Former abortionist Dr. Paul Jarrett gave his testimony at a conference held by the Pro-Life Action League called “Meet the Abortion Providers.” In a speech reproduced on the Priests for Life website, he talks about his experiences with late-term abortion.
An OB/GYN, Dr. Jarrett did his residency between 1970 and 1973 in Indiana. Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States, was decided in 1973, but in the first year of Dr. Jarrett’s residency, some abortions were being done legally. In Indiana at the time, a woman could get an abortion legally if she went to two psychiatrist and had them certify that her pregnancy was a threat to her mental health. According to Jarrett:
Although my textbook stated that true psychiatric indications for abortion were extremely rare, in practice it was relatively easy for a woman to get two psychiatrists to rubber stamp her abortion request for the price of a consultation visit. By the time all the paperwork was done, these pregnancies were more advanced and were classified as second trimester. Technically, these could be between 14 and 27 weeks, but usually they were 18 – 20 weeks along.
He describes how these abortions were done:
This type of abortion was then done by hypertonic saline injection. In laymen’s terms this meant injecting a very caustic salt solution into the amniotic sac which the baby swallows, causing his death. Labor begins 12 – 36 hours later. A well liked member of the teaching faculty would inject the solution and the patient was admitted to the gynecology ward to await delivery.
Saline abortions were painful for both the baby and the mother. The child could take hours to die in the womb. The mother had to go through labor and essentially “give birth” to her dead baby.
Dr. Jarrett goes on to describe his role in the saline abortions:
It was my job to go to the ward and pick up the dead baby from the labor bed and make sure the placenta had all come out. This was my least favorite duty as a resident…
Saline abortions were also very dangerous for women, because the caustic solution could cause a woman’s death if it entered her bloodstream. As doctors investigated different techniques, hypertonic urea was used for a short time to induce labor in women who were having late-term abortions. As Dr. Jarrett says:
The major disadvantage in using it [urea], was the problem of live births. I remember using it on a patient that the psychiatric residents brought to us from their clinic from an institutionalized patient who really was crazy. I’ll never forget delivering her nearly two pound baby, and hearing her screams, “My baby’s alive, my baby’s alive.” It lived several days.
One can only imagine how watching her baby, who was supposed to be born dead, kick and struggle after the abortion affected this woman’s “mental health.”
In this case, at least, the baby was not killed by direct action of the doctors.
However, the euthanasia of infants with disabilities was tacitly approved of by some of Dr. Jarrett’s colleagues. He says:
Later, I was taught by my chief resident that if I was delivering a defective baby, such as an anencephalic, I should place it in the bucket of water at my side and declare it a stillborn. I never did that, but I’ll always remember it.
How many times did this chief resident, or the doctors under him, perform such infanticide? And were the mothers ever aware that their children were euthanized? Sadly, such actions are not unheard of. In March of this year, I wrote about the infanticide of Down syndrome newborns that allegedly took place in one hospital.
To return to the abortion issue, live births also occurred with saline solution, and it was a real problem for the abortion industry. Eventually, the abortionists hit upon a macabre solution – the D&E procedure, which is known as a “dismemberment abortion.” This is now the most commonly used abortion procedure in the second trimester, though some abortions are still done by induction and live births still do occur. A D&E procedure, as you can see in the diagram below, is performed by tearing apart the baby with forceps, extracting one piece at a time.
Obviously, there is no chance of the baby being born alive.
Dr. Jarrett would eventually leave the abortion business, and I will talk about what led to his conversion in the next article.