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"We are not living in the Middle Ages"

05/17/2007

By Colleen Mays

I am writing in response to an article I read in <MI>The Valley Reporter<D> letters section a couple of weeks ago from Caroline Tavelli-Abar, a woman outraged by the ban passed on partial-birth and late-term abortions.

After reading this article, I raised the topic of partial birth abortion with many people. I found many people are not familiar with the three general procedures of "partial birth" and "late term" abortions.

The first, and most popular, is called the D&E (dilation and evacuation). Once the cervix is dilated to the size needed, the fetus is removed by inserting forceps into the womb. The fetus is cut into pieces. These pieces are then removed one at a time. Vacuum aspiration is then used to ensure no tissue remains in the uterus.

The second method, which is rarely used as an abortion procedure, is early induction of labor and delivery. This is very painful and intense for the woman, which is why it isn't a popular choice among those seeking abortion services. Many women who suffer the trauma of their child passing away before delivery usually are the ones who receive this type of care.

The third method is called intact D & X surgery. This procedure includes a two to three day process to gradually dilate the cervix using sticks of seaweed which absorb fluid and swell. Once this process is finished the doctor uses forceps and grabs the baby's leg to turn it into a breech (face down) position. The body is pulled out of the birth canal, leaving the head inside the canal. The upper neck is then severed and the brain tissue extracted, causing the skull to collapse. Sometimes the body is fully cut away from the head, and the doctor crushes the skull with forceps. The head, in either case, is then removed from the canal.

I am outraged that people can so blindly believe that partial-birth and late-term abortions are an okay choice. I find it harder to believe that people can look beyond what happens to these children and only focus on the mother's rights at the time these abortions can be practiced. This is a grey area surrounding an issue of great controversy around our nation.

I do not think this newly passed ban on partial-birth and late-term abortion eradicates a woman's right to choose. I am a mother of three children. I remember the excitement when I could feel my child inside my womb. It must be quite a different feeling if you're alone and scared. I say, let's use tax dollars to fund the physical and emotional support of women found in these dire circumstances. We should support the adoption, not the murder, of their children caught halfway between conception and birth.

If you speak with women who have miscarried their children during the middle/late terms of their pregnancies, they know that there were real, living children in their wombs. What about their choice? What about their health? In Tavelli's words a couple of weeks ago, "...we are not living in the middle ages!"

Colleen Mays lives in Warren.
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