Nurse Brenda Shafer said:
“I took the assignment because I was at that time very pro-choice. I had even told my two teenage daughters that if one of them ever got pregnant at a young age, I would make them get an abortion.”
“It was one of these cases that especially haunts me. The woman was six months pregnant (26 1/2 weeks). The doctor told her that the baby had down syndrome, and she decided to get an abortion…
Dr. Haskell brought the ultrasound in and hooked it up so that he could see the baby (then 26 1/2 weeks into pregnancy.) On the ultrasound screen, I could see the heart beating. I asked Dr. Haskell and he told me that “Yes, that is the heartbeat.” As Dr. Haskell watched the baby on the ultrasound screen, he went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and brought them into the birth canal. Then he delivered the body and arms, all the way up to the neck.
At this point, only the baby’s head was still inside. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. All the while his little head was still stuck inside. Then Dr. Haskell took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head. Then he stuck a high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. I almost threw up as I watched him do these things.
Next, Dr. Haskell delivered the baby’s head, cut the local court in delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he’d used. I saw the baby move in the pan. I asked another nurse and she said it was just “reflexes.”
The woman wanted to see her baby, so they cleaned up the baby and put it in a blanket and handed it to her. She cried the whole time, and she kept saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” I was crying too. I couldn’t take it. In all my professional years I’d never experienced anything like this.
Another case I saw on that third day was a six-month-old (approximately 25 weeks) baby. The mother was over age 40. There was nothing wrong with this baby, she just didn’t want it. The doctor used the same procedure… This baby was also alive. I saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound. (Actually every baby that they still have a heartbeat at the time of the procedure.” The second baby was a little smaller than the first baby. I remember thinking how perfect this child was. The mother did not want to see it…
I also saw third case that day (I was only assisting in one operating room.) This was a 17-year-old girl. She was approximately 25 weeks. The same procedure was done on this baby.
The Down’s Syndrome baby was the only baby that had a defect. And that baby with Down Syndrome had the most perfect angelic face I have ever seen. I never realized how perfect these babies are at this point. When you hear the word “fetus,” I think a lot of people think is I did of just a blob of cells, or a mass of something. It was very revealing to me. I don’t think about abortion the same way anymore. I still have nightmares about what I saw.”
Brenda Shafer, “What the Nurse Saw,” National Right to Life News, July 18, 1995: 23Share on Facebook