With the future of Roe v. Wade uncertain, pro-abortion activists are promoting the very thing they have been so vocal about condemning and deeming unsafe — illegal abortions. One such abortion advocate recently spoke to The Atlantic about the device she teaches women to create so they can carry out their own dangerous, DIY abortions.
Wishing to remain anonymous, the woman, whom The Atlantic referred ti as “Ellie,” created an abortion device using a mason jar, a rubber stopper, a syringe, aquarium tubing, a plastic speculum, a cannula, and a one-way valve. She explained to The Atlantic how the device works to suction a preborn child out of a woman’s uterus. It was originally developed in 1971 when it was coined the “lunch-hour abortion.”
In 2019, Abortion Access Front taught individuals at a Netroots Nation convention how to carry out this kind of abortion using a watermelon and a manual vacuum aspirator that abortionists use for first-trimester abortions. The original creator, Lorraine Rothman, referred to it as “menstrual extraction,” much like abortionists today try to disguise the reality of first-trimester suction abortion as a “bringing down” of a woman’s period rather than the destruction of an innocent human being.
The Atlantic claims that even after abortion was legalized throughout the United States in 1973, women who wanted to avoid seeing an abortionist used this device. While there is a network of so-called “community providers” operating outside of the medical field who using this device and others to commit abortions on women, Ellie thinks women should keep the device she creates, or one like it, on hand.
“Just knowing the people who came before you had other ways of managing these things, not necessarily through a doctor or condoned by a government — there’s something really powerful in that,” she said. Despite this recent change in tune, the way abortion proponents have previously painted this pre-Roe “managing” of abortions has frequently read like a horror story of hemorrhaging women bleeding to death.
What Ellie and The Atlantic are both failing to mention is what happens to these women when complications occur — and they will occur. A manual vacuum aspiration abortion can cause hemorrhage, tearing of the cervix, uterine trauma, incomplete abortion, and infection. Each of these would require immediate medical care.
In addition, this type of abortion is only meant to be carried out on young preborn babies up to 10 weeks gestation. If a woman decides to give herself a DIY abortion without having confirmed the age of her baby, it will put her at even greater risk of these potentially life-threatening complications.
Abortion has never been safe, but in the 1960s and early 1970s, nine out of every ten illegal abortions were carried out by a doctor, and many of those were in a hospital setting. One illegal abortionist said in 1967, “I just take the woman into the hospital and do it. I list it as a D&C and make no other comments, and the hospital looks the other way.”
Despite the abortion industry’s claims, thousands of women were not dying from illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. In 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade was decided, the CDC reported 39 maternal deaths from illegal abortions. But in states where abortion was already legal, there were 24 deaths from legal abortions.
When abortion is finally outlawed in the United States, it won’t be pro-life laws or pro-lifers who cause women to suffer from complications and even death from abortion procedures. It will be those promoting DIY abortions via manual vacuum aspiration and the abortion pill.
If and when Roe is undone, there will still be a need to continue pro-life efforts. Pregnancy centers, churches, and individuals will have to work harder than ever to help women and protect babies.
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