Newcomers to the pro-life camp may not be aware that even our benighted opposition ruefully conceded that the debate over partial-birth abortions changed the trajectory of the abortion debate.
Not that they didn’t try every dirty trick in the book to hold back the tide. We were told partial-birth abortions either didn’t happen or were unbelievably rare (in fact there were thousands performed); it’s not a “medical term” (it’s a legal term of art defined by Congress as a matter of federal law); and the Supreme Court would never uphold it (the High Court did in 2007)—to name just three distortions.
The genius of partial-birth abortion is that the description cut through the gauzy euphemisms. A baby is partially delivered, surgical scissors are jammed into the baby’s skull, and her brains are vacuumed out like soot.
This shock of recognition was pivotal in clearly the path for the Supreme Court to uphold the federal ban in Gonzales v. Carhart.
A friend forwarded a post that appeared in the pro-abortion ThinkProgress written by Casey Quinlan. Ms. Quinlan is celebrating the decision by Federal Judge Sam Yeakel to temporarily enjoin Texas’ ban on dismemberment abortions of living unborn children. (See here.)
She was honest enough to concede one thing directly and one indirectly. The former was contained in the subhead: “But it won’t stop other states from introducing these bans.”
The latter we find when she quotes Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Alluding to the Dismemberment Abortion Ban section of the Pro-Life Senate Bill 8 passed by the Texas Legislature last May
Nash added that she finds it encouraging that the media and public have not popularized terms used by anti-abortion activists to describe these laws. By using language that makes the procedures sound dangerous, anti-abortion activists were successful in pushing for what they called “partial birth” abortion bans in the 1990s, Nash explained. This was a different second-trimester procedure called intact dilation and extraction.
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“They use this term called ‘dismemberment abortion,’ which hasn’t been picked up in the same way that partial birth abortion was used,” Nash said. “We haven’t seen that term catch up, so I am wondering if that shows some sense of reluctance on the part of the public and the media to buy into the claims by abortion opponents on this issue.”
While this is 50% error and 50% spin, Nash has the big picture correct. The media coverage of laws to ban the dismemberment of living unborn babies could have been written by Planned Parenthood and NARAL.
The coverage (a) relentlessly misrepresents what the law bans; (b) lifts the description of the banned abortion procedure from the pro-abortion playbook; and (c) makes what happens to the unborn child sounds almost like an abstraction.
In fact, dismemberment abortions are every bit as brutal as partial-birth abortions. This “technique” tears and pulverizes living unborn human beings, rips heads and legs off of tiny torsos as the defenseless child bleeds to death. It is a measure of how trafficking in abortion dehumanizes practitioners and defenders alike that a common response is that all “surgery” is “gross.”
Just to be clear for 99% of the public what they know about dismemberment abortions is what the compliant, pro-abortion media tells them. If only half of the reality of this “abortion procedure” were conveyed, you would find overwhelming opposition akin to that we saw in the public’s outrage over partial-birth abortion.
In the meanwhile, it is up to you and me to share what you read in NRL News Today with as wide a circle of your friends and contacts as possible.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.