Cruel and Usual Punishment
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Since abortion has been legalized there have been many techniques promoted to end the life of a developing unborn child. The following are methods used to perform abortions and possible complications from the procedures.
First trimester abortion procedures
Suction curettage (vacuum aspiration) - This is the most extensively used abortion technique, especially during first trimester abortions. It is performed in approximately 64 percent of abortion procedures in Michigan.(1) In this procedure, the cervix is dilated by a group of instruments. A powerful suction tube with a knife-like edge on the tip is inserted into the uterus. The suction or vacuum dismembers the unborn child and sucks her out of the womb. The abortionist must also use his tool to remove the placenta, blood, and amniotic fluid.
Complications of Suction Curettage - The most frequent post-abortion complication is infection. Infection can occur if any of the fetal or placental tissue is left in the uterus.(2) Another possible complication is uterine hemorrhage. Hemorrhaging can occur if the uterus is punctured during the abortion.(3)
Dilation and curettage (D&C) - In this abortion method, the cervix is dilated so a steel loop-shaped knife can be inserted into the uterus. The abortionist then uses this knife to scrape the wall of the uterus. This scraping cuts the unborn child to pieces and removes both the child and placenta from the uterine wall.
Complications of D & C - The most apparent complication from this procedure is extensive bleeding. Other common complications include infection and uterine perforation.(4)
RU-486 (abortion pill) -RU-486 is a combination of two drugs used to expel a child from the womb. During the first visit to the abortion clinic, a woman will take mifepristone orally. Mifepristone blocks natural hormones that maintain the nutrient-rich lining of the uterus. The developing baby dies as the lining of the uterus disintegrates. Between 24 and 48 hours later, the woman takes misoprostol—which was originally designed as an ulcer medication—to produce powerful contractions. After taking this drug, most women abort within 4 hours, but 30 percent abort their children later at work, home, etc.(5) On the second visit to the clinic, the abortionist is supposed to confirm the death of the unborn child and check for complications.
Complications of RU-486 - In the clinical trials performed in the U.S. on 2,121 women from September 1994 to September 1995, a large number of complications were documented. The New England Journal of Medicine reported the most frequent side effects were bleeding and cramping; nausea and vomiting were also frequent; 56 women underwent surgical intervention for excessive bleeding; 4 women received blood transfusions; the average duration of bleeding was 13 days; 170 women or 8 percent of the women didn’t abort their unborn children and were encouraged to have a surgical abortion.(6) On September 24, 1995, the Waterloo Courier in Iowa printed a letter from Dr. Mark Louviere, in which he described a women who lost half her blood and almost died from RU-486 complications. It should also be noted that there haven’t been any long-term effects studies done with these drugs so no one is certain if there are any possible long-term side effects.
Second/third trimester abortion procedures
Saline abortion (saline amniocentesis, salt poisoning), after 16 weeks - In this procedure, a needle with a solution of concentrated salt is inserted through the woman’s abdomen into the amniotic sac. The child breathes in the salt and is poisoned. It usually takes around an hour for the unborn child to die. After 33 to 35 hours the woman goes into labor and delivers a dead, shriveled baby.(7)
Complications of Salt Poisoning - One possible side effect of salt poisoning is that the mother might get a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which is uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the body, with severe hemorrhaging and other serious side effects.(8) If the abortionist misses the womb and injects the saline solution into the woman’s vascular system, seizures, coma, or death can result.(9) This procedure is outlawed in Japan and other countries because of these risks to the woman.(10)
Dilation and evacuation (D & E), 12 to 24 weeks - This procedure was developed since saline abortions were considered too dangerous and has largely replaced it as the preferred second-trimester abortion procedure.(11) In this method, the cervix is dilated so grasping forceps can be inserted into the uterus. At this stage in development, the child’s bones have hardened, so the baby can no longer be removed by suction or scraping. The abortionist uses these forceps to dismember different parts of the child, such as arms and legs. The child’s head is often too large to be removed from the womb, so the abortionist must crush the skull in order to remove it. When the procedure is over, a nurse will attempt to reassemble the body parts to make sure that there is nothing left in the uterus.
Complications of D & E - Bleeding is usually profuse and infection can occur if the abortionist doesn’t remove all of the pieces of the child’s body from the womb. This procedure, like dilation & curettage, is performed blindly with the abortionist using only his or her sense of feel. If an abortionist isn’t careful, the uterus, bladder, and bowels can be punctured.
Partial-birth abortion (D & X), 20 weeks and beyond - This is a three day procedure. During the first two days, the pregnant woman’s cervix is anesthetized and dilated. On the day of the operation, the abortionist uses a sonogram to find the child’s leg. Once the abortionist has a hold of a leg with forceps, the child is pulled through the birth canal until the whole child is delivered except for the head. The abortionist then forces scissors into the base of the skull and spreads the scissors so a suction catheter can be put into this hole and evacuate the contents of the skull.(12) This procedure is banned in Michigan and federally in the U.S.
Complications of D & X - In order to unnaturally dilate a women’s cervix, an abortionist must insert laminaria, a few at a time, over a 3 to 5 day period. This unnatural dilatation can cause various complications such as large amounts of pain, infection, and an incompetent cervix, which makes it difficult for women to have children in the future. Complications that are possible when the abortionist is reaching for the child’s foot include hemorrhage, uterine perforation, uterine rupture, amniotic fluid embolus, and trauma to the uterus. The complications that are possible when the abortionist blindly inserts scissors into the child’s skull are laceration of the uterus or cervix by the scissors and could result in severe bleeding and the threat of shock or even maternal death.(13)
Specialized abortion procedure
Fetal reduction - With the use of in-vitro fertilization, a specialized form of abortion is being used. This form of abortion is called fetal reduction. When a woman attempts to become pregnant with in vitro fertilization, usually multiple embryos are placed in her womb. This method, which increases the probability of pregnancy also increases the probability of a multiple pregnancy. Women who become pregnant with more than two children can elect for fetal reduction. During a fetal reduction procedure, a needle is inserted into the heart of the unborn child. The child is then injected with potassium chloride (a saline solution) and dies. The least-healthy looking or easiest to kill children are usually aborted.
Overview of complications
Short-term health complications
The following are complications for women which may be identified a few weeks after an abortion.
Bleeding: In many women, the bleeding is so profuse that blood transfusions are required.
Infection: The damage done can range from mild to fatal. Compared to hospitals, the rate of infections in abortion clinics with far inferior care is at least doubled.(14) The usual infection is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is difficult to control and can lead to sterility even with prompt treatment. Some women with PID can have chronic pain for the rest of their lives.(15) If an abortionist leaves part of a child inside the womb during an abortion, severe infection may result. This infection would cause severe cramping and bleeding, and if it persists, the woman may have to have a hysterectomy (removal of the womb).
Embolisms: Since abortion is an unnatural procedure that the body isn’t ready for, the slicing of the placenta from the uterine wall can cause fluids around the child, pieces of tissue, or blood clots to enter the woman’s circulation. These then travel to the lungs of the woman causing damage and occasionally death.(16)
Long-term health complications
Many of the complications from abortion might not be seen until years after the abortion takes place and might not even be recognized as complications of abortion.
Ectopic pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when an embryo implants at a site other than the lining of the uterus. The child will continue to grow in a place outside of the womb, often in the fallopian tube. Surgery is then required to remove the child, in order to save the mother. Studies have shown that women who have abortions increase their risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.(17) The Centers for Disease Control reported that the number of ectopic pregnancies increased from 17,800 in 1970 to 42,400 in 1978 following the legalization of abortion in 1973.
Increase in miscarriages and other pregnancy complications: Studies have shown that abortion during the first pregnancy can cause significant increases in complications with later pregnancies.(18) Another study shows that pregnancy failure is increased 45 percent if a woman has had one previous abortion.(19) Other studies showed that premature births, neonatal deaths, and miscarriages in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy were significantly increased in women who had experienced an induced abortion.(20, 21)
Breast cancer: In studies across the United States and in other countries, it has been found that women who have had abortions have a higher chance of getting breast cancer later in life. These are studies that have been done by professionals and are published in respected medical journals. One study, done in 1990, that summarized findings in medical studies from Canada, Denmark, France, Israel, Japan, the United States, and the USSR, found that “abortions, either multiple or occurring before the first full term pregnancy, have been shown to be significantly associated with breast cancer risks.”(22) A study done by the National Cancer Institute in Washington found that women who had an abortion increased their risk of getting breast cancer by 50 percent. This risk was more than doubled if the woman’s abortion (or first abortion) took place before the age of 18 or over the age of 30.(23) Abortion’s link to breast cancer is theorized to exist because abortion is an unnatural procedure which stops the natural condition of a woman’s breasts getting ready to produce milk for her child. In early pregnancy, a woman’s breast tissue grows and begins to differentiate to cells that will produce milk. An abortion stops this natural process, so many of the cells that would have produced milk are now undifferentiated cells. These cells are much more capable of turning into cancer cells then the cells that were present before she became pregnant.
Sterility: Other complications of abortion, such as infections, can often cause scar tissue in the womb. If the scar tissue covers the opening between the uterus and the fallopian tubes, it is impossible for a sperm to fertilize a woman’s egg. If fertilization can’t occur then a woman can’t become pregnant through natural means.
Although a woman might not be harmed physically by an abortion, there is a good possibility that she could be hurt psychologically. Research is providing evidence that having an abortion can have negative psychological effects. Researchers have found that at least 19 percent of post-abortive women suffer from symptoms such as, but not limited to: feelings of intense grief or depression because of the abortion, anxiety attacks, difficulty concentrating, irritability, flashbacks to the abortion experience, recurrent thoughts about their aborted child, and nightmares or sleeping disorders.(24) The term for this specific group of symptoms is post-abortion syndrome, or PAS. PAS has been proposed as a subset of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). People who have PTSD often try to suppress their feelings about a traumatic event. They often want to, but are unable to, express their feelings and emotions about this event. Women with PAS will often do whatever they can to get rid of their feelings of guilt, including drug and alcohol use. Studies have shown that following an abortion women have reported having relationship problems,(25,26) vulnerability to abuse alcohol and use illegal drugs,(27) and women who have abortions have a higher death rate from suicide, homicide and accidents than women who gave birth.(28)
Even though some abortions are performed without complications, there is no such thing as a safe abortion. In every “successful” abortion, an innocent child dies. The woman might not always be harmed but the child always is.
1 - Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Characteristics of Induced Abortions Reported in Michigan, 2015.
2 - Jane E. Hodgson, “Abortion by Vacuum Aspiration,” Abortion and Sterilization: Medical and Social Aspects, ed. Jane E. Hodgson, (New York: Academic Press, Grune and Strathon, 1981), 256, 260-261.
3 - Ibid, 256-258.
4 - Gary F. Cunningham et al., Williams Obstetrics, 19th ed., (Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lang, 1993), 683.
5 - Population Council of New York, release, 27 October 1994.
6 - Irving M. Spitz et al., “Early Pregnancy Termination with Mifepristone and Misoprostol in the United States,” New England Journal of Medicine 338, no. 18 (1998): 1241‑1247.
7 - Stephen L. Corson et al., Fertility Control, (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1985), 82-83.
8 - James R. Scott et al., Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6th ed., (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1990), 726.
9 - R. Bolognese and S. Corson, Interruption of Pregnancy– A Total Patient Approach, (Baltimore: Wilkins and Wilkins, 1985), 136.
10 - Thomas D. Kerenyi, Abortion and Sterilization: Medical and Social Aspects, ed. Jane E. Hodgson, (New York: Academic Press Grune and Strathon, 1981), 360.
11 - Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke, Why Can’t We Love them Both, (Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Company, 1997), 120.
12 - Martin Haskell, “Dilation and Extraction for Late Second Trimester,” in “Second Trimester Abortion: From Every Angle,” National Abortion Federation Fall Risk Management Seminar, Dallas, TX, 13-14 September 1992.
13 - M. LeRoy Sprang and Mark G. Neerhof, “Rationale for Banning Abortions Late in Pregnancy,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280 (1998): 744.
14 - Charles Gassner and Charles Ballard, “Pelvic Abscess: A Sequela of First Trimester Abortion,” American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology 48, no. 6 (1976): 716.
15 - M. Spence, “PID: Detection and Treatment,” Sexually Transmitted Disease Bulletin 3, no. 1 (Johns Hopkins University, 1983).
16 - W. Cates et al., “Legalized Abortion: Effect on National Trends of Maternal and Abortion-Related Mortality,” American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology 132, no. 2 (1978): 211-214.
17 - C. Tharaux-Deneux et al., “Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy and Previous Induced Abortion,” American Journal of Public Health 88, no. 3 (1998): 401-405.
18 - Stanislaw Leinbrych, “Fertility Problems Following Aborted First Pregnancy,” New Perspectives On Human Abortion, ed. Hilgers, Horan, Mall, (Frederick, MD; University Publication of America, 1981), 120-134.
19 - C. Madore et al., “A Study on the Effects of Induced Abortion on Subsequent Pregnancy Outcome,” American Obstetrics and Gynecology 139 (1981): 516-521.
20 - American Journal of Epidemiology 102, no. 3 (1975): 217-224.
21 - Wright et. al., Lancet, 10 June 1972, 1278-1279.
22 - L. Remennick, “Induced Abortion as a Cancer Risk Factor: A Review of Epidemiological Evidence,” Journal of Epidemiological Community Health 44 (1990): 259-264.
23 - J.R. Daling et al., “Risk of Breast Cancer Among Young Women: A Relationship to Individual Abortion,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 86 (1994): 1584-1592.
24 - C.A. Barnard, The Long Term Psychological Effects of Abortion, (Portsmouth, N.H.: Institute for Pregnancy Loss, 1990).
25 - Pierre Lauzon et al., “Emotional Distress Among Couples Involved in First Trimester Induced Abortions,” Canadian Family Physician 46 (2000): 2033-2040.
26 - V.M. Rue et al., “Induced Abortion and Traumatic Stress: A Preliminary Comparison of American and Russian Women,” Medical Science Monitor 10 (2004): SR5-16.
27 - David C. Reardon et al., “Substance Use Associated With Unintended Pregnancy Outcomes in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 26 (2004): 369-383.
28 - Mika Gissler et al., “Injury Deaths, Suicides and Homicides Associated With Pregnancy, Finland 1987–2000.” European Journal of Public Health 15.5 (2005): 459-463.