The Missouri Infanticide Law and Planned Parenthood's Falsehoods
On September 16, 1999, Missouri's Democratic House and Senate overrode the Governor's veto of House Bill 427, the "Infant Protection Act" by an overwhelming margin, becoming the fourth state to override such a veto. This act would ban the partial-birth abortion (also known as "dilation and extraction") procedure, create a felony crime called "infanticide" in the state's criminal code, and would protect infants up to 30 days after birth. The bill, sponsored by pro-life Democrat Rep. Bill Luetkenhaus, was passed in May 1999. The initial vote and veto override is especially noteworthy because it demonstrated the broad bipartisan support that exists for banning the partial-birth abortion procedure. Planned Parenthood then filed a lawsuit claiming that the law was written in such a way that it also made abortions, aside from partial-birth abortions, illegal. As a result, U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright granted a temporary hold on the law. On September 23, 1999, he granted an extension of the temporary stay on the law until March 27, 2000, when a trial is scheduled to begin. The trial, which will be held at the federal courthouse in Kansas City, could take up to a week. Planned Parenthood had suspended abortions at its facility in St. Louis after the September 16th override, but resumed abortions after the stay was issued.
By Carolyn Gargaro
October 1, 1999
Planned Parenthood's "Interpretation"
I was amazed when I read some of Planned Parenthood's statements (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/PRESSRELEASES/091699missouri.html) regarding this bill. I'll address just a few of those statements here.
Planned Parenthood claims that the "Infant Protection Act" is really some type of stealth bill that would actually outlaw most abortions. They claim that, "This law is so broad and so vague it bans virtually all abortion procedures."
What? Did the people at Planned Parenthood even read this bill? Let's take a look at the "broad and vague" bill. I suggest that one first reads the entire bill first to become familiar with exactly what is says.
First, the bill specifically states that a person is guilty of infanticide "if such person causes the death of a living infant with the purpose to cause said death by an overt act performed when the infant is partially born or born." "Living infant" is defined in Subsection 2, and specifically states that "living infants' as covered under this bill must be born or partially born." "Born" and "partially born" are defined in Subsections 1 and 3. "Partially born" is defined as: "partial separation of a child from the mother with the child's head intact with the torso. If vaginally delivered, a child is partially separated from the mother when the head in a cephalic presentation, or any part of the torso above the navel in a breech presentation, is outside the mother's external cervical os. If delivered abdominally, a child is partially separated from the mother when the child's head in a cephalic presentation, or any part of the torso above the navel in a breech presentation, is outside the mother's external abdominal wall." Clearly, a child in the womb is not covered by this bill.
Planned Parenthood also claims that "The intent of the law is clearly to overturn Roe." Wrong. The very first footnote in Roe v. Wade clearly states that it does not cover the situation of infants in the process of being born. Roe v. Wade also does not cover newly born children. The Missouri bill actually keeps Roe v. Wade from being extended to justify killing newborn infants.
So, perhaps the people at Planned Parenthood can tell me how this could apply to virtually all abortions? The majority of abortions are done in the first trimester -- are they implying that first, or even second trimester abortions usually take place when the child is half way out of the birth canal? Even many third trimester abortions are not done when the child is partially OUT of the womb. In addition, Subsection 6 states that: "This section shall not apply to any person who performs or attempts to perform a legal abortion if the act that causes the death is performed prior to the child being partially born, even though the death of the child occurs as a result of the abortion after the child is partially born." To say that a bill, which specifically states that the child must be partially out of the womb, would actually outlaw most abortions, is completely absurd.
Planned Parenthood's assertion that this bill is "broad and vague" leads me to one of two conclusions: Either the people at Planned Parenthood are just very slow, or they are outright lying. Somehow, I believe it is the latter.
More from Planned Parenthood: "So-called 'partial birth' abortion or 'partially born' are not medical terms, they are political terms."
I gather that Planned Parenthood believes that the name of a "procedure" defines the procedure. Planned Parenthood likes to call partial-birth abortions "dilation and extraction." However, the name doesn't change the procedure. A partial-birth abortion/dilation and extraction abortion is usually performed in the fifth month of pregnancy and later. In this procedure, the abortionist pulls a living baby feet-first (forcing a breech position) out of the womb and into the birth canal (vagina), except for the head, which the abortionist purposely keeps lodged just inside the cervix (the opening to the womb). The abortionist punctures the base of the skull with a long surgical scissors, with a hollow metal tube called a trochar, or with some other surgical instrument. He then inserts a catheter (tube) into the wound, and removes the baby's brain with a powerful suction machine. This causes the skull to collapse, after which the abortionist completes the delivery of the now-dead baby. What someone chooses to call this "procedure" is irrelevant.
In addition, the medical community agrees that this procedure is never necessary to save the life of the mother, and the American Medical Association supports a ban on this procedure. If the baby's head is delivered far enough for the abortionist to perform a partial birth abortion, the damage is already done and a c-section would easily and safely eliminate that damage in the first place.
Planned Parenthood goes on: "The Missouri state legislature has obviously become spellbound by the hateful, untruthful rhetoric of the anti-choice, anti-family planning movement."
Hateful? This is coming from an organization which thinks it should be legal to take a child that is half way out of the birth canal, jam scissors into the back of the baby's skull, and suck the baby's brains out, all as part of "choice"? A nice, generic sounding name such as "dilation and extraction" applied to what I described above doesn't change the procedure, or make it any less horrible.
Untruthful? If people are being untruthful about this procedure, it isn't the "anti-choice" people. Pro-choice advocates have continually lied over and over again about partial-birth abortions. First we were told that partial-birth abortions rarely occurred and were only done to save the life of the mother. Then, lo and behold! We find out from Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, that this procedure is done much more often than the pro-choice camp claimed, and often, was done for elective rather than medical reasons. (David Stout. An Abortion Rights Advocate Says He Lied About Procedure New York Times, February 16, 1997) Then, we are told that partial-birth abortions are still necessary to save the life of the mother -- yet doctor after doctor, including the AMA continually explain that the partial-birth abortion procedure is NEVER NEEDED to save the life of the mother. Lie after lie after lie has been put forth by many pro-choice groups about this procedure, and now they turn around and say that the ban on such a barbaric procedure is "untruthful rhetoric"?
Planned Parenthood goes on to claim that this bill would cause women to be thrown in jail! "..this law," they claim, "criminalizes women who undergo an abortion procedure, carrying a sentence of up to life in prison."
First, I will refer again to Subsection 6. This bill does not outlaw regular abortions, so women can not be placed in jail for having an abortion. The bill also defines the criminal act as performing an overt action to kill a child after the child has reached the stage of being partially born or fully born. In addition, Subsection 7 of the bill restricts anyone from being prosecuted as an accessory to the crime of infanticide unless the person himself or herself performs a "substantial step" with someone else to do the killing act after the child has been partially or fully born. So, a woman who tells her boyfriend to kill her newborn and hands him the weapon to do so could be charged as an accessory, but a woman submitting to an abortion would NOT be considered an accessory. Since this is an infanticide bill, the bill does cover the situation where a woman performs an overt act to kill her newborn child. I doubt that most people, even those at Planned Parenthood, would have a problem with outlawing the killing of a born infant. You never know though, since they are making such a fuss about outlawing a procedure that sucks the brains out of a child who is half-way out of the birth canal....but how could I forget? That's "choice."
It amazes me that, in their rabid quest to protect abortion on demand at any time for any reason, Planned Parenthood would try to strike down an infanticide bill, and blatantly lie about what the bill entails. This is not some kind of "stealth bill." The bill clearly does not outlaw anything except the killing of a child, from the time the child is half way out of the birth canal until 30 days after that point. I still fail to see how allowing the grotesque partial-birth (oh, excuse me, dilation and extraction) procedure has anything to do with a "woman's right to choose." Pro-choice advocates can claim that a woman has a right to do what she wants with the fetus which resides in her womb, but how can they extend this to a child which is no longer residing in her womb? Will they soon come up with a nice, "medical term" to describe killing a child after he/she is fully born and say that such killing is also covered under a "woman's right to choose"?
This article copyright © 1999 by Carolyn Gargaro and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.