Abortion Methods

"I want to point out to you, the abortion procedure is done blindly. You don't have a mirror, you don't see under direct vision, so you go by your feel and by your experience, and I cannot really tell you that at this stroke you go up and down or at this stroke you do a circular motion. It's just - basically you go with your experience and your feel."
Abortionist Fareed Cadum

Suction Curettage Abortion
Nearly nine out of ten abortions are done with this method, so the problems it causes will likely be the most common. Also called vacuum extraction, the procedure involves forcible opening and widening of the vagina and cervix by progressively larger tapered cylinders called dilators. A cutting instrument attached to a very high-powered vacuum is then inserted and the preborn child is dismembered and sucked into a receptacle for disposal.

Independent studies have shown that the procedure causes physical problems in 12 percent of the cases. (Edelman, Brenner, and Berger, "Abortion by Aspiration versus Curettage," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 119, no. 4 p. 476.)

Because the abortionist operates only by sense of feel, the cutting and suction device is potentially threatening to the mother. Perforation of the uterus is one of the most common complications and deaths of women have resulted from hemorrhaging when the uterine artery is severed and an emergency hysterectomy isn't done soon enough to save the woman's life. In some cases, the powerful vacuum, misdirected by the abortionist, has damaged other internal organs or sucked out parts of the intestines. (Ann Saltenberger, Every Woman Has a Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion, Glassboro, NJ: Air Plus Enterprises, 1982, p. 19.)

Also common is the failure to remove the entire fetus. Limbs or skulls or parts of the placenta may be left inside the womb, causing severe infection, cramping and excessive bleeding. Treatment requires another dilation and curettage followed by antibiotics. Severe infection also can require hysterectomy to remove the diseased uterus. (Reardon, David, Ph.D., Aborted Women: Silent No More, Loyola Univ. Press, 1987, p. 94.)

As with all types of abortion, suction curettage results in high occurrence of embolisms. Embolisms are blockages of blood vessels.

Many go unnoticed and are naturally dissolved, but when they occur in the brain or heart, they may cause strokes or heart attacks. In the lungs, embolisms can be deadly. Pulmonary emboli can follow two to fifty days after the abortion, so doctors may not make the causal connection, but there are reports of this affliction caused by abortion 200 times per year. (Reardon, p. 95.)

Dilation & Curettage Abortion
This procedure differs from suction curettage essentially in that it is used later in pregnancy and in that rather than vacuum removal of the preborn child, the abortionist manually uses a blade to dismember it and scrapes the body parts out of the uterus into a basin. It involves sharper instruments and more scraping so it typically involves greater blood loss. The types of complications involved closely mirror those of suction curettage, but occur at 20 percent greater frequency. (Margaret Wynn, "Some Consequences of Induced Abortion to Child Born Subsequently" Foundation for Education and Research in Child Bearing, London, p. 20.)

"Abortion is a surgical procedure in which a woman's body is forcibly entered and her pregnancy is forcibly 'terminated.' Because it is intrusive, and because it disrupts a natural process (pregnancy), abortion poses both short-term and long-term risks....

"A few abortion advocates continue to insist that abortion is so safe as to be virtually 'risk free,' but such claims are exaggerations resulting from some blind belief in the slogans and clichés fostered by early abortion reformers. In contrast to these few abortion zealots, most defenders of abortion, particularly those in the medical fields, admit that there are inherent risks to abortion. . . .

"The ideological success of the pro-choice philosophy in feminism depends on the 'desirability' of abortion. After all, if abortion is found to be dangerous to women, its legalization can hardly be claimed as a triumph for 'women's rights.' For these reasons and others, abortion providers, population controllers, and pro-choice feminists are all anxious to believe that abortion is safe, and they are even more anxious to spread this belief to the general public."
Dr. David Reardon, Author

"Safe abortion is a euphemism."
Dr. Beverly Macmillam, Founder of Mississippi's first abortion facility.

Prostaglandin Abortion
The prostaglandin procedure was developed in an attempt to make late term abortions safer for women, but the deaths of six women in the early use of this procedure dashed the hopes of those who wanted a significantly safer option than saline abortion. (Saltenberger, p. 36.) The procedure remained legal.
Saltenberger points out that prostaglandin abortions are slightly statistically safer for women than saline abortions, but are known to cause spontaneous ruptures of the uterine wall, hemorrhage, coagulation defects, convulsions and cervical injury. The technique often causes incomplete abortions. The decay of retained fetal tissue causes severe infection that can lead to infertility. (Wardle & Wood, p. 115.)

Sometimes prostaglandin abortions result in what for the abortionist may be the most troublesome of abortion complications-the inducement of labor followed by live birth. Although prostaglandin abortions are slightly less often life-threatening than saline abortions, abortionists still use saline abortions more frequently.

This is because saline abortions are more effective at killing the preborn child before it is expelled and the likelihood of the abortionist having a live baby outside the womb (a baby with a legal right to stay alive) is much smaller than in the prostaglandin abortions. (Bernard Nathanson, MD-former abortionist- and Richard Ostling, Aborting America, Garden City, NY, Doubleday Press, p. 276; "The Doctor's Dilemma: When Abortion Gives Birth to Life," Chicago Tribune, 15 August 1992, Section 12.)

Partial-Birth Abortion
In partial-birth abortions, the baby at 4 1/2 months or more into a pregnancy is vaginally delivered after the mother is prematurely dilated, until the child's entire body except for the head is out of the mother's body. Then the abortionist crushes the child's head or punctures the back of the head and suctions out the brain, killing the child, before completing the delivery of the now-dead baby. The procedure is used up to full term.

"Dilation (forcible opening) of the cervix", the first step, risks creating the condition of "incompetent cervix," a leading cause of premature deliveries. It can also lead to infection, "the main cause of subsequent infertility.... Internal podalic version" --reaching into the uterus to pull the baby feet first through the cervix--the second step-- "is a very dangerous procedure--frightening" because it might "tear the uterus." The third step of partial-birth abortion, "putting scissors through the foramen magnum (back of the head) spread them and out comes the brain" is extremely dangerous given that this step exposes "sharp shards of bone" which, if scraped against the uterus, with its immense blood supply would cause "deep shock or even death."
Dr. Joseph DeCook
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists