How Exactly is a Baby Killed?
Before killing an unborn child, the abortionist must first determine how long the baby's mom has been pregnant. Only by determining how long the baby has been alive can the abortionist choose the most effective method to kill it.
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.
The First Trimester
The most common first trimester abortions are vacuum aspiration and suction curettage. Vacuum aspiration is performed with a machine that uses a vacuum to suck the baby out of the uterus. The vacuum is created by a hand held pump (manual vacuum aspiration) or by electricity (electric vacuum aspiration). The electric machine is far more common in the US. Generally, the manual pump is only used to kill children who are less than 6 weeks old. Except in the very earliest abortions, the mom's cervix will be dilated large enough to allow a cannula to be inserted into her uterus. The cannula is a hollow plastic tube that is connected to either the hand or electric pump by a flexible hose. As a vacuum is created, the abortionist runs the tip of the cannula along the surface of the uterus causing the baby to be dislodged and sucked into the tube - either whole or in pieces. Suction curettage is a variation of vacuum aspiration in which the suction machine is used to get the baby out, with any remaining parts being scraped out of the uterus with a surgical instrument called a curette. Following that, another pass is made through the mom's uterus with the suction machine to help insure that none of the baby's body parts have been left behind.
Another form of first trimester abortion is the D&C (dilation and curettage). During this procedure, the mother's cervix is dilated and a curette is scraped along the sides of the uterus to dislodge the baby. Suction is not used for this type of abortion, but since the mother is usually asleep the abortionist can dilate the cervix large enough that many passes with the curette are possible.
Some first trimester abortions are not accomplished using surgery, but chemicals. This procedure begins when the mom is given either mifepristone (Mifeprex; RU486) or methotrexate. Mifepristone causes the baby to become detached from its mother's uterus while methotrexate is actually toxic to the baby and, therefore, kills it directly. Once the child is either detached or dead, the mom is given a labor-inducing drug which causes the uterus to cramp and expel her dead baby. This type of abortion only works up to about the 9th week of pregnancy.
The Second Trimester
The D&E (dilation and extraction) is the most common type of second trimester abortion. During this procedure, the mother's cervix must be dilated much more than in a first trimester abortion simply because her baby is now too large to pull it from the uterus solely by using the suction machine.
After sufficient dilation is accomplished, the abortionist begins the D&E procedure by rupturing the amniotic sac which contains the unborn child. He then begins the process of dismembering the baby and pulling it out of the uterus in pieces. To do this, the abortionist uses suction as well as surgical forceps which basically act like a pair of pliers. He inserts this instrument into the uterus and starts to open and close it until a part of the baby or placenta is grasped. That piece is torn off and is pulled out. This process is repeated until the abortionist feels that the procedure has been completed.
Sometimes, the baby's skull is too large to pull out of the uterus, so the abortionist must first crush it with the forceps. The abortionist will know that the child's skull has been sufficiently collapsed when the baby's brains flow out of the uterus. Among abortionists this is called the "calvaria sign" and it signals that the skull will then be much easier to remove.
Once the abortionist has pulled out everything he can feel with the forceps, he will use a curette to scrape any remaining parts off the sides of the uterus. After that, the suction machine can be used again to vacuum up whatever debris is still in the uterus.
Throughout a D&E procedure, all of the extracted baby parts are placed on a tray where they are then reassembled. This is done to make certain that the entire baby is accounted for and that no parts are left behind.
One way that the D&E procedure is often made easier is by killing the baby a day or so before the procedure is scheduled. This extra step is generally referred to as a "ditch" and is accomplished by inserting a long needle through the mother's abdomen and into the heart of her baby. Then, a chemical agent - usually digoxin - is injected through the needlecausing the child's death. The advantage of doing this is that the feticidal agent (digoxin) causes the child's body to soften, making the dismemberment and removal process much easier. Despite that advantage, however, ditching does have one potential downside. Because the chemical used to kill the baby is toxic, it is crucial for the abortionist to know that he has inserted the needle into the baby and not the mother. To verify that, the abortionist will sometimes let go of the needle before injecting the drug and see if it jumps around independent of the mom's movements. If so, he knows that he has hit the baby and can proceed. (This part of the ditching process is sometimes referred to as "harpooning the whale").
A variation of the D&E is called intact D&E. In this procedure, the baby is not pulled out in pieces but removed whole. Normally, the abortionist will use a feticidal chemical to kill the baby first or he will position the baby so that he can crush its skull. However, in some cases the baby will actually survive the procedure and emerge alive. In the abortion industry, live births are referred to as "The Dreaded Complication."
Since most Intact D&E abortions are performed on babies who are too young to survive once separated from the mother, the usual response to a live birth is to simply set the child aside and allow it to die on its own. The abortion industry calls this practice "comfort care." In some cases, abortionists have been observed actively killing the child by drowning it, crushing its tracheal tube, or snapping its neck.
Another type of second trimester procedure is known as instillation. This procedure begins with the abortionist sticking a long needle through the mother's abdomen and into the baby's amniotic fluid sac. A substantial amount of amniotic fluid is then drained from the sac and replaced with either a saline or urea solution. This usually kills the child, but it may take hours during which some women report feeling their baby violently thrashing around. Photos of children killed by instillation procedures generally show massive chemical burns covering the child's entire body.
Once the process of killing the baby has been initiated, the mother is given drugs to induce labor so she will eventually deliver the dead child. Because there have been cases where babies have survived this process, some abortionists inject a drug into the baby's heart prior to delivery to make sure it is dead. (Urea has also been used as a prepping agent for D&E abortions. The urea is inserted into the amniotic sac but instead of inducing labor, a D&E is performed. The advantage of this is that the urea solution helps soften up the baby and makes it easier to dismember and remove.)
Another type of second trimester procedure is called induction. The mother is given a drug - usually prostaglandin or oxytocin - that causes her to go into labor. Often the abortionist will kill the baby at the same time in order to avoid the possibility that the mom will deliver a live baby. In other instances, the labor-inducing drug which was given to the mother will kill her baby. However, it is well established that live births are a real possibility with induction procedures. As in the case of Intact D&E abortions, these procedures are usually performed on babies who are too young to survive outside the womb. Again, if the baby emerges alive, the usual response is to set the child aside and allow it to die on its own, or for the abortionist to kill it once it's delivered.
The final methods of second trimester abortion are hysterectomy and hysterotomy. Of the more than one million American babies killed by abortion every year, approximately 5000 are destroyed in this manner. The relative rarity of these procedures is driven by the fact that they have a higher incidence of maternal complications and death than other second trimester abortion methods. During a hysterectomy abortion, the mother's entire uterus (including the baby) is removed and the baby usually dies during the procedure. The hysterotomy abortion is similar to a cesarean section. The abortionist does not remove the uterus, but cuts it open and removes the baby. If the child was not killed prior to removal, it is set aside to die.
The Third Trimester
Third trimester abortions are generally accomplished with the same basic procedures used in the second trimester. However, because the babies being killed are larger and more likely to survive the procedures, modifications are made. For example, because her child is larger, the mom's cervix must be dilated more than it would be in a second trimester abortion. Additionally, chemicals that are used to soften the baby and make it easier to pull apart and remove are administered in larger a quantity. They are also given earlier so they have a longer time to soak into the baby's tissue and bone. As for avoiding "The Dreaded Complication" (live birth), babies killed during the third trimester are more likely to be given feticidal drugs and they are given them in greater dosages.
Sometimes, the procedure itself is modified. For example, one of the most common third trimester abortion procedures is the intact D&E described earlier. This method is also known as D&X (dilation and extraction) or partial-birth abortion. When this procedure is used in the third trimester, the abortionist maneuvers the baby into a breech position (feet first) and then pulls the baby out of the uterus up to its head – leaving the baby’s head just inside of the uterus. It is not at all uncommon for the baby to still be alive at this point. Now the abortionist pushes a long pair of scissors into the base of the baby's skull and creates a hole. He then inserts a suction tube into the hole and sucks out the baby's brain. This modification to the intact D&E procedure insures that the baby is not born alive, and it helps make the head smaller so that it is easier to pull out of the uterus.