A randomized pilot study on the effectiveness and side-effect profiles of two doses of digoxin as fetocide when administered intraamniotically or intrafetally prior to second-trimester surgical abortion., Nucatola D, Roth N, Gatter M., Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles
This study is about the digoxin injection technique Kermit Gosnell tried to use before he gave up due to lack of skill and went back to just "snipping" the live-born babies' spines.
BACKGROUND: Digoxin is commonly used to facilitate second-trimester surgical abortion despite limited data regarding its safety and effectiveness for this indication.
1. Isn't it interesting that they've been using it all these years, until it's common practice, "despite limited data regarding its safety and effectiveness"?
2. The way it facilitates the abortions is ... well, I'll take the words directly from Martin Haskell of the National Abortion Federation: "Fetal death and ensuing autolysis soften the tissues." And why does the noble physician need to do this? "Classic D&E is accomplished by dismembering the fetus inside the uterus with instruments and removing the pieces through an adequately dilated cervix. However, most surgeons find dismemberment at twenty weeks and beyond to be difficult due to the toughness of fetal tissues at this stage of development."
STUDY DESIGN: Fifty-two women presenting for elective termination of pregnancy between 18 and 24 weeks' gestation were randomized to one of four digoxin treatment groups:
"Elective" between 18 and 24 weeks. Not serious maternal health concerns. Not babies with congenital problems. Elective abortions for social reasons.
They divided the women into four groups. Two groups got injections of different doses of digoxin into the amniotic fluid. Two got different doses of digoxin injected directly into their unborn babies' hearts.
Ultrasound was used to assess for the presence of fetal cardiac activity prior to the abortion procedure. Data on the presence and severity of pain, nausea and other potential side effects were collected before digoxin injection, immediately following digoxin injection and on the day after digoxin injection.
So they used an ultrasound to make sure the babies' hearts had stopped. The "pain, nausea, and other potential side effects" were measured in the mother, since nobody cared if the babies suffered any pain as they were either bathed in a digoxin solution or had cardiac syringes full of digoxin poked into their hearts.
Digoxin toxicity, which of course can be fatal, was being deliberately induced in the babies, and they were trying to avoid inflicting on the mother.
RESULTS: Digoxin effectively induced fetal death in 87% of women. The failure rate did not vary by route of administration (IA or IF) and was not lowered by increasing the dose from 1.0 to 1.5 mg. IF injections induced fetal death more rapidly than IA injections. Digoxin administration did not result in increased pain or nausea.
CONCLUSIONS: IA or IF injection of digoxin is safe and effective for inducing fetal death prior to second-trimester surgical abortion. Doses greater than 1.0 mg may not be necessary.
Translation: Injecting the digoxin directly into the baby kills him faster, but not any more effectively. Thirteen percent will survive the overdose.
The abstract doesn't say what they do to fetuses who survive the injections, but I'm assuming that they're just dismembered alive.
Could they have survived if they'd just been delivered and not attacked with malice aforethought?
I found preemie survival rates here:
This page addresses errors in estimating gestational age: "The accuracy of ultrasound in predicting gestational age gets worse as the pregnancy advances. By 20 weeks, ultrasound is accurate only to within plus or minus two weeks, and by the third trimester, its accuracy falls to plus or minus 3 weeks." Which means that some of those fetuses could have actually been as old as 27 weeks.