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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abortion as it is.

This article is taken from :
http://www.justfacts.com/abortion.asp

Citation

“Abortion Facts.” By James D. Agresti. Just Facts, September 24, 2008. Revised 1/24/09. http://justfacts.com/abortion.asp

(This page contains comprehensive and scholarly details about the topic of abortion. For a more concise list of essential facts, click here. For an even shorter list of basic facts, click here.)

Finding what you want

» The footnotes contain detailed source documentation. Click the footnote numbers [1, 2, 3…] to access this content and click the browser “Back“ button to return to the same place in the main text.

Introductory Notes

One of the major battlegrounds for this issue concerns terminology. In keeping with our Standards of Credibility, the language used here is explanatory and precise. Hence, expressions such as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are replaced by words that articulate specific positions.

Perhaps the largest point of contention involving terminology is the label applied to what or who is being aborted. Those who think abortion should be generally illegal often use the terms “unborn child” and “unborn baby.” According to Webster’s College Dictionary and Black’s Medical Dictionary, the word “child” can apply prior to birth,[1] [2] but both of these sources employ the word “baby” only from the point of birth onwards.[3] [4] Those who think abortion should be generally legal often use the word “fetus,” a clinical term derived from a Latin word meaning “offspring” or “newly delivered.” [5] Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary defines a fetus as

the unborn offspring in the postembryonic period, after major structures have been outlined, in humans from nine weeks after fertilization until birth.[6]

In sum, when referring to humans, the words “fetus” and “fetal” are applicable from nine weeks after fertilization until birth.[7] [8] Yet, numerous major news organizations have misapplied these terms to both before and after this period.[9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] Furthermore, journalism guidelines disparage the use of medical jargon,[15] [16] [17] but journalists selectively employ it in their coverage of this issue. Despite widespread usage of “fetus,” the media commonly employs the word “mother” to refer to a pregnant woman and rarely, if ever, the more specific and clinical term “gravida.” [18] [19] Conversely, when the topic is not abortion, press outlets sometimes shun “fetus” and use words such as “baby” or “child” in its place.[20]

In accord with the common journalism standard to “never use … a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent,” [21] the term utilized by Just Facts to describe the object of an abortion is “preborn human.” This conveys reality in everyday language and is consistent with medical usage. For example, the embryology textbook, Before We Are Born - Essentials of Embryology and Birth Defects, states:

The zygote and early embryo are living human organisms.[22]

Similarly, another embryology textbook bears the title Human Life Before Birth and phrases such as “human in utero” and “human females… in utero” appear in creditable medical texts.[23] [24] [25] It would also be scientifically inconsistent to assert that a child born at 24 weeks after fertilization is a human, while one in womb at 37 weeks is not.

Note that unless otherwise stated, the word “abortion” is used here in the sense of an induced abortion; not a spontaneous one, which is also called a miscarriage.[26]

Science

* The average length of a full-term pregnancy is 38 weeks. Obstetricians normally use a figure of 40 weeks, but this is actually the time between the first day of the last menstrual period and childbirth. On average, the first day of the last menstrual period occurs 2 weeks before fertilization.[27] [28] [29]

* Following are facts about human development. They are organized according to the number of weeks since fertilization. Weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) are shown in parentheses.

Fertilization (2 weeks after LMP):

Fertilization normally takes place within one day of intercourse, but can occur up to six days later.[30] [31] At fertilization, the genetic composition of a preborn human is formed.[32] This genetic information determines gender, eye color, hair color, facial features, and influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.[33]

Genetically speaking, with the exception of identical twins,[34] [35] once a woman conceives a preborn human, the odds against her conceiving the same one again are greater than 10600 to one.[36] [37] For comparison, there are roughly 1080 atoms in the known universe.[38]

3 Weeks after Fertilization (5 weeks after LMP):

The eyes and spinal cord are visible and the developing brain has two lobes.[39] [40]

4 Weeks after Fertilization (6 weeks after LMP):

The heart is beating and a circulatory system is in place.[41] The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) and internal organs such as the lungs are beginning to develop and can be identified.[42]

7 Weeks after Fertilization (9 weeks after LMP):

Muscles and nerves begin working together. When the upper lip is tickled, the arms move backwards.[43] The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) has divided into hemispheres.[44]

[45]

9 Weeks after Fertilization (11 weeks after LMP):

More than 90% of the body structures found in a full-grown human are present. The medical classification changes from an embryo to a fetus. This dividing line was chosen by embryologists because from this point forward, most development involves growth in existing body structures instead of the formation of new ones.[46] [47] The preborn human moves body parts without any outside stimulation.[48]

10 Weeks after Fertilization (12 weeks after LMP):

All parts of the brain and spinal cord are formed. The heart pumps blood to every part of the body.[49] The whole body is sensitive to touch except for portions of the head. The preborn human makes facial expressions.[50]

11 Weeks after Fertilization (13 weeks after LMP):

[51]

12 Weeks after Fertilization (14 weeks after LMP):

Electrical signals from the nervous system are measurable. After an abortion, efforts to suckle will sometimes be observed.[52] [53]

13 Weeks after Fertilization (15 weeks after LMP):

Ultrasound Video [54]    Windows Media Player   Real Player

14 Weeks after Fertilization (16 weeks after LMP):

The preborn human makes coordinated movements of the arms and legs.[55]

16 Weeks after Fertilization (18 weeks after LMP):

The preborn human makes eye movements.[56]

[57]

18 Weeks after Fertilization (20 weeks after LMP):

The portion of the brain responsible for functions such as reasoning and memory (the cerebral cortex) has the same number of nerve cells as a full-grown adult.[58] [59]

Ultrasound Video [60]    Windows Media Player   Real Player

20 Weeks after Fertilization (22 weeks after LMP):

The preborn human sleeps, awakes and can hear sounds.[61]

[62]

Ultrasound Video (Heart) [63]  Windows Media Player   Real Player

Up through approximately this point in time, according to the Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a pregnant woman can abort at will. (More details in the section on Constitution and Law.)

24 Weeks after Fertilization (26 weeks after LMP):

The blink-startle reflex and taste buds are functional. The preborn human will swallow more amniotic fluid if a sweetener is added to it.[64] [65] The grip is strong enough to hold onto an object that is moving up and down.[66] If born and given specialized care, the survival rate is more than 80%.[67]

28 Weeks after Fertilization (30 weeks after LMP):

If exposed to an 85 decibel noise while sleeping (about as loud as a blender), preborn humans exhibit the “motor behaviors that accompany the crying state.” [68] [69] Premature infants born at this time are more sensitive to pain than infants who are born at 38 weeks, and infants who are born at 38 weeks are more sensitive to pain than infants at 3-12 months after birth.[70] [71]

If born and given specialized care, the survival rate is more than 95%.[72]

32 Weeks after Fertilization (34 weeks after LMP):


(Premature infant – 3 days after birth)

38 Weeks after Fertilization (40 weeks after LMP):

Average point in time when humans are born. At birth, the medical classification changes from a fetus to a neonate.[73] [74]

At any point prior to birth, according to the Supreme Court’s rulings in Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a pregnant woman can abort to preserve her “health.” One example from Roe v. Wade of what may be considered harmful to a mother’s health is the work of caring for a child. (More details in the section on Constitution and Law.)

Politics and Taxpayer Funding

└ Party Platforms

* The 2008 Democratic Party Platform states that abortion should be generally legal, supports the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, and supports the use of taxpayer funding to perform abortions. The platform also states that the Democratic Party

strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care, parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.[75]

* The Republican Party Platform states that abortion should be generally illegal and supports a Constitutional Amendment that would assure preborn humans the right to life. It opposes “using public revenues to promote or perform abortion” and states

We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. … Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life.[76]

└ Constitutional Amendments

* Since 1989, several Democrats including Jim Oberstar of Minnesota have sponsored at least 11 resolutions proposing a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee preborn humans the right to life, all of them containing an exception to protect the life of the mother.[77]

* Since 1989, several Republicans including Ann Emerson of Missouri have sponsored at least 23 resolutions proposing a Constitutional Amendment that would guarantee preborn humans the right to life, all of them containing an exception to protect the life of the mother. Six of these resolutions also include exceptions for cases of rape and incest.[78]

└ Advocacy Groups

* The National Right to Life Political Action Committee has endorsed John McCain for president and stated that it “strongly opposes Barack Obama.” [79]

* The National Right to Life Committee has praised Sarah Palin, described her candidacy as thrill[ing], and disapproved of Joe Biden.[80] Sarah Palin is a member of Feminists for Life,[81] an organization “dedicated to systemically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion…” [82]

* The Political Action Committee of NARAL Pro-Choice America (formerly the National Abortion Rights Action League) has endorsed Barack Obama for President and given his voting record a 100% rating for the years 2005-2007.[83] It has given John McCain’s voting record a 0% rating for the years 2002-2007.[84]

* NARAL has stated that they have “have a longstanding relationship” with Joe Biden “that is open, positive, and constructive…” [85] For the past five years, NARAL has scored Biden’s voting record as follows: 75%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 36%.[86] NARAL has described Sarah Palin’s candidacy as “especially troublesome.” [87]

└ Politicians

* In interviews conducted in August 2008, John McCain and Barack Obama were asked, “At what point does a baby get human rights?”

Barack Obama responded in part:

I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.[88] [89]

John McCain responded in part:

At the moment of conception.[90]

* In January 2008, the following message from John McCain was read at a “March for Life” in Washington, D.C.:

I pledge to you to be a loyal and unswerving friend of the right-to-life movement. [91]

* Seven months later, McCain stated that he would not necessarily rule out selecting a running mate who generally supports legalized abortion.[92]

* In April 2007, John McCain told ABC News that “he still wants to change the GOP’s abortion platform to explicitly recognize exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.” [93]

* In response to a 1998 questionnaire that asked if he supported the “complete reversal of Roe vs. Wade,” John McCain answered “Yes.” [94] [95]

* One year afterwards John McCain stated:

I’d love to see a point where [Roe v. Wade] is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.[96]

* A few days later he issued a clarifying statement:

I have always believed in the importance of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, and as president, I would work toward its repeal. . . . But that . . . must take place in conjunction with a sustained effort to reduce the number of abortions performed in America.[97]

* John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign web site states:

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned…, returning the abortion question to the individual states. … Once the question is returned to the states, … faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations ... can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level.[98]

* Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have voiced support for Roe v. Wade and stated that this would be reflected in their appointments to the Supreme Court.[99] [100] [101] They have also stated that they support a ban on late term abortions, but only with an exception for the “health” of the mother.[102] [103]

* In a July 2008 interview, Obama was asked to clarify his position on late-term abortions and stated:

I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that mental distress qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.[104]

* A few days later, a reporter asked for clarification of these remarks and Obama responded that late-term abortion bans must have an exception for “serious clinical mental health diseases,” but this does not mean that “if a woman just doesn’t feel good then that is an exception. That’s never been the case.” He also stated:

It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don’t think that’s how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don’t think that’s how the courts have interpreted it and I think that’s important to emphasize and understand.[105]

* The Roe v. Wade verdict provides several examples of what may constitute a risk the health of the mother. These include the “stigma of unwed motherhood” and the “distress”  “associated with the unwanted child.” Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which were issued by the Supreme Court on the same day with the order that they “are to be read together,” mandate that abortion be legal up until the point of birth if any one physician willing to perform an abortion decides it is necessary to preserve a mother’s health.[106] [107] (More details in the section on Constitution and Law.)

* Speaking before a Planned Parenthood national conference in July 2007, Barack Obama stated: “I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law. … On this fundamental issue, I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield.” [108] [109] When asked what he do to “ensure access to abortion” and make certain his judicial nominees are “true to the core tenets of Roe v. Wade,” he stated:

Well, the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.[110]

* The Freedom of Choice Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April 2007 by 13 Democrats including Barbara Boxer (California), Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey) and Max Baucus (Montana).[111] One month later, Barack Obama signed on as a cosponsor.[112] Its stated objective is to “protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman’s freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy…” It would invalidate “every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice” that interferes with the termination of any “pregnancy prior to viability” and any pregnancy “after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.” [113]

* On the same day this bill was introduced in the Senate, a bill with the same name and parallel verbiage was introduced in the House of Representatives.[114] It currently has 108 sponsors (107 Democrats and one Republican).[115] [116] The Senate bill currently has 20 sponsors (19 Democrats and one Independent).[117]

* In May 2005, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party stated:

We’d like to make abortion rare. You know that abortions have gone up 25 percent since George Bush was president? … There are not many of us who want to see the abortion rate continue to go up as it has under President Bush.[118]

* According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, an organization whose “Guiding Principles” includes support for legalized abortion,[119] [120] the total number of abortions, the number of abortions per women of reproductive age, and the number of abortions per pregnancy each declined every year between 2001 (when Bush took office) and 2005 (the last year for which numbers are available). The total declines of this period are as follows:

- Reported Abortions: 6%

- Abortions per Women of Reproductive Age: 7%

- Abortions per Pregnancy: 8% [121]

* In June 2008, Howard Dean stated that the Democratic Party “believes that we ought to significantly reduce the number of abortions in this country.” A reporter asked Dean how he could reconcile this assertion with the party’s support for taxpayer funding of abortions. Dean replied it is “total nonsense” that public funding of abortions increases the abortion rate.[122]

* According to the Guttmacher Institute:

A 1994-1995… survey of abortion patients found that in states where Medicaid pays for abortions, women covered by Medicaid have an abortion rate 3.9 times that of women who are not covered, while in states that do not permit Medicaid funding for abortions, Medicaid recipients are only 1.6 times as likely as nonrecipients to have abortions.[123]

* Barack Obama’s presidential campaign web site states that “Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans.” [124] This plan includes taxpayer funding of abortions.[125]

└ Judicial Appointments

* The President of the United States appoints judges to the Supreme Court. These appointments must be approved by a majority of the Senate.[126] Senate rules allow for a “filibuster,” in which a vote to approve a judge can be blocked unless 60 of the Senate’s 100 members agree to let it take place.[127] [128]

* Once seated, federal judges serve for life unless they voluntarily resign or are removed through impeachment, which requires a majority vote of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate.[129]

* For implications relating to the appointment and approval of judges, see the section on Constitution and Law.

└ American Civil Liberties Union

* The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supports the use of taxpayer funding to perform abortions. In making its case for this position, the ACLU website poses the following rhetorical question:

What about those who are morally or religiously opposed to abortion?

And answers:

Our tax dollars fund many programs that individual people oppose.[130]

* The ACLU is opposed to taxpayer funded school choice programs. One of their arguments for this stance is:

School voucher schemes would force all taxpayers to support religious beliefs and practices with which they may strongly disagree.[131]

Women’s Health

└ Deaths from Legal and Illegal Abortions

* The website of Planned Parenthood states:

In the two decades before abortion was legal in the United States, nearly one million women went “underground” each year for illegal operations. Thousands died for lack of medical care.[132]

* No sources are cited for the statements above. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, whose death statistics from legal abortions have been accepted and used by Planned Parenthood,[133] [134] [135]  in the year before Roe v. Wade (1972), there were 39 deaths from illegal abortions. In the year after Roe v. Wade (1974), there were 26 deaths from legal abortions.[136]

* The following three graphs were constructed to discern an effect of Roe v. Wade on the collective rate of legal and illegal abortion-related deaths:

[137]

* In 1988, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that the coding system used to classify pregnancy-related deaths “precludes a determination of the real causes of maternal death.” [138] Hence, the graph below was constructed to show the incidence of all pregnancy-related deaths.

[139]

* In 1988, the CDC reported that the coding system used to classify deaths in general is inadequate because only a single code is assigned to each death, but “several factors may contribute to a death.” [140] Hence, the graph below was constructed to show the death rate from all causes for women of reproductive age.

[141]

└ Accuracy of Statistics

* A Fact Sheet published by Planned Parenthood states that

the risk of death associated with childbirth is about 10 times as high as that associated with all abortion (Christiansen & Collins, 2006).[142]

* “Christiansen & Collins, 2006” contains no information about the risk of death associated with abortion or childbirth. It contains figures for the risk of death “once a woman has become pregnant” as compared to the number of live childbirths in the U.S. These figures are not broken down to show abortion or childbirth-related deaths.[143]

* Citing data from the CDC, a previous version of the same Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet states that the “risk of death associated with childbirth is about 10 times as high as that associated with abortion.” [144] [145] [146]

* The CDC has reported the following information about the data it provides for pregnancy-related deaths:

- Codes placed by individual doctors on death certificates are the “core source” of identifying pregnancy-related deaths. (2001) [147] (2005) [148]

- No “single source of information captures all pregnancy-related deaths” because of inadequate physician training and knowledge in filling out death certificates, medical records that “fail to indicate that the events leading to death began with pregnancy,” and “medical and autopsy records that cannot be located or are not available for review.” (2001) [149]

- “Death certificates alone may not provide adequate information on the sequence of events that led to death. Ultimately a single code is assigned to classify the underlying cause of death. Often, however, several factors may contribute to a death; therefore, the death cannot be adequately described with a unidimensional code.” (1988) [150]

- The second most common method of identifying pregnancy-associated deaths is “computerized linking of deaths among women of reproductive age with birth certificates and fetal death certificates.” (2005) [151] In four cases in which this has been done, the number of pregnancy-related fatalities identified increased by 30%, 68%, 129% and 153%. (2001) [152]

- One state out of 50 provides information that can be used to link abortion data to computerized death records. (2001) [153]

- The “coding system used by national vital statistics and states to describe maternal deaths… precludes a determination of the real causes of maternal death.” (1988) [154]

- “In most cases, the state is the level at which pregnancy-related deaths are reviewed…” (2001) [155]

- States are not required to report their abortion data to the CDC and privacy agreements with certain states require “strict confidentiality” on abortion-related fatality data. (2008) [156] [157]

* A 2002 national survey of physicians found that 98% think the reporting of medical practice errors is obstructed due to fear of lawsuits.[158]

* From 1989 through 1992, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported zero abortion-related deaths in the state of Maryland.[159] [160] [161] [162]

* During 1989 in the state of Maryland:

- Erica Kae Richardson (16 years-old) was admitted to an emergency room on March 1st with a punctured uterus from an abortion carried out earlier that day at a clinic in Laurel, Maryland. She died shortly after midnight on March 2nd.[163] [164] [165] [166]

- Paramedics arrived at an abortion clinic in Suitland, Maryland on July 12th to find Debra M. Gray (34 years-old) in cardiac arrest after being administered anesthesia without the presence of an anesthesiologist. She was taken to a hospital and died three days later.[167]

- Paramedics arrived at an abortion clinic in Suitland, Maryland on September 10th to find Susanne Renee Logan (32 years-old) in cardiac arrest with an oxygen mask placed upside down on her face. It was found that she had been given anesthesia without the presence of an anesthesiologist, and when she reacted to it, was given another drug not indicated to mitigate the effects of the anesthesia. The paramedics resuscitated Ms. Logan, she stayed in a coma for four months, and was generally paralyzed until her death in 1992.[168] [169] [170]

- Gladys Estanislao, a 28-year-old college student, was found lifeless on a bathroom floor 17 days after undergoing an abortion procedure at a clinic in Bethesda, Maryland. Her autopsy revealed that the pregnancy was not in her womb, but in her fallopian tube, which caused it to rupture and resulted in her death.[171] [172] [173] This condition, called an ectopic pregnancy, is screened by a blood test or ultrasound, has a mortality rate of 1 in 2,000, and is typically diagnosed on the first visit to a gynecologist.[174] [175] [176]

* In 1987, the New York City Commissioner of Health wrote a letter to abortion clinics warning them to be careful about using too much anesthesia. The letter stated:

During the period between 1981 and 1984, there were 30 legal abortion-related deaths in New York City.[177]

* For the same time period, the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health reported a total of 42 legal abortion-related deaths in the United States.[178]

* If both of these numbers are accurate, it would mean that 71% of the legal abortion-related deaths in the United States occurred in one city where about 3% of the population lived.[179]

└ Effects on Future Pregnancies

* An “Abortion Services” page on Planned Parenthood’s website states:

Abortion DOES NOT …

• Cause premature birth, birth defects or low infant birth weight in future pregnancies

• Increase the chance of infant death in the future [180]

* A 2007 paper in The Journal of Reproductive Medicine cites 59 studies that exhibit a statistically significant association between abortion and the risk of premature births in subsequent pregnancies. In five of the largest and more recent of these studies, all found increases in premature births before 32 weeks gestation in women who had an abortion. All of these studies also found that this risk escalated when more than one abortion was performed.[181] Children born before 32 weeks gestation are at increased risks for early death, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and other health complications.[182]

└ Emotional Health

* The website of Planned Parenthood states:

Serious emotional problems after abortion are much less likely than they are after giving birth.[183]

* A different page on the website of Planned Parenthood states:

Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as common as they are after childbirth.[184] [185]

* Another page on the website of Planned Parenthood states:

Beware of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that are anti-abortion. … [They] will lie to you about the medical and emotional effects of abortion.[186]

* The country of Finland has socialized medicine and keeps detailed health records of its citizens.[187] A search of these records over the years 1987-1994 found that 1,347 women of reproductive age (15-49 years old) committed suicide. A 1996 study of this data found that women who had an abortion were about 5.9 times more likely to commit suicide in the year following this event than women who delivered a child:

Events within the last year of the woman’s life

Annual Suicide Rate
per 100,000

Delivered a child

5.9

Had an abortion

34.7

[188]

* The State of California pays the costs of childbirths and abortions for low income women. A study of 173,279 California women who had a state funded childbirth or abortion in 1989 found that 53 of them committed suicide within eight years of their childbirth or abortion. A 2002 study of this data found that women who had an abortion were about 2.5 times more likely to commit suicide in the eight years following this event than women who delivered a child:

Events in woman’s life from 1989-1997

8-Year Suicide Rate
per 100,000

Delivered a child

24.9

Had an abortion

62.8

[189]

* In 2008, the Los Angles Times reported:

Several studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals suggest that women who have had abortions are more prone to depression or drug abuse. But the research does not prove cause and effect, [said Nada Stotland, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association]. It may be, she said, that women who have abortions are more emotionally unstable in the first place.[190]

* The California study cited above controlled for mental disorders by eliminating those women who had been treated for a psychiatric problem in the year prior to their childbirth or abortion. When this was done, it was found that women who had an abortion were about 3.3 times more likely to commit suicide in the eight years following this event than women who delivered a child:

Events in woman’s life from 1989-1997

8-Year Suicide Rate
per 100,000

Delivered a child

19.1

Had an abortion

63.0

[191]

Media

└ Terminology

* In October 2001, The Society of Professional Journalists, “the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization,” [192] adopted “Diversity Guidelines” reaffirming “their commitment” to use “language that is informative and not inflammatory.” These guidelines state that it is “misleading” to use “word combinations” such as “Islamic terrorist” or “Muslim extremist” “because they link whole religions to criminal activity.” The same document states:

When writing about terrorism, remember to include white supremacist, radical anti-abortionists and other groups with a history of such activity.[193]

* In April of 2007 at a Republican “Unity Dinner” in Iowa, John McCain stated:

… I have a steadfast and strong advocacy and voting record in support of the rights of the unborn.[194]

* At the same event, Mike Huckabee stated:

I’m not late in declaring that I believe life begins at conception and that we ought to protect human life… [195]

* In an article about this event in the New York Times written by Adam Nagourney, it is stated that John McCain and Mike Huckabee “presented themselves as lifelong opponents of abortion rights.” Four times in this article, candidates are characterized as opponents of abortion rights and never as supporters of rights for the unborn.[196]

* Media phraseology:

Phrase:

“opponent(s) of…

Number of times phrase was used in

New York Times (1981-current)

Washington Post

(1987-current)

Associated Press

(1982-current)

abortion rights” [197]

151

44

61

gun rights” [198]

1

0

1

property rights” [199]

0

0

0

parental rights” [200]

0

0

0

individual rights” [201]

0

6

1

states’ rights” [202]

0

0

0

religious rights” [203]

0

0

0

[204]

* Melloni’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary defines “partial-birth abortion” as follows:

Common term for termination of a late pregnancy with a breech presentation [feet facing downward instead of the head]. Labor is induced by conventional methods; the cervix is widely dilated and delivery is expedited by evacuating the cranial contents with a suction catheter, then compressing the cranium.[205]

* Official policy of the American Medical Association:

The term ‘partial birth abortion’ is not a medical term. The AMA will use the term “intact dilatation and extraction” (or intact D&X)… [206]

* The American Medical Association’s Manual of Style states:

During an interview [with the news media], authors should avoid use of medical/scientific jargon, acronyms… [207]

* On the television show “NOW with Bill Moyers,” PBS journalist Brenda Breslauer stated:

The term “partial birth abortion” was invented by the anti-abortion community to describe a procedure in which a fetus is partially delivered outside the womb. Doctors don’t even use the term.[208]

* The book, English for Journalists, states that medical literature is a “common source” of jargon and:

If you write for a newspaper or general magazine you should try to translate jargon into ordinary English whenever you can.[209]

* A 2005 house editorial in the Chicago Tribune uses the term “intact dilation and extraction” to identify “certain late-term abortions.” It does not contain the term “partial birth” and provides no description of the procedure.[210]

* The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage states:

When writing for a lay audience or the general public, a writer should use jargon only when necessary and define it carefully. Where plain English serves equally well, it should be used instead.[211] [212]

└ Accuracy

* Roe v. Wade and its accompanying ruling, Doe v. Bolton, mandate that abortion be legal up until the point of birth if any one physician willing to perform an abortion decides it is necessary to preserve a mother’s health.[213] [214]

* In January 2002, the Gallup polling organization reported:

If Roe v. Wade is presented only as legalizing abortion in the first three months, support for the decision is much higher than if it is characterized as making abortion legal throughout pregnancy or for any reason.[215]

* Since this time, the Associated Press, Quinnipiac University, the Pew Research Center, NBC News, the Wall Street Journal, and Harris Poll have all conducted polls in which they characterized Roe v. Wade as making abortion legal in the first “three months of pregnancy.” [216]

* In three articles published by the Associated Press in 2007 and 2008, it is asserted that the United States “permits abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.” [217] Media outlets that carried one or more of these stories include ABC, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News, Yahoo News, AOL News, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post and more than 50 other local, state, national and international publications.[218]

* In July 2000, Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s “award-winning legal affairs correspondent” stated:

Third-trimester abortions are banned in every state except to save the life and the health of the mother.[219] [220]

* In an October 2003 house editorial, the Washington Post stated that

most states already bar abortions after the point of viability, unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother… [221]

* None of the news items cited above mention that “health,” as defined by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, can include circumstances such as the “stigma of unwed motherhood” and the “distress” “associated with the unwanted child.” [222] [223] (More details in the section on Constitution and Law.)

* In 1987, Republican President Ronald Reagan asked his Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop, to prepare a “comprehensive report” concerning “the health effects of abortion on women.” [224]

* In 1989, Koop wrote a letter to Reagan stating that he and the staff people in several Public Health Agencies reviewed almost 250 studies and found that each had flaws which prevented them from drawing “scientifically sound conclusions.” [225]

* That evening, Peter Jennings of ABC News reported:

A new report by the Surgeon General concludes that abortion causes little if any physical or emotional harm to women.

Dan Rather of CBS News reported:

Surgeon General C. Everett Koop…reportedly concluded that a woman who has an abortion suffers little if any physical or emotional harm from the experience.

Tom Brokaw of NBC News reported:

Koop reports he has not found conclusive evidence that abortions have harmful psychological effects on the women who have them, but Koop found that there is a whole segment of the population that says, quote, “the best thing that happened to me was my abortion.” [226]

* Koop’s letter did not state what Jennings, Rather, or Brokaw said it did. It stated:

[T]here are almost 250 studies reported in the scientific literature which deal with the psychological aspects of abortion. All of these studies were reviewed and the more significant studies were evaluated by staff in several of the Agencies of the Public Health Service against appropriate criteria and were found to be flawed methodologically. In their view and mine, the data do not support the premise that abortion does or does not cause or contribute to psychological problems. …

… [I]n spite of a diligent review on the part of many in the Public Health Service and in the private sector, the scientific studies do not provide conclusive data about the health effects of abortion on women. (Click for full text of letter.)

└ Perspective

* In 1985, the Los Angeles Times polled 3,165 newspaper reporters and editors working at 621 newspapers. It found that approximately 85% were in favor of abortion being generally legal. The same poll found that 51% of the general public were in favor of abortion being generally legal.[227]

* In December 2001, Hal Bruno, the former political director of ABC News, was asked what percentage of people at ABC News were “pro-choice.” He replied:

Well, we have a tremendous number of women that have come into journalism in the last 20 years … and most women tend to be pro-choice.[228]

* Below are the results of a Gallup poll done 6 months before the interview:

Statement

Women Who Agree

Men Who Agree

Abortion should be legal under any circumstances

28%

23%

Abortion should be legal in most circumstances

14%

15%

Abortion should be legal in only a few circumstances

40%

43%

Abortion should be illegal in all circumstances

15%

16%

[229]

* A Zogby poll done about a year before the interview asked people if they agreed with the following statements:

Statement

Women Who Agree

Men Who Agree

Abortion destroys a human life and is manslaughter

51%

51%

Abortion does not destroy a life and is not manslaughter

33%

37%

[230]

* In the same interview, Bruno stated:

I’d say a majority of the people who work in the news, not just at ABC, but who work in the news, are pro-choice. But I think a majority of the country probably is pro-choice, too.[231]

* Four months prior to the interview, Gallup conducted a poll which found:

- 46% of Americans consider themselves to be pro-choice.

- 46% of Americans consider themselves to be pro-life.[232]

Parental Consent & Notification

└ State Laws

* As of June 2008:

- 24 states have a law in effect that requires parental consent for a minor to have an abortion.[233]

- 3 states have a parental consent law that is blocked by a court order or ruling.[234]

- 11 states have a law in effect that requires parental notification for a minor to have an abortion.[235]

- 4 states have a parental notification law that is blocked by a court order or ruling.[236]

- 8 states have no laws requiring parental consent or notification for abortions.[237]

* In the State of New Hampshire, it is against the law for anyone under 18 years of age to get a body piercing unless their parent or guardian is physically present when it is performed and signs a consent form.[238]

* In the State of New Jersey, it is against the law for anyone under 18 years of age to get a tattoo or body piercing without written consent from their parent or legal guardian.[239]

* In the State of California, it is against the law for anyone under 18 years of age to use a tanning machine without written consent from their parent or legal guardian.[240]

* In New Hampshire, New Jersey and California, it is legal for a girl of any age to get an abortion without her parent’s consent or knowledge.[241] [242] [243]

└ Politics

* A 2005 CBS poll found that 80% of the public was in favor of “requiring that at least one parent be told before a girl under 18 years of age could have an abortion.” A 2005 FOX News poll found 78% support for the same measure and 72% support for requiring minors “to get permission or consent” from a parent or guardian before having an abortion.[244]

* In 1996, Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate campaign completed a candidate questionnaire and then resubmitted it with amended answers on the following day. In response to the question, “Do you support parental consent/notification for minors seeking abortions?”, the answers were:

No.[245] (9/9/96)

Depends on how young — possibly for extremely young teens, i.e. 12 or 13 year olds.[246] (9/10/96)

* When these questionnaires were published by Politico.com during the 2008 Presidential contest, Obama’s campaign asserted that a staffer filled them out and some of the responses do not reflect Obama’s views.[247] [248]

* Both of the questionnaires contain answers written in first person voice (e.g., “I strongly favor,” “I support it”). The first has a cover sheet that specifies a “Date of Interview” and “Place of Interview.” [249] The second has notes in what appear to be Obama’s handwriting on the first page.[250] In response to these revelations, Obama’s presidential campaign wrote:

He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn’t change the fact that some answers didn’t reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do.[251]

* On a 2001 vote in the Illinois Senate for a parental notification bill, Barack Obama voted “Present.” [252] [253]

* Illinois Senate rules state that “a majority of those elected” (30 Senators) must vote in favor of a bill for it to pass. Thus, a vote of “Present” has the same result as a vote of “No.” [254]

* With regard to Obama voting “Present” on this and other abortion-related bills, Pam Sutherland, the president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council stated:

We at Planned Parenthood view those as leadership votes. We worked with him specifically on his strategy. … A “present” vote was hard to pigeonhole which is exactly what Obama wanted. What it did was give cover to moderate Democrats who wanted to vote with us but were afraid to do so. A “present” vote would protect them. Your senator voted “present.” Most of the electorate is not going to know what that means.[255] [256]

* In response to a 2004 candidate questionnaire that asked, “Do you support parental … notification or consent to obtain an abortion?”, Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign answered:

Regarding parental notification, I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse.[257]

* The 2001 parental notification bill on which Obama voted “Present” had bypass provisions for “sexual abuse,” “neglect,” “physical abuse,” and cases where notification “would not be in the best interests of the minor.” [258] [259]

* In response to a 2007 candidate questionnaire asking if minors should “be required to seek their parents” consent before having an abortion, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign did not explicitly answer the question and stated that

most parental consent bills that come before Congress or state legislatures criminalize adults who attempt to help a young woman in need and lack judicial bypass and other provisions that would permit exceptions in compelling cases.[260]

* Every one of the 35 states with a parental consent or notification law in effect has a bypass provision that permits exceptions in various circumstances such as when notifying a parent not be in a “minor’s best interests.” This is also the case with a Congressional bill that Obama filibustered. Six of the seven states with a parental consent or notification law blocked by a court order or ruling have similar bypass provisions. The one exception is New Mexico, which has a 1969 law on its books that the state attorney general ruled unenforceable in 1990.[261] [262] [263]

* The Democratic Party Platform makes no explicit reference to parental consent or notification laws.[264] The Republican Party Platform supports parental notification laws and makes no explicit reference to parental consent laws.[265]

* John McCain is a cosponsor of a bill to prohibit transporting minors across state lines to circumvent state laws that require parental involvement in a minor’s abortion.[266]

* Sarah Palin supports parental consent legislation and when Alaska’s Supreme Court struck down such a statute in a 3-2 decision, she backed a constitutional amendment aimed at restoring it.[267] [268] [269] The only Supreme Court appointee Palin has had the opportunity to select replaced one of the justices who voted to strike down this law.[270] [271]

* In September 2008, Newsweek published a “Web Exclusive” written by Katie Paul entitled:

Family Matters: On Gov. Sarah Palin’s watch, Alaska liberalized its abortion laws.

This 1,250 word article mentions one law that was liberalized in Alaska during Sarah Palin’s tenure. This was the parental consent law struck down by Alaska’s Supreme Court.[272]

└ Becky Bell

* On September 16, 1988, 17-year-old Rebecca Suzanne Bell of Indianapolis, Indiana was admitted to a hospital with pneumonia and suffered a fatal cardiopulmonary arrest that night.[273] During her autopsy, “evidence of recent pregnancy with recent partial abortion” was discovered. The “cause of death” listed on the autopsy report is “Septic Abortion with Pneumonia” and the “manner of death” as “Undetermined.” [274] According to Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary, a “septic abortion” is a “spontaneous or induced abortion associated with bacterial infection…,” and pneumonia is “a disease of the lungs … that is caused especially by infection.” [275] [276]

* Indiana had (and has) a parental consent law in effect.[277] [278] According to a receipt from a local Planned Parenthood and Becky’s friend Heather Clark, the two of them visited Planned Parenthood, where it was suggested that Becky travel 100 miles to Kentucky to circumvent the Indiana law.[279] [280]

* Heather Clark stated that Becky chose not to tell her parents about the pregnancy because she was recently hospitalized with a drug problem and thought that they would kick her out of the house if they knew she was pregnant.[281] Ms. Clark also stated that after she and Becky went to Planned Parenthood, Becky wavered about having an abortion and considered running away and putting the baby up for adoption.[282] [283]

* The county coroner (who did not perform the autopsy and is now deceased[284]) told Becky’s parents that she had died from pneumonia and the source of the infection was an illegal abortion performed with unsterile instruments.[285] [286] [287] Her parents came to blame Becky’s death on Indiana’s parental consent law.[288] This led to media attention and Becky’s parents embarking on a speaking tour of 23 states with an advocacy group to lobby against parental involvement laws.[289] [290] [291]

* Since this time, Becky Bell’s case has been cited as an argument against parental consent laws on 60 Minutes,[292] ABC News,[293] CNN’s Larry King Live,[294] in the magazines Seventeen, Rolling Stone,[295] Newsweek,[296] in an American Civil Liberties Union pamphlet,[297] and in an original HBO movie named “Public Law 106: The Becky Bell Story.” [298] In the last three years, this argument has been repeated in at least 13 different publications including a legal journal.[299] [300] [301] [302] When a parental notification law was put on the ballot in Oregon in 1990, polls found opposition to it at 22%. After Becky’s parents toured the state appearing at rallies and on television and talk shows, the measure was defeated with 52% voting against it.[303]

* Around the time that the Becky’s parents appeared on 60 Minutes,[304] James A. Miller, the research director of an organization dedicated to “promot[ing] and defend[ing] the sanctity of life,” [305] corresponded several times with Dr. Jesse Giles, the author of the autopsy report and one of two pathologists who signed it.[306] In an editorial published in the Baltimore Evening Sun and in a press release, Miller wrote that Giles said:

- He used word “abortion” on the autopsy report in the sense of a spontaneous abortion (i.e., miscarriage[307]); not an induced abortion.

- He was “astounded” that 60 Minutes and Becky’s parents “would assert that my (autopsy) report proves that there was an instrumented, illegal abortion.”

- He did not write the word “septic” on the autopsy report. Another pathologist placed the word “septic” in front of the word “abortion” on the report’s cover page.[308] [309]

* When contacted by Just Facts, Dr. Giles refused to answer any questions.[310]

* The other pathologist who signed the autopsy report was Dr. John Pless. He supervised the autopsy, as Dr. Giles was a fellow in training at the time.[311] In a 1990 newspaper article, Dr. Pless is quoted as stating, “I cannot prove she had anything but a spontaneous abortion [i.e., miscarriage],” but that he found evidence of infection in Becky’s reproductive system, and thus it seemed probable that an induced abortion was performed.[312]

* The description of the reproductive system in the autopsy report contains no mention of an infection.[313]

* When contacted by Just Facts, Dr. Pless confirmed his view as quoted above and stated that the “same micro-organism” that caused the pneumonia “was cultured in the uterus and the lung.” [314] When it was pointed out the autopsy report contains a list of “Specimens for Culture” which does not include the uterus,[315] he said his memory may be faulty, but “the only possible source of the infection was the uterus” because there “was no upper airway disease - so the only possibility was spread from the uterus.” [316] [317]

* When it was mentioned to Dr. Pless that:

- a 2006 paper in the Journal of Medical Microbiology states that the type of bacteria found in Becky’s lungs exists in various strains that selectively infect specific body tissues and not others,[318] [319]

- two recent medical texts indicate that the type of pneumonia Becky had is typically preceded by (not accompanied by) mild upper airway disease,[320] [321]

and hence, the absence of upper airway disease does not indicate the bacteria did not enter through the upper airway, he responded:

I suppose that you could make an argument for almost anything. … I have no reason to modify the report.[322]

* The HBO movie cited above shows Becky going with a friend to obtain an illegal abortion.[323] [324] All primary sources researched for this case contain no testimony or documentation of such an event. This includes the coroner’s report,[325] autopsy report,[326] Becky’s mother’s written account,[327] and an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in which the reporter quotes Becky’s father and her “closest friend” Heather Clark. Ms. Clark, who accompanied Becky to Planned Parenthood, told the reporter that Becky did not have an induced abortion. She also said that when she visited Becky (four days after she had gotten sick and the night before she passed on), Becky asked her to schedule an abortion in Louisville, Kentucky for two days later.[328]

Events in the week prior to Becky’s death (as reported in the coroner’s report, autopsy report, Becky’s mother’s written account, and Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Sunday

12:45 AM

Becky comes home from a party and says she thinks someone put cocaine or speed in her drink and that she feels like she’s “got the flu like Dad.” [329] [330]

Tuesday

Becky faints.[331]

Wednesday

Becky stays home from school and develops a 104 fever. Her parents try to take her to the doctor, but Becky resists and they relent.[332] [333] [334]

Thursday PM

Heather Clark visits Becky, and Becky asks her to schedule an abortion in Kentucky on Saturday.[335]

Friday

Becky starts bleeding and tells her Mom. Becky agrees to go a doctor, who diagnoses her with pneumonia and sends her to the hospital, arriving at 4 PM.[336] [337] [338]

Friday PM

The doctor says to Becky’s family: “We don’t know if we can save the baby.” [339] 11:29 PM: Becky passes on.[340]

└ Erica Richardson

* In March 1989, six months after Becky Bell’s death, 16-year-old Erica Kae Richardson of Cheltenham, Maryland was assisted by her aunt in obtaining an abortion without her mother’s consent or knowledge. Erica’s aunt, a registered nurse, first took her to Washington Hospital Center, which would not perform the abortion because the pregnancy was 19 weeks along. She then took her to the Metropolitan Women’s Center in Laurel, where Dr. Gene Crawford carried out the abortion, puncturing her uterus in the process. Erica died several hours later from “rupture of [her] lower uterus and cervix with complications, including hemorrhage into the pelvic cavity surrounding the uterus and air embolism.” [341] [342] [343] [344]

* The current Maryland notification law allows abortion providers to bypass notifying a parent if, in their opinion, the minor is “capable of giving informed consent to an abortion.” The law also stipulates that abortion providers cannot be prosecuted or sued for failing to notify a girl’s parents.[345]

└ Rape and Federal Legislation

* A 2000 U.S. Department of Justice study of crimes reported to law enforcement agencies in twelve states from 1991-1996, found that the incidence of forcible rape peaked at the ages of 14 and 15.

[346]

* A 1987 survey of U.S. woman aged 18-22, found that of those who had intercourse at 15 years of age or younger, 40% had been forced to have sex against their will or were raped.[347] [348]

* A 2006 U.S. Department of Justice study found that 58% of female forcible rape victims were raped before their 18th birthday.[349]

* Arkansas law requires written consent of a parent (not a step-parent) before an abortion is performed upon a female who is less than 18 years of age.[350] In 2006, a 15-year-old Arkansas girl accused her 41-year-old stepfather of raping her, getting her pregnant, forcing her to have an abortion in Illinois (where there is no parental consent or notification law in effect), and continuing to rape her afterwards.[351] [352] [353] [354]

* The girl’s claim that she was taken to an abortion clinic in Granite City, Illinois was corroborated by a photo of her stepfather’s car at this facility.[355] He was arrested, charged with a dozen counts of rape and committed suicide before trial.[356] [357]

* In 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have made it illegal to take a minor across state lines to circumvent state laws that require parental involvement in a minor’s abortion. It required that abortion providers in states without parental involvement laws give at least 24 hours notice to a parent before performing an abortion on a minor who resides in another state. This provision included exceptions for parental abuse, neglect, and if the physical health of the minor was endangered.[358] 93% of Republicans voted for it and 71% of Democrats voted against it. (Click for a record of how each Representative voted.)

* After being approved by the House, the bill was sent to the Senate where it was blocked by a filibuster conducted by 37 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and 1 Independent. Participants in the filibuster included Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe. (Click for a record of how each Senator voted.)

└ Statutory Rape and Abortion Providers

* A sexual relationship between a 22-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.[359] All states have laws requiring healthcare and other workers who interact with children in a professional capacity to report suspected cases of child abuse, which in 29 states and the District of Columbia, explicitly includes a sexual relationship between a 22-year-old man and a 13-year-old girl.[360]

* In 2002, Life Dynamics, an organization dedicated to ending legal abortion,[361] phoned more than 800 Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation abortion clinics and offices. In these calls, a woman from Life Dynamics told workers at these facilities that she was 13-years-old, had been impregnated by her 22-year-old boyfriend, and wanted to get an abortion to hide the situation from her parents.[362]

* In more than 90% of the phone calls, the Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation workers did not act to report the matter.[363]

* Some workers encouraged the caller to come in for the abortion and lie about the age of the person who impregnated her.[364]

* Some workers told the caller that they were required to report the situation, but weren’t going to do so.[365]

* In states that have parental notification laws, some workers told the caller to find a person who was old enough to impersonate one of her parents and have them sign the required paperwork. In one state that requires a notarized signature from a parent, a worker told the caller that the facility had a notary public who would notarize a fraudulent signature for her.[366]

* After Life Dynamics released the recordings, Planned Parenthood issued the following statement:

Planned Parenthood questions the reliability of staged tapes of supposed telephone conversations surreptitiously prepared by Life Dynamics, an organization with a notorious anti-Planned Parenthood agenda.[367]

* A Connecticut TV station (WTIC – Fox 61) scrutinized the recordings of the phone calls to the abortion clinics in Connecticut. They found that the dial tones recorded on the tapes matched the phone numbers of the facilities, the names of the people on the tapes matched the names of the workers at the facilities, and the content of the conversations matched what was reported by Life Dynamics.[368]

└ Adolescent decision-making

* In briefs submitted to the United States Supreme Court regarding a Minnesota parental consent law,[369] the American Psychological Association asserted that the law should be struck down on the grounds that

most adolescents are competent to make informed decisions about important life situations. …

In fact, by middle adolescence (age 14-15) young people develop abilities similar to adults in reasoning about moral dilemmas, understanding social rules and laws, and reasoning about interpersonal relationships and interpersonal problems.[370]

In sum, the unvarying and highly significant findings of numerous scientific studies indicate that with respect to the capacity to understand and reason logically, there is no qualitative or quantitative difference between minors in mid-adolescence, i.e., about 14-15 years of age, and adults.[371]

* In a brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court regarding a death penalty sentence in Missouri for a person who committed a capital murder at the age of 17, [372] the American Psychological Association asserted that crimes committed by minors should never be subject to the death penalty on the grounds that:

Adolescent decision-makers on average are less future-oriented and less likely to consider properly the consequences of their actions.

In comparison with adults, studies show that adolescents are less likely to consider alternative courses of action, understand the perspective of others, or restrain impulses. In a study of more than 1,000 adolescents and adults… it was not until age 19 that this development of responsible decisionmaking plateaued. …

In another analysis of decision-making competence… the researchers concluded “it is clear that important progress in the development of decision-making competence occurs sometime during late adolescence. … these changes have a profound effect on their ability to make consistently mature decisions.” [373]

Partial Birth

* Partial birth abortion, as described in American News Medical (a newspaper published by the American Medical Association[374]), entails

the extraction of an intact fetus, feet first, through the birth canal, with all but the head delivered. The surgeon forces scissors into the base of the skull, spreads them to enlarge the opening, and uses suction to remove the brain.[375] [376] [377] [378]

* According to the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, this procedure was typically performed at 20+ weeks. (Not specified if this is after conception or last menstrual period.) [379]

* Preborn human at 20 weeks gestation (22 weeks after last menstrual period):

[380]

└ Politics

* In June 1995, Republican Congressman Charles Canady of Florida sponsored a bill to ban the use of the partial birth abortion procedure on live preborn humans except if “necessary to save the life of a mother.” [381] It was cosponsored by 20 Democrats and 135 Republicans.[382] This bill passed Congress with 90% of Republicans voting for it and 62% of Democrats voting against it. It was vetoed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. A vote to override the veto passed in the House and failed in the Senate by 8 votes.[383] [384]

* In March 1997, Republican Congressman Gerald Solomon of New York sponsored a bill to ban the use of the partial birth abortion procedure on live preborn humans except if “necessary to save the life of a mother.” [385] It passed Congress with 95% of Republicans voting for it and 62% of Democrats voting against it. It was vetoed by Democratic President Bill Clinton. A vote to override the veto passed in the House and failed in the Senate by 3 votes.[386] [387]

* During the period in which these bills were being debated:

- The executive director of the National Abortion Federation told the press that the partial birth abortion procedure “is not taking

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