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Partial-Birth Abortion Q & A

What is Partial-Birth Abortion?
 
Partial-Birth Abortion is a procedure in which 
the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first out of the womb and into the birth canal (vagina), except for the head, which the abortionist purposely keeps lodged just inside the cervix (the opening to the womb).  The abortionist punctures the base of the baby’s skull with a surgical instrument, such as a long surgical scissors or a pointed hollow metal tube called a trochar.  He then inserts a catheter (tube) into the wound, and removes the baby's brain with a powerful suction machine.  This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby.  

What is the Partial-Birth Abortion act?
 The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act would ban performance of a partial-birth abortion except if it were necessary to the save a mother's life.  The bill defines partial-birth abortion as an abortion in which “the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother,” and then kills the baby.  The bill would permit use of the procedure if “necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

Are Partial-Birth Abortions Common?
 According to Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers (1997), and other sources, it appears that partial-birth abortions are performed 3,000 to 5,000 times annually.  (Even those numbers may be low.)  Based on published interviews with numerous abortionists, and interviews with Fitzsimmons in 1997, the “vast majority” of partial-birth abortions are performed in the fifth and sixth months of pregnancy, on healthy babies of healthy mothers.

Why is it called "Partial-Birth"?
 
Under state laws, a “live birth” occurs when a baby is entirely expelled from the mother and shows any signs of life, however briefly -- regardless of whether the baby is “viable,” i.e., developed enough to be sustained outside the womb with neo-natal medical assistance.  Even at 4˝ months (20 weeks), perinatologists say that if a baby is expelled or removed completely from the uterus, she will usually gasp for breath and sometimes survive for hours, even though lung development is usually insufficient to permit successful sustained respiration until 23 weeks.   Thus, the term “partial-birth” is perfectly
descriptive.