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July 7, 1999

The Law, the AMA, and Partial-Birth Abortion

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

To the Editor: In Drs Sprang and Neerhof's article1 there are 2 points that must be challenged: that proposed federal legislation would ban only the intact D&X procedure, and that these authors are truly concerned about pregnant women.

The argument that federal legislation would make only the intact D&X illegal is fallacious. The wording of the proposed federal legislation about D&X is vague when compared with the ACOG definition of intact D&X; even a first-trimester vacuum aspiration procedure could be considered to be "deliberately and intentionally deliver[ing] into the vagina a living fetus . . . for the purpose of performing a procedure the physician knows will kill the fetus, and kill[ing] the fetus."2 Because intact D&X can be described to the public in graphic, disturbing terms, it is being used as a Trojan horse; the desired outcome of the antichoice movement is the criminalization of all abortion procedures. If intact D&X were the only procedure felt to be abhorrent enough to be illegalized, why is the precise ACOG definition of intact D&X not used in the language of the legislation?