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July 7, 1999

The Law, the AMA, and Partial-Birth Abortion—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(1):23-27. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-1-jbk0707

In Reply: According to Dr Hodgson, our article was 1 of the 2 articles on late-term abortion that was "fraught with scientific inaccuracies, inflammatory language, and a misuse of vague terms." However, because Hodgson fails to specify which terms were vague and where she found scientific lapses or inflammatory language, it is difficult to address her criticism directly.

In our report the other authors and I were careful to define the terms used, including induced abortion, early second-trimester abortion, late second-trimester abortion, late-term or third-trimester abortion, weeks of gestation, viability, menstrual extraction, D&E, and, perhaps most significantly, intact D&X. I agree with Hodgson that the term "partial-birth abortion" fails to specify the timing of or procedure used to induce abortion. We noted that "clarification of medical procedures is important because some of the procedures used to induce abortion prior to viability are identical or similar to post-viability procedures." For this reason we adopted the definition of D&X used by ACOG.

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