REVIEW OF FORSYTHE’S BOOK “ABUSE OF DISCRETION”

Posted on January 25, 2014

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The January 26 issue of National Catholic Register has a review by Fr. C. J. McCloskey of Clarke D. Forsythe’s book “Abuse of Discretion”.  It is a ‘must read’ book for all persons interested in the great national debate surrounding abortion in America, especially the 1973 decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

This site already commented on an earlier review in the Wall Street Journal of the same book.  That reviewer wrongly criticized the author for making a statement that the “United States is one of only four countries in the world that allows abortion on demand for any reason at any time”.  We presented facts that proved the author, Clarke Forsythe, was quite correct.

A reprint of my earlier October 2013 post is copied below:

Jeffrey Rosen reviewed a new book by Clarke Forsythe, “Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade”, in the Oct 12/13 weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal – Books section (C5/C6).

One paragraph in particular illustrates a near-universal misunderstanding of the impact of the long-fought Partial Birth Abortion (D&X) Ban Act which was passed and signed into law in 2003 by President Bush and subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.  Mr. Rosen describes that D&X Ban Act impact as “transformative” – in fact, it was anything but.

Rosen writes; “The most surprising omission in this book is that Mr. Forsythe fails to discuss in any detail the transformative impact of Gonzales v. Carhart, the 2007 decision by the Supreme Court upholding the federal partial birth abortion law, which doesn’t contain a health exception and allows restrictions on abortion both before and after fetal viability.  The Gonzales case …. calls into question Mr. Forsythe’s claim that the U.S. today is one of only four nations allowing abortion “for any reason after fetal viability” “.

The U.S. in fact DOES allow abortion – D&E Dilation & Evacuation Abortion – after fetal viability for any reason (as documented by the Gutmacher Institute under its analysis of “Reasons for Late-Term Abortions”).  The U.S. aborts some 20,000 viable or potentially-viable fetuses a year (that is, between 21 and 27 weeks lmp gestation in the second half of the second trimester) for elective reasons other than for a medical necessity of the fetus or the mother. 

The former D&X “Partial Birth” Dilation & Extraction Abortion procedure accounted for some 3,000 annual late-term 2nd trimester abortions prior to 2003, whereas the alternative method (sometimes called the “classic” method) comprising D&E Dilation & Evacuation Abortion, or “In-utero Dismemberment” Abortion, accounted for approximately 17,000 annual late-term 2nd trimester abortions.  Most of those D&X and D&E abortions were at or after 21 weeks lmp gestation, which coincides with all new definitive studies’ results (in U.S., UK, Japan) proving the viability threshold for extremely premature births – at neo-natal intensive care units – to be at 22 weeks lmp.  

The reason why the partial birth abortion ban act was not “transformative” is that immediately on the D&X Ban federal law’s passing, those abortions that were performed as D&X Dilation & Extraction transferred at once to D&E Dilation & Evacuation method which of course does allow for abortions at any time for any reason, including the “health” of the mother.  So Mr. Forsythe is actually quite correct in claiming that the U.S. is only one of four countries in the world allowing abortion “for any reason after viability”.

The 2003 Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act simply banned a “procedure”…because it was deemed horrific by the public and by a large majority of legislators.  The D&E Dismemberment Abortion method is used on the same gestation fetuses, in considerably greater numbers each year, and is equally primitive in its methodology, indeed may inflict greater pain on those potentially viable infants.  But D&E Abortion is not known about nor understood by the public, or by legislators — otherwise it too would be banned for post-21 weeks’ lmp fetuses, except for the life of the mother being in grave danger.

Note that 22 weeks lmp gestation equals 20 weeks from conception. 

FOR DETAILED DATA ON VIABILITY STUDIES AND REGARDING NUMBER OF LATE TERM ABORTIONS IN THE U.S., SEE ADDITIONAL POSTS/ARTICLES IN THE BLOG WEBSITE http://www.savingviableinfants.com and further analyses below. 

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