Doctors: Partial-Birth Abortion Not Safer for Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Doctors: Partial-Birth Abortion Not Safer for Women

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 6, 2004

Omaha, NE ( — The Bush administration began its defense of the partial-birth abortion ban at the Nebraska trial on Monday with two doctors saying that partial-birth abortions are not safe for women and studies have never validated abortion advocates claims to the contrary.

The federal government is defending the ban in three separate trials of lawsuits filed by pro-abortion groups and abortion businesses. Each of the lawsuits alleges the ban is unconstitutional because it fails to contain a health exception.

But Dr. George Mazariegos, of Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, said studies should be conducted to ascertain whether a new surgical procedure is safe.

Mazariegos said no such study has ever been done regarding the abortion procedure — a point Maureen Paul, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, admitted during the San Francisco trial.

"We have intuition that a procedure may be safer . . . but without comparative data, it is impossible to state that a procedure is better or safer," Mazariegos said.

Dr. Watson Bowes, a retired University of North Carolina School of Medicine physician and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said that not only are partial-birth abortions unnecessary to protect a woman’s health, they are not safe for women.

He agreed with Mazariegos that no study has ever been performed to back up the claim made by opponents of the ban that the abortion procedures are safe and sometimes medically necessary.

Bowes also said a study was done on breech births and Caesareans that concluded that Caesarean births were safer.

Meanwhile, at a press conference once the steps of the federal courthouse, pro-life Congressman Steve King (R-IA) said Congress may have to "rein in a runaway judiciary" if the judges overturn the law.

King wants the judges to give consideration to a findings section in the bill that provides scientific evidence as to why such abortions hurt, not help women. The data shows the Supreme Court was wrong in 2000 to overturn a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortions for lacking a health exception.

"Once you put an exception in for the health of the mother," King said, "that’s a blank check to define it any way the physician desires."