To the Editor:
Supreme Court dictates on abortion have required a health exception for laws regulating late-term abortions but have permitted the "attending physician" to decide when the exception applies. In other words, the abortionist decides. This glaring but little-known loophole is well understood by activists on both sides.
The real purpose of health exceptions is to force pro-life legislators to oppose them and thereby appear insensitive to the health needs of women. This ploy has usually eliminated the support of borderline legislators and is a major reason why we still have abortion-on-demand.
The only real obstacle to obtaining a partial-birth late-term abortion is finding a physician unethical enough to commit the act. This is why a twelve year old incest victim from Michigan had to go to Kansas - where it is also supposedly illegal.
President Clinton vetoed the last bill to outlaw partial-birth abortion because it lacked a health exception, in spite of the American Medical Association's statement that the procedure is never justified. He trusted correctly that the media would be unable or unwilling to explain the loophole this would create.
So long as we have activist judiciary and abortion advocates who care nothing for the rule of law or our democratic process, the will of the people will be frustrated by such cynical and destructive tactics.