by Rod D. Martin
October 13, 1997

Astoundingly, Bill Clinton vetoed Friday a bill to outlaw the most barbaric “medical” procedure ever utilized outside Nazi Germany: partial birth abortion. This is the second time Clinton has so acted, assuring him the fact of a place in history, if not quite the place he wants.

Partial birth abortion is so truly ghastly that even most pro-choicers disavow it, and the generally pro-choice American Medical Association officially called for its abolition. It frankly takes a strong stomach just to write about it.

For those who are not familiar with the operation, a brief description is appropriate. After dilating the cervix for two days, the abortionist pulls the live fetus (Latin for “baby”) feet-first out of the womb. Carefully leaving the head inside the mother — because failure to do so would leave the doctor open to murder charges — he then punctures the base of the skull with scissors, inserts a hollow tube into the wound, and sucks out the baby’s brain. According to the president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the all-but born infant feels every bit of this unimaginable agony, just as would you or I, regardless of anesthesia.

To make matters worse, if such were possible, the majority of these abortions are performed on babies that are “viable” within the Supreme Court’s definition: there is no Constitutional “right” to abort them. And the procedure is carried out all the way through the ninth month, on babies the vast majority of whom are perfectly healthy.

It takes a hard-core abortion fanatic to support a procedure like this; and even many of the fanatics have jumped ship. But in the interest of “feeling our pain,” Bill Clinton firmly upholds a woman’s right to inhuman torture.

Why does the President support this barbarism? Because, he says, the bill to ban the procedure does not create an exemption for cases in which the mother’s life is endangered. This sounds very empathetic, until you realize it isn’t true. Multiple obstetricians and gynecologists, testifying before the Senate, made clear that the procedure is never necessary under any circumstances to save a mother’s life; and the administration’s own star witness last time around recently recanted, admitting that his assertions on the topic had been “lies.” This was hardly a shock to observers of the man from Hope.

The truth is simpler: Planned Parenthood is the only lobby to whom Bill Clinton has been consistently faithful. And the people who truly love abortion — Rush Limbaugh’s much talked about “feminazis” — stand by partial birth to their last gasp. Their reasoning too is quite simple: if partial birth abortions can be banned, they fret, who knows where it will end? Having lead conservatives down a thousand slippery slopes over the years, they now know one when they see it. And it is true the potential is there.

Unfortunately for Clinton and the NOW gang, fighting partial birth is a serious miscalculation. So single-minded in their quest that they cannot see what is going on around them, they are creating for the first time a realization among even their own allies that they are extremists of the worst kind. As Professor Jean Wright told the Senate, “this procedure, if it were done on an animal in my institution, would not make it through the institutional review process. The animal would be more protected than this.” When supposedly reasonable people tolerate — in fact advocate — a procedure this dreadful, their motives cannot help but be questioned, and their fanaticism becomes clear. Supporting partial birth abortion has already harmed the pro-choice cause more than abandoning it ever could.

But we will leave that for another day. The issue this Monday morning is far clearer: three United States Senators who did not vote for the ban, and whose votes would override Clinton’s veto, must hurriedly change their minds. It is time to abolish inhuman torture in America, and the choice, abdicated by the President, now rests with them. Every American, furthermore, both pro-life and pro-choice, should this week do his or her part: join the American Medical Association in demanding that your Senators support the ban. It is clearly time to reject the rantings of the extremists in the abortion lobby. It’s time to do the right thing.