now allow a couple to know that this, or some other lethal condition, will be the fate of their wanted pregnancy. If a couple is presented with such information and they decide to terminate the pregnancy, it is a physician's duty to oblige them and terminate the pregnancy using the safest, most effective procedure.

In my capacity as an international advisor, I go to countries where access to abortion services is poor, where abortion is still illegal, and where maternity wards continue to be filled with women suffering from the effects of unsafe abortion. Many of them die. In fact, in many countries, the situation is similar to the way things were in the United States before safe and accessible abortion services were available; unsafe abortion is still a common cause of maternal death.

With the passage of this legislation, however, the United States takes a significant step back toward the way it used to be here, and the way it still is in much of the world where pregnant women are denied necessary medical treatment or are given less than optimal care. The legislation will make abortion less accessible in this country because some physicians will simply refuse to continue to provide second-trimester abortions under threat of criminal prosecution and significant civil liability. And it will inevitably make abortion less safe, because some physicians who will continue to provide second-trimester abortion may alter their technique to avoid violating this legislation, even if it means increasing the risk of the procedure.

For these reasons, and in order that physicians always be able to put their patients' needs first, Congress should not restrict medical practice. This is as true in the context of abortion as it is with any other type of surgery or treatment: physicians, in consultation with their patients, must be allowed to determine the best course of medical treatment without fearing prosecution. With the passage of this legislation, Congress is causing grave harm to women, their families, and their physicians.

Paul D. Blumenthal, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, and Director of Contraceptive Research and Programs, Johns Hopkins Medical University, Baltimore, Maryland

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