What is abortion?
The term “abortion” refers to any premature expulsion of a human fetus, whether naturally spontaneous, as in a miscarriage, or artificially induced, as in a surgical or chemical abortion. Today, the most common usage of the term “abortion” applies to artificially induced abortion which, sadly, has become the most common form of abortion. In other words, abortion is primarily the result of a mother (and father) deciding to terminate a pregnancy by killing their unborn baby.
A cause for sadness and shame.
The killing of unborn babies is a crime against humanity and a great shame for our world. In the United States, more than 1.3 million unborn babies are killed in abortions each year. Approximately 50 million babies have been killed since abortion was legalized in 1973.
Abortion is one of the most controversial social issues in the world today because it involves the taking of an unborn child’s life. Wherever you go, you’ll find people with a variety of thoughts on abortion. Some think abortion should be available for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy. Some think that abortion should only be available for a limited number of reasons. Still others like to avoid the subject altogether because it is controversial or brings up painful memories.
But to properly understand the issue of abortion, you must understand that abortion is the taking of a child’s life. It is a human rights issue we must all address, openly and honestly. All societies are ultimately judged on how they treat their most defenseless members, and none are more defenseless than the unborn child.
How does abortion compare to human slavery?
Did you know that the 1973 Roe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings that legalized abortion on demand marked the second time in American history that the Court denied personhood status to human being?
In 1857, the United States Supreme Court ruled slaves were the property of their masters with no more human rights than a piece of furniture. The rulings stemmed from a suit filed by Dred Scott, a slave taken to the free state of Missouri by his master. Scott contended that since he was in a state that did not allow slavery he should be freed. The Court did not agree and sided with the slaveowner.
Chief Justice Roger Taney stated in his majority opinion, “…it is the opinion of the court that the act of Congress which prohibited a citizen from holding and owning property of this kind [slaves] in the territory of the United States north of the line therein mention, is not warranted by the Constitution, and is therefore void; and that neither Dred Scott himself, nor any of his family, were made free by being carried into this territory; even if they had been carried by the owner, with the intention of becoming a permanent resident.”
“The right of property in a slave,” Taney continued, “is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution.”
Likewise Roe v. Wade bestowed upon the unborn the status of being the property of their mothers to do with as they choose, including abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy. Ironically, both the Dred Scott and Roe decisions were decided by a 7-2 majority.
Abortion affects more than the unborn child.
Abortion impacts the baby’s mother and, in many cases, the baby’s father, grandparents, other family members, and friends. That’s why long-term solutions to abortion must include both full protection for the rights of unborn children to live and full provision of positive alternatives and help for women in unplanned pregnancies.
How abortions are done
Abortions are done by a wide variety of methods ranging from high-suction aspiration to methods involving razor-sharp surgical instruments. In the unthinkable partial-birth abortion method, a fully-alive baby is almost completely delivered before surgical scissors are placed in the back of the baby’s skull. As hard as is to believe, unborn children do not even receive an anesthetic before they are a literally dismembered in the womb.
Talking about the ways abortions are done isn’t pleasant. But there’s no getting around the need to know these things to understand the act of abortion in its full context.
Are abortions really performed as late as the last three months of pregnancy?
The unfortunate answer is yes. In fact, late-term abortion is one of the specialties at abortion clinics such as the Women’s Health Care Services abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. The Wichita clinic is reportedly the leading provider of late-term abortions in the United States and boasts on its web site that it offers both second and third trimester abortions.
In the latest effort to keep abortion unrestricted up to the moment of birth, abortion supporters have filed suits in federal courts around the country to block the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed into law by President Bush in late 2003.
What kind of induced abortions are there?
Emergency contraception (EC). These micro-abortions are caused by the use of “emergency contraceptive” drugs during the first week. When used after fertilization has occurred, the tiny human embryo is unable to implant into the uterine wall and its life is ended.
Menstrual extraction. This very early suction abortion is often done before the pregnancy test is positive.
Suction-aspiration. The abortionist first paralyzes the cervical muscle ring (womb opening) and then stretches it open. This is difficult because it is hard or “green” and not ready to open. He then inserts a hollow plastic tube, which has a knife-like edge on the tip, into the uterus. The suction (29 times more powerful than a home vacuum cleaner) tears the baby’s body into pieces. He then cuts the deeply rooted placenta from the inner wall of the uterus. The scraps are sucked out into a bottle.
Dilatation & Curettage (D&C). This is similar to the suction procedure except that the abortionist inserts a curette (loop-shaped steel knife) up into the uterus. With this, he cuts the placenta and baby into pieces and scrapes them out into a basin. Bleeding is usually profuse.
Saline Amniocentesis (salt poisoning). This is done after the 16th week. A large needle is inserted through the abdominal wall of the mother and into the baby’s amniotic sac, injecting a concentrated salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The baby breathes and swallows it, is poisoned, struggles, and sometimes convulses. It takes over an hour to kill the baby. The mother goes into labor about one day later and delivers a dead baby. The mechanism of death is acute hypernatremia (salt poisoning), with development of wide-spread vasodilatation, edema, congestion, hemorrhage, shock, and death. Most common during the 1970s and ’80s, this type of abortion is seldom used today because of danger to the mother.
Dilatation & Evacuation (D&E). This method involves the live dismemberment of the baby and piecemeal removal from below. A pliers-like instrument is used because the baby’s bones are calcified, as is the skull. There is no anesthetic for the baby. The abortionist inserts the instrument up into the uterus, seizes a leg or other part of the body and, with a twisting motion, tears it from the baby’s body. This is repeated again and again. The spine is snapped and the skull crushed to remove them. The nurse’s job is to reassemble the body parts to be sure that all are removed.
Intracardiac Injections. Since the advent of fertility drugs, multi-fetal pregnancies have become common. Since these babies are usually born prematurely and some have other problems, the intracardiac abortion method was developed. At about 4 months, a needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the chest and heart of one of the fetal babies. Then a poison is injected to kill him or her. This is referred to as “pregnancy reduction.” It is done to reduce the number or to kill a handicapped baby, if such is identified. If successful, the dead baby’s body is absorbed. Sometimes this method results in the loss of all of the babies.
RU-486. The RU 486 procedure requires at least three trips to an abortion facility. In the first visit, the mother 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. The developing baby starves as the nutrient lining disintegrates. At a second visit (36 to 48 hours later), the mother 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 mothers abort during the 4-hour waiting period at the clinic, but about 30 percent abort as many as 5 days later at home, work, etc. A third visit (about 2 weeks later) determines whether the abortion has occurred. In 5 to 10 percent of all cases, a surgical abortion is necessary to complete the procedure.
Partial-Birth Abortion (D&X). A more recently developed method, the partial birth abortion is also called “brain suction” or “D&X.” It is done after 4 or 5 months and is like a breech delivery. The entire infant is delivered except the head. A scissors is jammed into the base of the skull. A tube is inserted into the skull, and the brain is sucked out. The now-dead infant is pulled out.
Abortion supporters have consistently argued against efforts to ban partial birth abortions by claiming the procedure is sometimes necessary to save the mother’s life. Not so, says Dr. Pamela Smith of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. “There are absolutely no obstetrical situations encountered in this country which would require partial-birth abortion to preserve the life or health of the mother.”
Images of abortion
No one likes to come face-to-face with what the act of abortion does to an unborn child. But sometimes we have to understand the reality of something to really understand why we need to find a better way.
The link below will take you to actual photographs of babies that have died as a result of abortions. These pictures aren’t provided for shock value or to gross out your friends. If you think the images will be too disturbing for you, then this link isn’t for you.
Warning: Abortion is an act of violence that kills a baby. These images graphically depict that reality.
Responding with the truth.
People who say that women have a right to an abortion use different arguments. These arguments take five basic forms, as you will see below. Familiarize yourself with these and you will be prepared to speak the truth on behalf of those who are unable to speak for themselves.
Claim: “It’s not a baby or a person — it’s just a blob of tissue.”
Response: When a woman is pregnant, science tells us that the new life she carries is a complete and fully new human being from the moment of fertilization. By the time most abortions can be performed, the baby already has a beating heart and identifiable brain waves. The baby living in her mother is as distinct and unique a new person/human being as you are from me, and as deserving of protection under the law as we are. The baby every mother carries has a beating heart at 18 days after fertilization and brain waves as early as six weeks after fertilization. Most abortions are not performed until nine weeks of the pregnancy. Even RU 486 chemical abortions can’t be done until after six weeks.
Claim: “It’s my body” or “It’s a women’s choice.”
Response: Every mother is faced with profound decisions to make for herself and her child, but these decisions can never include the right to kill her baby. Mothers facing difficult pregnancies require accurate and compassionate information about the facts of fetal development, as well as the practical help that is available to them through the more than 3,000 mother-helping centers around the USA. Mothers have a right to be fully informed about the facts at least 24 hours before making this life-or-death decision for themselves and their children.
Sidebar: Is an unborn child part of a woman’s body?
“My body, my choice.” That’s been the popular slogan of abortion supporters for decades, but is it accurate? Behind the statement is a very calculated attempt to frame the abortion issue as one that concerns only on person: the mother. But what about the baby – is he or she part of the woman’s body? Absolutely not! Think about it – an unborn child’s genetic code is completely unique and different that the mother’s genetic code. The bone structure is different. Even the baby’s gender is different from the mom if the baby is a boy! The baby and the mom are two distinct persons. Sure, the baby depends upon the nurturing environment of his mother’s body while waiting to be born, but that doesn’t mean the baby is a body part like a liver or kidney. Next time you hear someone say “my body, my choice” – remind them they are forgetting someone.
Claim: “What will we do with all the unwanted kids?” (Poor babies, overpopulation, abuse, etc.)
Response: We will never end poverty in our world simply by killing poor children. The poor mother who is encouraged to have an abortion today is just as poor tomorrow. Problems such as lack of job security, education, or abuse are not cured by ignoring their existence in a woman’s life and turning to abortion as a way to make it all “go away.” The problem is lack of development — not population. What women of the world desire are good basic health care for themselves and their families. In those countries where abortion is not legal, it is often because of strong cultural and religious beliefs that respect each new life. That respect needs to be backed up with wiser development plans — not more dangerous and deadly abortion activity. In countries where there is not even the guarantee of clean running water, abortion will only become a death sentence for Third World women and their babies.
Is this True?
Supporters of abortion claim that abortion helps reduce child abuse since the babies being aborted are “unwanted” by their mothers.
According to a new study published in the medical journal Acta Paediatrica, women with a history of at least one induced abortion are 2.4 times more likely to abuse their children than a women who have not had an abortion. The author, Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, suggested that “emotional difficulties and unresolved grief responses” could be leading factors leading to unhealthy parental responses. Previous studies have also linked induced abortion to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which may also adversely affect parent-child relationships.
For more information on this study and many others, visit the Elliot Institute online at www.afterabortion.info.
Claim: “If abortion is made illegal, women will die in back alleys.”
Response: The numbers pro-abortionists often use to back their claims are vast fabrications mostly made up by the pro-abortion lobby as admitted by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League). The real numbers of deaths before 1973, when abortion was illegal, are shockingly different. Thirty-nine women died of illegal abortions in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade. Those are thirty-nine tragedies along with their thirty-nine children who also died because of abortion’s violence. The true reason the deaths have decreased from abortion isn’t legalization, it was the widespread introduction of antibiotics into medicine that saved the lives of women who would have otherwise died of botched abortions. In fact, the main forms of abortions have changed very little since the middle of this century! The only thing that legalizing abortion did was to give abortionists the right to hang their shingle on the front door and stop using the back alley!
Claim: “What about a woman who is carrying a disabled or sick child? Or a woman who has been raped or is the victim of incest?”
Response: We don’t cure illness by killing the patient. Aborting a child with a disability or illness is the height of prejudice. When a family learns that the child they are expecting may have a special need, that family needs support and good solid medical information — not the death of their most fragile member. Society must abandon this attitude that uses arbitrary yardsticks to measure a person’s worth. When a woman has been raped or a victim of incest, she has been the victim of a terrifying act of violence of which she is a true victim. Tragically, we are some times faced with a second victim of this great crime committed by the rapist, a baby. While pregnancy is extremely rare from rape, it can happen. The cruelest thing that can happen to the women in question is to now be pitted against her child, who is the second victim. In several studies done across America, women who were encouraged to use abortion in such circumstances felt that they had been put through a second act of violence, the violence and pain of the mechanical rape of abortion. Worse than that, they stated feelings of being made into the victimizer of their own child. They felt that their baby had paid with his or her life for the crime of the rapist. Meanwhile, mothers who found support to carry their children to term, whether they opted for adoption or kept their babies, felt that they’d turned something horrible into something life-giving. The key here is support for both victims, mother and child.
Sidebar: Prenatal Testing: A Loaded Gun?
Earlier this year, USA Today reported that new prenatal tests are making it easier to identify Down syndrome and other genetic problems in unborn babies. But what exactly do these tests mean for the children? According to the USA Today article, “Though genetic testing doesn’t necessarily mean aborting abnormal fetuses, and estimated 90% of women choose abortion in that circumstance.”
This figure parallels earlier prenatal testing reports dating as far back as 1975. That was the year the OB-GYN News reported that in a survey of 2,187 pregnant women who underwent amniocentesis prenatal testing, 62 tested positive for carrying children with Down syndrome. Sadly, 60 of these babies identified with Down syndrome were aborted and 2 died as a result of miscarriage. Liz Townsend summed it up best in an article in the National Right to Life News when she wrote, “It’s clear that this research will result in more unborn children with Down Syndrome killed in the womb, rather than helping find a cure or assisting those with the syndrome to live more healthy and happy lives.
Did You Know…
• A baby’s heart begins to beat around 22 days after conception
• There have been over 50 million abortions since 1973.