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New abortion technique reported effective 8 days after conception

HOUSTON (BP)–As early as eight days.
That’s how soon an abortion can be performed after conception in a new abortion technique available at 23 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.
The new abortion technique, called “manual vacuum aspiration,” or MVA, involves:
— a hand-held syringe instead of the vacuum pump typically used in later abortions. The syringe device can be deployed in developing countries where electricity is not always available, news reports noted.
— better ultrasound imaging of the gestational sac in its earliest stages.
— more sensitive pregnancy tests to detect pregnancy as soon as the embryo is implanted in the womb, long before a woman has missed a menstrual period.
The new MVA technique poses yet another challenge to pro- life groups in saving unborn children and in ministering to the emotional health of post-abortion women.
“The use of abortion at any time after life has begun kills a unique and irreplaceable member of the human family,” the National Right to Life Committee said in a written reaction to news of the abortion breakthrough was reported by The New York Times Dec. 21 and other media across the country. The National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest pro-life group, has more than 3,000 chapters nationwide.
“As soon as an egg is fertilized, it starts growing into a human being with its own individual DNA, different from its parents,” Laura Echevarria, NRLC director of media relations, told The Times.
“This is still innocent blood being shed,” Flip Benham, national director of Operation Rescue, told USA Today Dec. 22. “This is life. And it doesn’t matter what mechanics they use to kill it.”
An estimated 35 million unborn children have been killed in the 25 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. More than 1.2 million abortions were performed in 1995, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the new manual vacuum aspiration abortion technique is performed at such an early stage in pregnancy that the “size of the tissue is tiny, minuscule really,” according to USA Today. Michael Burnhill, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for medical affairs, predicted many women will prefer the MVA surgical procedure over “morning-after” abortion pills sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration in February 1997. The MVA syringe technique can be performed in a few minutes, without days of bleeding and cramping caused by abortion drugs, Burnhill said. The “morning-after” method involves a course of birth control pills taken orally at higher doses than normal and begun within 72 hours after sexual intercourse.
Manual vacuum aspiration was pioneered by Jerry Edwards, medical director at Planned Parenthood in Houston. The New York Times reported that Edwards has performed more than 2,400 “very early abortions” since 1994.
Controversy in recent years over another abortion drug, RU- 486, which still has not entered the U.S. market, played an important role in spurring development of MVA and other early pregnancy abortion methods, Burnhill told The New York Times. Without “the fuss over RU-486,” he said, “we wouldn’t have had all the research on alternative methods, or the resurgence of interest in early abortions.”