Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Truth Finally Emerges about Partial-Birth Abortions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Truth Finally Emerges about Partial-Birth Abortions

Article excerpt

Imagine if you will that a leading figure in the pro-life movement issued a statement that he had "lied through his teeth" in the debate over partial-birth abortion.

How do you suppose the story would be played? Is there any doubt that it would make page one?

Well, a leading abortion supporter did exactly that last week. Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, acknowledged that he had "lied through his teeth" during the partial-birth abortion debate. In a 1995 appearance on "Nightline," Fitzsimmons offered the party line, namely that partial-birth abortions were very rare (only 400 or 500 per year) and were performed only to preserve a woman's health or when the fetus had severe abnormalities. Last week, Fitzsimmons admitted that pro-life advocates had been right all along. Partial-birth abortions are not rare - Fitzsimmons estimates that there are between 4,000 and 5,000 per year. Moreover, most are performed on healthy women with healthy babies. The New York Times put the story on page A12, and The Washington Post placed it on page 4. To their credit, NBC and ABC gave the story prominent play ("Nightline" devoted another program to the subject), though their discomfort with the news was palpable. One female reporter noted sadly that this revelation of duplicity would play into the hands of those who want to ban the procedure for everyone. Jo Ann Silberner of National Public Radio reported the story with so many caveats and explanations that listeners could scarcely tell by the end of her account just what Fitzsimmons had done wrong. Fitzsimmons explains that he had a guilty conscience for lying to "Nightline." He had done his own research on the prevalence of partial-birth abortions when the issue was first raised and knew that the procedure was neither rare nor performed only for medical necessity. He now says that lying about it made him feel "like a dirty little abortionist with a dirty little secret." Was it only lying that made him feel that way? Fitzsimmons was not alone. That's what makes this story so significant. …

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