The Facts About Abortion: Procedures

This blog is the first in a series about abortion facts. Find the second blog about abortion statistics in the United States here. Find the third blog about abortion risks here.

Believe it or not, there are countless people who consider themselves pro-abortion in principle – saying it’s a “woman’s right to choose” – but are completely unaware of the reality of abortion. The Left has turned abortion into a political battle rather than a moral one, coming up with new terminology like “reproductive health” to soften the blow of what it means for a pregnant woman to undergo an abortion and kill her child. We are in an information war, and it’s pivotal that members of the pro-life movement remain educated in order to fight back against the misinformation with which the Left is infiltrating our culture.

The main types of abortion procedures typically discussed among the pro-life movement are Dilation & Evacuation, Dilation & Extraction, and partial birth abortions. But what do these medical terms mean in layman’s terms? Below are several procedures commonly used by abortionists to end the life of the unborn child and evacuate the body from the mother, as explained by Liberty Council:

  • Vacuum Aspiration: [First Trimester]
      • The embryo is withdrawn from the uterus by suction through a narrow tube. Also referred to as “suction curettage” and “vacuum curettage.”
  • Dilation and Curettage: [Second Trimester]
      • The uterine cervix is dilated and a curette is inserted into the uterus to scrape away tissue – also referred to as D&C.
  • Dilation and Evacuation: [Second Trimester]
    • The uterine cervix is dilated and “fetal tissue” (the unborn baby) is removed using surgical instruments like forceps (see the below image) and suction—also referred to as D&E.

Image courtesy of Science Direct

  •  Dilation and Extraction: [End of Second Trimester/Third Trimester]
      • “The uterine cervix is dilated, and delivery of the baby is induced feet-first through the birth canal,” Liberty Council explains. “Surgical instruments are used to pierce the skull of the mostly-born child—also called D&X, or partial-birth abortion.”
  • Partial Birth Abortion: [Late-Term Abortion]
      • This method of abortion is only legal in six states plus Washington D.C., where no restrictions on abortion exist at any stage of pregnancy. There are 19 other states that allow abortion from 24 weeks to “viability” – a stage which varies state to state but can extend into the third trimester.
      • As explained by Liberty Council: “Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist reaches into the uterus, grabs the unborn baby’s leg or arm with forceps, and pulls the baby into the birth canal, except for the head, which is deliberately kept just inside the womb. (At this point in a partial-birth abortion, the baby is alive.) Then the abortionist jams scissors or a sharp implement into the back of the baby’s skull and spreads the tips of the scissors apart to enlarge the wound. After removing the scissors, a suction catheter is inserted into the skull and the baby’s brains are sucked out. The collapsed head and the rest of the baby are then removed from the uterus. Also known as Dilation and Extraction, or D&X.”
    • Chemical Abortion: [Early First Trimester]
      • When Mifepristone (formally known as RU-486) is taken by a pregnant woman, it blocks the hormone progesterone, which cuts off blood flow and nutrients to the embryo, slowly starving the baby to death over a one to two day period. Combined with misoprostol, which induces contractions and causes severe cramping and bleeding, the baby is expelled from the woman’s body. Some states allow this regime to be prescribed over a video call, known as “telemedicine,” which poses significant risk to the woman due to the known complications that can arise from Mifepristone’s use. 
  • Saline Amniocentesis: [First Trimester]
    • This method, also referred to as “salt poisoning” and “hypertonic saline” abortions, takes place around 16 weeks of pregnancy, when the amniotic fluid sac has formed around the baby.
    • National Right to Life explains the method in detail: “A needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and 50-250 ml (as much as a cup) of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. The baby breathes in, swallowing the salt, and is poisoned. The chemical solution also causes painful burning and deterioration of the baby’s skin. Usually, after about an hour, the child dies. The mother goes into labor about 33 to 35 hours after installation and delivers a dead, burned, and shriveled baby. About 97 percent of mothers deliver their dead babies within 72 hours.” 

Image courtesy of Liberty Council

When discussing first, second and third trimester abortions, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that these abortions are taking place on babies with fingers, toes, hearts, lungs and even hair on their head. At the moment of conception, a unique genetic code is created that includes a baby’s gender, eye color, hair color, and facial features – all “fearfully and wonderfully” designed by God for a specific purpose in this world. At six weeks, a baby’s heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound. As early as 12 weeks, babies can feel pain inside the womb. At 24 weeks, if born prematurely, a baby can survive outside the womb with medical intervention. Click here for a more detailed look at how babies develop during pregnancy day by day, and week by week. Despite all of this, and the undeniable fact that babies inside the womb are just as alive and human and worthy of life as babies outside the womb, pro-abortionists justify brutally dismembering and effectively torturing these innocent children to make the life of the mother more “convenient.”

This blog is the first in a series about abortion facts. Find the second blog about abortion statistics in the United States here. Find the third blog about abortion risks here.

We hope this information equips you to have educated discussions with friends, family members or acquaintances who are “pro-choice.” Abortion procedures are gruesome, heartbreaking and unfathomable – it is imperative we are able to communicate this reality to pro-abortion advocates who are uninformed of the truth (which is exactly what Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion politicians want). Don’t shy away from the harsh statistics and details of these procedures; we even encourage you to pull up an educational video such as this one from Live Action, depicting a second trimester Dilation and Evacuation, as explained by an abortionist. Reasonable people who are intellectually honest find it hard to call themselves pro-abortion once confronted with this reality. 

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