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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.

Martin 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, D&E, D&X.

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 a fight.

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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RealChoice Blog

Not Just the Unborn

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