What Partial Birth Abortion Is (Gonzales v. Carhart)
July 12, 2009
I’ll warn my readers from the start that although this post does not contain any pictures, the text still is very graphic in its description of these procedures. If you’re squeamish, this post might not be for you. However, I think this is a very important issue, so I hope you’ll read it.
Rather than rely on “word on the street”, the following is an objective description of a typical abortion procedure (“dilation and evacuation”, or “D&E”) and the “partial birth abortion” procedure (“intact D&E”) by our very own United States Supreme Court (in this pdf containing the Court’s opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart).
First, the description of the common D&E:
Next, the description of “partial birth abortion”:
So that’s what all the fuss is about.
And the current President of the United States is a champion of this procedure. Regarding the procedure, he has this to say:
Now, when you describe a specific procedure that accounts for less than 1% of the abortions that take place, then naturally, people get concerned, and I think legitimately so. But the broader issue here is: Do women have the right to make these profoundly difficult decisions? And I trust them to do it. There is a broader issue: Can we move past some of the debates around which we disagree and can we start talking about the things we do agree on?
Yes, lets “move past” the intact D&E procedure described above by the United States Supreme Court. What’s the big deal anyway?
Update (the post above was originally drafted in February): I recently discovered this tidbit from a 2007 speech revealing Obama’s true feelings regarding the above-quoted case:
Speaking at the Planned Parenthood conference in DC this afternoon, Barack Obama leveled harsh words at conservative Supreme Court justices, and he offered his own intention to appoint justices with “empathy.” Obama hinted that the court’s recent decision in Gonzales v. Carhart — which upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion — was part of “a concerted effort to steadily roll back” access to abortions. And he ridiculed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote that case’s majority opinion. “Justice Kennedy knows many things,” he declared, “but my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor.”
Obama also won a laugh at the expense of Chief Justice John Roberts, saying that judgments of Roberts’ character during his confirmation hearings were largely superficial. “He loves his wife. He’s good to his dog,” he joked, adding that judicial philosophy should be weighted more seriously than such evaluations. “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”
Here is some video footage of one of his messages to Planned Parenthood, it may or may not be the same one quoted in the prior paragraph (at the 1:00 mark of this video this case is referenced):
So I guess we can also expect that President Obama’s appointed judges will approve of the gruesome procedure known as “partial birth abortion” or “intact D&E.” Apparently some things aren’t above his pay grade after all.