Abortion doctors circumvent partial-birth ban by using deadly drugs

WASHINGTON — The abortion industry has found a way around the Supreme Court's support for a federal ban on a gruesome technique — shoot the unborn baby up with deadly drugs before delivering the child almost totally to complete the procedure.

The Boston Globe reported Aug. 10 many abortion doctors in Boston and other parts of the United States are using the new method to protect themselves from partially delivering a live baby and violating the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act. The partial delivery of a dead child instead of a live one may violate the spirit of the 2003 law, but it apparently does not transgress the letter of that ban.

"This shows the length to which physicians who have left their Hippocratic Oath in the dust and have become frontline soldiers in the culture of death are willing to go to perpetuate the killing of often-viable unborn babies," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Our nation's legislators need to address this situation urgently and pass measures to protect the most defenseless among us, our unborn citizens."

The Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 5-4 decision in April. The law bars a procedure in which, as typically used, an intact baby is delivered feet first until only the head is left in the birth canal. The doctor pierces the base of the infant's skull with surgical scissors before inserting a catheter into the opening and suctioning out the brain, killing the baby. The technique, which normally is used in at least the fifth month of pregnancy, provides for easier removal of the baby's head. The law allows an exception if the mother's life is threatened.

Three Boston hospitals are using the injection technique routinely, according to The Globe. Beth Israel Deaconness, Brigham and Women's, and Massachusetts General — all hospitals affiliated with Harvard University — inject lethal drugs into unborn babies beginning about 20 weeks into gestation, said Michael Greene, obstetrics director at Massachusetts General.

Mark Nichols, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University, said he senses the majority of later-term abortion doctors in the country are injecting unborn babies with lethal drugs as standard procedure, according to the newspaper.

The injections are not riskier and are "trivially simple," as compared to other obstetrics procedures, Greene said.

Philip Darney, chief of obstetrics at San Francisco (Calif.) General Hospital, decided not to use injections. "We do not believe that our patients should take a risk for which the only clear benefit is a legal one to the physician," Darney told The Globe in an e-mail.