There are at least 164,000 abortions a year after the first three months of pregnancy, and 13,000 abortions annually after 4 1/2 months, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (New York Times, July 5 and November 6, 1995), which is an arm of Planned Parenthood. These numbers should be regarded as minimums, since they are based on voluntary reporting to the AGI. (The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 1993, over 17,000 abortions were performed at 21 weeks and later-- and the CDC acknowledges that the reports that it receives are incomplete.)
No one really knows how many late abortions are done by the partial-birth procedure. The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy told The New York Times, "The number of procedures that clearly meet the definition of partial birth abortion is very small, probably only 500 to 1,000 a year." (March 28, 1996) Even if such figures were accurate, the legislation would be urgently needed. If a new virus swept through neo-natal units and killed 500 or 1,000 premature babies, it would be a top news story -- not dismissed as too "rare" to be of consequence. For each human being at the pointed end of the scissors, a partial-birth abortion is a 100% proposition.
Moreover, the numbers may be considerably higher-- perhaps thousands per year. Dr. Martin Haskell and the late Dr. James McMahon spent years trying to convince other abortionists of the merits of the procedure -- that was the purpose of Dr. Haskell's 1992 instructional paper (see page 3), which was distributed by the National Abortion Federation, a lobbying group for abortion clinics. For years, Dr. McMahon was director of abortion instruction at the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In addition, he invited other doctors to visit his abortion clinic for a period of days to learn the procedure. Also, The New York Times reported on Nov. 6, 1995:
"Of course I use it, and I've taught it for the last 10 years," said a gynecologist at a New York teaching hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity. "So do doctors in other cities."
It is not known how many other abortionists have adopted the method, but a few have made themselves known. On March 19, 1996, Dr. William Rashbaum of New York City wrote a letter to Congressman Charles Canady (R-Fl.), stating that he has performed 19,000 late-term "procedures," and that he has performed the procedure that HR 1833 would ban "routinely since 1979. This procedure is only performed in cases of later gestational age."
In 1995, Dr. Martin Haskell filed a lawsuit challenging a state abortion-regulation law. In that proceeding, two other doctors filed affidavits affirming that they perform the same procedure as Dr. Haskell -- and that's just in Ohio.
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