METHODS OF ABORTION
There are three main methods of abortion. By far the
commonest is the invasion of the womb from below, the
other two methods are the use of a drug to cause premature
labour (the drug may include a poison which kills the
baby also) and the removal of the baby from the uterus
by abdominal surgery.
The method used depends on how long you have been pregnant,
the number of days since the first day of your last
FIRST TRIMESTER (1-12 weeks, the first
three months of pregnancy)
Menstrual Extraction or Manual Vacuum Aspiration
It is used in the very early stages of pregnancy. It
can be done as soon as you know you are pregnant. It
is the emptying of the uterus with gentle suction of
a manual syringe. However, if all the fetal remains
are not removed, infection results, requiring full dilation
of the cervix and a scraping of the uterus.
The Abortion Pill (5-7 weeks)
RU486 is also known as Mifepristone or Mifegyne (originally
labeled 2K95.890, but now classified as Roussell-Uclaf
38486 or RU486 in short) It is an anti-hormone, anti-progesterone.
The work of progesterone is to signal the uterus to
become receptive to the fertilized egg. Once the anti-hormone
has occupied the progesterone receptors, the blastocyst
is denied attachment and simply starves for want of
nutrients and oxygen and is expelled after several days.
This mechanism of action works to kill preborn children
in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. At least three
clinic visits are made: one for the RU486 tablets, another
2 days later for the prostaglandin and a third 8-12
days later to check whether the abortion is complete.
Between visits, women are left to bleed at home.
A Methotrexate injection kills the unborn child by interfering
with the growth process (cell division). Several days
later, the woman is treated with prostaglandin (misoprostol)
to expel the fetus and the woman aborts at home. Requires
three visits to the doctor to complete the process.
Suction Abortion, Suction Aspiration or Vacuum
Abortionists use this method most in the first trimester
and can also use it up to 16 weeks. This is the most
commonly used technique in developed countries. The
day before the scheduled abortion, dry laminaria (a
sea weed) is inserted into the cervix; it absorbs water
and swells, gradually pushing open the cervix in the
process. The next day when the woman comes for the abortion
her cervix is already partially dilated. The abortionist,
under anesthesia, further dilates the cervix with a
set of dilators of increasing size. He does all this
in a matter of thirty to sixty seconds. He then attaches
a suction curette via a hollow plastic tube to a powerful
suction pump. The suction curette is inserted into the
uterus and the suction pump is turned on. The suction
curette is moved inside the uterus and the suction created
by the vacuum pump pulls the unborn baby's body apart
and detaches the placenta from the wall of the uterus,
sucking the fetal parts and placenta into a collection
bottle and checked to see whether the abortion is complete.
Dilatation and Curettage (D&C)
This method is not as common anymore because it requires
more dilation and more time and is considered less safe
than suction abortion. After the cervix has been dilated
sufficiently as in the procedure used for suction abortion,
here it is dilated even further up to ten to twelve
millimeters and takes more time. Once the cervix is
open wide enough, a loop-shaped steel knife called curette
is inserted into the cavity of the uterus to cut apart
the unborn baby into pieces and scrape the uterine lining
to detach the placenta from the wall of the uterus.
Finally, all body parts and membranes are scraped out
through the cervix and checked to see whether the abortion
is complete. Bleeding is usually profuse. Possible complications
include infection, cervical laceration and uterine perforation.
Note: This abortion method should not be confused with
a therapeutic D&C done for reasons other than pregnancy.
Many doctors assert that ultrasound testing should precede
any D&C, or the woman risks having an unintentional
SECOND TRIMESTER (13-24 weeks, second
three months of pregnancy)
Dilatation and Evacuation (D&E) (13-20
At this point in pregnancy, the unborn baby's body is
too large to be broken up by suction and curette, besides,
the cervix must be much more widely opened than in the
D&C method. A sharp plier-like instrument is used
to tear the unborn baby from limb to limb. The skull
is crushed, as it is too large and too firm to be pulled
out intact, and the spine is broken and all body parts
pulled out in pieces, stacked on the table and reassembled
to check if the abortion is complete. Bleeding is profuse.
Possible complications include infection, cervical laceration
and uterine perforation.
Saline Injection or Salt Poisoning
Used after 16 weeks, when enough amniotic fluid has
accumulated. A long needle injects a concentrated salt
solution through the mother's abdomen into the amniotic
fluid, which surrounds the unborn baby. The fetus swallows
and absorbs this solution causing burning of the outer
layer of skin, haemorrhage of internal organs, edema,
shock, dehydration, convulsions and eventually death.
It normally takes somewhat over an hour for the baby
to die from this. Within 24 hrs, labour will usually
set in and the mother will give birth to a dead or dying
baby. (There have been many cases of these babies being
born alive. They are usually left unattended, to die.
However, a few have survived and later been adopted.)
They are similar to Saline Abortions, but are not as
effective. They are thought to have fewer complications.
Urea infusion is more commonly combined with later term
D&E abortions to soften fetal tissues for easier,
safer and less painful removal of fetal parts.
Prostaglandin Abortion (16-38 weeks)
Prostaglandin is a hormone also called Misoprostol.
This chemical induces premature labor. About 8ccs of
Prostaglandin hormone is injected into the uterine muscle,
which contracts to expel the baby in an artificially
induced and extremely violent premature labor that takes
about 20 hours. Live births are common. Hazards for
mother include convulsions, vomiting and cardiac arrest.
Intercardiac Injection Abortion
At about 16 weeks, ultrasound imagery is used to pin
point the location of the baby so that a long needle
may be guided into its heart. The abortionist injects
potassium chloride or some other fluid into the heart
of the unborn through the mother's abdominal wall into
her uterus, the heart is viewed on the ultrasound screen
until it stops beating. After a period of days, the
dead fetus is delivered naturally, or the process can
be accelerated with cervical dilation followed by Prostaglandin
injections. This method is most commonly used for "pregnancy
reduction" abortions, also called selective abortion.
THIRD TRIMESTER (24 - 26 weeks, the
third three months of pregnancy)
A hysterotomy is actually a Cesarean section done during
the third trimester of pregnancy when other types of
abortion may be too dangerous to the mother. The mother's
uterus is surgically opened and the baby is lifted out.
The helpless baby is then either left to die or is killed
by the abortionist or his staff.
Dilatation and Extraction (D&X) or Partial
This method was originated by abortionist Marvin Haskell.
Most surgeons find dismemberment at twenty weeks and
beyond to be difficult, due to the toughness of fetal
tissues at this stage of development. This method takes
three days to complete. In the first two days, the mother's
cervix is dilated with laminaria in two or more sessions,
with medication given for cramping. On the day of the
procedure, the laminaria is removed and the patient
is injected with Pitocin to induce contraction. The
abortionist next determines the fetus orientation in
the uterus through ultra sound and locates the legs.
Grasping the legs with a large forceps, he then pulls
the legs into the vagina and delivers the baby (live)
up to the baby's head with his hands. Next the abortionist
slides his hands up the baby's back and hooks his fingers
over the shoulder of the baby. Then a pair of scissors
are inserted into the base of the skull to create an
opening and the scissors are then opened to enlarge
the hole. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter
is inserted. The baby's brains are then sucked out.
Minus its brain, the skull collapses, and is easy to
remove. Finally the abortionist removes the placenta
with the help of forceps and scrapes the uterine walls
with a suction curette.