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Abortion: Is this what you mean?

DALLAS (BP)–A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Sioux Falls, S.D., the only abortion clinic in the state, temporarily closed last month, pro-lifers in the state reported.

It was either that or comply with a law recently upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law requires abortionists in the state to tell women seeking their services that “the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being” and that the woman has an “existing relationship with that unborn human being.” In addition, she must be told about the physical and psychological risks related to the abortion. The physical risks, she must be told, include hemorrhage, infection, danger to subsequent pregnancies, infertility, and an increase risk of suicide. The psychological risks, she must be told, include depression. The abortion clinic also must provide a “scientifically accurate statement describing the development of the unborn child.”

All aforementioned information must be given to her in writing, and she must verify with her signature that she has read everything. Any questions she asks must be answered in writing.

An abortion practitioner who refuses to obey this law faces the loss of his or her medical license and imprisonment for at least two years.

No wonder Planned Parenthood cancelled the abortions it had scheduled the first day the ruling took effect. The “blob of tissue” reassurances just are not going to fly anymore in South Dakota. And the other six states covered by the Eighth Circuit now have precedent to pass similar laws requiring women seeking abortion to be fully informed regarding its risks and possible repercussions.

Telling the truth about abortion is the most effective way to reduce its numbers. That’s the idea behind the South Dakota law and also the basis for a new challenge launched by Priests for Life: the “Is This What You Mean?” project. (Priests for Life has discussed the project in the Life on the Line radio program.) The idea is that pro-choice politicians don’t even like to use the word abortion — much less talk about what abortion really is.

The “Is this What You Mean?” campaign relies on the words of abortionists describing the procedure in court testimony and medical textbooks. This information is completely credible because it comes from those who perform abortions and teach the procedures to others. And it provides a starting point for the average citizen to challenge a politician who takes a “pro-choice” position and to elicit a simple yes or no answer to the question: “Is this what you mean?”

The following testimonies and descriptions are some of those found on the Life on the Line radio program’s website (www.lifeontheline.com). They refer to legal procedures:

— First trimester abortions. At this stage most abortionists perform the Suction Curettage Abortion. A plastic tube, called a cannula is inserted into the uterus. It is connected to a plastic hose, which is connected to a suction bottle, which is connected to a vacuum. Sometimes the baby remains intact as it exits the body.

Dr. Martin Haskell testified before the U.S District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, “The fetus passes through the catheter and either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the suction bottle after it’s all the way out.”

In sworn testimony before the same court, in the same case, Dr. Raymond Giles was asked, “Can the heart of a fetus or embryo still be beating during a suction curettage abortion as the fetus or embryo comes down the cannula? Dr. Giles answered: “For a few seconds to a minute, yes.”

Often the catheter tears the fetus or the suction action causes the baby to come out in pieces.

In a medical textbook entitled, “Abortion Practice,” Dr. Warren Hern describes what comes out during a first trimester suction abortion: “The physician will usually first notice a quantity of amniotic fluid, followed by placenta and fetal parts, which may be more or less identifiable.”

— Second & third trimester abortions. Although the ban on partial birth abortion was upheld, the D&E (Dilation and Evacuation) abortion is still perfectly legal. This form of abortion is commonly used during the second and third trimesters and involves the disassembling of the child before extraction. Keep in mind that pain experts believe that an unborn child feels pain by 20 weeks gestation.

Dr. Hern’s textbook explains: “The procedure typically changes significantly at 21 weeks because the fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember.” After further describing the difficulty, the text explains, “A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus….”

The D&E procedure was described in the Supreme Court’s most recent abortion case: “The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix … continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”

Remember, this procedure remains legal.

Dr. Haskell’s testimony in the Wisconsin court contained a description of the D&E abortion: “We would attack the lower part of the lower extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the knee and then finally we get to the hip.”

He continued: “It’s not unusual at the start of D&E procedures that a limb is acquired first and that limb is brought through the cervix … prior to the disarticulation and prior to anything having been done that would have caused fetal demise up to that point.”

Dr. Haskell also testified: “When you’re doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the skull itself and it’s floating free inside the uterine cavity…. So it’s rather like a ping pong ball floating around and the surgeon is using his forcep to reach up and to try to grasp something that’s freely floating around and is quite large relative to the forcep we’re using. So typically there’s several misdirections, misattempts to grasp. Finally, at some point either the instruments are managed to be in place around the skull or a nip is made out of some area of the skull that allows it to start to decompress. And then, once that happens typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece.”

So, if you were to reference Dr. Haskell’s testimony at, say, a local town hall meeting where abortion is being discussed, you could say something like, “This is what a prominent abortionist, Dr. Martin Haskell, said about an abortion done in the second trimester: ‘We would attack the lower part of the lower extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the knee and then finally we get to the hip.’ Sir, when you say the word abortion, is this what you mean?

Use the information in candidate forums, on radio and television programs and in letters to the editor. Ask the question. Leave it there. Candidates asking for the power to ensure that abortion remains legal must be required to admit what they are defending. And voters will get a real education in the process.
Penna Dexter is a conservative activist and an announcer on the syndicated pro-life radio program “Life on the Line” (information available at www.lifeontheline.com). She currently serves as a consultant for KMA Direct Communications in Plano, Texas. She formerly was a co-host of Marlin Maddoux’s “Point of View” syndicated radio program.

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  • Penna Dexter