Look at the picture. Those are medical instruments invented for the express purpose of taking apart a second-trimester baby in-utero, by a guy with so much experience doing so that he decided he needed a specialized tool for doing the job. I think that's something even prochoicers gotta find a tad creepy. What thought process went into inventing these things? "Gosh, they wriggle their little legs right out of these forceps! I need something with a serrated head that they can't squirm out of."
And don't take my word for it that the babies are alive when the friendly doctor grabs hold of them with these things. I'll quote Dr. Leroy Carhart's testimony, in which he was questioned about how he performs his extraction abortions. Carhart indicates that he tried to grab the baby and get it positioned to where he can suck out the brain without taking the baby apart first. But sometimes, he indicates, the baby sticks a limb out through the cervix, and it's just easer to pull that part off and go from there:
Carhart: My normal course would be to dismember that extremity and then go back and try to take the fetus out either foot or skull first, whatever end I can get to first.
Question: How do you go about dismembering that extremity?
Carhart: Just traction and rotation, grasping the portion that you can get a hold of which would be usually somewhere up the shaft of the exposed portion of the fetus, pulling down on it through the os, using the internal os as your counter-traction and rotating to dismember the shoulder or the hip or whatever it would be. Sometimes you will get one leg and you can’t get the other leg out.
Question: In that situation, are you, when you pull on the arm and remove it, is the fetus still alive?
Question: Do you consider an arm, for example, to be a substantial portion of the fetus?
Carhart: In the way I read it, I think if I lost my arm, that would be a substantial loss to me. I think I would have to interpret it that way.
Question: And then what happens next after you remove the arm? You then try to remove the rest of the fetus?
Carhart: Then I would go back and attempt to either bring the feet down or bring the skull down, or even sometimes you bring the other arm down and remove that also and then get the feet down.
Question: At what point is the fetus...does the fetus die during that process?
Carhart: I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.
Though, to be fair, some abortionists, after 20 weeks or so, cut the cord or inject chemicals into the baby's heart or take some other method to "ensure fetal demise" the night before the abortion -- though this is done for reasons of practicality, not compassion. A fetus that's been dead overnight has "softened" enough that it's easier to take apart.
This excerpt is from an examination by Judge Richard Casey of the Southern District of New York of Dr. Timothy Johnson on March 31, 2004.
THE COURT: Can you explain to me what that means.
JOHNSON: What they did was they delivered the fetus intact until the head was still trapped behind the cervix, and then they reached up and crushed the head in order to deliver it through the cervix.
THE COURT: What did they utilize to crush the head?
JOHNSON: An instrument, a fair, a large pair of forceps that have a round serrated edge at the end of it, so that they were able to bring them together and crush the head between the ends of the instrument.
THE COURT: Like the cracker they use to crack a lobster shell, serrated edge?
THE COURT: Describe it for me.
JOHNSON: It would be like the end of tongs that are combined that you use to pick up salad. So they would be articulated in the center and you could move one end, and there would be a branch at the center, and the instruments are thick enough and heavy enough that you can actually grasp and crush with those instruments as if you were picking up salad or picking up anything with-
THE COURT: Except here you are crushing the head of a baby.
You can go here to see a medical illustration of how the dismemberment abortions, the kind Sopher forceps are used for, are performed.
(Illustrations are screen captures from Fertility Control By Stephen L. Corson, Richard J. Derman, Louise B. Tyrer)