PBA Trials Transcripts: Wisconsin

This transcript shows that first trimester abortions are done on babies with heartbeats who do not always die instantly during the procedure.

When legislation to ban the Dilation and Extraction (Partial Birth) abortion procedure was passed in certain states, there were several trials about whether the ban was constitutional. This testimony was given in United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S. It concerns not the partial birth procedure, which we will read about later, but the very common suction curettage procedure. The purpose of the testimony was to compare this early abortion technique to a partial birth abortion.

This is an 8 week old unborn baby- a typical candidate for this type of abortion:

Abortionist Dennis Dean-Christensen (his words are in bold)

Q. Are you aware that we stipulated that during a suction curettage procedure sometimes no fetal parts come out through the cannula during suction and that the doctor then goes in with forceps to remove parts?

A. Yes, I’m aware of that.

Q. At that point when the suction has been used but no fetal parts have come out and the doctor goes in with forceps is the fetus alive?

A. Based on our definition, yes.

Q. And when will the fetus die in that scenario?

A. Well, sometime between that point and when we complete the procedure.

Abortionist Harlan Raymond Giles

THE WITNESS. The fetus in the suction D&C is much smaller, generally less than 12 weeks of gestation, and the fetus either in whole or in part passes through the plastic cannula – and then goes into a suction machine where there’s a gauze bag that then traps the fetal structure and the placental structure as well.

Q. Okay. Can the heart of a fetus or embryo still be beating during a suction curettage abortion as the fetus or embryo comes down the cannula?

A. For a few seconds to a minute, yes.

THE WITNESS: I’ve performed approximately or greater than 40,000 suction curettage abortions. Roughly, you know, 10,000 D&E abortions. After the 20th week I’ve performed approximately 5,000 abortions, about 3,000 of them being D&E and about 2,000 of them being the intact variety of D&E. [which is another name for a D&X or Partial Birth abortion]

Q. When you perform an abortion by the suction curettage method does it ever happen that a portion of the fetus is extracted from the uterus while the fetus is still alive?

A. Yes.

. . .

nine weeks

A. Well, when we do a suction curettage abortion, you know, roughly one of three things is going to happen during the abortion. One would be is that the catheter as it approaches the fetus, you know, tears it and kills it at that instant inside the uterus. The second would be that the fetus is small enough and the catheter is large enough that the fetus passes through the catheter and either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the suction bottle after it’s actually all the way out. Now on any given procedure does a surgeon know precisely which of those three possibilities is going to occur, the answer is no. But is it my intent that one of these three possibilities will happen with each given patient, then the answer is yes.

Q. And when you perform an abortion previability are you concerned with the point in the process when the fetus dies?

A: Generally no, because it doesn’t add anything medically to the safety or care of the woman that’s being taken care of.

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