Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Late-Term Abortionists Funding John Kerry

Blood Brothers
Why the leading practitioners of late abortion wrote checks to Kerry.
by Douglas Johnson
10/11/2004, Volume 010, Issue 05 Weekly Standard

MARTIN HASKELL, George Tiller, and Warren Hern have several things in
common. All three are abortionists who specialize in late abortions.
Haskell's name is closely linked with the partial-birth abortion method.
Tiller and Hern may be the only two abortionists in the United States who
openly advertise their willingness to perform third-trimester abortions.

Finally, all three men have opened their checkbooks to support Senator John
Kerry's bid to be president of the United States. Their contributions to
Kerry's campaign total $7,000.

That is not a vast sum compared with the millions being spent by liberal
groups to attack President Bush. (Federal law limits a contributor to
maximum total donations of $4,000 to a single presidential candidate, split
between two types of campaign accounts.) Nevertheless, these contributions
are worth scrutinizing because of what they reveal about John Kerry.

Although Haskell, Tiller, and Hern have been controversial figures for many
years in national debates about late abortions (as anybody can ascertain by
entering their names into Google), the Kerry campaign apparently readily
accepted the contributions--money that might very well have originated in
fees charged to perform partial-birth abortions or other late abortions.

But why would such men send their hard-earned dollars to Kerry? After all,
Kerry told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, on January 25, 2004, "I'm
against partial-birth abortion, as are many people." And Kerry told Peter
Jennings of ABC News, in an interview broadcast July 22, 2004, "I oppose
abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at
c onception.

My bet

is that the abortionists know that during his 20 years in the Senate, Kerry
has been an absolutely consistent defender of abortion. So why should they
be bothered by statements intended only to mislead voters who are strongly
opposed to the grisly business that these men are in--voters who are still
unfamiliar with Kerry's actual record?

Most likely, these abortionists are quite aware that Kerry has promised to
nominate only Supreme Court justices who share his real position on abortion
policy--which would guarantee that partial-birth abortions and other late
abortions, and of course earlier abortions, would remain almost entirely
shielded from scrutiny or restriction by elected lawmakers for the
foreseeable future.

DR. MARTIN HASKELL wrote the Kerry for President campaign a check for
$2,000, recorded June 30, 2004. Haskell, based in Ohio, owns three abortion
clinics, all called Women's Med Center. In 1992 Haskell published a paper
describing how to perform what he called "dilation and extraction."
Circulation of this paper led to introduction of the Partial-Birth Abortion
Ban Act by congressman Charles Canady, a Florida Republican, in 1995.

Brenda Pratt Shafer, a nurse who worked briefly at one of Haskell's clinics,
witnessed close up the partial-birth abortion of a baby boy who she said was
at 26 and a half weeks.

"I stood at the doctor's side and watched him perform a partial-birth
abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant," Shafer related. "The
baby's heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor
delivered the baby's body and arms, everything but his little head. The
baby's body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was
kicking his feet.

"The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the
baby's head, and the baby's arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction,
like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened
the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole
and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never
went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little
boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen."

Haskell wrote that he used this method on all of his clients from 20 through
24 weeks, unless they had certain health problems, and on "selected" clients
through 26 weeks. He told American Medical News that 80 percent of his late
abortions were "purely elective." The head of the National Coalition of
Abortion Providers admitted to the New York Times in 1997 that the method is
used thousands of times annually, and that "in the vast majority of cases,
the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is
20 weeks or more along."

It seems that none of that really bothers John Kerry, who has voted for
unsuccessful amendments to allow partial-birth abortions without any
restriction whatever during the entire period of pregnancy that Haskell
acknowledges performing them, and to allow abortions for "health" reasons
(the term includes emotional "health") even later than that. After those
killer amendments were

rejected, Kerry voted every time (six times) against passage of the
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Haskell and Kerry both have a knack for compartmentalization. In 1993,
Cincinnati Medicine asked Haskell, "Does it bother you that a second
trimester fetus so closely resembles a baby?" Haskell replied, "I really
don't think about it. . . . Many of our patients have ethical dilemmas about
abortion. I don't feel it's my role as a physician to tell her she should
not have an abortion because of her ethical feelings. . . . I'm not to tell
them what's right or wrong."

Kerry explained in 1972: "On abortion, I myself, by belief and upbringing,
am opposed to abortion, but as a legislator, as one who is called on to pass
a law, I would find it very difficult to legislate on something God himself
has not seen fit to make clear to all the people on this earth."

DR. GEORGE TILLER runs an abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas. He sent the
Kerry campaign a contribution of $1,000, recorded March 17, 2004.

A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks (counted from the end of the last
menstrual period). Tiller performs abortions on request through 26 weeks, or
near the end of the sixth month. He uses various methods, but often favors
killing the fetus by injecting digoxin into his or her chest to stop the
heart, followed by induction of labor and/or manual removal of the dead

Tiller's clinic website (www.drtiller.com/mainpg.html) explains, "We are
able to perform elective abortions to the time in the pregnancy when the
fetus is viable. Viability is not a set point in time."

When most doctors use the term "viability," they mean the point at which a
premature infant can survive outside the mother with modern neonatal medical
support, which is generally about 23 or 24 weeks, or about 5 and a half

But Tiller operates on a different definition, which he calls

A spokeswoman for Tiller explained, "Our philosophy basically is that, prior
to 26 weeks, without massive neonatal intensive care, you do not have
survivalhood." Tiller himself has said, "Through the end of the second
trimester, when natural survival-hood does not exist, women have the right
to continue a pregnancy or end that pregnancy" (italics added).

So, although with proper neonatal care over two-thirds of babies born
prematurely at 26 weeks now survive long-term, they are still eligible for
purely elective abortion under Tiller's "survivalhood" doctrine.

What about abortions after 26 weeks? In a 1995 speech, Tiller spoke of
performing abortions as late as 36weeks.

It is not entirely clear what Tiller's criteria are for abortions after the
26th week. In 1992, the New York Times ran an article about Tiller, Hern,
and the late James McMahon. (McMahon, who died in 1995, developed the
partial-birth abortion method.) The paper reported: "All three say they are
uncomfortable doing late abortions unless the fetus is abnormal or the
woman's physical or mental health is endangered. But they make their
decisions case by case and come down firmly on the side of the woman's right
to decide whether she wants to continue her pregnancy. They say they do not
have specific guidelines on what circumstances justify an abortion or when
it is too late to perform one. The woman, not the fetus, is their patient,
they say."

Tiller's website is less explicit. It says, "Kansas law allows for
post-viability abortion procedures when continuing the pregnancy is
detrimental to the pregnant woman's health. Each person's circumstances are
reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please call so that we can discuss
admission criteria with you."

A lot of callers apparently meet the criteria, as the website asserts that
Tiller's clinic has "more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks
than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and
Australia." Tiller himself wrote in 2003, "I am the outpatient abortion
provider of the last resort in the United States, the Western Hemisphere and

Does Kerry wish to protect what Tiller does? Not if you believe what he told
ABC in the interview broadcast July 22: "What the Supreme Court has
established is a test of viability as to whether or not you're permitted to
terminate a pregnancy, and I support that. That is my test."

In reality, however, Kerry has voted for unsuccessful measures to require
that abortion be available even in the final three months of pregnancy for
"health" reasons, which include emotional "health." Beyond that, it seems
that Kerry would leave the definition of viability entirely in the hands of
each abortionist. He cosponsored the Freedom of Choice Act in the early
1990s. This bill would have forbidden states to place restrictions on
abortion until after "viability," with "viability" defined by the

In short, Kerry has consistently supported enactment of federal statutes
that would protect everything that Tiller does. But Tiller won't need the
shield of such statutes if Kerry gets to pick Supreme Court justices.

WARREN HERN, between September 15, 2003, and June 25, 2004, made three
contributions totaling $4,000 to two Kerry accounts, the maximum permitted
by law.

Hern is the owner and director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic. Hern has
developed refinements of various abortion methods, including the
dismemberment procedures called "dilation and evacuation." In an early paper
on such D&Es, he wrote, "There is no possibility of denial of an act of
destruction by the operator. It is before one's eyes. The sensations of
dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current."

According to the clinic's website (www.drhern.com), it offers "outpatient
elective abortion through 26 weeks." (Again, more than two-thirds of infants
born at 26 weeks now survive long-term.)

Hern also offers abortions "up to 36 weeks"--that is, the end of the eighth
month--when "medically indicated." Such very late abortions are often
performed because of "fetal anomalies," but in a 1992 letter, Hern listed
rape, incest, and "extreme youth" of the mother as examples of reasons for
performing abortions "up to 34 menstrual weeks' gestation."

How compatible are John Kerry's views with those of Warren Hern? Kerry told
ABC in July, "Let me tell you very clearly that being pro-choice is not
pro-abortion . . . and I think we need to adhere to the standard that Bill
Clinton, in fact, so adeptly framed, that abortion should be rare, but legal
and safe."

Well, the term "pro-abortion" can surely be aptly applied to Hern, who wrote
that pregnancy should be regarded not as a normal state but as an illness
which "may be treated by evacuation of the uterus." Elsewhere he wrote that
pregnancy is most appropriately compared to infestation by a parasite. He is
a strong proponent of population control, who has written that population
growth has made the human race itself an "ecotumor" or "planetary

It wouldn't make much sense to say that an effective anti-parasite or
anti-cancer treatment should be used only "rarely," so it might seem that
Kerry and Hern have divergent views on this point.

But here too, Kerry's record says otherwise. Despite Kerry's adoption of
Clinton's "adeptly framed" verbal formula that abortion should be "rare,"
Kerry has consistently voted in favor of making abortion an integral part of
U.S.-funded population control programs. Indeed, Kerry has pledged that if
elected president, he would use his very first executive order to overturn
President Bush's policy of not funding private organizations that promote
abortion in foreign nations.

"Abortions need to be moved out of the fringes of medicine and into the
mainstream of medical practice," Kerry explained in 1994.

Early this year, Kate Michelman, the longtime president of the National
Abortion Rights Action League, told the New York Times, "Even on the most
difficult issues, we've never had to worry about John Kerry's position."

Like Kate Michelman, Doctors Haskell, Tiller, and Hern know their man.

(Douglas Johnson is legislative director for the National Right to Life
Committee (legfeder al@aol.com). Mary Kay Culp, executive director of
Kansans for Life, contributed essential research and documentation regarding
Dr. George Tiller.)