Descriptions and Images Of Abortion Procedures.

Abortion Clinic Images

Suction aspiration - first 12 weeks of pregnancy

This is a frequently used method of abortion. It is done in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The mother is given a general or local anesthetic. The cervical muscle (womb opening) is stretched open. A hollow plastic tube with a knife-like edge on the tip is inserted into the womb. The suction machine (about 30 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner) is then turned on and begins to suck out the contents of the womb. Because the baby's bones have not hardened yet, pieces of the body are sucked into the jar. The placenta (afterbirth) is then scraped from the walls of the womb and sucked out as well, thus completing the abortion procedure. This is sometimes called a menstrual extraction abortion if done in the very early weeks of pregnancy.

Suction Aspiration

Dilation and curettage (D&C) - first 12 weeks of pregnancy

This is similar to the suction abortion except a loop-shaped knife (curette) is used instead of the suction tube. The baby and placenta are cut into pieces and scraped out into a basin.

Dilation and Curettage

Abortion Pills - 5 to 10 Weeks of Pregnancy

These are abortion drugs taken orally by the mother. When taken with another drug called prostaglandin, they are 90 to 95% effective in causing an abortion. RU486 works by preventing nutrients from reaching the baby through the placenta, thus causing starvation within a few days. Methotrexate works within the same time frame but directly poisons the baby, causing his or her death. The prostaglandin drug is used to cause hard labor, thus dispelling the shriveled body of the dead baby.

Melissa describes her abortion pill experience

I'm 16, and my boyfriend is 18. A week ago today I took the medical pill. Then Friday last week I took the four pills that make you basically go into labor. I started throwing up, and I felt the tissue come out. I looked in my underwear, and there was the baby fetus looking at me with one eye. It was horrible.

I now regret it greatly and wish I had my baby. I never thought I would regret it, but now I regret it more than anything, and not a day will go by that I won't tell that child how sorry I am. I will never forget looking at my dead child and saying I'm so sorry while crying my eyes out.

There are no photographs for this type of abortion as the dead baby is expelled after the patient leaves the abortion clinic. This usually happens at home, and it is up to the patient to dispose of the fetus.

Abortion Pill

Dilation and evacuation (D&E) - first 18 weeks of pregnancy

Similar to the D&C, the dilation and evacuation procedure is used later in pregnancy after the baby's bones have hardened. A pliers-like instrument with knife edged teeth is inserted into the womb and a piece of the body is seized, twisted off, and removed. This procedure is repeated removing feet, hands, arms, etc., until the baby is entirely dismembered. If the head is large, it is crushed prior to removal. The placenta is also cut away and removed. The body parts are then reassembled to be sure nothing is left in the womb to cause infection.

Dilation and evacuation

Salt poisoning (saline amniocentesis) - after four months of pregnancy

Although used infrequently now due to danger to the mother, salt poisoning was once the most common method used for late abortions. A large needle is inserted through the mother's abdomen and into the womb. A concentrated salt solution is injected into the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. The baby breathes and swallows the salt solution, is slowly poisoned as it burns away the outer layers of the skin, and dies. The mother then goes into labor and expels the baby within 24 to 48 hours.

Salt poisoning (saline amniocentesis)

Prostaglandin abortion - four to six months of pregnancy

The drug prostaglandin was previously used in the later months of pregnancy to cause a violent premature labor of a baby too young to survive. However, it was dangerous to the mother and sometimes resulted in the "complication" of delivering a live premature baby. Because of these problems this method has mostly been replaced by the D&E method which is guaranteed to result in the death of the baby. Prostaglandin is now used primarily in combination with RU486 and methotrexate.

Prostaglandin abortion

Lethal Injection Abortion - 5th month to the 9th month

Lethal injection abortions are performed in the late second trimester and the third trimester (from about the 5th month to the 9th month of pregnancy). Lethal injection abortion, or in medical terms called intra-cardiac injection abortion, involves the insertion of a spinal needle into the heart of the baby where a feticide agent (poison) is injected to stop the baby's heart. This procedure takes only two to four minutes.

The patient can be sent home within 10 to 15 minutes after the procedure. She then has the option of going to another abortionist or her own physician to have the dead baby removed from her womb to complete the abortion, having been guaranteed that this will not result in the "complication" of a live birth abortion.

There are no pictures of the babies involved with this procedure, as they are removed from the mother at some other location.

Lethal Injection Abortion

Hysterotomy - four to nine months of pregnancy

A hysterotomy abortion is similar to a Cesarean section live birth, except the desired result is different. With a C-section, the intent is to deliver a live baby, preventing danger to the mother and baby in a difficult birth. With a hysterotomy, the intent is to deliver a dead baby. However, because the baby is alive at the time of the procedure, there was a constant complication of having this abortion procedure deliver a live baby, which then had to expire by some other means. The baby was often smothered or drowned in a bucket of water. However, these practices are now prohibited by a court decision. Consequently, hysterotomy abortions have mostly been replaced by the newer method of lethal injection abortion, which cannot possibly result in a surviving baby.

These descriptions and images with permission J.C. Willke, M.D., Life Issues Institute, and Hayes Publishing Co., Cincinnati, OH.