Saturday, October 10, 2009

NYT Miracle!

Behind the Scenes: Picturing Fetal Remains

The photographs are graphic and detailed, showing the fingers or toes of aborted fetuses whose entire frames are no bigger than a cellphone. Since the mid-1990s, they have appeared all over the country — carried as posters by protesters, handed out with pamphlets or, in some cases, mounted like billboards on the sides of trucks.

Like many others, I often wondered about the source of these images. Who took the pictures? Where did the fetuses come from?

I had a chance to find some answers while reporting in late September on the death of James Pouillon, the anti-abortion protester who was shot and killed in Owosso, Mich.

Mr. Pouillon was holding an anti-abortion sign at the time, with a baby on one side and an abortion on the other. At his memorial service, I met Monica Migliorino Miller, who told me she had a lot to share about the use of abortion imagery.

Of course, the comments start right in with screeds about how wonderful it is to pull babies apart with forceps because it makes their mommies' lives so much better. Why aren't these same people pleading for us to just nuke Darfur and put everybody there out of their misery, if wretched death is such a great solution to problems?


Tonal Bliss said...

I find it wonderful that these photographs have been recognized and published by the NYT (only online I assume?). I could have been beneficial had they listed what gestational age each of the photographs showed.

Certainly a positive that they published this. :)

Christina Dunigan said...

I really wish they'd have included some first-tri pictures, since this still leaves abortion proponents to say, "Yeah, but most aborted 'pregnancies' don't look like that!" We needed to have a picture of what a TYPICAL abortion produces. Which is still what looks remarkably like a dead baby.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Yes. A bright red dead baby (no skin) about the size of your thumb.

Scale is everything. If you don't understand this, rent a movie called FANTASTIC VOYAGE. With Edmond O'Brian and Donald Pleasance, and of course Raquel Welsh.

Ladybug said...

However that point aside, size does not determine an organism or it's value, biology and ethics do.

Tonal Bliss said...

OC, a midget that has 75% of his skin burned off is not human? Hmm... Interesting hypothesis...

OperationCounterstrike said...

SegaMon, I'm not denying that. I agree small people deserve the same rights as big people.

As you know, I justify abortion because the fetus is located inside the mother's body, not because the fetus is any less deserving of rights than other people are. I'd be equally comfortable killing an already-born person, if he/she were inside another person's body and unwelcome there.

All I'm saying is, the protesters' gore-pix are misleading. Size affects your EMOTIONAL response to a picture.

OperationCounterstrike said...

By the way, SegaMon, you have not answered my question yet. Which was:

Why have the REPUBLICAN Surgeon Generals never warned the public about the abortion-breast-cancer link? Sure, the Democrats are in on the pro-abort conspiracy to conceal the link, but why are the Republicans being silent? Why didn't Ronald Reagan's Surgeon General, GHW Bush's Surgeon General, nor GW Bush's Surgeon General come forward? It's their job to warn the public about these things.

Do please enlighten me.

Tonal Bliss said...

I responded to your question directly by saying that I am not those people and cannot answer for those people.

Then I went on and stated why there is a reason to suspect a possible abortion-breast cancer link. A possible link. I am not saying that there is a 100% certainty of the link. Please read my earlier response if you want a further explanation of my views.

At this point, the abortion-breast cancer link is somewhat inconclusive but *highly* suspected to be true (even if there are many studies that show it is plausible). Maybe that's why these surgeon generals didn't issue a blanket statement? Just a guess.

Furthermore, is it not a possibility that surgeon general's want to distribute warnings based upon settled science (or what can be considered as close to it as possible). The abortion-breast cancer link is not "settled" in the pro or con category, no?


Tonal Bliss said...

I found a new study published in World Journal of Surgical Oncology that had a finding which showed that abortion is "significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk." An increase of 66%.

It would be good practice to inform those who get abortions of the possibility of an increased risk of breast cancer later in life due to the findings of X, Y, and Z studies.

However, like I said before, this issue is still not "settled science." That doesn't mean that people shouldn't know about the documented possible side effects.

OperationCounterstrike said...

SegaMon, there are always some studies which get the wrong answer, because of statistical noise. You could find, if you looked hard enough, studies which say that smoking PREVENTS lung cancer.

What the pros do is, read ALL the studies, determine which are good and which are flawed, which are big and which are small, which are biased and which are objective. Then they put all the info together and figure out what the big picture is, and pass that info on to the public.

The reason the Republican Surgeon Generals never said there really is a link is: the big-picture says there is no link. Republicans are right-to-lifist propagandists, but the Surgeon Generals are scientists first, and respect the truth. THAT'S why C. Everett Koop (Reagan's SG) laughed at "Post-abortion syndrome", and why none of the SGs have ever talked about the A-BC "link". Because the SGs know the "link" is garbage.

Steve Ertelt, journalist for, had a real doozy a couple of weeks ago--he quoted a famous Doc, Dr. Harms, as admitting that abortion causes problems with future pregnancies. So I clicked over to Dr. Harms' actual article, and the FIRST sentence is "ONLY RARELY will abortion cause problems with future pregnancies." In other words, it doesn't.

Classic. The scientists and docs write "white" and the right-to-lifers claim they wrote "black". Why exaggerate when you can lie outright?

Tonal Bliss said...

OC, you are failing to see the point that there is contradicting evidence that cannot prove one way or the other regarding the abortion-breast cancer link.

You interject your own opinion into the mouths of Surgeon Generals.

From my own experience, I have seen patients (I am a nurse) who need to have their cervix tied shut to maintain their pregnancies only because they had abortions in the past (this condition is called incompetent cervix). I have heard OB/GYNs say this. I talked to my nursing instructor in OB regarding this and she confirmed my thoughts. But you still claim that I'm some fringe far right crazy nut-job?

Google "incompetent cervix risk factors" and you will clearly see abortion being one of them.

Try again.

Kathy said...

OC, you act like these "pros" have no biases of their own, that may interfere with their ability to judge the studies accurately. Recently I researched the link between abortion & future preterm birth, and came up with at least a dozen studies that noted a positive connection between the two, including many studies that were looking at either abortion alone or PTB alone, which mentioned as a matter of course or matter of fact that abortion increased the rate of future preterm birth. One paper written by pro-life doctors said that there were 60+ studies documenting said link, although they did not cite the studies, so I'm not linking to that paper. Yet not everyone -- particularly those who are "pro-choice" or "pro-abortion", including many OB/GYNs who make some of their living off of performing abortions -- will believe the link exists. "Those convinced against their will remain of the same opinion still."

OperationCounterstrike said...

SegaMon, YOU are failing to see the point that yes there is evidence on both sides, but the evidence against the "link" is strong, large, and scientific, while the evidence FOR the link is weak, small, and mostly anecdotal. Which is WHY the medical organizations deny the link. And if I'm "projecting" my opinion into mouths of Surgeon Generals, then you still have to explain why the Republican SGs never corrected the Democrats' "lies" about there being no link.

Your personal anecdotes prove nothing.

Kathy, sure, the Republican SGs are biased--AGAINST abortion. If there were any possible way for them to support the "link" without compromising their scientific principles, they would.

And you wrote: "One paper written by pro-life doctors said that there were 60+ studies documenting said link"

Sure--sixty small, flawed, biased studies, funded by right-to-life organizations, published in non-journals like "American Journal of Physicians and Surgeons".

Kathy said...

And you pretend that people who are obviously biased FOR abortion are not.

Knowing what I do of how studies are funded, and how they are published, and who decides what gets published and what gets funded, it would not surprise me a bit to find that excellent studies which have an unpopular conclusion are never funded. One geneticist I know told me of a research paper he wrote, which was returned as unpublishable because of a single sentence which was more or less pro-Creation; he removed the objectionable sentence and submitted the paper, and it was accepted and published. No bias there, eh?!

OperationCounterstrike said...

Kathy, you wrote "knowing what I do about what gets funded...."

WHAT do you know about scientific funding? Do tell. How many proposals for scientific funding have you written, read, evaluated? How much scientific research funding have you raised? How many granting-committee members do you know?

And, WHY did the Republican SGs, obviously biased AGAINST abortion, never say anything about the "links" to breast-cancer, impaired fertility, and mental illnesses?

By the way, your friend's experience does not indicate bias. It indicates that the journal wanted to publish papers about SCIENCE, not about religious origin-myths. If you submit a scientific paper which praises Satan, or God, or Salvador Dali, or George Foreman, that'll be rejected too--not because of bias against Satan, nor against God, nor against Dali, nor against Foreman, but because these additions have nothing to do with science.

OperationCounterstrike said...

SegaMon, you wrote: "
It would be good practice to inform those who get abortions of the possibility of an increased risk of breast cancer later in life due to the findings of X, Y, and Z studies."

By that logic, it would be good practice to inform people who are considering quitting smoking, that studies A, B, and C indicate that smoking PREVENTS lung cancer (because of statistical noise). Or, to warn people that SOME studies (bad ones) say vitamin C is BAD for you.

That would be stupid--patients as a whole have neither the training nor the time to compare the various studies and figure out which are good and which are weak and what the big picture is. That's why we have professional medical associations, and Surgeons General, to do this FOR patients!

Tonal Bliss said... "...any form of cervical trauma or surgery increases the risk of an incompetent cervix during pregnancy. Artificial cervical dilation during an abortion can sometimes damage the cervix."

family planning victoria: "...the cervix opening is stretched during an abortion. This can occasionally cause the cervix to become weakened, or ‘incompetent’. An incompetent cervix can cause problems in later pregnancies..." (BTW, this is a very pro-abortion source)

From the article "Troubling dilemma for career women: how long dare I put off having a baby?" in the Nursing journal RN: "A repeatedly aborted uterus may undergo weakening of the cervix, causing subsequent desired pregnancies to deliver far too prematurely to sustain life. This condition, known as an incompetent cervix, has been shown to occur significantly more frequently following two induced abortions. Scarring of the lining of the uterus through repeated abortions can lead not only to indirect infertility but also to a condition causing poor nutrition to the infant during pregnancy, which results in a small and puny baby.

"Women interested in protecting their fertility should avoid repeated abortions whenever possible. The risks of this willfully incurred damage far transcend any risks that come with advancing age."

An eMedicine article titled "Preterm Labor" written by Ross, MD, MPH wrote: "The most common etiologies for cervical injury are elective abortion, surgeries to treat cervical dysplasia, and injury occurring at delivery. A single uncomplicated elective abortion at less than 10 weeks' gestation does not increase the risk of midtrimester loss or preterm birth unless the cervix has been forcibly dilated to more than 10 mm at the time of the abortion. However, patients with a history of multiple first-trimester elective terminations or one or more second-trimester elective abortions may be at increased risk for preterm delivery. Cervical dilatation with laminaria or cervical ripening agents, such as misoprostol, appears to be less traumatizing to the cervix than mechanical dilation."

Tell me again about how my "anecdotes" prove nothing?

"You still have to explain why the Republican SGs never corrected the Democrats' "lies" about there being no link."

I already answered this question. i CANNOT and WILL NOT speak for these people. People are people no matter how high of an office that they hold. They are still people no matter how many letters they have after their names.

Fact of the matter, OC, is that NO ONE can either 100% deny nor prove the abortion breast cancer. Something further, too, is that there is some strong support to the claim that there is a link. You can be bias regarding which studies to believe just as much as I can. Why should I trust you when you say that I can't even trust myself?

Leave it at that, OC.

Tonal Bliss said...

In an earlier post I asked you to search "incompetent cervix risk factors." It certainly appears that you didn't. In my last post I did the work for you...

Tonal Bliss said...

You have always been pointless to talk to. You continue to prove this fact.

Studies and journals have SPECIFICALLY pointed out two or more 1st trimester abortions and one or more 2nd or 3rd trimester abortions. Read from the Australian medical journal O&G written by Dr. Chern Lo. It states that even D&Cs can cause an increased risk while it would require actual lacerations during childbirth to increase that risk.

How common are cervical lacerations during childbirth? "Of 81,047 deliveries, 131 (0.16%) were complicated by cervical lacerations." That according to the AJOG (American Journal of Obstetrics) in April of 2009. Only 0.16% of deliveries! This is a whole lot different than VAGINAL lacerations which are much more common (16% in 1st vaginal delivery, 18% with VBAC, 3% with 2nd vaginal deliver also according to AJOG).

OC: " It could turn out the world really is flat..."

Ummmmm....... no.

No need to compare apples and oranges, OC.

Tonal Bliss said...

OC: "99.9% proofs."

Denying the abortion breast cancer link is hardly 99.9% by the way. Yikes.

Tonal Bliss said...

...I guess every single women experiences "cervical injury" during childbirth then?

I'm done talking with you.

NEWSFLASH: The world is round no matter which way you look at it, nimwad.

Tonal Bliss said...

I've had patience with you for a very long time. Everyone has a breaking point. :)

Anonymous said...


You commented, "All I'm saying is, the protesters' gore-pix are misleading. Size affects your EMOTIONAL response to a picture."

Well, I had an abortion at 8 weeks 8 years ago. Two years ago I went to see The Bodies Exhibit here in Atlanta. They had one area that showed what a "fetus," "baby" (whatever you want to call them), looked like at different stages of a pregnancy.

When I saw what an 8 week old "fetus" looked like, I broke down in tears. Yes, the size of that small "fetus" did effect MY emotional response.

It shook me. It caused me to leave the exhibit sobbing loudly.

I'm sorry, but I see now that that is a BABY. I regret that decision so much.

Tonal Bliss said...

OC, sorry about calling you a nimwad. I shouldn't have said such a stupid thing.

Christina Dunigan said...

Things got ugly so I started nuking anyway.

OperationCounterstrike said...

"Things got ugly"

In other words, I started pointing out that SegaMon was quoting without reading what he was quoting, and that his sources said the opposite of what he said they said. Fact-checking is "ugly" here.

Whenever I win an argument here, it's "ugly" and Christina nukes my points.

Hey, I don't mind! One doesn't expect to win a game against kindergarteners--when you win, they change the rules.

OperationCounterstrike said...

"Things got ugly"

In other words, I started pointing out that SegaMon was quoting without reading what he was quoting, and that his sources said the opposite of what he said they said. Fact-checking is "ugly" here.

Whenever I win an argument here, it's "ugly" and Christina nukes my points.

Hey, I don't mind! One doesn't expect to win a game against kindergarteners--when you win, they change the rules.

Tonal Bliss said...

However, you did call my a "typical pro-life moron." That and my own insult to you would both be considered "ugly" in my books.

Tonal Bliss said...

"my" should have been "me."

BTW, the "argument" between the both of us was hardly won one way or the other. I was looking through source after source really fast and made mistakes. I skimmed over them too fast and missed vital information. That's certainly a lesson for me! However, you gave NO sources and argued ONLY from what I presented. It would have been helpful had you given more input from other sources. For example, you mentioned numerous medical journals but never actually referenced them.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Yeah, I've been reading journals and summing them up so long, it's too much like work. Also, some of my sources are lectures and classes, not papers. Usually if I don't source something it means you can find it easily enough, either on line or in a textbook somewhere.

Kathy said...

OC, you should be aware that "lectures and classes" are not necessarily evidence-based; and also that your teachers from 8 years ago do not have the benefit of the most recent 8 years of research, so medical/scientific understanding may have gotten to the point of proving them wrong.

I'm a "birth junkie" and a natural childbirth advocate, and gave birth to both my children at home. I read and research probably a lot more than I should about birth, and read with some regularity and frequency stories, articles, and research papers that demonstrate a wide range of practice and behavior among doctors, nurses, and midwives. I've read countless stories of women who were told by their doctors that X was dangerous / beneficial/ important/ necessary, etc., and they believed them, and believed that the doctors were making statements based on the evidence. But the doctors where either lying or were misinformed, because there are countless other stories in which women were told the exact opposite by other doctors -- and they both can't be true. It's quite frustrating seeing how some women are coerced or bullied into, for example, an "elective" repeat C-section instead of a VBAC because doctors scare them with all the risks of VBAC, but neglect to tell them any of the risks of a repeat C-section. It angers me to hear of stories of doctors telling women that their risk of uterine rupture is 25%, when it's actually less than 1%. It angers me that Dr. Hannah presided over numerous studies (including the "Term Breech Trial" which led to vaginal breech birth being practically banned, and a VBAC vs. ERCS trial which led to VBACs becoming rare, and I think also an induction study which has made doctors start inducing earlier and earlier, and possibly harming mothers and babies in the process, particularly with iatrogenic prematurity), which have since all been proven to be fatally flawed. Canada, in recognition of the errors of the TBT (and partly because women were choosing home births rather than automatic C-sections for breech presentation), has done an about-face and is now recommending that women have a choice between C-section or vaginal breech birth, and that doctors in training should learn how to handle VBB.

But you probably learned the opposite when you were in med school 8 years ago, if such things were lectured on in classes.

OperationCounterstrike said...

True, for most of its history medicine has been haphazard and unsystematic. I have been keeping up more on technology than on small changes in the numbers (eg more frequent c-sections).

I think the next two big changes will be: hormonal contraceptives for men, and, non-doctor (underling) medical professionals doing first-trimester abortions, like in Vermont.

OperationCounterstrike said...

I mean changes in REPRODUCTIVE medicine.

Kathy said...

Oh, and here's an interesting caveat on your basing your opinion on "lectures and classes" -- biased professors. It's one thing to be ignorant (as I suggested in an above post), but it's another to be on the board of pharmaceutical companies and then pitching the benefits of these same pharmaceuticals to eager-beaver med students who believe you to be unbiased, evidence-based, honest, upright, etc.

Btw, were you just shocked that I immediately guessed you to be SoMG when you first started posting as OC?

Christina Dunigan said...

I nuke you because you're in MY blog and it's MY choice. Get over it. Unlike abortion we're not talking life or death.

OperationCounterstrike said...

No, Kathy, I was not surprised. By the way, I'm no longer SoMG--I've decided to scrap that name since MG is still alive. Now I'm OC or if you prefer, SoMF: Spirit of Morris Fishbein.

Christina, as I said, it doesn't bother me. It shows what you are--someone who doesn't care about honest exchange nor about the facts. Not a very important revelation--anyone who reads your blog can tell already.

OperationCounterstrike said...

RE: "Nimwad"

Is this derived from Nimrod, the giant who helped with the effort to build the Tower of Babel (see Dante's INFERNO)?

Tonal Bliss said...

OC, I used the word nimwad to mean "a collection of stupidity." Urban dictionary colorfully defines nimwad as "a foolish or stupid person; An idiot." The meaning that I intended is expressed with either definition.

I remember you telling me, OC, that my own nursing instructor, an OB/GYN, and actually knowing a patient who had incompetent cervix related to the increase risk factor of induced abortion to be "anecdotal" and unimportant. Even though you say that I can't use "anecdotal" evidence, you cite your own defined "anecdotal" evidence to support your claims. Hmmm...

If you do not want this to be true, start using sources. It would be start. Then I can start pointing out issues in how YOU cite sources. :)

OperationCounterstrike said...

My poor SegaMon,

"Unsourced" and "anecdotal" mean very different things. For instance, "Blondes have more fun" is unsourced, but it is not an anecdote; it's a statistical assertion which, if true, applies to at least MOST people. It means if you're gonna adopt a kid, and you want your kid to have as much fun as possible, you would be well-advised to adopt a blonde. It could be tested by surveys. (Not perfectly, there's always the possibility that the survey will show blondes have LESS fun, because of statistical noise. The bigger the survey, the less likely that error would be.)

In contrast, "On September 11th, 2001, Mrs. Josephine ("Jo") Blow, of Idaho, died of a heart attack during morning prayers, according to a report in the next day's issue of the Boise Register" has a source, but it's still an anecdote. It describes only one case, and it doesn't say, nor imply, anything at all about whether morning prayers cause heart attacks, or whether you're more likely to have a heart attack during morning prayers than during Evensong.

It's not ALWAYS wrong to post anecdotes, so long as you use them legitimately, to ILLUSTRATE a general (statistical) point. But then you must back that up with evidence that your statistical point is correct, as well as well-illustrated. What Christina does--posting anecdotes and inviting the reader to generalize from them without numbers to back them up, or, saying they imply something general about abortion or about abortion docs or about NAF or whatever--THAT'S wrong. That's MISUSING anecdotes. (My source for saying this is any Rhetoric 101 textbook or any high-school Statistics textbook.)


Kathy said...

No, Kathy, I was not surprised.

But you disclaimed it -- feigning ignorance. If I remember the exact response, it was "who or what is SoMG?" And it was several months before you finally admitted it. Why did you not 'fess up immediately, if you were not surprised?

Tonal Bliss said...

lol @ OC:

"My source for saying this is any Rhetoric 101 textbook or any high-school Statistics textbook."

Maybe instead of "anecdotal" I should have used the word "generalization" or "assumption"?

OperationCounterstrike said...

How about the phrase "claims which are unsourced because anyone can easily look up sources?"

Kathy, because I'm a sneaky bunt.

Tonal Bliss said...

"...anyone can easily look up sources?"

Too hard for you because you never actually source them for me.

OperationCounterstrike said...

Not too hard--too boring, too time-consuming, too much like work. Besides, fact-checking me is a good learning-exercise for you.

Tonal Bliss said...

Thanks for the confidence booster.

Really, the only thing you're good at is making others feel bad about themselves.

Tonal Bliss said...

Do you really think people like talking to you? Let's see what you have done through the conversation with me:

1. You required me to look up sources while you sat back and did nothing to support your statements.

2. You state that when my own OB/GYN nursing instructor's (who has a Masters degree, and works in Labor and Delivery for a living) and an OB/GYN MD's statements are "anecdotal" when you state that what you have learned in your classes are settled and common fact. Some people call this a double standard.

3. When I asked you to cite sources you demean me by stating that "fact-checking me is a good learning-exercise for you." You think I'm stupid?

4. You have spoken in a very "stuck-up" tone. Maybe if you read your posts a couple of times through you might agree.

Heck, you even ignored my own apology for name-calling!

Can you see why some people do not like debating/talking with you? Can you at least consider changing some of your tactics when talking to people of opposing viewpoints? I know that I certainly can improve. Can you?

I believe that the better you present yourself when discussing points of disagreements, the better chance you have at being convincing. You need to be friendly. You need to prevent looking like the enemy. In this conversation, OC, you have looked like an enemy to me. That's not how I want to think about you, but it is still hard not to. It's harder to agree with an enemy than a friend.

OperationCounterstrike said...

RE: "You think I'm stupid?"

Du sagest.

RE: "Heck, you even ignored my own apology for name-calling!"

Because I don't much care if you call me names.

Tonal Bliss said...

It's spelled "sagst." Oh well.

OperationCounterstrike said...

SegaMon, not in Bach's time. I was quoting from the St. Matthew Passion:

"Judas: Bin ich's, Rabbi?
Evangelist: Er sprach zu ihm:
Jesus: Du sagest's."

See, for instance, here:

OperationCounterstrike said...

P. S. SegaMon, you're a moron.

Tonal Bliss said...

"SegaMon, you're a moron."

The Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Techs can't be wrong!

I guess not knowing that you cited a specific German translation of the Gospel of Matthew makes me a moron? Ok.

You'll never convince anyone if insults are the only thing you are good at.

OperationCounterstrike said...

It's not an insult; it's a diagnosis.

OperationCounterstrike said...

What makes you a moron is you assumed you knew better. A more appropriate approach for you would be: WHY did OC write sagest rather than sagst? With a little research you could have learned that older German retains the second syllable (as does English: "...He was bruisED for our iniquities").

Humility, that's what you need. You will not cease to be a moron until after you admit you are one.

Tonal Bliss said...

..."St. Matthew Passion"? You mean to say The Passion According to St. Matthew? Or is this something else?

Oh... a composition of Bach.

Not knowing that makes me ignorant, not a moron. :)

Tonal Bliss said...

"Humility, that's what you need. You will not cease to be a moron until after you admit you are one."

Are you one?

OperationCounterstrike said...

Why should I tell you?

Tonal Bliss said...

You accuse everyone else of being a moron, why not admit if you are one or not?

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:3

This is one reason why it is so difficult to discuss anything with you. You automatically believe that anything you say is right. Have a good day, OC.