Abortion has been legal in the United States for more than 30 years, yet little is publicly known about the practices of this billion-dollar industry. American taxpayers foot many of the costs but are left in the dark about what they fund.
That may soon change, thanks to the courageous defense by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft of the Partial-Birth Abortion Act. The Justice Department is battling three lawsuits that seek to overturn this statute, which President Bush signed into law on Nov. 5, 2003.
First, liberals pretended that partial-birth abortion does not exist, and now they claim that the practice is medically necessary. If former President Bill Clinton or Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., were president, the abortionists would win by default. But Ashcroft is the man in charge.
He is the former attorney general, governor and U.S. senator from Missouri, the Show Me State. To the abortionists he says, "Show me why you claim it is 'medically necessary' to terminate the life of a partially born child."
The Justice Department has issued subpoenas for records about abortions performed by plaintiffs and their witnesses. When they ultimately take the witness stand to argue "medical necessity" for their abortions, U.S. attorneys can cross-examine them based on their own records.
No patient names will be revealed, as the government has already agreed to delete personal identifiers from the records. The issue is the conduct by the doctor, not the patient.
Requiring disclosure of material central to a lawsuit is Litigation 101, basic to the Anglo-American legal system. For hundreds of years, trials have relied on this adversarial system to sift fact from fiction.
Most people accept these rules of fairness. But abortionists are accustomed to withholding information about abortion, such as its correlation with breast cancer.
Planned Parenthood, a large provider of abortions, opposes the subpoenas. Last year,
Planned Parenthood received $254.4 million in taxpayer money, but it does not want to disclose medical details of its abortions performed by potential witnesses at affiliated facilities.
Planned Parenthood received another $228.1 million from corporations, foundations and other donors. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, endowed by the late co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Co. and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, David Packard, is a private organization that provides many millions in grants annually to programs in the areas of conservation and science, population, children, families and communities, including some groups that advocate abortion rights.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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