Tools Used for Abortion
There’s no denying that abortion is a huge money-making business. But there’s also no denying that it’s a gruesome business, for in every abortion a preborn baby is killed.
Over the last couple hundred years, people have come up with a myriad of ways to not only kill the baby, but to extract him from his mother’s body. This article examines some of the modern tools and methods used today to kill these innocent children. And it concludes with a brief list of tools that were used in the past to kill and extract babies.
These methods and tools prove that human beings will go to terrible lengths to rid themselves of a baby they do not want. That is why we must shed light on these practices and on the humanity of the preborn baby. We hope that, one day, people will wake up to the reality of abortion.
Warning: the following videos explaining abortion procedures contain graphic content.
First Trimester Abortion Tools
Most abortions are performed within the first trimester. That includes the time of the baby’s creation until 12 weeks.
The Abortion Pill
Growing in popularity today is the abortion pill. This two-pill regimen is given to a mother within the first nine weeks (up to 63 days after the mother’s last menstrual period) to kill her child. The first pill, usually taken in the abortionist’s office, is a drug called mifepristone. This drug blocks progesterone, which causes the uterine lining to thin. This makes the uterus uninhabitable for the baby, who cannot stay implanted. He then dies. Several hours or a day or so later, the woman will take the second pill—likely at home alone. This drug is called misoprostol. It causes uterine contractions which expel the dead embryo.
If, however, the mother chooses not to take the abortion pill, or if she’s too far along, the abortionist will often perform a D&C abortion. This stands for dilation and curettage and can be done from 5 to 13 weeks. In this type of abortion, the abortionist will insert a tool called a speculum into the woman’s vagina to open it. Then, tools called dilators—which come in various sizes—will allow the abortionist to enlarge the cervix. He needs to enlarge the cervix so he can gain access to the baby in the uterus.
Next, the abortionist inserts what is called a suction catheter into the opening and then turns on the suction machine. According to Dr. Anthony Levatino, an OBGYN who performed over 1,200 abortions early in his career before becoming pro-life, the force of the suction is 10 to 20 times that of a normal house vacuum cleaner. The baby is then sucked out piece by piece into the suction machine.
In order to make sure all the pieces of the baby are removed, the abortionist then uses a curette (a long-handled curved blade) to scrape the uterus.
Manual Vacuum Aspiration
There is also an abortion method called manual vacuum aspiration that can be done in the first trimester. In this method, an abortionist uses the suction of a syringe to remove the baby from the mother’s uterus. This method is not available everywhere and may be more common in poorer countries. According to the Grantham Collection, “The major problem with the MVA is that it has a very weak vacuum. This means that the child is ripped apart slowly.”
In both of the above surgical abortion methods, there is great danger to the mother, especially if pieces of the baby are left inside her uterus, the doctor accidentally scrapes too hard with the curette, or if the woman ends up with an infection.
Second Trimester Abortion Tools
In the video below, Dr. Levatino describes in gruesomely vivid detail what happens in a second trimester abortion. A second trimester surgical abortion, usually done between 13 and 24 weeks, is called a D&E abortion, or a dilation and evacuation abortion. This abortion usually takes two to three days from start to finish.
First, somewhere between 24-48 hours before the abortion procedure, the abortionist inserts something called laminaria into the cervix. Laminaria is sterilized seaweed that absorbs water and swells, enlarging the cervix, necessary as the baby is so big at this point. When the abortionist deems that the mother’s body is ready, he will give her anesthesia to block the pain. He then inserts a weighted speculum inside her vagina to open the cervix so that he has access to the uterus. He must use a weighted speculum because the baby is so large.
If the mother has not dilated enough—if the opening of the cervix is not large enough for the baby to pass through—the abortionist will then use a dilator to further open the cervix.
He then uses a suction tube to suck out the amniotic fluid. However, the baby has grown quite a bit and is no longer small enough to fit through the suction tube. So the abortionist must use what is called a Sopher clamp. A Sopher clamp is a grasping instrument that looks somewhat like tongs. But in the grasping part at the top it has teeth to help grasp onto something—in this case, parts of the baby. The abortionist uses the clamp to grasp an arm, a leg, or other body parts. Then he removes them from the mother.
According to Levatino, the most difficult part to extract is the head. He states, “A head in a baby that size is about the size of a large plum. You can’t see it…. You know you did it right if you crush down on the instrument [the Sopher clamp] and white material runs out of the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. Then you can pull out skull pieces.”
Once all of the baby’s parts are removed, the abortionist uses a curette to scrape out the uterus. He does this to make sure he has gotten all of the baby’s parts.
The abortionist must then assemble the baby’s parts on a tray to make sure nothing is left in the mother.
Third Trimester Abortion Tools
Intracardiac Injection Abortion
In the following video, Dr. Levatino vividly describes a third trimester abortion. This is called an intracardiac injection abortion. This abortion is performed from 25 weeks to term. Remember that, though tiny, babies can survive if born this early.
A third trimester abortion usually takes three to four days because the baby is so large. On the first day, the abortionist uses a syringe to inject the baby with digoxin. Digoxin is a medicine used to treat heart failure, but when given to a preborn baby in high enough doses, it will cause cardiac arrest, usually killing him. Then the abortionist inserts laminaria into the cervix to open it so the baby can be delivered.
On the second day, the abortionist replaces the laminaria with more of it to continue opening the cervix. He also does an ultrasound. If the baby is still alive, he will administer another dose of digoxin to ensure his death.
At some point, the woman will begin having contractions just like she would if she were in labor. But she will deliver a dead baby instead of a live one.
If, for some reason, the baby doesn’t come out whole, the abortionist will then have to do a D&E procedure to remove the baby piece by piece. He does this using clamps and forceps.
He will then have to assemble the baby’s parts to make sure he retrieved all the pieces.
Instruments of the Past
As if the abortion procedures mentioned above were not gruesome enough, a look at instruments of the past will further sicken you.
Below are just a few of the tools used to crush the skull to make the baby easier to remove, illustrating the horrifying reality of abortion. Many of these tools were originally used to remove a stillborn child from his mother’s uterus. But as we see in this history, abortionists also used them.
Cranioclast: The abortionist used this tool to crush the baby’s skull. This made it easier to remove him from his mother’s uterus. It was first invented in the mid-19th century by a doctor named James Simpson. Others later redesigned and updated it. In essence, the tool is a really strong pair of forceps “with heavy blades that could be pulled together through the use of a wingnut clamp.”
Tire-tete: This instrument had spiked ends. With it, the abortionist could hold the baby’s head to keep it steady. Then he would insert a long probe into the baby’s skull that would, in essence, decapitate the baby. The tire-tete would hold the baby’s head in place so it wouldn’t move around the uterus.
Jacquemier’s Decapitator: This was used to decapitate the baby.
Luer Cranial Perforator: The abortionist used this instrument to drill a hole in the baby’s head. This would cause the skull to collapse and make it easier to extract.
Blot’s Cranial Perforators: The abortionist would push this instrument into the baby’s skull. He would then open the tool, which would cause the skull to be cut into pieces.
Abortion is an immense tragedy. It is one of the most egregious threats to our families and our communities that has ever existed.
Every human being is a unique and unrepeatable person. From the time a baby is created when the sperm fertilizes the egg until a person dies a natural death, he is and remains a human being created in the image and likeness of God.
It is our hope that, when people see these abortion tools and read about these methods, they will come to understand that every abortion kills a tiny preborn baby. And it is our hope that this knowledge will help people realize that we all have a part to play in giving these babies a voice and in protecting them.
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Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. Since 2003, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials, and website content. Fourteen of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of its Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program, an educational nonprofit program for k-12 students.