Russell and Duenes

Babies Legally Ripped Apart Limb From Limb

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In the 2007 Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Carhart, the Court upheld the ban on partial birth abortions. What are partial birth abortions? Here’s how one nurse, quoted in Carhart, described it.

” ‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms–everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus… .’The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. ‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp… .’He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’ “

We should feel a certain gratitude that this kind of procedure has been declared illegal, but then we consider what is still legal. A baby may still be legally aborted through all nine months of pregnancy; the Court said so when they ruled in Roe that a woman could procure an abortion if her “health” depended on the abortion, including her psychological or emotional health. So we are no longer legally allowed to kill a baby by partial birth abortion, but we are allowed to legally kill it in the following way (again, quoting Carhart):

Of the remaining abortions that take place each year, most occur in the second trimester. The surgical procedure referred to as “dilation and evacuation” or “D&E” is the usual abortion method in this trimester…Although individual techniques for performing D&E differ, the general steps are the same.

A doctor must first dilate the cervix at least to the extent needed to insert surgical instruments into the uterus and to maneuver them to evacuate the fetus… A doctor often begins the dilation process by inserting osmotic dilators, such as laminaria (sticks of seaweed), into the cervix. The dilators can be used in combination with drugs, such as misoprostol, that increase dilation. The resulting amount of dilation is not uniform, and a doctor does not know in advance how an individual patient will respond. In general the longer dilators remain in the cervix, the more it will dilate. Yet the length of time doctors employ osmotic dilators varies. Some may keep dilators in the cervix for two days, while others use dilators for a day or less.

After sufficient dilation the surgical operation can commence. The woman is placed under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed. A doctor may make 10 to 15 passes with the forceps to evacuate the fetus in its entirety, though sometimes removal is completed with fewer passes. Once the fetus has been evacuated, the placenta and any remaining fetal material are suctioned or scraped out of the uterus. The doctor examines the different parts to ensure the entire fetal body has been removed.

Some doctors, especially later in the second trimester, may kill the fetus a day or two before performing the surgical evacuation. They inject digoxin or potassium chloride into the fetus, the umbilical cord, or the amniotic fluid. Fetal demise may cause contractions and make greater dilation possible. Once dead, moreover, the fetus’ body will soften, and its removal will be easier.

The only thing that Carhart bans is a particular method by which we may kill our children, but it does not ban the killing itself, and killing of a particularly gruesome kind, as you can see. We’re a nation of people who have almost entirely eradicated smoking and who obsess over the treatment of farm animals and ingestion of MSG, but our babies may still legally be ripped limb-from-limb in the womb, have their skulls crushed by forceps, or be poisoned to death with saline solution.

What kind of people and nation must we become in order to turn away from this in horror and repentance?

-D


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Written by Michael Duenes

February 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] my 2011 post entitled, Babies Legally Ripped Apart Limb from Limb, I described the abortion procedure that remains legal, even after a ban on “partial […]

  2. […] wrote on the Supreme Court’s partial birth abortion ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart (see here, here and […]


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