What Happens during an Abortion

Breaking down the abortion process...

Photo Courtesy of Freepik.com

By: Hayden Cunningham

605,000 people. That is the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the United States. 614,920 people. That is the total number of abortions carried out in the year 2018. Over 125,000 abortions happen every day in the world. The WHO estimates that the total worldwide number of abortions is between 40-50 million.

This is not an argument about religion. A person’s religious beliefs have nothing to do with the science of an unborn baby. The science, however, has become corrupted. Terminology and images are avoided in order to ignore what exactly an abortion is. So before the argument against abortion continues, here is information about each stage of an unborn baby’s development:

Stages of an Unborn Baby’s Development

Conception (fertilization): By day one, all chromosomes are present.

Day 6: Embryo begins implantation in the uterus.

Day 22: The baby’s heartbeat begins with it’s own blood. The blood can be a different type than the mothers’.

3 Weeks: A backbone and nervous system is forming. Organs like the liver and kidneys are taking shape.

5 Weeks: Eyes, legs, and hands are developing.

6 Weeks: Brain waves are detectable.

7 Weeks: The baby can kick and swim.

8 Weeks: Every organ is in place. The baby can hear.

9 Weeks: Teeth and fingernails develop.

10 Weeks: The baby can “breathe” amniotic fluid and urinate.

11 Weeks: A skeletal structure is developed.

12 Weeks: The baby has all parts necessary to experience pain (nerves, spinal cord, thalamus). Vocal chords are complete.

14 weeks: The heart is pumping several courts of blood daily.

15 weeks: The baby has adult taste buds.

17 Weeks: The baby can have dream (REM) sleep.

20 Weeks: A baby can recognize his/her mother’s voice.

24 weeks: All major features and organs are at late stages in development. By now, most babies born prematurely will survive.

Months 5 – 6: The baby practices breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid. The baby will grasp the umbilical cord when he/she feels it.

Months 7 – 9: The baby can open and close his/her eyes. The skin thickens. The baby can know the difference between waking and sleeping. The heart pumps 300 gallons of blood a day.

So what exactly is an abortion? What is the process to remove the baby from the mother’s womb? Here is a description of an abortion in each trimester:

The Abortion Process

The Abortion Pill: The abortion pill is commonly used to end a baby’s life in the very early stages of pregnancy. It has a 94% – 98% effectiveness for people who are 8 weeks pregnant or less. After taking the pill, the woman will essentially have a miscarriage. It comes in the form of two pills. The woman will take mifepristone at a health center, then misoprostol at home 6-48 hours later. Cramping and bleeding occurs to empty the uterus.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C): For a first trimester abortion, the most likely procedure would be a vacuum aspiration. This is also referred to as Dilation and Curettage (D&C). After giving the patient anesthesia, the abortionist will use a speculum to open the vagina. They will then use dilators to dilate the cervix. Once the cervix is dilated, there is now more access to the baby. A baby will have a heartbeat and limbs, but the bones are still developing and are very fragile. A suctional tube connected to a vacuum is shoved into the vagina. The baby is sucked into the tube, and then the placenta. Usually parts of the baby is stuck in the womb, so a curette is used to scrape out any remaining parts of the baby.

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): For a second and third trimester abortion (late-term), a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is performed. The beginning process is similar to a D&C. A speculum is used to open the vagina and dilators are used to open the cervix. But because the baby by now is so large, abortionists use laminaria (a type of seaweed) for 24-48 hours in advance. Laminaria will absorb the fluids inside to help open the cervix. The vacuum is inserted to suck out the remaining fluid in the womb. At 20 weeks, a baby’s head is the size of a hand and it’s bones are too strong. The baby is now too large to be sucked out of the tube. A sopher clamp is used to grasp a leg (or arm) of the baby. The abortionist will pull hard to tear the leg from the baby’s body. Then they will pull the remaining limbs, the spine, the heart, and the lungs. To remove the head, the abortionist will crush the skull until a white substances comes out (the brain). Skull pieces are removed, as well as any left over pieces of the baby. To ensure that the baby has been removed, the abortionist will take the crushed parts and re-assemble them. If any parts are not found, the abortionist will use a curette to go over the womb for any missing pieces.

Possible side affects from a D&C or D&E include uterine perforation, Infection, cervical Laceration, hemorrhage, maternal death, future pregnancy complications.

Abortion Laws

Roe v. Wade (1972) states that the federal government cannot regulate abortion before viability. They define viability as “the capacity of meaningful life outside the womb.” Because of this, states cannot regulate abortions in the first trimester. The decision allows states to impose regulations regarding the second and third trimester.

Many states have imposed their own laws on abortions. Some arguably contradict Roe v. Wade, which may lead to more Supreme Court rulings in the future. Texas, for example, signed a law this year banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected.

Born-Alive Abortion Laws

Here are two recent bills to protect babies that survive abortions. While there is a law in place from 2002 to protect babies that survive abortions, some states have changed their laws in contradictory ways. This new bill would clarify what the federal law is for these babies:

H.R. 4712 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (2017): This bill would require babies that survive attempted abortions to be treated with the same care as a child born alive at the same gestational age. Babies must be transferred from the abortion clinic to a hospital.

Vote in the House: 241 Yay (235 Republicans, 6 Democrats), 183 Nay (0 Republicans, 183 Democrats)

S.311 – Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (2019): This bill would require babies that survive attempted abortions to be treated with the same care as a child born alive at the same gestational age. Babies must be transferred from the abortion clinic to a hospital.

Votes in the Senate: 56 Yay (53 Republicans 3 Democrats, 41 Nay (0 Republicans, 41 Democrats)

Among those who voted no: Kamala Harris (CA), Kirsten Sinema (AZ), Cory Booker (NJ)

So where do you personally draw the line for abortion? Is it up until birth where a fully-formed baby is inside the womb ready to come out? Is it 24 weeks where the major organs are present? Is it 6 weeks where brain waves are already detectable? Is it 22 days where there is already a heartbeat? Is it the same day of conception where there is unique DNA with chromosomes?

To argue that abortion is to prevent children in adoption centers, to argue that it is a form of birth control because not all pre-pregnancy birth control is 100% effective, or to argue that some people are not ready to be parents: none of these are valid arguments for killing an unborn baby. Everyone that engages in intercourse accepts the risk that it could lead to pregnancy. That is the choice made by people who need to be held accountable for their actions.

There are, however, some instances where an abortion should be acceptable. In the event that an abortion is needed to protect the health of a mother, of course it should be allowed. These instances make up an extremely small percentage of total abortion cases, and its legality is rarely questioned.

While the left claims they are “pro-choice,” they ignore the choices that can be made before a pregnancy. People can choose to practice abstinence. People can also use birth control, even multiple methods to maximize safety. If a pregnancy occurs, a couple can choose parenthood or adoption. Murdering the unborn child is not an option. Being in favor of abortion because it would be more convenient for you is morally reprehensible. There are definitive ways to prevent pregnancy if you are not ready. And if you make mistakes and get pregnant, you have to be held accountable for your actions. There is no other alternative.

Enough with the euphemisms. It is not a “termination” it is a death. This is not about “reproductive rights” or “a woman’s right to choose.” We are talking about the murder of the most innocent among us. To call it anything else hides the severity of the issue. This is a legal thing performed every day that is absolutely evil. You do not have the right to murder another being, and it is time that people stop sitting back and letting this happen.

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