Writer for Salon magazine describes abortions she witnessed

Margaret A. Woodbury, A writer for Salon magazine, describes two abortions that she witnessed in an abortion clinic. The 1st abortion was done on a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant. It was a “partial-birth” abortion, which are now illegal.

“This was the most difficult procedure to watch, mostly because of the pain experienced by the least sedated of the women. As the doctor, with a resident by his side, slid most of his hand deep into the patient’s vagina, she moaned horribly and could not remain still. Only when the anesthesiologist administered a drug to increase her sedation could things proceed.

The doctor, using only his fingers, pulled a foot into view and then another. “OK,” he said, “now I have the sacrum.” Letting the resident take over, the doctor instructed: “Pull down. Down! Not Up! Down! All right, now the shoulder, then twist. Then the other shoulder.”

20 weeks – 3 weeks younger than the baby being aborted in this story

At this point, only a few minutes had passed. The fetus was perfectly limp, its tiny feet and hands flaccid as they immediately darkened from oxygen depletion. In the three intact D&X procedures I witnessed, not once did I see even a glimmer of response from the fetuses — the anesthesia having passed through the placenta into their bloodstreams.

Once the entire fetal body was out of the womb, the doctor quickly made an incision into the base of the skull that remained lodged against the woman’s cervix and inserted a suction catheter into the perforation to drain the brain matter and allow the full removal of the fetus. The placenta came next and the doctors finished suctioning the uterus to drain any remaining blood.

Below: 22-24 weeks

Woodbury then describes one of the D&E abortions that she witnessed. These abortions are still legal in are the most common procedure used in the 2nd trimester:

20 – 22 weeks

“Both D&E procedures I observed started in exactly the same manner as the three abortions earlier in the day, but the doctor in these cases quickly determined that intact extraction would not be possible because neither woman’s cervix was dilated enough. Once that decision was made, the resident inserted a long-handled metal instrument into the woman’s uterus — called a Bierer forcep — and began what the doctor called “blind” pulling. I watched as the doctor instructed the resident to “Stop and feel where you are! Put your hand on the abdomen. No, you’re not getting it! Watch out! Don’t get the cervix.”

24 weeks

Time after time, the resident plunged the Bierer into the woman’s womb, removing a leg, then an arm, then the liver, then the placenta, which the doctor ranted about, because this can make the fetal head extraction more difficult. The last step that I saw was the collapse of the skull and the removal of the brain matter.


Back in his office, the doctor demonstrated how powerful a grip can be used with the Bierer forceps. He clamped them down on a surgical scrub gown I held in my hands. “Pull,” he instructed. I pulled. “Really, really pull!” he yelled. I really, really pulled. The only way to break the bond between forceps and cloth was to tear the cloth; I inwardly winced as I realized that in the operating room the cloth could be a uterine wall, and with one misplaced pull by the forceps, a perforation could occur.

“This is why I hate overuse of forceps,” the doctor commented. “Things tear.” Rubbing a hand across his forehead, the doctor looked straight at me: “There are only two kinds of doctors who have never perforated a uterus,” he added, “those that lie and those who don’t do abortions.”’

At first, Woodberry denies that she was emotionally affected by witnessing the abortions:

“… even as one foot was pulled off, I could see no response, no reflexive spasm, nothing. …There was no discernable response by the fetus. And in the operating room there was no emotional one from me.”

The reason that there was no reaction from the baby may have been because some abortionists inject poison into the womb (usually digoxin) to kill the baby prior to dismemberment. Unfortunately, most abortionists do not bother to do this extra step, and most babies were killed by this method are dismembered alive.

Later, Woodbury says:

Seeing a potential human collapsed and torn in a dish was disturbing; watching a very human woman, knowing she would be the one to carry the wounds, hurt too”

Margaret A. Woodbury “A doctor’s right to choose” Salon WEDNESDAY, JUL 24, 2002

Diagram of the D&E procedure

Remains of the baby aborted by this method at 20 weeks:

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Author: Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a writer for Live Action and a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life Network. She lives in NJ.

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