It should really be called partial birth infanticide, though. It is performed late in pregnancy (after 20 weeks), often after the baby is able to survive outside of the womb (24 weeks is the generally accepted beginning of "viability", though occasionally a baby can defy that). The only part of the baby that is not delivered right away is the head, which is punctured, emptied, and then removed from the birth canal. As long as the head is in the birth canal, the infant doesn't breathe. They can't have it breathing, or else it would be a legal person.
The life and health of the mother is often cited as a reason for keeping this "Intact Dilation and Extraction" or "ID&X" procedure legal. Proponents say that it is safer than childbirth and carrying a risky pregnancy to term.
So.... a breech birth, which for otherwise healthy, wanted pregnancies is usually considered dangerous in and of itself, is better for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy than a complete delivery? Even though it is artificially induced, and involves sharp implements thrust into the baby's head while it is till inside the woman's body?
Call me ignorant and narrow minded, but just I don't get that.
So how many lives will this really save? Not as many as we like, but still many. The Guttmacher Institute (A research arm of Planned Parenthood) states:
That's an average of 1,448,275.862 in each of the years since the Roe decision. (For those who like rounded numbers, roughly 1.448 million per year.)
The Guttmacher institute also says Intact D&X procedures account for only 0.17% of all abortions. Doesn't sound like much.
But, if you do the math using the numbers cited above, that comes to 24,621 partial-birth abortions per year.
That's more than 700 times the lives violently taken at Virginia Tech this week.
It's over 24 thousand unborn human beings per year whose right to live was just upheld by the highest court in our nation. That's a lot of people.
What other bloggers are saying, often with useful links included:
Built on a Rock
Catholic Pro-Life Committee
Church of the Masses
Desperate Irish Housewife. (On a hysterical NYT editorial.)
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
The Curt Jester
Update: Planed Parenthood, which proudly names itself the largest abortion provider in the nation, is naturally upset about the impending loss of revenue it faces. Its press releases use language that imply that this ban applies to all second trimester abortions. While we in the pro-life movement wish this were true, it is not. The ban applies only to the procedure detailed above. Read about misconceptions such as this here.
Read the text of the law, as signed by President Bush here. It is searchable!
The text of the Supreme Court Opinions. (Massive PDF file. Have coffee ready.)