Friday, June 05, 2009

Mainstream Media Glorify Late-term Abortions

In the wake of the murder of Wichita abortionist George Tiller, pro-abortion forces are spotlighting anecdotes of the "saving grace" of Tiller's killing fields, while painting pro-life Americans as terrorists.

-- From "Doctors Who Perform Procedures Provide Little Data but Underscore Reasoning" by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer 6/5/09

When Susan Fitzgerald went in for a routine ultrasound near the end of her pregnancy, she was expecting good news. Instead, she was stunned to learn that the fetus had a rare condition that left his bones so brittle he would live less than a day.

"It was unbelievable," Fitzgerald said. "You think by the third trimester you're home free. It was devastating."

Desperate to end the pregnancy, she flew from her home in New England to Wichita, where George Tiller was one of the few doctors in the country willing to perform an abortion so late in a pregnancy.

"It was very difficult, but I knew it was the most humane thing I could do for my baby," Fitzgerald said. "It was absolutely the right thing to do. I'm just so grateful that Dr. Tiller was there for me."

Her story is one of dozens that have surfaced in the past week during candlelight vigils, at memorials and on blog postings since the shooting death of Tiller. An antiabortion activist has been charged in his slaying.

. . . "There was a woman who tried to commit suicide three times. She was pregnant because she had been raped. She said every time she felt the baby move, it was the rape all over again. She could not live with that," said [LeRoy Carhart, a Bellevue, Neb., doctor who worked with Tiller], who estimated that 400 procedures a year were performed beyond 24 weeks at Tiller's clinic.

Carhart and another physician said they are also willing to perform late-term procedures for some incest victims, especially very young girls for whom the pregnancy could pose physical and emotional risks.

"If someone calls me up, and she's 32 weeks pregnant and knew she was pregnant for six months and says, 'I want an abortion, because I just broke up with my boyfriend,' I won't do that," said Warren M. Hern, a Boulder, Colo., doctor who is one of the very few physicians who perform the procedures and are willing to speak publicly. "But a 13-year-old teenybopper clutching a pink teddy bear who has been raped by her stepfather -- I'll do that."

"Many of these women are truly desperate. Many have a desired pregnancy that is terribly complicated by a lethal fetal anomaly. The baby is totally impaired, may die in delivery or after terrible struggle and pain. There is no justification for forcing the woman to carry this baby to term," Hern said.

Tiller's death has focused attention on abortions late in pregnancy. While it is clear that they account for a tiny fraction of the 1.2 million U.S. abortions each year, much about the procedures is unclear, including exactly how many are done, by whom and under what circumstances. The government does not collect detailed data, and doctors who perform them publish little information.

More than 88 percent of abortions are done in the first trimester, and most doctors will not perform them beyond 22 or 24 weeks because of moral qualms, social stigma, legal concerns, inadequate training or lack of experience. Barely 1 percent of procedures are done after 21 weeks. At 37 weeks, a baby is generally considered full-term.

But 2001 data from 15 states and New York City indicate that perhaps as many as 2,400 abortions were performed after 24 weeks in the United States that year, [Stanley K. Henshaw, a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute] said, most of them probably in the 25th or 26th week.

"We know it's a very small handful," said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, the largest group of abortion providers, who would not be more specific. "Given the fact that these people are targeted for violence, I don't necessarily want to name other providers that we know are providing necessary reproductive health care in these circumstances."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.