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Posted at 9:04 PM ET, 12/16/2010

A more humane approach to the abortion debate

By Angela Martin, Annapolis

The letter from the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland in defense of LeRoy Carhart [“Care that women need,” Local Opinions, Dec. 12], who specializes in performing abortion late in pregnancy, cites extreme cases to justify such abortions: a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy and life-threatening anomalies in an unborn child.

Certainly women facing such difficult situations deserve compassion and appropriate medical care, but to say that pro-lifers “oppose giving women in tragic situations any options” is frankly absurd. Nor is it valid to use such circumstances to justify elective abortion late in pregnancy.

About 140 facilities nationwide perform abortions at 24 weeks, and about 18,000 abortions are performed each year after the 21st week of pregnancy, most of them for reasons unrelated to health. These are not pro-life statistics; they come from the Guttmacher Institute, which is unabashedly in favor of abortion rights. Opposing the destruction each year of 18,000 human beings capable of feeling excruciating pain as they are dismembered is hardly a radical position.

I hope concerned individuals on both sides of the abortion debate would agree that the unborn should be granted some legal protection once they have developed the capacity to feel pain. True compassion demands no less.

The writer is executive director of Maryland Right to Life.

By Angela Martin, Annapolis  | December 16, 2010; 9:04 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, health care  
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Posted by: juliasmithy | December 17, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

What a sad world we live in. I read the other day of a man and his girlfriend who were getting high on meth in a motel room. He became violent and beat her nearly to death over a period of several hours. Just as an aside, the article mentioned there were two children "asleep" in the same room.
There is so much pain in the world and disfunction in families that we read such a thing with barely a thought, but what of the lasting impact of violence on children?

There are no lasting answers in the abortion question. That's why it makes such an excellent political football. Sadly, it is real human beings we are bandying about. So sad.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 17, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about misleading! The reference for the phrase "reasons unrelated to health" is to a table of reasons women DELAYED getting an abortion. It has nothing, repeat NOTHING to do with the reasons for the abortions.

Beside which, Ms Martin's organization opposes late term abortions even if the health of the mother is in danger.

Most late term abortions are performed because the head of the fetus is too large to pass thru the birth canal. This is caused by what used to be called "water on the brain." This is a terrible situation and it is beyond arrogance to think that anyone besides the mother and her physician have any right to dictate the choice between the several available procedures all of which are dangerous and awful.

Posted by: lensch | December 17, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

This adds nothing new to the debate, but it does showcase the same old rhetorical tricks that have characterized the anti-choice side of the debate all along.

Ms. Martin states, "to say that pro-lifers 'oppose giving women in tragic situations any options' is frankly absurd." One would naturally expect some supporting examples immediately to follow such a forceful rebuttal. The lack of any leads me to conclude that it's only words unsupported by facts.

And then she goes on: "Opposing the destruction each year of 18,000 human beings capable of feeling excruciating pain as they are dismembered is hardly a radical position."

Notice the extremely clever construction of the phrase "capable of feeling excruciating pain", and don't ignore the specific emotional effect it's intended to produce.

And most importantly, recognize it for the rhetorical trick it is.

The fact that the woman is anesthetized for the procedure, that the anesthesia crosses the placental barrier, and that therefore the fetus ACUALLY DOES NOT FEEL any pain, is irrelevant to Ms. Martin's rhetoric. Her statement that the fetus is "capable of feeling pain", while scientifically accurate, has no relevance to the reality of the actual procedure.

Beware those who are out to trick you with words, rather than win you with logic.

Posted by: laboo | December 17, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Mind your own business, Ms. Martin.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 17, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"... to say that pro-lifers “oppose giving women in tragic situations any options” is frankly absurd."

No, it isn't. It's true.

Posted by: zakany | December 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

A human being is what comes OUT of a woman. A fetus is what's inside of and, thus, part of the woman. There's a distinction. A woman has the fundamental right not to carry her pregnancy to term. In other words, she has the right to do whatever she wants with her own body. Is it moral? That's not for you, me or the government to say, now is it? There's an easy solution to this tired, tired argment: if you're against abortion....DON'T HAVE ONE!!! If you're in favor of reducing abortions, then start advocating birth control pills, morning after pills, condoms, and abstinence. Why are people my age still having the same argument that my parents did when they were younger than I? This is ridiculous!!

Posted by: LouisianaDoug | December 17, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

As of now, the debate is quite simple...Republicans threaten to kill doctors who do abortions (while claiming that Muslims are killers that are crazy) while Liberals want abortions to occur.

Yes, fair debate....

Posted by: Bious | December 17, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Abortion foes never want

To admit the fact they won’t confront:

Those unviable tissues that they treasure

Are not babies by any measure.

Posted by: lilhornie | December 17, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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