Partial-birth abortion no medical procedure

November 25, 1995

AS THE SPONSOR OF the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in the House of Representatives, I want to point out several inaccuracies in your Nov. 5 editorial, ''Losing by Winning."

While the editorial describes partial-birth abortion as a medical procedure, I do not believe it is proper medical procedure.

Neither does the American Medical Association's (AMA) Council on Legislation, which unanimously voted to recommend that the AMA Board of Trustees endorse the bill.

One council member said that the council ''felt (partial-birth abortion) was not a recognized medical technique,'' and members agreed that ''this procedure is basically repulsive."

The editorial also refers to the life and health of the mother, implying that both would be jeopardized by this bill.

Regarding the mother's life, page five of the bill contains a clear-cut exception for circumstances where the use of the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.

The provision protects the doctor from both civil and criminal penalties if he ''reasonably believed'' the procedure ''was necessary to save the life of the mother; and no other procedure would suffice for that purpose."

As to the health of the mother, not only have physicians stated that partial-birth abortion is not a procedure that would be necessary to preserve a mother's health, but it may actually pose health risks to the mother, such as cervical incompetence and uterine rupture.

Dr. Pamela Smith, director of education for the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, said, ''There are absolutely no obstetrical situations encountered in this country which require a partially delivered human fetus to be destroyed to preserve the health of the mother."

Finally, the editorial claims that by pushing this legislation which it calls ''not reasonable,'' the ''Republican Party risks turning off independent-minded, moderate voters.''

Actually, the Republican Party attracted not only independent-minded voters in its own party to the bill, but 73 votes from the Democratic Party.

! Charles T. Canady


The writer represents Florida's 12th District in the House of Representatives.

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