In the second trimester, abortions are sometimes done by dismemberment (D & E) and other times by inducing labor after injecting a poison into the preborn baby’s heart to kill him or her. Digoxin is now the poison of choice. In the past, it was a caustic saline solution. Here is a quote from a conference on late term abortion.
The procedures for mid-trimester termination was either saline or prostaglandin injected [into the woman’s womb] to induce labor. The woman actually delivered (or aborted) on the ward, either in bed or in a bedpan. The nurse was left with all the difficult work- you could, actually say all the “dirty” work….[T]he nurse had to weigh the fetus, the nurse had to place the fetus in a bag and transport it to the mortuary, the nurse had to answer patients’ questions, sometimes distressing, about the size, appearance, sex, disposal of the fetus and whether it was still alive. The nurse had to deal with distressed patients and relatives….”
D. Krutli “Mid-Trimester abortion service within a public hospital” Women and Surgery: Conference Proceedings (Melbourne: Healthsharing Women, 1990) 5