Thursday, October 23, 2003

A measured take on "partial birth" abortion. Reader J.S. sends along this statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explaining why Congress erred in banning intact dilation and extraction (D&X) -- a procedure labeled by its critics as "partial-birth abortion."

(To be totally accurate, the statement was actually released a couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of the congressional vote.)

The college refers back to a 1997 policy statement that found that, in some instances, intact D&X may be the best option available:

The policy statement notes that although a select panel convened by ACOG could identify no circumstances under which intact D&X would be the only option to protect the life or health of a woman, intact D&X "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman, and only the doctor, in consultation with the patient, based upon the woman's particular circumstances, can make this decision."

This is a far more solid argument than the hapless prochoice Democrats were able to make earlier this week. Here's what the college is essentially saying: if it's legal for a woman to have an abortion, then lawmakers have no right dictating what particular type abortion she must have -- especially since intact D&X may be safter than the alternative.

Hersh, rampaging again. In case you haven't heard yet, Seymour Hersh is back in the New Yorker this week with a long, horrifying piece on the intelligence failures of the Bush White House -- failures that stemmed directly from its keen desire to believe what it wanted to believe regarding Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Dick Cheney comes off particularly badly. And wait till you read one of the leading theories as to who forged those documents purporting to show that Iraq had sought to obtain yellowcake uranium in Niger.

New in this week's Phoenix. The Atlantic Monthly -- if not its heartbroken staff -- has recovered from the death of editor Michael Kelly. But questions about its future remain.

Also, a novel idea for improving local TV news: quality!

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