During the third presidential debate, the two candidates argued about women’s rights, more precisely the right time when women can have partial-birth abortions. Trump was definitive in his belief that all abortions must be banished, while Clinton took a feminist stand, speaking on behalf of the US women. The Democrat was adamant, pointing out that there are some instances when such a procedure is needed to save the mother’s life or prevent the baby from having a difficult life dominated by a serious illness or deformity.
What Are Partial-Birth Abortions?
The notion was intensively discussed on Monday night, but it was never defined. Partial-birth abortion is a medical procedure during which, as the name describes, the baby is partially delivered and then aborted.
During a normal birth, the mother’s cervix dilates so that the head of the baby can come out. When a partial-birth abortion is being performed, the doctor turns the baby feet-first, pulls out the body and the arms, and then inserts a catheter into its spine, draining the brain and fluid.
The procedure makes the skull collapse, making it easier for the doctor to pull the rest of the dead baby out of the womb.
When Is This Procedure Performed?
Usually, the procedure is advised when the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy. In some rare instances, the mothers can develop serious heart or organ problems that could lead to their death if the pregnancy is not terminated.
Other reasons listed for this kind of procedure are genetic malformations of the child. In some instances, the disorders are fatal, the children only being alive for a couple of days after birth.
The Partial-Birth Abortions Ban Act
On the 5th of November 2003, the United States adopted The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that prohibits the practice, declaring it “a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.”
The procedure that is described in the statute only refers to abortions that are performed in the second trimester, from 15 to 26 weeks. After 26 weeks, the pregnancy becomes viable, and the procedure is strictly forbidden, no matter the health status of the mother.
Is It Ethic?
This was the question that sparked the debate. Unfortunately, if the procedure was only performed for emergency cases in the past, it would not have created such a controversy, but prior to the ban act, investigations showed that partial-birth abortions were performed for non-life-threatening conditions, thus enraging the public.
What is your stand on this medical matter?
Image source: Flickr