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Types of Abortion
It has been more than two and a half decades since the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision opened the floodgates to abortion in America.  Since then, the abortion industry has developed a number of different methods—chemical and surgical—to destroy a developing child.  This paper is designed to serve as a reference, briefly defining and explaining the different methods of abortion used at each point in pregnancy.
First-Trimester Abortions
Two prominent types of surgical abortion are performed in the first-trimester: Suction-aspiration and dilation and curettage (D&C). 

Suction-aspiration is the most common surgical method used in first-trimester abortions.1  In a suction-aspiration abortion, the abortionist numbs the cervix and stretches it open.  He then inserts a hollow plastic tube with a knife-like edge into the uterus and suctions the baby’s body into a bottle. The baby’s body is torn apart.  Since the suction is much more powerful than a home vacuum cleaner, the placenta—well-connected to the uterus’s lining—is also torn away. 

The D&C method is similar to the suction procedure.  The abortionist inserts a curette—a loop-shaped steel knife—into the uterus and scrapes the wall.  Scraping is concentrated where he encounters resistance. He cuts the placenta and the baby into pieces and either scrapes or suctions them out into a basin.  This method generally produces considerable bleeding—more so than with the suction aspiration. D&C abortions also usually require anesthesia—either general or spinal.
 
Despite that it has been marketed as a quick and easy form of abortion, RU-486 actually requires three trips to the clinic and, in some cases, has caused death. 
 
The latest trend in early abortions is the chemical abortion.  After implantation, and still very early in the pregnancy, abortions can be induced by abortifacient drugs such as RU-486 (also known as mifepristone) and methotrexate, both of which are typically used with a prostaglandin (labor-inducing drug). 

RU-486 has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but political maneuvering has put it on the fast track for approval.3  It is used to induce abortion on women who are five to nine weeks along in their pregnancy.  Despite the fact that it has been marketed as a quick and easy form of abortion, it actually requires three trips to the clinic and has side effects that can include severe bleeding, nausea, vomiting and pain.  In some cases it has caused death. 

Methotrexate is currently used as a prescription drug to treat life-threatening tumorous diseases and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  The fact that the drug acts as an abortifacient was considered an undesirable side effect.  Now, abortion advocates are ready to use it as a chemical abortion method.  However, it comes with a strong warning that patients using the drug should be under a doctor’s care and be informed of all risks, since it can have serious side effects due to its high toxicity.  Side effects include nausea, diarrhea, liver damage and lung disease.4
Second-Trimester Abortions
To compensate for the increased size of the baby and uterus during the second trimester, different abortion techniques are used.  The most common technique used in second-trimester abortions is dilation & evacuation (D&E).5 

The D&E is similar to the D&C abortion. But during a D&E, the woman’s cervix “must be dilated more widely because surgical instruments are used to remove larger pieces” of the unborn child.6  After dilating the cervix, the doctor inserts narrow forceps. He then methodically cuts the baby into pieces.  In this procedure, the woman may receive intravenous fluid and an analgesic or sedative.  If the baby is beyond 14 weeks, oxytocin can be administered to get the uterus to contract and shrink.7
Late Second- and Third-Trimester Abortions
In late second-term and third-term abortions, instillation techniques are often used.  These methods require abortionists to inject lethal chemicals.  These techniques may result in the birth of a severely injured, but living, baby—described by abortionists as “the dreaded complication.” 8
 

One instillation technique, used after the 16th week, is saline amniocentesis, or a “salt-poisoning” abortion.  “A large needle is inserted through the abdominal wall of the mother and into the baby’s amniotic sac.  A concentrated salt solution is injected into the baby’s amniotic fluid.  As the baby breathes and swallows the poison, it struggles and sometimes convulses.”9  The solution causes the child’s tissues and organs to hemorrhage, and large bruises appear over the baby’s body as arteries and veins rupture.  The solution chemically burns away most of the baby’s outer skin.  The baby suffers for over an hour, and the mother delivers a dead baby about one day later.  Nazi Germany originally developed this procedure in the concentration camps.10

An alternative to saline is the urea abortion, which works in a similar way.  Urea is a nitrogen-based solution which is injected into the amniotic sac, killing the unborn child.  It can be used with prostaglandins, which induce labor and cause the mother to deliver the dead baby.11

Another method, intracardiac injections, involves injecting a poison—such as digoxin—into the unborn baby’s heart.12  Abortionist George Tiller notoriously uses this method which ensures the baby is stillborn.  The mother’s cervix is opened over a one- to four-day period (Tiller uses laminaria).  Once the cervix opens, labor is induced, and the mother delivers a dead baby.  Lastly, a D&C is performed.

On his Web site, Tiller claims the procedure assures the baby “will not experience any discomfort.”  However, that assumes the abortionist accurately locates the baby’s heart.  In at least one known case, Tiller missed and injected the poison into the baby’s brain.13  She survived with severe brain damage.  Bill and Marykay Brown adopted her, naming her Sarah.  Opponents violently harrassed them for their loving act.  Sarah died in September 1998 when she was five.

It is not unusual for later-term chemical abortions to include use of prostaglandins to induce contractions.  These drugs often produce side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting and pain.  Occasionally, the fetus will “explode through the uterine wall.”14
 
Women having partial-birth abortions are "within inches of having a live baby born." 
 
Surgical abortion techniques used late in the second term and in the third term include hysterotomy, partial-birth abortion and “therapeutic abortion.”

Hysterotomies are identical to a cesarean section—but the intent is to destroy the child, not save her.  The umbilical cord may be clamped, which suffocates the baby.  This procedure nearly always results in a live birth.  “‘As the infant is lifted from the womb,’ said one obstetrician, ‘He is only sleeping, like his mother.  She is under anesthesia, and so is he.’  You want to know how they kill him?  They put a towel over his face so he can’t breathe.  And by the time they get him to the lab, he is dead.”15

Another late-term abortion technique that has garnered considerable attention in recent years is the partial-birth abortion.  Technically called intact dilation and extraction or D&X, the partial-birth abortion is performed on babies from the fifth month of development until birth.  This procedure, which takes three days to complete, has prompted controversy because of its particularly brutal nature. 

The abortionist begins by dilating the woman’s cervix for two days.  On the third day, the abortionist pulls the baby through the birth canal feet first, leaving only the head inside.  The abortionist then punctures the base of the skull with surgical scissors, inserts a tube and vacuums out the brain tissue, causing the skull to collapse.  Women having partial-birth abortions are “within inches of having a live baby born, and they kill it within minutes.” 16

As Sen. Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) correctly observed, “[I]f there is a couple inches’ movement [sic]—then the abortionist would be liable for murder.”17

Abortion advocates claim that partial-birth abortions are performed only when the baby’s or the mother’s life is at risk.  Actually, at least 80 percent of these babies are normal; most are viable;18 and only 9.4 percent of all late-term abortions are to protect the woman’s life or because of fetal defects.19  In fact, Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted that he had “lied through his teeth” when he reported the procedure was uncommon and only used in the most extreme situations.  He admitted that partial-birth abortion is almost always performed on healthy mothers with healthy babies.20  His statement proves that the procedure is not done to protect a mother’s health.  Even the American Medical Association refuses to support partial-birth abortion.21

Karen Hayes, CWA state director of Illinois, publicized an alarming practice at Christ Hospital of Oak Lawn, a Chicago suburb.  The hospital performs “live-birth abortions,” which it calls “therapeutic.”  One nurse, Jill Stanek bravely uncovered the disturbing procedure and revealed it to the public.22

The process involves three basic steps.  First, the cervix—the opening at the bottom of the uterus which usually remains tightly closed until the time of delivery—is opened using either Cytotec or laminaria.  Cytotec is usually used.  Either one 200-microgram pill or two 100-microgram pills are inserted in or near the cervix, irritating it and causing it to open early.  Laminaria are little match-like sticks composed of seaweed.  Anywhere from one to 10 sticks are forced into the closed cervix, where the moisture causes the sticks to expand and open the cervix.  Laminaria are rarely used.

Second, after the cervix opens, the small baby—usually in its second trimester, according to Jill —literally drops out of his home in the womb.  Sometimes, the baby dies in the process.  However, many are born alive—thus the name, “live-birth” abortion.  In this case, the third step is letting the baby die.  The baby may be held by a nurse (“comfort care”) or left to die alone—at Christ Hospital, usually in a utility closet.
Conclusion
America has witnessed more than 25 years of the tragic destruction of the unborn. And while society may want to legitimize the practice through sanitized medical jargon and “new and improved” techniques, the fact remains that abortion—whether performed by “morning-after pills” or through the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure—takes the life of an innocent child.

 Americans must come to grips with the scourge we have brought upon our nation.  We must value unborn babies as we value other people.  Overturning Roe v. Wade is the first step in the right direction.

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