Analysis

Parenting site’s article about ‘science’ behind abortion is dangerously misleading

ultrasound, viability

A recent feature on the parenting site Fatherly offered dangerously misleading information about abortion procedures. The article, entitled “The Science Behind Common Abortion Techniques,” noticeably ignored scientific facts, and presented a biased account masquerading as objective research.

Euphemisms and Abortion Procedures

The article opens by suggesting abortion “doesn’t have to be shrouded in mystery,” and describes abortion first and foremost as a “family planning tool.” Citing statistics from the Guttmacher Institute that most mothers who undergo abortions already have other children, the Fatherly article states, “That’s why it’s important for parents to know their options in case they do end up with a pregnancy they don’t want to or can’t carry to term.”

It’s little wonder that abortion, the deliberate destruction of a living child in the womb, remains for many people “shrouded in mystery.” Abortion activists have made it hard to understand by describing it as “family planning,” “women’s empowerment,” and “choice” — all euphemisms which keep the procedure itself vague. According to scientific fact, life begins at fertilization, and therefore, abortion ends a human life. It typically does so by starvation, suction, dismemberment, or lethal injection.

Fatherly continues by explaining a handful of procedures with serious inaccuracy. Describing an aspiration abortion, the author writes that a nurse or doctor “gently sucks out the pregnancy tissue with a small hand-held device or machine.” In reality, an abortionist will “vacuum the baby out in pieces with a force 10-20 times that of a household vacuum,” according to former abortionist Anthony Levatino. Far from doing this “gently,” the experience has been described as “traumatizing” by mothers. Aspiration abortions near the end of the first trimester take place when preborn children can likely feel pain:

For most of the article, the preborn child is referred to as “pregnancy tissue.” While the descriptions of other procedures are similarly misleading, this changes with the description of the dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortion.

The article abruptly states, “Sometimes the provider crushes the skull of the fetus to make it easier to remove.” Yet this is just the final step in a procedure that is violent from beginning to end. This procedure takes several days, starting with the abortionist inserting laminaria into the woman’s cervix to force dilation. One to two days later, after returning to the abortionist, the woman’s cervix is forcibly opened further with metal dilators and a speculum. The amniotic fluid is removed with a suction catheter, and the preborn baby is dismembered limb from limb using a sopher clamp. The abortionist must scrape the uterus to remove the placenta and any remaining body parts, and then finish the procedure by reassembling the preborn child’s body outside the womb, to ensure that nothing was left in the mother’s uterus.

 

Promoting DIY abortion

The most dangerous part of the article is a misleading presentation of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) abortions, which are committed at home without medical supervision. The article inaccurately states, “There are both safe and unsafe ways to perform abortions at home.” Yet there are numerous reasons why at-home abortions are incredibly risky for women, including the fact that a new “no-test” protocol fails to properly date the pregnancy or rule out ectopic pregnancies. Woman must seek help to handle complications that occur.

In a bizarrely inaccurate claim, the article states that “one of the most common methods today is the coat hanger abortion.” The abortion industry has used the myth of “coat hanger abortions” to demand the ever-expanding legal killing of the preborn. Yet before Roe v. Wade, most abortions were committed by doctors, and so-called “coat hanger abortions” were not common.

Fatherly further states that coat hanger abortions are not only common, but also unjustly prosecuted, linking to an article about a Tennessee woman charged with attempted first-degree murder. The Fatherly article fails to mention that the woman’s son was past the age of viability, and was born alive with permanent injuries to his eyes, lungs, and heart. Despite this one extreme example, it is extremely rare for a woman to be jailed for abortion, and to date, none of the pro-life laws that have passed in various states contain penalties for women procuring an abortion.

The “safe” alternative, according to Fatherly, is an at-home abortion pill. Although this particular article doesn’t encourage DIY abortions, Fatherly has posted other questionable articles that include the push to expand unsupervised at-home abortions. In one, the author supports the dubious claim that taking the abortion pill is “less risky than taking Tylenol” by linking to a website that encourages taking the abortion pill at home. There is no mention of the serious complications and dangers of such DIY procedures. In addition to the over four million preborn children killed, the abortion pill has led to over 4,000 adverse events and 24 maternal deaths*, with complications including hemorrhaging, infection, and excruciating abdominal pain.

Uncommon Procedures

The Fatherly article also includes saline abortions, noting that this gruesome procedure is no longer common because of the “high risk of complications.” What the article doesn’t mention is that one of the “complications” is live birth. This information directly contradicts the article’s claim that babies are not born alive during attempted abortions and left to die. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has documented the fact that babies are born alive during abortions.

The article also briefly discusses ‘partial-birth abortion’, claiming that it is only a political term. But this horrific procedure (medically known as a D&X, dilation and extraction, or intact D&E) is real. First, a viable baby is delivered breech, with only the child’s head remaining in the vaginal canal. The abortionist then makes an incision at the base of the baby’s skull, inserts a suction catheter, and vacuums out the child’s brain. (See eyewitness descriptions here and here.)

While every abortion ends an innocent human life through violence, this procedure is particularly shocking and inhumane, given the advanced development of the child, and the fact that the child is almost entirely delivered.

In sum, the Fatherly article was not written to illuminate the subject of abortion. By beginning with the faulty premise that abortion is necessary as a “family planning tool,” the article misrepresents abortion procedures and the harm they cause.

*Editor’s Note: The FDA has received reports of serious adverse events in women who took Mifeprex. As of December 31, 2018, there were reports of 24 deaths of women associated with Mifeprex since the product was approved in September 2000, including two cases of ectopic pregnancy resulting in death; and several cases of severe systemic infection (also called sepsis), including some that were fatal. 
The adverse events cannot with certainty be causally attributed to mifepristone because of concurrent use of other drugs, other medical or surgical treatments, co-existing medical conditions, and information gaps about patient health status and clinical management of the patient. A summary report of adverse events that reflects data through December 31, 2018 is here.

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