Abortion always takes the life of an unborn child
Before taking the life an unborn child, the abortionist must first determine how long the baby’s mother has been pregnant. Only by determining how long the baby has been alive can the abortionist choose the most effective method to take the unborn child’s life.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester lasts through the 12th week. The second trimester begins at week 13 and continues through week 24. The third trimester is the remaining time until the baby is delivered. For each trimester specific methods of abortion are used.
This section describes the different methods of abortion use. They are gruesome and not included to shock you but to inform you.
Abortions in the 1st trimester
1ST TRIMESTER : SUCTION
Suction-aspiration: or “vacuum curettage,” is the abortion technique used in most first trimester abortions.
Phillip G. Stubblefield, “First and Second Trimester Abortion,” in Gynecologic and Obstetric Surgery, ed. David H. Nichols (Baltimore: Mosby, 1993) p. 1016.
In this method, the abortionist must first paralyse the cervical muscle ring (womb opening) and then stretch it open. This is difficult because it is hard or “green” and not ready to open. He then inserts a hollow plastic tube, which has a knife-like edge on the tip, into the uterus. The suction tears the baby’s body into pieces. He then cuts the deeply rooted placenta from the inner wall of the uterus.
The scraps are sucked out into a bottle. The suction is 29 times more powerful than a home vacuum cleaner. Great care must be taken to prevent the uterus from being punctured during this procedure, which may cause hemorrhage and necessitate further surgery. Also, infection can easily develop if any foetal or placental tissue is left behind in the uterus. This is the most frequent post-abortion complication.
1ST TRIMESTER : D&C
DILATATION & CURETTAGE (D&C)
This is similar to the suction procedure except that the cervix is dilated or stretched to permit the insertion of a curette, a loop-shaped steel knife, up into the uterus. With this, he cuts the placenta and baby into pieces and scrapes them out into a basin. Bleeding is usually profuse.
Blood loss from D & C, or “mechanical” curettage is greater than for suction aspiration, as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infection. This method should not be confused with routine D&C’s done for reasons other than undesired pregnancy (to treat abnormal uterine bleeding, dysmenorrhea, etc.)
Abortions in the 2nd trimester
2ND TRIMESTER : SALINE
In the ’70s and ’80s the most common type was saline or salt poisoning abortions. These are not used much anymore because of danger to the mother. These are done after the 16th week when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic fluid sac surrounding the baby. A large needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and 50-250 ml (as much as a cup) of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt.
The baby breathes and swallows it, is poisoned, struggles, and sometimes convulses. The chemical solution also causes painful burning and deterioration of the baby’s skin. Usually, after about an hour, the child dies. When successful, the mother goes into labour about 33 to 35 hours after instillation and delivers a dead, burned, and shriveled baby. About 97% of mothers deliver their dead babies within 72 hours.
The mechanism of death is acute hypernatremia or acute salt poisoning, with development of wide-spread vasodilatation, edema, congestion, hemorrhage, shock, and death. Hypertonic saline may initiate a condition in the mother called “consumption coagulopathy” (uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the body) with severe hemorrhage as well as other serious side effects on the central nervous system.
Seizures, coma, or death may also result from saline inadvertently injected into the woman’s vascular system.
Perhaps the most distressing part of a saline abortion is the sight of the expelled foetus, scalded and red from the strong salt solution. When the saline is injected into the uterus, the foetus is immersed in the salt solution. The saline gets in its eyes and nose. The foetus “breathes” the salty fluid, and swallows it. The salt solution is strong enough to eat away the tissue-thin outer layer of foetal skin.
The saline also gets from the digestive tract into the foetal blood stream, where it eats away the thin walls of the capilaries, causing them to burst. This is the reason for the mottled, bruised appearance of so many saline foetuses. The raw red skin of saline foetuses has led to abortion staff dubbing them, “candy-apple babies”
Saline abortion is hardly a pleasant experience. This is an excerpt of an account of an abortion on a saline ward from Journey Through Abortion:
Without looking up at my face, the doctor numbed a small area on my stomach and injected the saline solution directly into my womb. … Afterwards I was wheeled back into my place … and curtly told to wait for the “uncomfortable menstrual like cramping” to begin
My heart was pounding so loudly in my ears I thought it might explode…. Panicked thoughts whirled madly through my head. All too soon the “menstrual-like cramping” began and what little self control I had began to slip away. At 17 … all I knew about labour was that it hurt enough to make women scream. I wanted to avoid it at all cost. That was the main reason I had chosen abortion, to avoid the pain of labour.
Ironically, all of the girls in the room and I were going through just that experience…. It hurt so bad. Tossing and turning from side to side, trying in vain to escape, I would open my eyes to see another girl a few feet away, her face twisted with pain mirroring my own.
Hours passed. The cries from everyone became louder and more intense. … Lost in my own agony, I dimly became aware of a subtle change taking place. The nurses had begun scurrying from one patient to the next, seemingly to help them with something. Suddenly, the girl next to me began screaming for the nurses to “Get that away from me! Get it away!”
As I watched she began scrambling up to the top of her bed, trying desperately to get away from a small bloody mass lying in the middle of the bed. Abruptly, I felt a lurching sensation in my body and the nurses swiftly appeared and removed the baby I had lost and placed him in a plastic container near the head of my bed.
Wordlessly, they cleaned me up as I lay unmoving, staring at the ceiling. I didn’t question anything. I did not want to know what I had done. I could not think about it at all or I would lose my mind.”
The words of Nancyjo Mann from the preface to Aborted Women: Silent No More hint at the pain the foetus must experience during a saline abortion:
“For two hours I could feel her struggling inside me. But then as suddenly as it began she stopped. Even today I remember her very last kick on my left side. She had no strength left. Despite my grief and guilt I was relieved that her pain was finally over.”
2ND TRIMESTER : PROSTAGLANDIN
Prostaglandins are naturally produced chemical compounds which normally assist in the birthing process. In the ’70s and ’80s, prostaglandin drugs were used to induce violent premature labour and delivery. The injection of concentrations of artificial prostaglandins prematurely into the amniotic sac induces violent labor and the birth of a child usually too young to survive.
Often salt or another toxin is first injected to ensure that the baby will be delivered dead, since some babies have survived the trauma of a prostaglandin birth and been born alive. This method is used during the second trimester. When used alone a large complication rate (42.6%) is associated with its use.
Few risks in obstetrics are more certain than that which occurs to a pregnant woman undergoing abortion after the 14th week of pregnancy. In addition to risks of retained placenta, cervical trauma, infection, hemorrhage, hyperthermia, bronchoconstriction, tachycardia, more serious side effects and complications from the use of artificial prostaglandins, including cardiac arrest and rupture of the uterus, can be unpredictable and very severe. Death is not unheard of.
2ND TRIMESTER : UREA
Because of the dangers associated with saline methods, other instillation methods such as hypersomolar urea are sometimes employed, though these are less effective and usually must be supplemented by oxytocin or a prostaglandin in order to achieve the desired result. Incomplete or failed abortion remains a problem with urea methods, often precipitating the additional risk of surgery.
As with other instillation techniques, gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea or vomiting are frequent, but the most common problem with second trimester techniques is cervical injuries, which range from small lacerations to complete detachments of the anterior or posterior cervix. Between 1% and 2% of patients using urea must be hospitalised for treatment of endometritis, an infection of the lining of the uterus.
2ND TRIMESTER : D&E
The D&E or Dilatation & Evacuation method was developed and largely replaced the saline and prostaglandin abortions because they were so lethal. It involves the live dismemberment of the baby and piecemeal removal from below. Used to abort unborn children as old as 24 weeks, this method is similar to the D&C.
The difference is that forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away. A pliers-like instrument is used because the baby’s bones are calcified, as is the skull. There is no anaesthetic for the baby. The abortionist inserts the instrument up into the uterus, seizes a leg or other part of the body, and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby’s body.
This is repeated again and again. The spine must be snapped, and the skull crushed to remove them. The nurse’s job is to reassemble the body parts to be sure that all are removed. If not carefully removed, sharp edges of the bones may cause cervical laceration. Bleeding from the procedure may be profuse.
Dr. Warren Hern, an abortionist who has performed a number of D&E abortions, says they can be particularly troubling to a clinic staff and worries that this may have an effect on the quality of care a woman receives. Hern also finds them traumatic for doctors too, saying “there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes.The sensation of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.”
D&E abortions are dangerous, but a report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control, Dept. HEW, stated that it is still safer for the mother than the salt-poisoning or Prostaglandin method.
Comparative Risks of Three Methods of Midtrimester Abortion Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Center for Disease Control, HEW, Nov. 26, 1976
It is reported that every year about 100,000 women are aborted by the D&E method, between 13 and 24 weeks gestation. Of this, 500 have “serious complications.” This was still judged to have a “lower risk of morbidity and mortality than the infusion procedures.”
MacKay et al., “Safety of Local vs General Anesthesia for Second Trimester D&E Abortions” OB-GYN, vol. 66, no. 5, Nov.1985, p. 661
2ND TRIMESTER : OTHER METHODS
Intracardiac injections. Since the advent of fertility drugs, multi-foetal pregnancies have become common. “The frequency of triplet and higher pregnancies . . . has increased 200% since the early 1970s.” Since these are usually born prematurely and some have other problems, a new method has been developed.
At about 4 months a needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen, into the chest and heart of one of the foetal babies and a poison injected to kill him or her. This is “pregnancy reduction.” It is done to reduce the number or to kill a handicapped baby, if such is identified. If successful, the dead baby’s body is absorbed.
Sometimes, however, this method results in the loss of all of the babies
Abortions in the 3rd trimester
Similar to the Caesarean Section, this method is generally used if chemical methods such as salt poisoning or prostaglandins fail. Incisions are made in the abdomen and uterus and the baby, placenta, and amniotic sac are removed. Babies are sometimes born alive during this procedure, raising questions as to how and when these infants are killed and by whom.
This method offers the highest risk to the health of the mother, because the potential for rupture during subsequent pregnancies is appreciable. In the first two years of legal abortion in New York State, the death rate from hysterotomy was 271.2 deaths per 100,000 cases.
How it works, complications and side-effects
The RU-486 pill is a method of chemical abortion that is sometimes used through the 7th week of pregnancy. The producers of the pill have spent millions promoting RU-486 as a safe and effective alternative to surgical abortion – but the evidence reveals a very different picture.
She must have a thorough history physical exam and blood count. If she’s anaemic, has high blood pressure, kidney disease, smokes or is over 35, she is rejected. Finally, she needs an ultrasound exam to confirm the age of her baby and rule out a tubal pregnancy. She must sign her permission and in some nations wait one or more days.
She takes the pills
She is given prostaglandin drug (cytotec or misoprotone). This produces hard labour. Usually the baby parts are passed that day.
If she has not aborted or if she is still bleeding, she will need an ultrasound to determine if the uterus is empty. If not, she needs a D&C. The French Ministry of Health requires that the abortion facility be equipped with EKG IV equiment and a “crash cart” with a defibrillator in the event of a heart attack resulting from the drugs.
What in the past has been less readily acknowledged is that RU-486 is also, at worst, a “maternicide” and at best, deleterious to a woman health. The following is a selected and very brief list of some of the recorded side-effects of RU-486.
- One maternal death reported on 25.3.91 by AAP and by The Australian 13-14th April 1991
- One Heart attack and another cardiac anomaly reported by Roussel, the manufacturer in 1990.
- Two further instances in 1991 of severe cardiac failures
- Post-abortion bleeding can be significant in 10% of women, lasting from 3-43 days. Indeed, this bleeding can be so bad that transfusions are needed. Professor Herranz cites a study showing that one in one hundred women required this procedure. In another study by Russel, seven women out of 950 in the trial required a transfusion
- Substantial pain accompanies the uterine contractions. In the Roussel study previously mentioned, 270 women out of 950 required narcotics, and 280 required less potent pain relievers
- Other less dramatic side-effects are also common e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea, fainting, fatigue and excessive thirst
Bio-ethicist Mr Nick Tonti-Filippini has drawn attention to questions that have been raised about the lasting effect of RU-486 on the tissues of the cervix and the uterus. Both of theses structures, and their proper functioning, are of paramount importance to the viability of any future pregnancies. Also, because RU-486 crosses the blood-follicle barrier, there is concern about the drugs effect on the both the ovaries and egg follicles of woman.
The importance of this effect is that a woman is born with her life supply of “eggs.” Her body does not create a new ova on each cycle. If her life supply is damaged then the effects of this damage may manifest itself in any or all of her future pregnancies.
Bleeding, common to most cases is prolonged bleeding averaging 9 – 30 days. In the controlled testing reported to date one woman in a hundred bled so badly that she needed either a D&C, surgical scraping out of her womb and/or a blood transfusion. In undeveloped countries, such treatment is often not available and some of these women will bleed to death.
Interuption of Pregnancy with RU486 and prostaglandin. Silvestre et. al. NEM J.Med Vol 322 3/8/90 No 10
Studies vary but well over half of women need specific pain medication with about 1/3 needing narcotic. There is nausea and vomiting in most cases.
These drugs do not kill an embryo growing in her tube. A woman with a tubal pregnancy could take the drug, bleed, think she had passed everything and then suddenly rupture a tube. This is potentially fatal. The only preventative is to do an ultrasound exam on every woman – a test that costs as much as an entire surgical abortion.
This necessitates a surgical intervention and a D&C scraping out of the womb.
None other than Dr. Edwardo Sakiz, then President Roussel Uclaf,
“The woman must live with this for a full week. This is an appalling psychological ordeal.”
RU486 failure in ovarian hetero tropic pregnancy J. Lievin et al. OBGYN August 1990
Sometimes she will pass parts of the baby at home. Firm instructions are that she must save whatever passes in a jar and bring it to the doctor to see that everything is out. In a surgical abortion she rarely sees the pieces. Here she will and she will never forget.
Post abortion syndrome
Many women getting abortions are very ambivalent. One defence mechanism is for to say “I can’t help it. I have no choice. Anyhow they are doing this to me.” With RU486 she swallows the pills and does it to herself. More research needs to be done on this but indications are that PAS will be at least as common from this method as from surgery.
RU486 and a prostaglandin will produce an abortion 95% of the time. The rest will be advised to have a surgical abortion. But there will some who refuse surgery and carry to term. These babies will have a significant possibility of foetal deformity. Two poisonous drugs were given when the hearts, limbs etc were being formed. This didn’t quite kill, but the effect can be to cause severe structural deformities as a direct toxic effect similar to those in Thalidomide. In addition, the drugs can cause genetic damage to the developing baby. Genetic damage may also be caused to children she bears later similar to the DES drug tragedy. In the tightly controlled French experience there has been one such tragedy.
A report relates the case of a woman who wanted an abortion and opted for the RU-486 technique. When it “failed” she refused the post RU-486 surgical abortion. The woman had belatedly decided to continue with her pregnancy. Some 14 weeks later an ultra -sound was performed which showed gross deformation of the unborn child.
The baby was subsequently surgically aborted and found to have no kidneys, no external genitalia, no internal reproductive organs, no stomach or gallbladder and its legs had fused together.