One of my most memorable moments in pro-life work came when I was about fifteen years old. My brothers and I had decided to hit up the little cement pads outside some of the stores our mom frequented, collecting signatures for an Infant Born Alive Protection Act and a Partial Birth Abortion Ban.
As one man exited a Big Lots, one of us approached him, asking him to sign. He was somewhat perplexed, wondering what “partial-birth abortion” was. So we told him. Bluntly. We let the man know that partial-birth abortion included sticking scissors into the neck of an almost born baby and sucking out her brains.
But the man didn’t believe us. He took another look and informed us that we were making this up. According to him, this didn’t happen in America. And he left without signing.
One of the biggest jobs we have today is letting Americans know exactly what abortion is. It’s simply – and unfortunately – not enough to go around and say how wrong “abortion” is. “Abortion,” in too many Americans’ minds, is a perplexing, nebulous, and vague topic.
Dr. Warren Hern – a late-term abortion doctor from Boulder, Colorado – exemplifies the belief of many in the abortion industry who know the true facts of what’s involved. In Abortion Practice, he says:
Television interviews in particular should focus on the public issue involved (right to confidential and professional medical care, freedom of choice and so forth) and not on the specific details of the procedure.
But all Americans ought to know the facts and the “specific details.” We all ought to be educated and informed. So let’s take the facts from those who know best: abortion doctors – including Warren Hern. Here are ten descriptions compiled by Sarah Terzo they have given. Use these the next time you need to describe abortion to a family member, Facebook friend, fellow student, roommate, co-worker, or yes – even a stranger outside a store.
1) An act of destruction
“There is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator…the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.” – Dr. Warren Hern in “Meeting of American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians” OB GYN News, page 196
2) Real body parts are involved
“Arms, legs, and chests come out of the forceps. It’s not a sight for everybody.” – Dr. William Benbow Thompson at the University of California at Irvine, The Crime of Being Alive: Abortion, Euthanasia, Infanticide by Melody Green and Sharon Bennett, page 3
3) Dismembered and decapitated
“A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus.” – Abortion Practice by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colorado abortionist
4) Teeny tiny hands
“Dr. Bours squeezed the contents of the sock into a shallow dish and poked around with his finger. ‘You can see a teeny tiny hand’ he said.” – abortion clinic worker quoted in “Is the Fetus Human” and in “The Abortion Conflict: What it Does to One Doctor” by Dudley Clendinen, New York Times Magazine, Aug 11, 1985, page 26
5) A person, a baby – pulled apart piece by piece
“I want the general public to know what the doctors know- that this is a person, this is a baby. That this is not some kind of blob of tissue.”
“A second-trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. At twenty weeks’ gestation, the uterus is thin and soft, so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard – really hard. You feel something let go, and out pops a fully formed leg, about 4 to 5 inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again, and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp, and tear out the spine, intestines, heart, and lungs.
The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a plum and is now free-floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see a pure white gelatinous material issue from the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you.” – Dr. Anthony Levantino, from the film “Meet the Abortion Providers” and from this article.
6) Ripped from their mothers’ wombs
“I have taken the lives of innocent babies, and I have ripped them from their mother’s wombs with a powerful suction machine.” – McArthur Hill, M.D., from the film “Meet the Abortion Providers”
7) Sifting through human remains
“I wanted to be the world’s best abortionist, for the good of my patients. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. So, after I met each patient, reviewed the medical information gathered by my nurse, examined the patient and performed the abortion, I would then carefully sift through the remains to be sure all the parts were accounted for. I had to find four extremities (two arms and two legs) a spine, a skull, and the placenta, or my patient would suffer later from an incomplete abortion…My attention was so focused on my perceived patient that I managed to deny that there were, in fact, two patients involved- the expectant mother and a very small child…I had to wonder, how can having a child be so wrong for some people that they will pay me to end its life?” – former abortionist Dr. McMillan “How One Doctor Changed Her Mind About Abortion,” Focus on the Family
8) Beating heart, kicking baby, trying to take little breaths
“I remember an experience as a resident on a hysterotomy. I remember seeing the baby move underneath the sack of membranes, as the cesarean incision was made, before the doctor broke the water. The thought came to me, “My God, that’s a person.” Then he broke the water. And when he broke the water, it was like I had a pain in my heart, just like when I saw that first suction abortion. And then he delivered the baby,. and I couldn’t touch it.. I wasn’t much of an assistant. I just stood there, and the reality of what was doing on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart. They took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking, and set it on that table in a cold, stainless steel bowl. Every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person moving in that bowl. And it kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at the baby when we were done with the surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest was moving and the heart was beating, and the baby would try to take a little breath, and it really hurt inside, and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was.” – Dr. David Brewer
9) Purely elective
“The idea of abortion to save the mother’s life is something that people cling to because it sounds noble and pure – but medically speaking, it probably doesn’t exist. It’s a real stretch of our thinking. Abortions…can be seen as always purely elective–not necessary from a medical standpoint.” – Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective A Woman’s Dilemma by Don Sloan, M.D. with Paula Hart, page 60
10) A violent act
“Abortion is, by almost any standards, a violent act.” – Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective A Woman’s Dilemma by Don Sloan, M.D. with Paula Hart, page 178