Supreme Court Countdown: Partial-Birth Abortion
In Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) the Court upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. In the days leading up to the oral arguments on November 8, 2006, this campaign offered information on why it was important for the Court to get it right
this time.

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Warning: See below for an abortion practitioner's description of a partial-birth abortion. Due to the nature of the procedure,
some may find the text disturbing.

Trial testimony of William Knorr, M.D., who performs partial-birth abortions:

"[Question:] When ... the fetus comes through the cervix except for the head, how do you proceed?
"[Answer:] I first evaluate the cervix to see if I have enough room to slip a finger between the cervix and the fetal head, and if I can do that, I can then insert my crushing forcep around the head, crush the head and extract it. If the cervix is very tight, I can't do that, I will use a craniotomy procedure, will turn the fetus so the back is up and find the area that I want to open, and either with a finger, a dilator or a scissor will open that area and gently pull down. That pressure alone is enough to empty the cranium and extract the head."
- Carhart v. Ashcroft, 331 F.Supp.2d 805 (D. Neb. 2004), March 31, 2004, transcript at 516


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Warning: See below for a nurse's eyewitness description of a partial-birth abortion. Due to the nature of the procedure, some may find the text disturbing.

Brenda Pratt Shafer, R.N., telling Congress about a
partial-birth abortion she witnessed:

"The mother was six months pregnant (26 1⁄2 weeks). ... Dr. Haskell ... delivered the baby's body and the arms -- everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby's head just inside the uterus. The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out in a flinch. ... The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby was completely limp."
- Brenda Pratt Shafer, R.N. to the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, March 21, 1996


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Warning: See below for an illustration, certified by an expert as medically accurate, depicting step three of a partial-birth abortion. Due to the nature of the procedure, some may find the image disturbing.

©1999 Dr. and Mrs. Anthony Levatino



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