Is “IDX” Really That Hard to Write?

Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing was held last week, and the event unfolded fairly predictably. Even though Orrin Hatch has stated that he’ll vote against Kagan, and Jeff Sessions has made noises about a possible filibuster, the general consensus is that she’ll be confirmed. One issue did spark some controversy, however: Kagan’s writings on abortion. As an associate White House counsel during the Clinton Administration, Kagan was one of the staffers involved in the discussions of a potential ban on so-called “partial-birth abortion”

Much has been reported and opined about Kagan’s work on this issue, but whether the subject comes up in mainstream media, conservative publications, or liberal websites, one piece of the story remains consistent: the use of the term “partial-birth abortion.” The casual and pervasive use of this term clearly represents how anti-choice language has gained acceptance in the mainstream, particularly as it is not an actual medical procedure. What the misnomer refers to is intact dilation and extraction (IDX), a rare procedure[1] used only in the later stages of pregnancy, which is generally defined as the beginning of the third trimester. IDX is performed by dilating the woman’s cervix with the aid of medications and removing the fetus through the birth canal. To safely remove the fetus, it is necessary to reduce the size of the head, which is done through the physician making an incision at the base of the skull and inserting a suction catheter to collapse the skull.  [Read more...]