Live Births Add to Abortion Patients’ Guilt

The authors of The Abortion Question, Hyman Rodman, Betty Sarvis, and Joy Bonar Walker (Columbia University Press: New York) 1987, say the following on page 59:

“However, delivery of a fetus that shows reflex movement even briefly may be a very traumatic experience for medical personnel and for the aborting woman. In some cases, the attending physician has been charged with murder or manslaughter because measures were not taken to keep the fetus alive. Such incidents usually occur because the woman has misinformed her physician about her stage of pregnancy, either deliberately or because her calculations were in error…Within the second trimester, prostaglandin-induced abortions are apparently more likely to expel fetuses which exhibit reflex ability.”

These authors gloss over the concept of moving, living infants by using the term ‘reflex ability,’ and unscientific euphemism. They even manage to blame the woman involved for these occurrences. However, they do admit that babies are sometimes born alive, even if they avoid that phrase.

An Australian author discussed the reaction of nurses to babies born alive:

“Abortion in these cases were procured by injecting saline into the uterus causing causing labor and subsequent expulsion of the fetus twelve to twenty-four hours later. Nurses working with patients having this type of abortion found it most disturbing to hold a well-formed aborted fetus with movement and with its eyes still alive…Holding a fetus, feeling it move, hearing it try to cry (something that happens only with older fetuses, those of around twenty weeks gestation or more) smelling its death, and the like, are not trivial experiences; nor are they pleasant ones.”

Megan-Jane Johnstone. Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective (Sydney, N.S.W. Harcourt Saunders) 1999 p 286

One abortionist quoted in an article argued for the practice of injecting an agent into the baby’s heart before inducing labor, in order to kill the baby before delivery. He says:

“The presence of signs of life in an aborted fetus creates many conflicts for the medical caregivers with respect to their responsibilities to patients, their own emotional needs, and the future rights of the child itself. Many physicians feel obliged, indeed, required, to resuscitate these infants even though they are well aware that the outcome may be futile. Also, the patients have opted to end the pregnancy , and, therefore, the life of the fetus. Prolonging the process can only be expected to add to their anguish and guilt as well as tax expensive, and at times scarce, resources.”

From “The Zero People: Essays on Life” edited by Jeff Hensley (Servant Publications 1983) Quoted by Magda Denes.

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