Cynthia Isabell helped to commit late-term abortions that she believed were done for “therapeutic” reasons in a hospital. What she saw there left an indelible mark on her psyche. Now a pro-life teacher, she tells her students why abortion is wrong. In a previous article, I covered what she says to students and how she presents the pro-life case. Now I’d like to focus on her direct experience with abortion, which she talks about in her article in The Torch.
Although uncomfortable with abortion from the very beginning, Isabell rationalized her involvement by telling herself that she was not the one actually doing the killing. The abortionist, she told herself, was the one who was committing a moral wrong. She was only there to watch and assist.
Isabell witnessed a saline abortion. In this type of abortion, a caustic saline solution is injected into the mother’s uterus. It is inhaled and burns the baby’s lungs and skin. It can take hours for the saline solution to kill the child, and some women have reported feeling their babies thrash around in pain after the saline infusion. For example, Nancyjo Mann, who founded the post-abortion support group Women Exploited by Abortion, gave the following testimony:
After the fluid was withdrawn, he injected 200 cc’s of the saline solution–half a pint of concentrated salt solution. From then on, it was terrible. My baby began thrashing about–it was like a regular boxing match in there…. For two hours I could feel her struggling inside me. But then, as suddenly as it began, she stopped. Even today, I remember her very last kick on my left side. She had no strength left. She gave up and died. Despite my grief and guilt, I was relieved that her pain was finally over. But I was never the same again. The abortion killed not only my daughter; it killed a part of me.
After the baby dies, the mother goes through labor to expel her dead child.
Saline abortions were very common in the past, but were thought not to occur today. However, Secular Pro-Life uncovered records that show that some infusion abortions were done in 2013, some of them very likely saline.
Isabell describes the saline abortion she witnessed:
I watched the baby through the ultrasound as the doctor injected saline solution into the uterus. Immediately the baby recoiled in pain as the saline started burning its skin. I started crying and had to leave the room. Later, when the doctor reprimanded me for my reaction, I told her that the abortion was barbaric and that I would never help with one again.
The baby was likely in the mid-to-late second trimester when the abortion occurred. There is ample evidence that a baby at this stage feels pain.
Incidentally, one of the reasons saline abortions fell out of favor was that it sometimes led to live births. Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen are pro-life activists who survived being born alive after saline abortions. Usually, though, babies who survived saline abortions were killed or left to die.
Isabell describes witnessing children delivered alive during abortions:
I continued to care for the women who were having medical, “therapeutic” abortions. With these abortions, the labor is induced and the woman delivers an intact baby which will then slowly die by suffocation. We wrap the baby in a blanket and the parents often want to hold the baby they are killing and bond with it while it slowly suffocates, believing the lie they were told that the baby is not suffering. There was one that was performed for what were dubious reasons, but the patient and her family were adamant that it needed to be done. I arrived to work after the baby had already been born and had died. I was supposed to take the baby to wrap it to go to the morgue, but I took the baby to another room and held it while I cried. I never helped with another abortion after that.
Suffocation, of course, is a terrible way to die for either an adult or a child.
Participating in the murder of children took an emotional toll on Isabell:
When I tell my students this story, it is always with great difficulty and they can tell that it still upsets me to this day. I can still see that sweet little face of the dead baby. I am crying while I am writing this, because I helped kill babies.
Isabell, like other people who have witnessed abortions, is haunted by her memories. Now she speaks out against abortion.
It is very brave of Isabell to write about her experiences with abortion.
People who have witnessed abortion first hand often have powerful stories to tell. Another group of people who have witnessed abortion and seen its dark side are abortion clinic workers. You can read some of their stories here.