Abortionist Robert Dale Crist (yes, the guy with the three dead abortion patients) claims that fetuses often slip out intact and quite alive during routine second-trimester abortions.
To anybody who has ever listened to abortionists discuss techniques among themselves, Crist's claims are absurd.
Listening to National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar tapes was one of my tasks when I worked at Life Dynamics. It's an exercise I heartily recommend to anybody with the constitution to stomach it. You hear the most amazing things, like the NAF presenter telling participants how to deal with the press when a patient dies: "You have to look compassionate, you have to sound compassionate, and that's hard, I know."
Discussions of routine second-trimester abortions include the following:
Warren Hern and Mildred Hanson ("Warnie" and "Millie" to their friends) arguing about the proper way to deal with the fetal head.
Hanson holds that it's best to vacuum the brain out before crushing the skull because brain tissue is the tissue most likely to trigger disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) if it gets into the maternal blood stream. Suctioning the brain out first, Hanson insists, ensures that there is no fetal brain matter present in the uterus when the sharp pieces of skull are extracted -- a process that often causes lacerations of the cervix and allows fetal tissue to get into the mother's circulatory system. Hern disagrees with Hanson. He insists that the greater danger is that you'll think you've got hold of the head when you've really grasped a maternal structure. His recommended technique is to use forceps to crush what you think is the head, and watch the cervix to see if fetal brains start leaking out. If you see grey matter (which Hern refers to as "calvarium show"), you can be confident that you've seized the head and extract it without fear that you're pulling part of the mother out.
This discussion is brought out because the head is the single biggest fetal part, and it must be crushed to get it out. If it's necessary to crush the head to extract it, how come Crist is having so many intact fetuses just sliding out?
Discussions about how to minimize injury to the cervix.
Participants will discuss how to minimize trauma while dilating the cervix. Some hold that mechanical dilation (using metal rods to dilate the cervix) is best, because it allows you to do the abortion right away, before the patient changes her mind and gets you into a peck of potential legal trouble. Others hold that osmotic dilation (using sticks of seaweed called "laminaria" to slowly dilate the cervix over a period of hours, perhaps overnight) is best, because the slow, gentle, steady dilation is less likely to cause tears to the cervix, and eliminates the risk of accidentally jamming the mechanical dilator through the back of the woman's uterus. Some believe that any dilation should be facilitated with medications to soften the cervix.
The one thing they all agree upon, however, is that the cervix should be dilated as little as possible. The more you dilate, the greater the risk of cervical tears or future miscarriages due to a weakened cervix.
These discussions illustrate that, at least until there was a market for intact fetuses, abortionists were in agreement that one didn't want to dilate the cervix so far that the fetus would simply slide right out.
Discussions about what to do when the parents wanted to see the aborted fetus.
Abortionists are sometimes faced with patients who want to see the fetus before it goes off to the incinerator. Reasons for this request vary, with the most common being that the abortion was chosen because of fears that the fetus would have something wrong with it, and the parents want to say goodbye.
The results of a second-trimester abortion are not pretty. The fetus is extracted in pieces, with the skull crushed and the abdomen often torn open and the internal organs hanging out. This is not something abortionists want anybody to see, much less a patient that might turn around and sue for emotional trauma.
One enterprising fellow had come up with a solution. He suggested reassembling the fetus on a tray, then covering it with a towel. The practitioner could then bring the tray to the parents and uncover the legs, then the hands, and hope that they'd not ask to see the face. Most parents, this abortionist noted, don't want to see the injuries the fetus sustained during the abortion, and therefore make themselves content with viewing the hands and feet. Few request to see the head, and even fewer want to see the torso.
This discussion again reiterates that second-trimester fetuses are pulled out in pieces. It is, in fact, usually the dismemberment that causes fetal death. (Some abortionists kill the fetus the day before the abortion so that it will rot overnight and be easier to dismember.)
What does this say about Crist's claims?
If Crist is getting whole, live fetuses during second trimester abortions, he's over-dilating the cervix. This is not something that can happen by accident. In other words, if Crist is getting whole live fetuses in his second-trimester abortions, he is deviating from the standard of care.
Only Crist himself could tell you why he'd do that. But I think most of us can hazard a guess.
For more on abortion practices:
Behind Closed Doors
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Partial-Birth Abortion Lies
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