A number of years ago, the pro-life movement discovered the “partial birth abortion.”  This particular kind of abortion was developed by a physician in Ohio.  Basically, he would inject a needle into the head of the fetus and remove the contents so the head would shrink.  Then, he would bring the dead fetus down the birth canal.  He developed this procedure to mitigate the possible trauma that a large head could cause the woman. 

Not surprisingly, the pro-life movement reacted with horror, calling upon the Congress to ban its practice.  This procedure thus became the subject of great national debate for many years. 

Because there has always been a disconnect between the pro-choice organizations and the abortion clinics, pro-choice leaders were caught by surprise.  Suddenly, they were being forced to defend an actual abortion procedure and their first reaction was to “apologize.”     Their first response was that only a few hundred of these procedures were performed each year and that they were only done in “tragic” circumstances where the woman’s life was endangered or if there was a severe fetal abnormality. 

The problem was that what they were saying was not true. 

Ultimately, the press started doing their own research and newspapers like the Washington Post and the Bergen County Record learned that there were many more of these procedures being performed and most of them were performed in the late second trimester where there were no extenuating circumstances.   Ultimately, the shit hit the fan when a little-known pro-choice advocate talked frankly about the procedure, describing when the procedure was done and how many times, basically verifying the previous newspaper reports.  The pro-choice community, as you can imagine, was pissed – despite the fact that this pro-choice advocate had been giving them the facts about this procedure for over a year.  Despite his pleas to “fess up” about the procedure, they continued to tout the “it’s not done often and only in tragic circumstances” line. 

The revelations of this pro-choice advocate made the front page of every newspaper in the country, embarrassing his colleagues.  Suddenly, the pro-choice groups had to come up with a new argument because the pro-life movement was getting very close to passing the law banning this procedure.  So, the pro-choice groups switched gears and said that passage of the bill would expose most abortion doctors to criminal prosecution because the “partial birth abortion” was not clearly defined and the ban could extend to any kind of abortion procedure.    

Well, it is now over a decade since this issue was in the forefront of the national consciousness and the “partial birth abortion” procedure is now outlawed, the legislation having been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

And to this day not one abortion doctor has been prosecuted under this law. 

At the same time, not one abortion has been prevented by this law because abortion doctors who perform later abortions have other methods of terminating the pregnancy. 

And what was this furor all about?