The dilation and extraction method of abortion (D & X) is in the news after a Brisbane doctor proposed using the method in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The medical doctor of Planned Parenthood Australia, Dr David Grundmann, is a proud proponent of late-term abortion, and particularly D & X abortion.
This procedure can be performed on unborn babies anywhere from 14 to 28 weeks old. Dr Grundmann thinks this is an especially good form of family planning because there is “no chance of delivering a live baby”.
The method is barbaric. The birth canal is dilated and the baby is turned. The abortionist pulls the baby out with forceps, delivering its body feet first, leaving the head inside. Brains are then sucked out of the live baby.
The difference between this procedure and homicide is about 6cm. If the head had also been taken out of the mother, the doctor would have a legal requirement to do all he could to save the child. But by leaving the head in, he can perform his “family planning” technique without fear of consequence. Because of the horrific nature of this killing, many American states have voted to outlaw the procedure. Concern about the pain and cruelty to the child is at the heart of the laws.
Recently the US House of Representatives and the US Senate voted to ban “partial-birth abortions”. (President Bill Clinton vetoed this, however.)
We now know without doubt that foetuses in the second trimester experience pain. For example, The Lancet recently reported unborn babies exhibit a full range of pain responses.
Bear in mind that the painful procedure is often performed on babies who are viable, i.e., who can survive an early birth. Indeed, premature babies respond to the soft touch of a nurse’s or mother’s hand. How much more the sharp cold scissors as they pierce his or her little neck?
“Ordinary” methods of abortion are equally painful. As John Noonan says, “The application of a sharp knife to the skin and the destruction of vital tissue cannot but be a painful experience for any sentient creature. It lasts for about 10 minutes.
“Hypertonic saline solution causes what is described as exquisite and severe pain if, by accident during an abortion, it enters subcutaneously the body of the woman having the abortion. It is inferable that the unborn would have an analogous experience lasting some two hours, as the saline solution takes about this long to work before the foetal heart stops.”
If animals experienced such pain, the outcry would be deafening. Animal Rights advocates such as Prof. Peter Singer would be the first to voice moral outrage. Yet when it comes to human suffering, there is only silence.
The pro-abortion lobby tries to cover up the facts. In the end, it all comes down to a question of values, of right and wrong. People such as Dr Grundmann and Herald Sun columnist Jill Singer have sought to limit the concept of personhood.
As commentator Mona Charen says, “The history of morality is the story of broadening, not limiting, our conception of who is a person. Is a slave a person? Our ancestors thought not. Is a woman a person? Not quite the way a man is, people used to think.
“Is a child a person? Under Roman law, the paterfamilias could kill his offspring with impunity. It is part of the Judea-Christian, as well as the humanist, tradition to insist that every human being – old or young, sick or well, and yes, wanted or unwanted, is a person.”