After a short series of comments online today I was reminded that, while many people have opinions on abortion (even strong ones), there’s often not a whole lot of discussion of specifics or merits. Frankly, this is because there’s a whole lot of ignorance. And let me be honest: there’s an intentional emphasis on talking about anything but the details of abortion. So let’s try and discuss some actual facts. In this post I want to present the most common kinds of abortion. Merely, this is what abortion actually is; this is what abortion actually does. The descriptions are graphic enough. This post will not contain images or links to images of these procedures, though it is important to see what this is, just as we use visual instruction in every other area of education.
The following quoted sections are taken from Frank Beckwith’s book, Politically Correct Death (pages 46-47). Where he is quoting other sources, I’ve made that distinct by putting it in italics and noted the authors. Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
The techniques used most often to end early pregnancies [between 7 and 12 weeks] is called D & C or dilation and curettage. In the procedure, usually before the twelfth or thirteenth week of pregnancy, the uterus is approached through the vagina. The cervix is stretched to permit the insertion of a curette, a tiny hoelike instrument. The surgeon then scrapes the wall of the uterus, cutting the baby’s body to pieces and scarping the placenta from its attachments on the uterine wall. Bleeding is considerable. (C. Everett Coop, M.D., & Francsis Schaeffer in Whatever Happened to the Human Race?)
In order to insure that the aborted woman does not bleed after the abortion procedure or get an infection, the operating nurse reassembles the unborn’s parts to make sure the woman’s uterus has been emptied. (This may also take place after D & E abortions.)
A method used as an alternative to D & C during the same period of pregnancy is the suction abortion: The principle is the same as in the D & C. A powerful suction tube is inserted through the dilated cervix into the uterus. This tears apart the body and the placenta, sucking the pieces into a jar. The smaller parts of the body are recognizable as arms, legs, head, and so on. More than two-thirds of all abortions performed in the United States and Canada apparently are done by this method. (Coop & Schaeffer)
Saline abortion or “salting out” is a method used in later pregnancy when either suction abortion or D & C might result in too much bleeding for the pregnant woman.
This method s usually carried out after sixteen weeks of pregnancy, when enough amniotic fluid has accumulated in the sac around the body. A long needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen directly into the sac, and a solution of concentrated salt is injected into the amniotic fluid. The salt solution is absorbed both through the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract, producing changes in the osmotic pressure. The outer layer of skin is burned off by the high concentration of salt. It takes about an hour to kill the baby by this slow method. The mother usually goes into labor about a day later and delivers a dead, shriveled baby. (Coop & Schaeffer)
If a woman chooses an abortion when it is too late to accomplish it by saline, suction, D & C, or D & E, doctors may employ a technique known as a hysterectomy, though this method is rarely used today because of the increased risk to the patient (though it is a legal procedure).
A hysterectomy is exactly the same as a Cesarian section with one difference—in a Cessarian section the operation is usually performed to save the life of the baby, whereas a hysterectomy is performed to kill the baby. These babies look very much like other babies except that they are small and weigh, for example, about two pounds at the end of a twenty-four week pregnancy. They are truly alive, but they are allowed to die through neglect or sometimes killed by direct act. (Coop & Schaeffer)
Dilation and Evacuation (D & E)
Used between 12 and 24 weeks. Here… the child is cut to pieces by a sharp knife [or a pliers-like instrument], as in D & C, only it is a much larger and far more developed child, weighing as much as a pound, and measuring as much as a foot in length. (Schwartz, The Moral Question of Abortion)
Performed after the twelfth week of pregnancy, prostaglandin abortions involve the “uses of chemicals… The hormone-like compounds are injected or otherwise applied to the muscles of the uterus, causing it to contract intensely, thereby pushing out the developing baby. Babies have been decapitated during these abnormal contractions. Many have been born alive.” (Greg Bergel, When You Were Formed in Secret)
Partial Birth Abortion
The last method we’ll see described is partial birth abortion, or D & X. The following is an except from a Stand to Reason article, which you should read in its entirety.
I refer now to a description from Dr. Martin Haskell’s own instruction manual, “Dilation and Extraction for Late Second Trimester Abortion.” It was included in presentation materials of the National Abortion Federation (notice this is a powerful, pro-abortion organization), entitled “Second Trimester Abortion: From Every Angle,” pages 30-31. This material was distributed at the NAF Fall Risk Management Seminar, held September 13-14, 1992, in Dallas, Texas.
The surgeon introduces a large grasping forceps, such as a Bierer or Hern, through the vaginal and cervical canals into the corpus of the uterus…. When the instrument appears on the sonogram screen, the surgeon is able to open and close its jaws to firmly and reliably grasp a lower extremity. The surgeon then applies firm traction to the instrument causing aversion of the fetus (if necessary) and pulls the extremity into the vagina….
With a lower extremity in the vagina, the surgeon uses his fingers to deliver the opposite lower extremity, then the torso, the shoulders and the upper extremities.
The skull lodges at the internal cervical [opening]….The fetus is oriented dorsum or spine up. At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left hand along the back of the fetus and ‘hooks’ the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down)….
While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.
…The surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening.
The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.