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Writer Andy Kopsa Is Right: ‘Partial-Birth Abortion’ Is A Terribly Misleading Phrase

Partial-birth abortion is an inaccurate euphemism that hides the truth about a gut-wrenching incident.


Graphic content warning: This article explains what happens during partial-birth abortion.

Euphemisms are inherent to politics. Take, for example, “partial-birth abortion.” On Tuesday, left-wing journalist Andy Kopsa challenged Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse on his use of the term.

“There is no such thing as ‘Partial Birth,’” Kopsa tweeted. “That is a lie. There are third trimester abortion incredibly rare — incredibly rare — and most often to save life of the mother. Stop Lying.”

Kopsa is correct. Partial-birth abortion is an inaccurate euphemism that hides the truth about a gut-wrenching incident. Those who use the term should examine what it actually is and consider a more accurate phrase.

First, “partial” is an incredibly vague word. It could be anything; 1 percent, 20 percent, 33 percent. The truth about so-called “partial-birth abortion” is that the baby is pulled through the birth canal until only his or her head remains inside. At 33 weeks of gestation, the middle of the third trimester, the average baby is 16.5 inches tall and has a head that is five inches from the bottom of the chin to top of the cranium, meaning the baby is 70 percent born when a “partial birth abortion” occurs. “Partial” clearly understates the degree to which the baby is outside the womb during the abortion.

Second, what does the word “abortion” even mean? Health care? Reproductive justice? A woman’s right to choose? Again, these are euphemisms, as Kopsa so astutely opined. Abortion, in the context of “partial birth,” is where an abortionist pulls the baby 70 percent of the way through the birth canal until the baby’s neck is exposed. The abortionist then takes a pair of scissors and stabs the baby in the base of his or her skull. The baby’s body will jerk before going limp, at which point the abortionist opens the scissors to enlarge the wound.

The abortionist completes the “partial-birth abortion” by inserting a suction catheter into the baby’s head through the open wound and sucking out the baby’s brain. His or her skull will collapse and, with his or her head still partially attached to his or her body, the baby will slide right out.

Kopsa deserves credit for bringing attention to the dishonesty that surrounds discussion of “partial-birth abortion.” A more accurate term is “partial decapitation,” or maybe “homicide.”

It would be a waste of her insightful observation if we stopped at “partial-birth abortion,” because the entire abortion debate is conducted in euphemisms. The word “abortion” itself is an equally pretentious and shameless euphemism used to dehumanize the abortionist’s victim. One “aborts” afternoon plans or a scheduled take-off. One does not simply abort a human being.

Killing a baby is not a trivial, last-second change of plans, and the fact that the victims of this deliberate use of lethal violence are young, small, and helpless doesn’t mean it’s not murder. As Kopsa said, stop lying.