A former abortionist who is now the president elect of the American
Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists has written a
persuasive discourse questioning whether late-term abortion is ever
Writing in the Family Research Council's website Dr. Mary L. Davenport,
M.D., FACOG, observed that following the murder of Kansas abortionist
George Tiller on May 31, 2009, and the subsequent announcement of the
closing of Tiller's facility, public attention has again focused on the
issue of late-term abortion.
The president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion
advocacy legal organization, claimed that the closing of Tiller’s
clinic left “an immediate and immense void in the availability of
abortion.” But Dr. Davenport asks if late-term abortion is ever really
necessary, questioning whether the demise of a facility where late-term
abortions were performed leave a “void” that is harmful to women.
Referring to a statement by Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the
National Coalition of Abortion Providers, who admitted in 1997 that the
vast majority of partial-birth abortions were performed on healthy
mothers and babies, Dr. Davenport explains that "contrary to the
assertion of abortion rights supporters that late- term abortion is
performed for serious reasons, surveys of late abortion patients
confirm that the vast majority occur because of delay in diagnosis of
pregnancy. They are done for similar reasons as early abortions:
relationship problems, young or old maternal age, education or
"Most of Tiller’s abortions conformed to the generally elective
character of these late-term procedures,” writes Davenport. “Peggy
Jarman of the Pro-Choice Action League stated that about three-fourths
of Tiller’s late-term patients were teenagers who denied to themselves
or their families that they were pregnant until that fact could no
longer be obscured."
Considering the claim that serious maternal health problems require
abortions, Dr. Davenport states that "intentional abortion for maternal
health, particularly after viability, is one of the great deceptions
used to justify all abortion."
"The very fact that the baby of an ill mother is viable raises the
question of why, indeed, it is necessary to perform an abortion to end
the pregnancy. With any serious maternal health problem, termination of
pregnancy can be accomplished by inducing labor or performing a
cesarean section, saving both mother and baby."
Davenport points out that fetal problems “are the other serious
rationale for considering abortion." However, she says, despite
advances in ultrasound diagnosis, these diagnoses are not always
accurate, and cases have occurred where women have declined to abort
their ostensibly sick child, only for the child to be born perfectly
Even in the most serious circumstances – fatal fetal abnormalities –
writes Davenport, there is no good reason to abort the child. As an
alternative to abortion for fatal birth defects, Dr. Davenport proposes
a perinatal hospice, which involves continuing the pregnancy until
labor begins and giving birth normally, in a setting of comfort and
support until natural death of the child occurs.
Dr. Davenport cites the case of Karen Santorum, a nurse and the wife of
former Senator Rick Santorum, who was faced with the prospect of her
own son, Gabriel, being born with a fatal birth defect.
Mrs. Santorum describes how Gabriel lived only two hours, but how in
those two hours “we experienced a lifetime of emotions. Love, sorrow,
regret, joy - all were packed into that brief span. To have rejected
that experience would have been to reject life itself.”
Dr. Davenport concludes that "although serious threats to health can
occur, there is always a life- affirming way to care for mother and
baby, no matter how bleak the prognosis. The elimination of late-term
abortion would not create a void in medical care, but would instead
result in a more humane world in which vulnerable humans would be
treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve."
Contact: Thaddeus M. Baklinski
Date: June 22, 2009
to this article.
this article to a friend.
The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in
Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political
persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection
for the disabled and the elderly. Click here to learn more about the IFRL.