Partial Birth Abortion

Any discussion of partial birth abortion will, by necessity, involve grappling with some difficult and emotional truths pertaining to this very controversial procedure. As the name implies, this method of aborting an unborn child requires incomplete delivery that is followed by a deliberate termination of life. The cold medical terminology that is used to explain this method of aborting a late term pregnancy does little to sugar coat the stark cruelty that this procedure represents. Dilation and extraction, or D&X, which is followed by intrauterine cranial decompression is the common medical description. During these procedures, the pregnant woman's cervix will be artificially dilated and the late term infant will then be partially removed from the uterus. At this point, the child is fully alive and only the head remains inside the birth canal. The term intrauterine cranial decompression involves forcefully inserting a sharp object into the baby's head. A vacuum tube is then inserted through the hole that was just made by the sharp object. This tube will then be used to suck the brain tissue out of the infant's skull and ending the child's life. The head will then completely collapse, making it easy to remove the lifeless body from the mother's womb. By anyone's standards, partial birth abortion represents a violent and barbaric method of pregnancy termination.

One common question that is generally asked regarding partial birth abortion is whether or not the unborn child feels any pain during this procedure. The facts strongly indicate that the late term infant's developing nervous system is indeed able to feel pain, therefore the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Those who have witnessed these procedures have testified to seeing an infant react dramatically when during this kind of abortion. In 2003, partial birth abortion became illegal in the United States. Lawmakers who supported this ban felt that the procedure was not only immoral and barbaric, but was never medically necessary under any circumstance. In fact the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 called the procedure gruesome and inhumane. Long term risks to the health of mothers who undergo this procedure were also noted in the legislation. While the topic of abortion can usually illicit a number of differing views and strong reactions, this particular procedure seems somewhat less likely to cause division. Many who normally support the legalized termination of pregnancy do not condone this method of aborting an unborn child. In fact, many who are on the fence concerning this controversial issue choose to become pro life when they consider the facts surrounding this and other types of late term abortions.

The issue of partial birth abortion is a major part of the right to life debate. Anyone who is on the fence regarding this controversial topic can benefit from taking the time to look into what this procedure and other kinds of abortions actually entail. Those who believe in the sanctity of life may come from different backgrounds but they will generally have one thing in common, a commitment to the defense of innocent human life. One major uniting factor is the belief that human life begins at conception rather than at some later time as is argued by those who identify themselves as pro abortion. The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court is seen as a tragic miscarriage of judgment that has resulted in the intentional murder of millions of unborn children. Most citizens who oppose partial birth abortion may also favor a constitutional amendment that affords equal protection under the law for all unborn children.

The violent acts of protest that are perpetrated by some who oppose the legalization of pregnancy termination do not represent the views or actions of most opponents to legalized abortions. Those who truly treasure life do not condone violent actions for any reason, including as an act of political opposition. In addition to opposing partial birth abortion, issues such as the government funding of abortions and support of organizations that routinely counsel women to abort their children are usually opposed by those who take an antiabortion stance. A fervent belief in what the scriptures have to say about life is another common denominator among those who stand against this violent procedure. The Bible points to God as the creator of human life. "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalm 100:3)

If a woman has experienced a partial birth abortion, or any other method of pregnancy termination, there can be a great deal of grief to deal with for many years to come. Many women exhibit symptoms of post traumatic stress after abortions. This is particularly true if the woman later has a change of heart or whose belief system has completely changed since the event occurred. For these mothers, the forgiveness that is available through faith in God can bring great healing and needed peace of mind. Fellow Christians should also offer help and guidance, both to women who are considering abortion and to those who have already experienced a medically terminated pregnancy. There are a number of organizations and resources that can provide counseling, education and support for these women. A number of twenty four hour hotlines are also available. These resources offer immediate support for women who are contemplating this procedure as well as those who are grieving a past pregnancy termination.

Reasons Against Partial Birth Abortion

Exploring the many compelling reasons against partial birth abortion can involve dealing with information that is both disturbing and difficult to fully understand. Nevertheless, a full comprehension of what this controversial procedure entails is necessary before an honest evaluation can be attempted. In many cases, a woman who undergoes this procedure does not understand the dangers to her own body or what will happen to the unborn child that she is carrying. These types of abortions are now illegal in the United States thanks to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. When this legislation was under consideration, members of congress heard disturbing testimony from medical professionals on how these abortions are carried out. Such convincing testimony resulted in the first federal ban on this type of late term abortion. However, there are still many proponents of this practice that are seeking to find loopholes around the existing law. Those who disregard the many reasons against partial birth abortion reason that to limit abortions in any way takes away a woman's right to choose. For many, respect for human life far surpasses any imagined rights to kill an innocent and defenseless unborn child. But in spite of the mounting evidence against the kind of barbaric practice that partial birth abortion represents, the debate rages on.

For those who have come to understand what happens during this procedure, looking for additional reasons against partial birth abortion is not necessary. In order for the unborn child to be removed from the mother's body, the mother's cervix will need to be dilated through artificial means. Once this has been accomplished, the infant is drawn into the birth canal and the feet, torso and arms are then delivered. The infant's head will remain inside of the mother's body. Since the head is the largest part of the body, it is the most difficult to deliver. To solve this problem, the abortionist will insert a sharp object into the back of the unborn infant's head, forming a hole. A tube is then place in this opening. Using extremely powerful suction, the brain tissue of the living infant will be removed. This action will frequently cause the child's head to collapse and the now lifeless infant can be removed from the womb. In some cases, the abortionist may be forced to use forceps to crush the baby's skull. During this procedure the child is both alive and able to feel pain. Such graphic descriptions undoubtedly supply the most convincing reasons against partial birth abortion.

When the facts regarding this inhumane procedure are known, it is hard to imagine that anyone could argue with the many reasons against partial birth abortion. But the battle to uphold a federal ban against this gruesome practice continues to be fought. Prior to the federal ban, thirty states had passed legislation that made the practice illegal. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court struck down these laws, spawning a push toward federal legislation. But even this federal law is being fought in court. Those who disregard the many compelling reasons against partial birth abortion argue that there are occasions when this type of procedure is necessary. In reality, there is no evidence to support such assertions. Opponents of legal bans also claim that lawmakers who voted for the ban were guilty of determining medical treatment for women without sufficient understanding of the related medical issues. The truth would seem to be exactly the opposite of this assertion. The more that is understood about what happens to both the mother and the unborn child during this procedure, the stronger and more vocal the opposition to this practice becomes. The Bible clearly indicates that God forms human life within the mother's womb. "Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." (Isaiah 44:24)

There are a number of myths that are frequently circulated to counter reasons against partial birth abortion. Proponents of these abortions maintain that there are times when the procedure is medically necessary. This is a flat falsehood. When legal, a partial birth abortion was performed on women that were more than twenty weeks pregnant. These second and third trimester abortions are more complicated and potentially dangerous to the mother. As unfortunate as it may be, a woman who chooses to undergo a late term abortion has many options other than the partial birth approach. While none of these procedures can honestly be described as humane, they are certainly preferable to the outright butchery that this controversial practice represents. Additionally, these procedures may cause undo risk to the mother's health and future ability to bear children.

Another argument that is often presented to oppose the many reasons against partial birth abortion is the notion that this procedure is somehow safer than other abortive measures. Many medical professionals maintain that this approach is in fact the most dangerous to the woman and the most inhumane to the unborn child. A number of life threatening complications can occur during these abortions. Some of these risks can include infection, a ruptured uterus and an embolism of the amniotic fluid. In the case of a ruptured uterus, a woman could easily bleed to death in a matter of minutes. The forced dilation of the cervix that is involved in these procedures can have a profoundly negative impact on the woman's health. When all of these factors are considered, any reasonable justification for these procedures is hard to imagine.

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