FOCA & Partial-Birth Abortion

January 29th, 2009 by

As the debate over FOCA continues, let’s take a look at one of the key elements of the bill. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan: “The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would effectively repeal the Bush-backed Federal Abortion Ban.”  What is the “Bush-backed Federal Abortion Ban?” It is the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which made it illegal for a doctor to perform partial-birth abortions.

And what exactly are partial-birth abortions?  The following illustrations depict a partial-birth abortion being performed on a 24 week old baby (they are usually performed in the 20-26 week range, with some even later). The illustrations follow the step-by-step instructions from an Ohio abortionist, and according to former abortionist, Anthony P. Levatino, M.D., J.D, they “accurately depict” the partial-birth abortion method.  More on partial-birth abortion and these illustrations can be found on the National Right to Life site.

For an insider’s perspective on what it is like to perform partial-birth abortions, consider the story of the aforementioned Dr. Anthony P. Levatino. In this statement put together by the Pro-Life Action League, Dr. Levatino explains what life as a late-term abortionist is like, and how he came out of the business of being, as he puts it, a “paid assassin:”

I have never been involved in a large-scale abortion mill, a business that was set up for the sole purpose of performing abortions. My experiences are perhaps a bit more universal in terms of obstetricians and gynecologists in the country who were trained to do abortions during their residencies and then continued doing so as part of their private practice, but not even the major part. Certainly it was never a major part of our private practice.

My partner and I, however, were relatively important in the Albany area for one infamous fact, which to this day I regret. Our group was just about the only group that was performing late abortions, D & E procedures, Dilatation and Evacuation. And we received referrals from all over the area in our part of the state, even from neighboring counties 70 to 80 miles away. We had a lot of patients.

I’ve never actually counted. I’m glad I can’t say that I’m responsible for 50,000 plus abortions, but I know I’ve done hundreds of the procedures. That’s direct, hands-on involvement, with the forceps in your hand, reaching into somebody’s uterus and tearing out a baby.

Why Doctors Do Abortions

Why do doctors do abortions? There are many reasons. It’s profitable, there’s a lot of money in it! But there’s philosophical things that come first. As I’m fond of telling people, if you are pro-choice and you happen to be a gynecologist, then it’s up to you to take the instruments in hand and actively perform an abortion. It’s the most natural association in the world.

Along the way you find out you make a lot of money doing abortions. In my practice we were averaging between $250 and $500 for an abortion, and it was cash.

There are other reasons; they’re perhaps no less important. I’ve heard many times from other obstetricians: Well, I’m not really pro-abortion, I’m pro-woman. How many times have you heard that one? The women’s groups in this country, they’re not alone, but they’ve done a very good job selling that bill of goods to the population. That somehow destroying a life is pro-woman. But a lot of obstetricians use that justification to themselves, and I can tell you, a lot of them believe it. I used to. It’s not hard to be convinced of it.

Gruesome D & C Abortion Procedure

During my residency, at least once, sometimes twice a week, I would be the resident whose turn it was to sit down and do the four, or five, or six suction D & C abortions that morning.

When the abortionist finishes a suction D & C, he has to open a little suction bag and he has to literally reassemble the child. He has to do that because he wants to make sure he didn’t leave anything behind.

I had complications, just like everybody else. I have perforated uteruses. I have had all kinds of problems — bleeding, infection — Lord knows how many of those women are sterile now.

I remember getting called down to my chairman’s office because a young lady that I had done an abortion on showed up, and the abortion had been incomplete. I had not done my job right, and she passed an arm or a leg and she freaked out because she didn’t realize what had happened.

Frightening Saline Abortion Procedure

My discomfort came at that point because there was a tremendous conflict going on inside me. Here I was doing my D & Cs, five and six a week, and I was doing salines on a nightly basis whenever I was on call.

The resident on call got the job of doing the salines and there would usually be two or three of those. They were horrible because you saw one intact, whole baby being born, and sometimes they were alive. That was very, very frightening. It was a very stomach-turning kind of existence.

Yet, I was doing that at the same time that my wife and I were trying to have a child, and we were having difficulty with that. We had been married a couple of years at that point — and no baby. Suddenly, we realized we had an infertility problem.

I kept doing abortions, I didn’t stop. But it was tough. We started desperately looking for a baby to adopt, and I was throwing them in the garbage at the rate of nine and ten a week. It even occurred to me then: I wish one of these people would just let me have their child. But it doesn’t work that way. So the conflict was there.

Obstetrics and Abortion in Conflict

Most of the time in our practice was spent providing obstetrical care for people who wanted their children. It is very common for an obstetrician to have an ultrasound machine. We use that ultrasound machine on a daily basis.

As a doctor, you know that these are children; you know that these are human beings with arms and legs and heads and they move around and they are very active. But you get reminded — every time you put that scanner down on somebody’s uterus — you are reminded. Because you see the children in there — hearts beating, arms flinging.

We have a ball with it. It is a lot of fun. We have people coming in who have bleeding and who are afraid they may have a miscarriage — now this is someone who wants to have their child. There is no better news for me than to put that scanner on them at seven and eight weeks and show them a heartbeat and say: Your baby is okay. You do that as an obstetrician all the time.

And then, an hour later, you change your clothes, walk into an operating room and do an abortion. If you have any heart at all, it affects you.


How close are we to making this hideous “medical procedure” legal again via the Freedom of Choice Act?  Consider these words from President Obama during a 2007 speech at Planned Parenthood: [Link to Video]

“The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” — Barack Obama

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