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The following is a compilation of abortion procedures used when terminating an unwanted
pregnancy. These descriptions are graphic and reflect the violent nature of an abortion. Pro-choice groups have argued that the fetus being extracted is no different than a piece of tissue. Some have argued that an abortion is equivalent to an appendectomy or tonsillectomy. As you read these descriptions ask yourself if that is what comes to your mind.
A very early suction abortion, often done before the pregnancy test is positive. Suction Aspiration
Suction aspiration, or "vacuum curettage," is the technique used in most first trimester abortions. The
doctor performing this procedure first paralyzes the cervix (womb opening). He then inserts a hollow
plastic tube with a knife-like tip into the uterus. The tube is connected to a powerful pump with a suction
force 29 times more powerful than a typical vacuum cleaner. The suction dismembers the body of the
developing baby and tears the placenta from the wall of the uterus, sucking blood, amniotic fluid,
placental tissue, and fetal parts into a collection bottle. During this procedure the hose frequently jerks as
pieces of the baby become lodged in it. At this time great care must be taken to prevent the uterus from
being punctured because it may cause hemorrhaging and necessitate further surgery. Also, infection can
easily develop if any fetal or placental tissue is left behind in the uterus. This is the most frequent post-
abortion complication. Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
D & C abortions are very rare today and are only performed during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. This
procedure is similar to the suction (see above) except that after dilating the cervix the doctor performing
the abortion inserts a curette, a loop-shaped steel knife up into the uterus. He then cuts the placenta and
baby into pieces and scrapes them out into a basin. Bleeding is usually profuse as is the likelihood of
uterine perforation and infection. RU 486
RU-486, the so-called " French abortion pill," is that produces an abortion. It is taken after the
mother misses her period. Its effect is to block the use of an essential hormonal nutrient by the newly
implanted baby, who then dies, and drops off.
It is important to understand that despite arguments to the contrary, RU-486 is not a contraceptive. This is
because it does not prevent fertilization or implantation. It is used only after the mother has missed her
period and the baby is at least two to three weeks old, with a beating heart (the fetal heart begins to beat
when the woman is four days late for her period). Furthermore, it is no longer effective after two months of
While many people focus solely on the drug, the RU 486 technique actually uses two powerful synthetic
hormones with the generic names of mifepristone and misoprostol to chemically induce abortions in
women five-to-nine weeks pregnant.
The RU 486 procedure requires at least three trips to the abortion facility. In the first visit, the woman is
given a physical exam, and if she has no obvious contra-indications ("red flags" such as smoking,
asthma, high blood pressure, obesity, etc., that could make the drug deadly to her), she swallows the RU
486 pills. RU 486 blocks the action of progesterone, the natural hormone vital to maintaining the rich
nutrient lining of the uterus. As a result the developing baby essentially starves to death as the nutrient
At a second visit 36 to 48 hours later, the woman is given a dose of artificial prostaglandins, usually
misoprostol, which initiates uterine contractions and usually causes the embryonic baby to be expelled
from the uterus. Most women abort during the 4-hour waiting period at the clinic, but about 30% abort
later at home, work, etc., as many as 5 days later. A third visit about 2 weeks later determines whether
the abortion has occurred or a surgical abortion is necessary to complete the procedure (5 to 10% of all
There are several serious well documented side effects associated with RU 486/prostaglandin abortions,
including prolonged (up to 44 days) and severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting, pain, and even death. At
least one woman in France died while others there suffered life-threatening heart attacks from the
technique. In U.S. trials conducted in 1995, one woman is known to have nearly died after losing half her
blood and requiring emergency surgery. Methotrexate
This procedure is similar to the one using RU 486, although it is administered by an intramuscular
injection instead of a pill.
Originally designed to attack fast growing cells such as cancers by neutralizing the B vitamin folic acid
necessary for cell division, methotrexate apparently attacks the fast growing cells of the trophoblast as
well, the tissue surrounding the embryo that eventually gives rise to the placenta. The trophoblast not only
functions as the "life support system" for the developing child, drawing oxygen and nutrients from the
mother’s blood supply and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products, but also produces the hCG
(human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone which signals the corpus luteum to continue the production of
progesterone necessary to prevent breakdown of the uterine lining and loss of the pregnancy.
Methotrexate initiates the disintegration of that sustaining, protective, and nourishing environment.
Deprived of the food, oxygen, and fluids he or she needs to survive, the baby dies.
Three to seven days later (depending on the protocol used), a suppository of misoprostol (the same
prostaglandin used with RU 486) is inserted into a woman’s vagina to trigger expulsion of the tiny body of
the child from the woman’s uterus. Sometimes this occurs within the next few hours, but often a second
dose of the prostaglandin is required, making the time lapse between the initial administration of
methotrexate and the actual completion of the abortion as long as several weeks. A woman may bleed
for weeks (42 days in one study), even heavily, and may abort anywhere -- at home, on the bus, at work,
etc. Those found to be still pregnant in later visits (at least 1 in 25) are given surgical abortions.
Even doctors who support abortion are reluctant to prescribe methotrexate for abortion because of its
high toxicity and unpredictable side effects. Those side effects commonly include nausea, pain,
diarrhea, as well as less visible but more serious effects such as bone marrow depression, severe
anemia, liver damage and methotrexate-induced lung disease.
Salt Poisoning a.k.a. "Candy Apple Babies:"
This procedure is otherwise known as "saline amniocentesis," "salting out," or a "hypertonic saline"
abortion. It is used after 16 weeks of pregnancy, when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic fluid
sac surrounding the baby.
When performed, a 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 in,
swallowing the salt, and is poisoned. During this process the baby often 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. The mother goes into labor about 33 to 35 hours after
instillation and delivers a dead, burned, and shriveled baby although some have actually survived and
been delivered alive.
NOTE: 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.
The corrosive effect of the salt solution often burns and strips away the outer layer of the baby's skin. This
exposes the raw, red, glazed-looking subcutaneous layer of tissue. The baby's head sometimes looks like
a candy apple. Some have also likened this method to the effect of napalm on innocent war victims. This
technique was originally developed in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. (source: Abortion and
Social Justice, NY: Sheed & Ward, 1972) Dilatation (Dilation) and Evacuation (D&E)
D & E’s are generally performed during the second trimester (4-6 months) of pregnancy and have largely
replaced saline and chemical abortions, which too frequently resulted in live births. When performing a D
& E, a pliers-like instrument (forceps with a sharp metal jaw) are needed because the baby's bones are
calcified, as is the skull.
During this procedure the doctor performing the abortion inserts the forceps into the uterus. He then
seizes a leg or other part of the body and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby. This is repeated
again and again. Furthermore, there is no anesthetic for the baby. The spine must then be snapped, and
the skull crushed to remove them. If not carefully removed, sharp edges of the bones may cause cervical
laceration. Bleeding from this procedure may be profuse. The nurse's job is to reassemble the body parts
to be sure that all are removed.
NOTE: Dr. Warren Hern, a Boulder, Colorado 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 & X (Partial Birth)
Under this procedure the cervix is dilated to allow passage of ring forceps. A foot or lower leg is located
and pulled into the vagina. The baby is then extracted in breech fashion until the head is just inside the
cervix. At this point the baby's legs hang outside its mothers body. With the baby face-down, scissors are
plunged into its head at the nape of the neck and spread open to enlarge the wound. A suction tip is then
inserted and the baby's brain is removed. Once this is done the skull collapses and the baby is delivered.
Sharp and suction curettage is continued until the walls of the womb are clean.
Note: Despite the protest of virtually all pro-choice groups, a ban on this procedure was signed into law by
President George W. Bush in 2003. Earlier bills were submitted to President Clinton but were vetoed. Hysterectomy
This method is usually used late in pregnancy and is likened to an "early" Caesarian section. The
mother's abdomen and uterus are surgically opened and the baby is lifted out. Unfortunately, many of
these babies are very much alive when removed. To kill the babies, some abortionists have been known
to plunge them into buckets of water or smother them with the placentas. Still others cut the cord while
the baby is still inside the uterus depriving the baby of oxygen. Prostaglandin Abortions
Three forms, two are injected and one is a vaginal suppository. Its first approved use was for "the
induction of mid-trimester abortions." The hormone produces a violent labor and delivery of whatever size
baby the mother carries. If the baby is old enough to survive the trauma of labor, it may be born alive, but
is usually too small to survive. Miscellaneous Techniques
The techniques listed above are the most common, yet abortionists throughout history have tried all kinds
of techniques for killing gestating babies. Here's one such account:
Sarah Brown’s mother had carried her to full term, 36 weeks, when she decided to abort her baby. That
was on July 13, 1993. The abortionist stabbed Sarah in the brain three times with a needle filled with
poison. But something went "wrong"; two days later she was born alive in a Wichita, Kansas, hospital. Bill
and Marykay Brown obtained temporary custody of the baby within 24 hours of her birth and adopted her
30 days later. "For the first few months she seemed to be progressing normally, although she was blind,"
said Marykay Brown in a 1998 interview with National Right to Life News
. "She had acute hearing, and
was beginning to try to speak." But at about six months Sarah suffered a stroke and never fully recovered.
Mrs. Brown says Sarah never spoke or walked, but "she recognized us and learned to smile." Sources:
How are Abortions Performed? William F. Colliton, M.D., Director of Medical Affairs, American Life
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