In his presentation paper on D&X ("Partial Birth Abortion"), Martin Haskell described first how late D&E abortions were done. Because the fetus was so difficult to dismember, abortionists would kill it on Day 1, so that "autolysis" would "soften" the tissues for dismemberment during the days that the cervix was being dilated.
Autolysis. The first step in the decomposition of a corpse. Decomposition. A fancy word for rotting. The fetus will undergo autolysis -- rotting -- whether the abortionist is planning to dismember it or induce labor so it's expelled whole.
Let's step away from cases in which the baby is deliberately put to death and look at late miscarriages or stillbirth.
Maceration and The Timing of Intrauterine Death: "Maceration is the process of tissue degeneration which begins to occur as soon as an undelivered infant dies. It arises secondary to the effects of autolytic enzimes." (Emphasis mine)
Within hours after death changes occur in the epidermal-dermal junction resulting in what usually is termed ‘skin slippage’. If the skin is rubbed the epidermis will detach from the underlying tissues. Shortly thereafter, fluid begins to accumulate under the skin. Bullae (blisters) may develop (which should not be misinterpreted as being secondary to an abnormality of development such as epidermolysis bullosa). These bullae rupture spontaneously or from delivery resulting in patchy denudation of the skin. Sloughing of skin from larger and greater number of surfaces indicates that the interval between death and delivery is longer. With antenatal death more than a few days prior to delivery other changes begin to occur including generalized hypermobility of joints, change in the color of the fetal skin surfaces to a pale grey-yellow and liquefaction of internal organs.
Let's look at this page, that has a chart for physicians to estimate from gross examination (looking at the body with the naked eye rather than doing a microscopic examination of tissues).
By around 8 hours -- after the woman has been sent to the motel, but long before she returns for the first change of laminaria -- the fetus will show "'parboiled' reddened skin".
At around 12 hours, you'll see some skin slippage. Click here for a picture of skin slippage in a stillborn baby that had been dead about half a day before delivery.
Within 24 hours -- roughly the time the woman returns for the first change of laminaria -- the skin of the fetus will have begun to blister.
At about 2 days -- when the woman is returning for the second change of laminaria -- the fetal internal organs will start to show hemoglobin staining.
Between 8 hours and 2 days -- still during the time the woman is staying in a motel room with a friend or family member, before labor is induced -- the fetus will show "skin slippage and peeling".
During the time after 2 days -- one or two days before labor is induced -- the dead fetus will start to show more skin slippage, and the internal organs will become even more discolored.
This commentary on the autopsy findings on Lacy Peterson's unborn baby also describes the decomposition typically seen after death in-utero:
Time from Death to Delivery
|Areas of desquamated skin measuring 1 cm |
or more in diameter
|Cord discoloration (brown or red)||6 hours|
|Desquamation involving the skin of the face, back, or abdomen||12 hours|
|Desquamation of 5% or more of the body surface||18 hours|
|Desquamation involving 2 or more of the 11 body zones||18 hours|
|Brown or tan discoloration of the skin, usually involving the abdomen||24 hours|
|Moderate or severe desquamation||24 hours|
|Mummification (any)||2 weeks|
To see this illustrated, you can go to this page and note that the typical third trimester fetus spends 3-4 days in utero, dead, depending on his size, while the abortionist performs daily changes of laminaria in order to dilate the mother's cervix. The degree of maceration that would be seen is illustrated in pictures C and D. If you scroll down you can read that at 72 hours -- when labor would be induced to deliver a smaller third-trimester aborted baby -- about 75% of the baby's skin will be slipping. At 96 hours, when a larger baby would be expelled, the pieces of the baby's skull begin to overlap due to tissue deterioration.
In other words, the baby is rotting. It's a corpse. That's what corpses do. They rot. In this case, they're rotting inside their mother's wombs for three days in order to make absolutely sure that they aren't born alive.
I would challenge Somg, and other rotting-baby abortion defenders, what maternal health concern they can think of that would make killing the fetus three days prior to delivery necessary. What maternal health concern will be improved by the maceration of the fetus in her body over a three day period? Her physical health? Her mental health?