First, let's learn more about a 20-week fetus. According to The Visible Embryo, the 20-week fetus is 5.6 to 6.4 inches crown-to-rump, and weighs about 9 ounces (260g):
Extremely rapid brain growth begins lasting until five years after birth. Eyebrows and scalp hair become more visible and fetus blinks more often. Lanugo hair covers body completely, although concentrated around head, neck and face.
Heart beat grows stronger.
Testes of male fetuses begin descending from the pelvis into the scrotum.
Legs approach final length and proportion relative to body. Arms and legs move with more force, as muscles strengthen. Skeleton hardens. Hand strength improves. Although the placenta provides nearly all fetal nourishment, fetus will begin to absorb small amounts of sugar from swallowed amniotic fluid. By 21 weeks, fetal bone marrow starts making blood cells — previously done by the liver and spleen.
You can click here to see what a 20-week fetus looks like. (Not a gruesome picture) You can see a 4D ultrasound of a live 20-week fetus in-utero here or here. If you go to YouTube you can do a search and see dozens more.
So, we know what they look like and what they do when they're in the womb. Time to cut to the choice, and answer the question: How do you kill them?
There are three basic methods for aborting a 20-week fetus:
- Instillation, which involves taking out some amniotic fluid and replacing it with something to kill the fetus and/or trigger labor. This technique has fallen out of favor but is still used sometimes for reasons that elude me. The most popular chemical for this kind of abortion was hypertonic saline. You can see the results of a 21-week saline abortion here. The red skin is from the corrosive action of the salt solution. Abortion workers dubbed these fetuses "candy-apple babies" because of the bright red color.
- The most popular method is D&E, for "dilation and evacuation". This involves reaching in with forceps and dismembering the fetus. You can read Leroy Carhart's testimony about how he does these abortions. You can look at this medical illustration of the technique used on a 23-week fetus. There's really little difference between a 20-week fetus and a 23-week fetus, so this illustration is accurate but for the size of the fetal parts. Here is a photo of the head of a slightly older fetus being removed with the D&E method.
- D&X or "Partial Birth Abortion" pulls the fetus out whole until only the head remains in the uterus. The doctor then stabs the baby in the base of the skull and suctions his brains out. This leaves a presentable fetus to show the mother, provided you stuff the head with cotton balls or something first. I can't find a photo of the final result, but here is a collection of photos showing a 22-week fetus being removed whole, evidently vaginally. So this is similar but the fetus is slightly larger and his head isn't collapsed.
George Tiller has his own technique, which involves injecting the fetal heart with a chemical to cause death, then using laminaria to dilate the cervix. The combination of a dilated cervix and a dead fetus triggers labor. Tiller doesn't have a name for his method, since he insists on referring to his late abortions as "managing the pregnancy by premature delivery of a stillborn." Here is a photo taken during one of the "memorial services" Tiller arranges for after the abortion.
How dangerous or safe is a 20-week abortion? By sixteen weeks, all the pro abortion statistical manipulations in the world can't make abortion seem less risky than carrying the baby to term. And the risk to the mother's life doubles every two weeks after the 16-week point. This means that even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that their numbers are accurate, we're still left with an 18-week abortion being twice as risky as childbirth, and a 20-week abortion being four times as risky.
Why are abortions done at 20 weeks? US News & World Report investigated abortion supporters' claims about late abortions. In looking at the reasons for late abortions, the report said:
[T]he survey undermines another claim sometimes made by abortion-rights groups, at least with regard to the D&X issue: that late abortions are usually done for medical reasons, particularly to protect the life and/or health of the mother. Only 9.4 percent of late abortions at clinics that responded to the U.S. News survey were done for medical reasons, either to protect the mother's health (a rare situation) or, more commonly, because of fetal defects such as spina bifida and Down's syndrome. For the handful of very late abortions, those after 26 weeks, medical reasons do predominate. But for post-20-week abortions generally, about 90 percent were classified by the clinics as "nonmedical."
Here are some stories of 20-week abortions:
- Mary Bradley, a 41-year-old mother of four, underwent a 20-week abortion performed Dr. Wayne Patterson in March of 1985, and died as a result.
- "Megan" alleged that she went to Delta for the abortion of her 20 week pregnancy. The abortion was performed by Richardson Glidden March 28, 1984. Glidden failed to determine the position of the fetus, was unable to retrieve fetal leg, and sent Megan patient home with assurance that she would expel the leg. Megan was bedridden with pain for six days, then returned to Delta. Glidden then informed Megan of a laceration of her uterine wall in addition to the retained leg. Glidden's attempt to remove the fetal leg was unsuccessful. Megan was transported to a hospital, where the fetal leg was removed through a surgical incision. (Baton Rouge Parish District Court Case No. 281159)
- Guadalupe Negron, a 33-year-old mother of four from Honduras, went for an abortion at Metro Women's Center in Queens, New York, on July 9, 1993, and died as a result.
- "Francine" was 17 years old and 20 weeks pregnant when she came to Eastern Woman's Center for her abortion, which was botched.
- In 1988, the Health Department noted that a 17-year-old patient at Eastern Women's Center, who was actually 20 weeks pregnant, was told that she was 8 or 12 weeks pregnant; her abortion resulted in injury and hospitalization.
- "Margot" thought she was 13-14 weeks pregnant, but turned out to be 20 weeks pregnant when her abortion was performed.
- Nineteen-year-old Robin went to Bill Baird's abortion clinic on February 22, 1980. Her abortion was done by an ear, nose, and throat specialist who realized after starting the procedure that the fetus was not 11 - 12 weeks as he'd originally estimated. As he continued the abortion, Robin pleaded for him to stop. He told her to "hold on a little longer" and said that he was saving her money by not using anesthesia. After Robin went into shock, staff walked her down the steps and sent her to the hospital in a taxi. Robin needed a hysterectomy, 16 units of blood, and 6 hours of surgery. She spent a month in the hospital, four days of that in the Intensive Care Unit, and nearly died. She continued to suffer lingering physical problems with her legs and bladder after discharge. It was determined that Robin had actually been around 20 weeks pregnant. Bill Baird and his clinic are National Abortion Federation members. (Suffolk (MA) Superior Court Civil Action No. 47117)
- "Malorie" Roe was 35 years old and 20 weeks pregnant when she sought an abortion in 1974. She suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism.
- Gail Wright was 29 years old when she underwent a legal abortion. She was 20 weeks pregnant. She developed sepsis and died.
- "Colleen" Roe traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion in early March of 1972. She was 21 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. She went into respiratory arrest and died.
- "Barbara" Roe was 35 years old when she traveled from Michigan to New York for a safe and legal abortion in 1971. She was 20 weeks pregnant. Within 24 hours of being injected with saline for the abortion, she went into convulsions, then her heart stoped.
- Sharon Hamptlon (pictured, with son Curtis) was 20 weeks pregnant when her abortionist sent her home, still bleeding from a perforated uterus. She bled to death in the back seat of the car, with her mother driving and her three-year-old son in her arms.
If you have any further questions, please just let me know.
Want to share this blog post with a friend? Click on the email icon below!