Abortion Facts

*The following answers were provided by Dr. Beverly McMillan, an obstetrician and gynecologist. Dr McMillan is an expert on abortion.

What is an abortion?

"Abortion is a termination of pregnancy that can be either spontaneous or induced. Spontaneous abortions are often called miscarriages. Induced abortion artificially ends the pregnant and, depending on how far the pregnancy has advanced, determines the method used. The most commonly performed induced abortion procedure is the suction D and C (dilation and curettage) method. It is performed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and sometimes up to 14 weeks. After that, a D and E (dilation and evacuation) abortion is usually performed. Abortions done after 20 weeks are usually done by some type of chemical to induce labor early, either with prostaglandin or a poisonous salt solution."

Does an abortion hurt?

"Yes it hurts because dilating the cervix. or the neck of the womb, has to be done causing cramping pain. Usually medication is given to help relieve this but the patient is usually awake. A local anesthetic is injected into the cervix to numb it up. This helps some."

Is there much bleeding?

"Bleeding depends a lot on how far advanced the pregnancy is. In abortions performed up to 12 to 14 weeks the bleeding is usually less than six to eight ounces of blood. Abortions done after 14 weeks can be much more bloody."

Is the baby human or just a "glob of cells"?

"The baby is human from the moment of conception. When the one cell it is made of has characteristic 46 chromosomes of the human species, it is unique from that moment. Eighteen days after conception your baby's heart is already beating, probably pumping a different blood type than yours. This is almost at the time you would miss your menstrual period. Ten days after conception the baby has planted him or herself in the wall of the uterus and stops your menstrual flow. Forty days after conception (doctors) have recorded brain waves. If you touch a little baby's nose at that point it will draw its head back, so there is definitely some sensation at that time. You can see little arm buds showing up than. By eight weeks we can even hear the baby's heart beat with an ultrasound stethoscope. In abortions done after that time you can see identifiable body parts."

Does the baby feel pain during an abortion?

"Most likely yes. From six weeks the baby has sensation around its face and mouth. At seven weeks the baby can feel a needle stick and draw back. Even at that time if you put a little probe or instrument in the baby's hand it will curl up its hand around it, so it feels things."

Is abortion safe?

"Abortion, like any surgical operation, carries some risks. There is probably a ten percent risk of minor complications if extra bleeding, cramps or fever. About one in 500 abortions has major complications. Major complications include: perforation of the uterus causing bleeding; retained placenta that causes enough infection to make you seriously ill and have to be hospitalized; damage to the bowel or bladder that requires surgery and, sometimes a hysterectomy has to be performed and than you can never conceive again."

Will I feel guilty after the abortion?

"Many people do, although they may not face that for a number of years. While the first reaction is relief, almost everyone who had an abortion has to deal with some degree of guilt before they are healed of their abortion experience."

If I am pregnant should I tell my parents?

"Yes. It is such an important life decision that could cause permanent damage to your health and you ability to have children in the future. You may have some sever emotional repercussions and should seek the counsel and guidance of your parents who certainly love you and care for your well-being more than anyone else."

What if my parents want me to have an abortion?

"Remember your parents love you and you may have disappointed them and hurt them. If you are gentle but firm in your resolve to give life to your baby, your parents will most likely accept your decision and reaffirm a loving relationship with you. You can seek help from a number of pro-life organizations who will help you continue your pregnancy and even provide a place for you to live temporarily, if needed."

What if my boyfriend wants me to have a abortion?

"I think that you need to think about why your boyfriend wants you to have an abortion. He probably doesn't want to accept the responsibility of the life he has helped create. He wants you to take all the risks of what might happen to your body and psychological well-being. If the young man is that uncaring about you then you need to talk to someone who has your own best interest at heart."

Isn't abortion just another form of contraception?

"No, it is not. Contraception is preventing a pregnancy from occurring. Abortion is the taking of life after it has already started."

What happens to the bodies of aborted babies?

"The majority of the clinics today use commercial garbage disposals to get rid of the babies."

Who actually does the abortion?

"An abortion, by law, must be done by a physician. This physician does not have be a gynecologist who is trained in women's health care. It can be done by anyone as long as they have a medical license."

If I don't want to have an abortion where can I find help?

"There are hotlines for abortion counseling available. I would suggest you contact the nearest crisis pregnancy center or right-to-life chapter in your state. The nearest pro-life organization is the best place to go and ask for help. They can make sure you get the help that you need. Most can be found in the yellow pages."

METHODS OF ABORTION

Abortion is a termination of pregnancy that can be either spontaneous or induced. Spontaneous abortions are often called miscarriages. Induced abortions artificially ends the pregnancy and, depending on how far the pregnancy has advanced, determines the method used. The following are abortion methods used.

  • Suction Curettage: The mouth (cervix) of the womb is dilated. Sometimes it is damaged because during the pregnancy the cervix is closed tightly to protect the baby. A suction Curette (hollow tube with a knife-like edged tip) is inserted into the womb. A strong suction tears the baby into pieces, drawing them into a container. Great care must be used to prevent the womb from being torn and checking body parts to ensure a complete abortion.
  • Dilation and Curettage (D & C): Similar to the suction method except for insertion of a loop-shaped knife (curette) which cuts the baby apart and scrapes the pieces out through the cervix.
  • Dilation and Evacuation (D & E): The mouth (cervix) of the womb is dilated. A curette is then used to dismember the child, and the parts of the baby's body and its crushed head are removed by ring forceps. This method is used primarily 13 to 20 weeks gestation.
  • Saline Solution Method (Salt Poisoning): Outlawed in Japan and other countries, this procedure is becoming less popular due to its risk to the mother. A concentrated salted solution is injected into the sac surrounding the baby. The baby inhales and swallows the solution and dies 1 to 2 hours later from the salt poisoning, dehydration, hemorrhages of internal organs, and convulsions. The mother goes into labor. A dead or "dying" baby is delivered 24 to 48 hours later.
  • Prostaglandin Abortion: Prostaglandins are hormones that induce labor. They are injected into the sac surrounding the baby. The mother then goes into labor, giving birth to a child too young to survive. This method is falling out of favor because it is not uncommon for babies to be born alive. Performed in late second trimester and third trimester.
  • Intercardiac Injection: At about 16 weeks, ultrasound is used to pinpoint the location of the baby's heart. A needle injects a fluid into it's heart, causing an immediate heart attack, killing the preborn baby. Used commonly in "pregnancy reduction" abortions--when multiple babies are present and some are killed to give others a better chance of survival, or they are killed because of defects.
  • Partial Birth Abortion or Dilation & Extraction (D & X): While only the baby's head is in the uterus, the abortionist lifts the cervix and applies pressure to the baby shoulders with the fingers of the left hand. Then a blunt, curved Metzenbaum scissors is forced into the base of the skull. The scissors are spread to enlarge the opening. A suction catheter now evacuates the skull contents. The baby is then removed. Performed up to 32 weeks or beyond.

ABORTION IS NOT THE ONLY CHOICE. You need not face this problem alone. There are people who care about you and your baby - people who will help in this time of desperate need. Abortion is fatal - please examine the alternatives

NATIONAL TOLL FREE PREGNANCY HOTLINES

Bethany Christian Services..............................................1-800-238-4269

Birthright......................................................................1-800-550-4900

Catholic Charities...........................................................1-800-227-3002

Liberty Godparent Home..................................................1-800-542-4453

National Life Center........................................................1-800-848-5683

SOUTHERN MASSACHUSETTS SHELTER FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CRISIS PREGNANCY TESTING CENTER - QUINCY AND HULL, MA

Friends of the Unborn....................................................1-617-786-7903

WARNING: It is important that you do not sign any waiver excusing or releasing the doctor and his or her assistants and the clinic from any and all claims arising out of or connected with the performance of this operation and any other actions taken by them which are incidental. Although such waivers are invalid, they may be produced later to discourage you or your next of kin from initiating legal action. You should refuse to sign such waivers. Do not permit such waivers to be signed by anyone on your behalf. If you are permanently injured by an abortion you or your family may have sufficient grounds for filing a malpractice suit against the clinic or doctors responsible for the damage.

COMPLICATIONS OF ABORTION

Immediate Complications

  • Excessive bleeding (Hemorrhage)
  • Puncture and tearing of the womb (Uterus)
  • Infection from mild to fatal (sometimes parts of the baby are left inside the womb)
  • Cervical laceration in 5% of women.
  • Hepatitis, from blood transfusions, blood clots and embolisms
  • Sterility, ranging from 2% to 5% of abortions.

Long Term complications

  • Guilt and personality disturbances.
  • In future desired pregnancies:
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature delivery because of damage to the cervix
  • Tubal pregnancies (increased from 8-fold to 20-fold by abortion_
  • Could make removal of the uterus necessary. You would then be unable to have any children.

Breast Cancer

  • An abortion during high estrogen levels in the early months of pregnancy predisposes a woman to getting breast cancer. In fact, a full-term pregnancy early in a woman's reproductive life is protective against breast cancer.
  • A 1995 Harvard University study on over 2,000 women in Greece found a significant 51 percent increased breast cancer risk among women who had any abortions.
  • A 1994 National Cancer Institute study of over 1,800 women in Washington State found a significant 50 percent increased risk among women who had any abortions. The risk was more than double for women whose abortion (or first abortion) took place before age 18 or over age 30.

This information appeared in a brochure provided by:
Easton Publishing Company Inc.
PO Box 1064
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 573-635-0609