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How Live Action makes legal abortions seem scary

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 16:22 EDT
woman on strings (shutterstock)

This week the anti-abortion group Live Action released a new video that purports to expose Dr. LeRoy Carhart, one of just four abortion providers in America who will provide abortions late into the second trimester.

The video, as the Washington Post reports, blames Carhart for the death of a 29-year-old Maryland woman who underwent a procedure at Carhart’s clinic and reportedly died days later.

But the video, most certainly edited for maximum sinister effect, doesn’t portray Carhart doing anything illegal. Even if this woman’s death is attributed to complications relating to an abortion procedure, such deaths are rare. People, even under the best medical care, sometimes die from complications following a surgery or other medical treatment. Medical treatment can be scary — and Live Action’s videos make it seem worse than it is.

In fact, death from abortion is rare — so rare that Live Action could only present this one woman’s case. Death from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, on the other hand, is less rare. The United States ranks 50th in maternal deaths worldwide, some 12.7 for every 100,000 live births — though some estimate the real number could be twice that.

But the videos Live Action produces — the Carhart one is published just a week after Live Action tried to accuse later-term abortion providers in New York’s Bronx borough and Washington D.C. of also providing legal second-trimester abortions — work very hard to link the standard practice of care to the horrific and clearly illegal conditions of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. But Roe v. Wade already has clear guidelines for abortion.

For the stage subsequent to viability the State, in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life, may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

That is, states can restrict abortion after 28 weeks, but they aren’t barred from it. The Live Action video demonstrates Carhart is aware of this and even notes that Maryland law allows abortion up to 28 weeks.

As Michelle Goldberg wrote, anti-abortion groups like Live Action are really working to sway the public against second-trimester abortions, because they know that the American public is already squeamish about the practice.

The most important thing to understand, however, is that women make the decision to abort in the second trimester of an abortion for a variety of reasons, but because it is so rare, it’s often because women have discovered that something has gone horrifically wrong in their pregnancies.

Kate Sheppard documented this in 2011 for Mother Jones, when she interviewed a woman who had an abortion at 29 weeks. Dana Weinstein talks about how, though she always thought about herself as pro-choice, she never imagined she would have a late-term abortion.

“We wanted her and loved her,” Weinstein told Mother Jones. “In some ways I feel a little bit lucky, in that she was so sick that the decision was almost made for us. I don’t wrestle with guilt.”

These are complicated issues, and women don’t arrive at these decisions lightly. Making an abortion seem scary and illegal when it isn’t is just trafficking fear.

[Woman on strings via Shutterstock]

Dear MSNBC: 5 other things it’s not too early to talk about if it’s not too early to start talking about 2016

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, May 6, 2013 13:38 EDT

Look, I get it. If it’s not too early to talk about the horse race in 2016 (and I’m not talking about the 2016 Kentucky Derby, though I might as well be), then what does MSNBC have to talk about? I mean, it’s not like the government does anything other than get itself reelected — I meant that as sarcastic when I started but then realized it’s a little too on point — but, more…


Money doesn’t make you magical, CEOs, it only makes you rich

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 14:58 EDT

In the news Monday morning, the world learned about the “terrifying brawl” on the face of Mt. Everest over the weekend between a pair of European climbers and their Nepalese guides. Apparently. the guides said that party had to stop and cut a wider path through the ice. The two…


Anecdotes from the Raw Story newsroom that prove our executive editor is a real b*tch

By Megan Carpentier
Thursday, April 25, 2013 16:28 EDT

You may have heard by now that Politico media reporter Dylan Byers is under fire for a profile of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson in which anonymous staffers complain that she’s not particularly cuddly, that she doesn’t try to make them all her friends and occasionally acts like…


Never mind Bush’s war crimes, he did something nice once at Yale

By Kay Steiger
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 16:19 EDT

Lobbyist/cannibal defender/the guy you call when you have a child sex abuse scandal Lanny Davis has a handy three-point plan for coming to terms with the presidency of George W. Bush, you know, if you’re a “liberal Democrat” like he is. Step 1. Bush didn’t lie. He was just mistaken.…


A self-congratulatory list of April Fools’ ideas Raw Story rejected

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, April 1, 2013 14:56 EDT

Look, we totally get it. Some people don’t think news sites doing April Fools’ jokes are funny. And there are a hundred arguments involving the sacred unstated contract with serious readers why to not do them. But, some times when you spend weeks on end documenting everything from racism to…


A note to conservatives eager to draw parallels between same sex marriage and non-consensual criminal acts

By Megan Carpentier
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 16:33 EDT

When I think of LGBT people, I think of my dad’s best friend, the village’s sole male hairdresser who catered to female clients and how he taught my mom and me how to French braid so I could be cooler in my ballet class. I think of the sweet high…


Will Portman: “Proud” to be gay and “Rob and Jane Portman’s son”

By Megan Carpentier
Monday, March 25, 2013 14:35 EDT

In a heartfelt piece in the Yale Daily News (warning: it may cause your eyes to leak), Will Portman — the son of Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) whose coming out the Senator credited for his change in position on same sex marriage — talked about his experiences coming out and…


Steubenville and sports culture: a fan’s lament

By Rafael Noboa y Rivera
Monday, March 18, 2013 18:51 EDT

I grew up in Ohio, in a small town much like Steubenville (though my hometown’s small townishness was slightly lessened by its proximity to Columbus, the state capital). Much like Steubenville, football was king of a vast sports empire to which we all seemingly belonged, a locus of community and…


3 things liberals should learn from CPAC

The Conservative Political Action Conference can be pretty easy pickings for liberal-leaning writers, from checking out who’s on the gay hook-up app Grindr to hitting up the panel discussions that sound most likely to go off the rails to chronicling the latest in Sarah Palin’s world. But amid the carnival…