Why This? Why Now?
Part Five: NAF and NRL Collide
One other new thing was happening while abortionists were playing with
their new toy and enjoying their new source of income. National
Right to Life was on their case.
Although Jim McMahon, inventor of the "intrauterine cranial decompression"
method, had been using it for years, it didn't catch on with his fellow
abortionists right away. Perhaps the time wasn't right. Perhaps "intrauterine
cranial decompression" just wasn't a catchy enough name.
Haskell of Ohio changed all that. At the 1992 National Abortion Federation
Risk Management Seminar in Dallas, Haskell presented a paper -- and a video
-- introducing the technique to his fellow abortionists. Haskell also gave
the procedure a catchier name: "Dilation and Extraction,"
or "D&X." It caught on. After all, it fit the progression: D&C,
What Haskell hadn't counted on was the pro lifers. A reporter for Life Advocate was tapping into the NAF network. The reporter, Jenny Westberg, got hold of Haskell's presentation paper. Jenny, who was also a cartoonist, produced what may be the most politically powerful line drawings in history. The D&X cat was out of the bag.
The battle lines were drawn.
The timing couldn't be worse for abortion proponents. Abu
Hayat -- a NAF member, no less -- was in a peck of trouble in New York.
He'd been performing one of the old-style kill-and-rot D&E abortions
when he discovered that the fetus wasn't dead yet. He sent the mother home
with instructions to return the next day, and to call only his clinic if
she experienced trouble. Evidently there was a communications breakdown,
because when the mother called Hayat's clinic, she was unable to get help.
She ended up going to the hospital where she delivered a live baby -- minus
a traumatically amputated right arm.
The mother sued. The New York Post had a field day. The baby,
Ana Rosa, ended up appearing on Donohue. And Hayat was thrown to
the wolves. Women came forward reporting sexual abuse, malpractice, and
seedy business practices. Reporters learned that Hayat had sent an 18-year-old
abortion patient, Sophie
McCoy, home to die of complications. National Right to Life moved into
the fray, selecting little Ana Rosa, adorable in her frilly dresses, as
the representative of the children targeted for abortion, and Hayat, scowling
and unsavory, as the representative of those who wanted to abort them.
And they publicized D&X as the tool of abortionists who wanted to avoid
the pitfall that had ended Hayat's career.
Everything had come to a head. Until D&X, abortionists weren't enthusiastic
about late abortions because they could lead to all the nightmares Hayat
was enduring, fingered as the one who had maimed a baby born live during
an abortion. Oops. They also left you with logistical problems even if
the baby died, because there you were with the remains of a fetus past
the legal limit for elective abortions in your jurisdiction. There was
trouble, risk, and expense involved in disposing of the evidence. And the
bony baby parts and risks of complications to the mother left you wide
open to the possibility of a malpractice suit. D&X solved those problems.
Through sale of fetal parts, it also provided an additional source of income
-- always welcome in the cut-throat, highly competitive world of abortion.
D&X was not something the abortion industry was about to give up without
But the pro-life movement went on the offensive. They gave the procedure
yet a third name -- "Partial Birth Abortion" -- and a blitz of
ugly publicity. NRL asked the American public to choose sides: Ana
Rosa or Abu Hayat. The battle lines were drawn.
NEXT: Now What?
The Why This? Why Now? Series:
Part 1 - Inventors on the Bench
Part 2 - New Invention Put Into Practice
Part 3 - Addressing The Problem
Part 4 - New Opportunities
Part 5 - NAF and NRC Collide
Part 6 - Now What?
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