Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas, has been ordered to surrender his patient records to a Kansas grand jury.
Tiller is one of the few doctors in the US who performs late-term abortions. His clinic is often the last resort for women in desperate and tragic situations - incest survivors, substance abusers, mentally ill women, rape survivors who were too traumatized to cope with the resulting pregnancy any earlier.
The procedure he performs is now illegal, and he is being prosecuted.
The judge in the case has ordered names and addresses removed from the patient files, but women fear their identities can be deduced from details about their families and medical histories. The radical antiabortion group Operation Rescue has photographed pregnant women entering Tiller's clinic, and has posted the photos online.
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In my personal experience, I know of one woman and one girl who had late-term abortions.
I had a close friend who very much wanted to have a baby. She had a hard time getting pregnant, then lost a pregnancy early on. After healing from that trauma, she and her partner tried again, and were able to conceive. In her fifth month, tests revealed that their baby would be born without a brain. It would either die in utero or immediately after birth.
It was devastating. They were crushed. My friend aborted the fetus. And we were all so grateful that she was able to. If she had been forced to carry that pregnancy to term and undergo a delivery, I think she would have gone insane. I'm not exaggerating. I think she would have been at risk for suicide.
Was my friend a criminal?
The only other person I've ever heard of having a late-term procedure was a girl helped by the Haven Coalition. She was ten years old.
The girl's aunt noticed the pregnancy when it started to show. The aunt contacted Child Protection Services, who quickly ascertained that the girl had been impregnated by her own father. The girl was removed from her home and placed in her aunt's custody. The aunt was now trying to obtain an abortion for her niece. They had no money, and no abortion provider in their home state was experienced in late-term abortions.
This was before my time in Haven, but my colleagues told me that they got the aunt and the girl safely to Kansas for her procedure. That's all I know.
Was this ten-year-old girl a criminal? Was her aunt?
If they are criminals, don't they have to be punished? Should they go to prison? For how long? When you examine the issue a little more closely, the scare tactics of the fetus-lovers break down pretty easily.
Last summer, I posted this question: How Much Time Should She Do? Even they don't know.