Early Options, an abortion facility in New York, has a fancy website featuring happy couples embracing. The facility advertises something it calls the “Soft Touch” method of abortion, which is a suction aspiration abortion using a hand-held syringe. In this type of abortion, a tube attached to a syringe is inserted into the woman’s uterus, and the abortionist manually creates the suction by pumping the syringe. This pulls apart the preborn child, forcing her, often in pieces, from the woman’s body.
The abortion facility calls this type of abortion “noninvasive” and “natural.” There is, of course, nothing natural about inserting a tube into a pregnant woman’s womb to suction out her developing child. Women’s bodies are naturally designed to give birth, not to have their wombs invaded by medical instruments of death. Abortion, regardless of how it is done, is not a natural process.
On another page, the abortion facility gives information about fetal development in early pregnancy, but the facts and illustrations presented are very inaccurate, leaving out a great deal of information and distorting the reality. The facility uses false depictions of abortions in an attempt to convince women that early abortion is trivial and easy, encouraging women to abort. Below are some of the ways the abortion facility misrepresents early abortion.
Note: These illustrations are meant to depict stages of development based on the length of pregnancy, counted from the date of a woman’s last menstrual period. Many pro-life sites date fetal development pictures from the time of conception, which is usually approximately two weeks after the woman’s last period. Fetal development facts in this article will be consistent with length of pregnancy, counting from the date of the mother’s last cycle.
First, here is the picture the abortion facility uses to portray a five-week pregnancy.
The facility shows a five-week abortion as a tiny amount of tissue. Looking at this picture, one might think an abortion at this stage appears harmless.
But BabyCenter, a site for expectant mothers that is not affiliated with the pro-life movement, presents a more detailed picture of an embryo at five weeks.
The neural tube – from which your baby’s brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout – is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to his skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel.
His heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm. (This week, in fact, his tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.) The mesoderm will also form your baby’s muscles, cartilage, bone, and subcutaneous (under the skin) tissue.
The third layer, or endoderm, will house his lungs, intestines, and early urinary system, as well as his thyroid, liver, and pancreas.
At just five weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s heart begins beating. An abortion at this stage stops a beating heart. The baby is developing rapidly, his growing body preparing to develop organs and bones. Since sex is determined at conception, the child is already male or female. At this stage, he does not yet look like a baby and is tiny – as small as a sesame seed. While it is true that an abortion at five weeks yields nothing recognizable, the tiny bit of tissue the abortion facility shows in the picture tells only a very small part of the story.
The abortion facility depicts an abortion at seven weeks with this illustration:
At seven weeks, there is a great deal going on in terms of development. The hands and feet are developing at the ends of growing arms and legs, although the fingers and toes have not separated yet. BabyCenter says:
If you could see inside your womb, you’d spot eyelid folds partially covering her peepers, which already have some color, as well as the tip of her nose and tiny veins beneath parchment-thin skin. Both hemispheres of your baby’s brain are growing, and her liver is churning out red blood cells until her bone marrow forms and takes over this role. She also has an appendix and a pancreas, which will eventually produce the hormone insulin to aid in digestion. A loop in your baby’s growing intestines is bulging into her umbilical cord, which now has distinct blood vessels to carry oxygen and nutrients to and from her tiny body.
Brain divided into hemispheres, liver creating red blood cells, heart still beating, pancreas producing insulin, intestines developing – the growing child is far more than an empty sac of cells.
Below is a picture of Baby Riley, who was miscarried at seven-and-a-half weeks. He looks noticeably different than Early Options’ deceptive image:
This is how the abortion facility’s website depicts an abortion at nine weeks:
At nine weeks of pregnancy, a woman is carrying a seven-week-old embryo. At this stage, the child is beginning to take on a human appearance. Here is a picture of a preborn baby’s hands at nine weeks of pregnancy (seven weeks of age):
Here is a picture of the child’s feet at this age:
She’s starting to look more and more human. Her essential body parts are accounted for…Your baby’s heart finishes dividing into four chambers, and the valves start to form – as do her tiny teeth…Your baby’s organs, muscles, and nerves are kicking into gear. The external sex organs are there but won’t be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks. Her eyes are fully formed, but her eyelids are fused shut and won’t open until 27 weeks. She has tiny earlobes, and her mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct….Now that your baby’s basic physiology is in place, she’s poised for rapid weight gain.
So we see that a preborn baby at nine weeks is far from a little circle of tissue. In fact, fetal parts (hands, feet) can sometimes be detected in abortion remains at this stage. According to the instructional abortion textbook Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy:
Very small embryo-fetal parts may be apparent at 9 weeks’ gestations and become easier to identify thereafter. (1)
Wendy Simonds, a feminist author who observed abortions at a busy abortion facility, describes abortion this way:
Following first trimester abortions, sterile room workers strain the contents of the aspirator jar and cannulae to isolate the fetal tissue… After eight weeks gestation, weight should increase according to the doctor’s estimate of gestational length, and sterile room workers look for fetal parts. If they did not find evidence of the spine, skull, and upper and lower extremities, the client was called back into the examination room for a reaspiration. (2)
The abortion facility’s depiction of an abortion at nine weeks is deeply dishonest.
Sadly, a woman considering abortion might believe these falsehoods about fetal development on this abortion center’s website. She may think the illustrations of aborted remains are accurate. If she does not do research on her own, she may never know the truth. We have seen firsthand in this article how abortion facilities deceive women to sell abortions.
1, Karen Meckstroth MD, MPH, and Maureen Paul MD, MPH, “First-Trimester Aspiration Abortion,” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 149.
2. Wendy Simonds. Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996) 70