Friday, May 31, 2013

Gosnell, Carhart, and the PBA Ban (Part 3)

In Part 1, I gave some background on post-viability abortions, which were invented by the Supreme Court in 1973. In Part 2, I described the advent of the procedure that came to be known as Partial Birth Abortion. 

Now let's look at the ban and what it meant for abortion practitioners.

A trained eye can see the impact of Martin Haskell's "D&X" presentation paper all over the Kermit Gosnell Grand Jury Report. After all, sticking a scissors in the base of a living baby's skull to kill it didn't originate with Gosnell. In fact, the Grand Jury Report itself says:
At one point in his Grand Jury testimony, Kermit Gosnell employee Steve Massof "tried to suggest that the clinic’s practice of cutting babies’ spinal cords was somehow part of a late-term procedure called intact dilation and extraction (IDX), commonly referred to as 'partial birth abortion' and banned under federal law since 2007."

That Gosnell saw what he was doing as a modified PBA is clearer when we come to another employee's testimony:
Kareema Cross testified that when she first started working at the clinic, in 2005, Gosnell slit the neck of every baby. But he subsequently told the workers that the law changed so that he could not do that anymore. .... Cross said that Gosnell then tried a few times to use a new procedure: He tried to inject a drug called digoxin into the fetus’s heart while it was in the womb. This was supposed to cause fetal demise in utero. But because Gosnell was not skillful enough to successfully administer digoxin, late-term babies continued to be born alive, and he continued to kill them by slitting their necks.
Clearly Gosnell was trying to work inside the law. He tried to modify his practice to be in compliance as he understood it, even though he was violating other laws left and right. 

While the Partial Birth Abortion Ban did at least result in an attempt to change procedures to something that would be slightly less painful for the baby, in Gosnell's case at least it ultimately had no effect. What's more had Gosnell managed to kill the baby while it was only partially born, he would have only been guilty of violating the Abortion Control Act, and not guilty of murder.

When Roe falls, the laws will have to be tightened up so that there will be no chance of an abortionist weaseling around.

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