A term that has been passed around by pro-life groups and politicians as something that needs to be banned, and often mentioned when talking about how bad abortion is.

The facts are never really adequately explained. The procedure is pretty bad, involving the killing of a third-trimester fetus. However, it is not done on a whim, only when medically necessary. It may be due to genetic defect in the fetus, major problems with the womb and/or birth canal, or similar things. For it to be done requires that it be impossible to deliver the baby, because of the dangers involved with this procedure.

Anyone who suggests this can be done on a woman who just doesn't want to have the child is incorrect.

Well, this one's clear enough if you talk with science instead of rhetoric...

Partial-birth abortion is known within the medical community as "dilation and extraction", or "D&X". I've seen it mistakenly called "dilation and evacuation" as well. See Abortion Methods for the juicy details.

Saige is incorrect when she states that "the procedure is pretty bad, involving the killing of a third-trimester fetus." In reality, most D&X abortions are performed in the middle or end of the second trimester. Because of its relative simplicity and high success rate when compared to other methods, it is, for a few doctors, the preferred means of abortion.

Although most third-trimester D&X abortions are for medical reasons, the majority of second-trimester partial-births (and at the very least 30% of all D&X procedures) are performed for elective reasons. Since nationwide stats are not kept, this is only what those within the abortion community have reluctantly admitted, suggesting that the percentage of elective D&X is actually quite higher.

In addition, the most common health reason given is "depression". I, Uberfetus, receive treatment for that particular malady and do not understand which symptoms of depression preclude giving birth.

Most intriguing of all, the American Medical Association's official stance is that the procedure is never medically necessary and should be banned. This seems to be the opposite of Saige's claim. Personally, I feel that the AMA (the nation's most prestigous coalition of medical professionals) has more expertise on this matter than our own M-noder, but that's just my opinion.

"In the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along. The abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else."

-Ron Fitzsimmons
Executive Director for the National Coalition of Abortion Providers
The New York Times, February 26, 1997

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