ThinkProgress thinks “dismemberment abortion” is misleading, but is it?


Louisiana recently became the latest state to ban the dismemberment abortion procedure, also known as dilation & evacuation abortion. With something as manifestly vile as tearing children limb from limb in the public eye, abortion apologists have their work cut out for them in sanitizing things.

Or, they would put work into it if there was any possible way to make dismembering babies sound any better. But there’s not, so ThinkProgress’s Laurel Raymond has settled for the next best thing: deny, deny, deny; and hope nobody asks too many questions…

[D&E abortion is] held up by the World Health Organization as the gold standard for later abortions, and is the only remaining legal option for second trimester abortions — which comprise about 10 percent of abortions — that doctors consider safe.

Or is it that D&E abortions are better for the abortionists, so they can fit more abortions into their schedule? The WHO has been known to show a pro-abortion slant before, so its approval isn’t exactly the last word on the subject. Moreover, as Ian Tuttle explains, saying we must allow dismemberment abortions for the sake of maternal safety “mistakes — or substitutes — a secondary question for the primary moral one,” which is, “does the procedure involve one human being, or two?”

Abortion opponents, however, have targeted the procedure with graphic and inflammatory terms, misleadingly describing it as tearing babies “limb from limb.” Anti-abortion advocates have even compared D&E to the medieval torture drawing and quartering.

Rather than ask a single reader to believe a pro-lifer, let’s discredit this lie using nothing but direct quotes from the abortion industry itself. The National Abortion Federation’s own instructional materials describe “grasping a fetal part,” then “withdraw[ing] the forceps while gently rotating it,” for the purpose of achieving “separation.” If that’s not clear enough, NAF also describes “fetal extremit[ies]” (i.e., limbs), “fetal trunk[s],” and “fetal skeletal development.”

Additionally, notorious late-term abortionist Warren Hern even confirms “there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator [of D&E procedures]. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.”

Listen to former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino explain the process of a D&E abortion:

Instead of making even the most cursory effort to explain how on Earth “separation” of a “fetal extremity” from a “fetal trunk” doesn’t constitute dismemberment, Raymond next attempts to cast this as the sequel to pro-lifers deceiving America on the truth about partial-birth abortions:

[D]octors used to also perform abortions via a procedure called Intact Dilation & Extraction, or “D&X,” which involved dilating the cervix and extracting the whole fetus. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, however, the National Right to Life dubbed this medical procedure “partial birth abortion.” They commissioned graphic, misleading illustrations of D&X and placed them as paid advertisements in newspapers, shifting the conversation from the women needing a safe medical procedure to a gruesome discussion about crushing the skulls of unborn babies.

Once again, notice ThinkProgress’s complete lack of any effort to explain precisely how “partial birth” is misleading. Hilariously, she links another ThinkProgress article to back her up…an article saying that in D&X abortions, “the cervix is dilated to allow an entire fetus to pass through.” Pass through? As in partially delivered? Delivered, as in born? Partially? (Like with D&E’s, Hern admits that D&X’s entail “deliver[ing]” fetuses.)

Later, she links Slate’s William Saletan’s effort to explain how the birth in a partial-birth abortion isn’t really a birth, and it’s every bit as insipid as you’re expecting:

This procedure doesn’t take place anywhere near the appointed hour of birth. If you paid close attention to the Senate debate, you might have noticed the part where Santorum said the procedure was performed “at least 20 weeks, and in many cases, 21, 22, 23, 24 weeks [into pregnancy], and in rarer cases, beyond that.” He didn’t clarify how many of these abortions took place past the 20th week. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. In 1992, the Supreme Court mentioned that viability could “sometimes” occur at 23 or 24 weeks. Santorum described a 1-pound fetus as “a fully formed baby,” noting that while it was only at 20 weeks gestation, it had a complete set of features and extremities. But according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the survival rate for babies born weighing 500 grams or less—that’s 1 pound, 1 ounce or less—is 14 percent.


So “partial-birth abortion” is only inaccurate because births before the due date aren’t technically births? By that logic, all the preemies who ever lived were never born. This might even be more vapid than Saletan repeating the old saw that a high rate of death in a group somehow means members of the group were never alive.

Many Americans were confused by the contradictory term “partial birth,” and the emotive framing and exploitation of the ‘ick’ factor worked.

Looks like somebody didn’t read Cassy Fiano’s takedown of the straw-man argument that “grossness” is the only reason to detest violence against children.

It’s expected for propagandists to lie, but stunning that they would put so little effort into making their lies plausible. Then again, the job of devil’s advocate is all-but impossible when the subject to be defended is literally devilish.

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