'That's not a thing': Minnesota state senators clash over Republican's amendment to ban 'partial-birth abortions'

'That's not a thing': Minnesota state senators clash over Republican's amendment to ban 'partial-birth abortions'
Image via screengrab.

Two Minnesota lawmakers clashed during a hearing on reproductive rights on Tuesday after an amendment was proposed to prevent a method of terminating a pregnancy that has been illegal in the United States for nearly two decades.

"We have born alive individuals and we must protect the born alive. In this case, a partial-birth abortion. The child is in part born alive. Therefore, this amendment would merely remedy any possible language that would counteract that statement," State Senator Bill Lieske (R-58th District), a licensed chiropractor, argued.

So-called "partial-birth abortions" were outlawed in 2007 by the Supreme Court via a 5-4 ruling that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 which was signed by former President George W. Bush.

READ MORE: Alabama attorney general considering prosecuting women who take abortion pills

Then-newly-confirmed Associate Justice Samuel Alitocast the deciding vote. Fifteen years later, Alito would lead the Court's five other right-wing jurists in reversing the landmark 1973 Roe versus Wade decision, which established the constitutional right to have an abortion.

National Public Radio explained in 2006:

'Partial-birth' is not a medical term. It's a political one, and a highly confusing one at that, with both sides disagreeing even on how many procedures take place, at what point in pregnancy, and exactly which procedures the law actually bans. The term was first coined by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in 1995 to describe a recently introduced medical procedure to remove fetuses from the womb. Alternately known as 'dilation and extraction,' or D&X, and 'intact D&E,' it involves removing the fetus intact by dilating a pregnant woman's cervix, then pulling the entire body out through the birth canal.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research group that conducts surveys of the nation's abortion doctors, about 15,000 abortions were performed in the year 2000 on women 20 weeks or more along in their pregnancies; the vast majority were between the 20th and 24th week. Of those, only about 2,200 D&X abortions were performed, or about 0.2 percent of the 1.3 million abortions believed to be performed that year.

And contrary to the claims of some abortion opponents, most such abortions do not take place in the third trimester of pregnancy, or after fetal 'viability.' Indeed, when some members of Congress tried to amend the bill to ban only those procedures that take place after viability, abortion opponents complained that would leave most of the procedures legal.

State Senator Alice Mann (D-50th District), a physician whose medical residency was at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, condensed those facts in a fiery rebuttal to Lieske's unnecessary prohibition:

This is a perfect example of why politicians should not be making medical decisions – is because we are literally making stuff up and writing laws about it at this exact moment. A child does not come out part way alive and then doctors kill it. That's not a thing. That's not a thing today, it's not a thing tomorrow, it's not a thing. Ten years ago, it's not a thing. So for us to legislate things that don't exist in real life, again, perfect example of why politicians should not practice healthcare. And so I would recommend a no vote on this amendment.

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Recalibrating their messaging': These Republicans admit that the GOP has an abortion problem

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