Dec 11, 2009
What follows is an attack on late-term abortion, not those hurt in its practice. The proper response to the men and women who have fearfully, ignorantly or mistakenly chosen to procure an abortion of any type is compassion and support, not public condemnation. Be assured, the ire of these words is directed only at the sin, in which we all participate to a certain degree on account of its social nature, not at those who have unfortunately succumbed to it. Abortion is always wrong, but we must keep in mind that it leaves more victims than the unborn in its wake. As in every case of our moral failings, we must hate the sin, not the sinner.
That said; I was appalled to read in the New York Times [12/4/09] that a colleague of Dr. Tiller, the Kansas abortion doctor who was shot to death last May, has agreed to provide late-term abortions at his clinic. Feeling called to take up Dr. Tiller’s bloody mantle, Dr. Carhart told NYT reporter Monica Davey, “There is a need and I feel deeply about it.” The need to which Dr. Carhart is referring is to remove a child from the womb late in his or her gestation period, namely beyond the point that a child may be able to survive outside of the womb if he or she were delivered prematurely.
To avoid the increased legal scrutiny that comes with late-term abortion, commonly referred to as partial-birth abortion due to the methods used most often to perform it, Dr. Carhart hides in the legal ambiguity of what exactly is the point of viability and what constitutes a threat to the life of the mother. Many state abortion laws include these two concepts without giving a clear description of either. The only place Dr. Carhart seems to admit to the difference in performing these highly controversial abortions is in his fee structure, which increases the later in pregnancy an abortion is performed. He seems to be willing to be honest about the difference when it comes to dollars and cents.
As the NYT article points out, many who support abortion in general are troubled by the practice of late-term or partial-birth abortion. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan put it best when he famously decried on the senate floor that partial-birth abortion is just “too close to infanticide” to allow. It seems impossible that a different conclusion could be reached by anyone who has reviewed the procedure, which involves vacuum suction of the brain of the partially delivered child.