Abortion Procedures

QUESTION: What do we know about abortion procedures?


The death and expelling of a fetus before it can live outside the maternal womb is called an abortion procedure. A spontaneous abortion is better known as a miscarriage. Multiple reasons can cause the natural death of a fetus. Abortions occurring to rid the mother of an unwanted pregnancy or for health concerns of the mother are artificially induced.

Drug based methods: the morning after pill is given in large doses of estrogen within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse and again twelve hours later to halt fetal development. Side effects: nausea, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, fluid retention, clots, hypertension, stroke, and liver disease. "Adverse effects may be more serious, frequent, and rapid in onset with high-dose than with low dose combinations." Nursing Drug Handbook by Springhouse Corporation, 1990.

RU-486: The abortion pill blocks the hormone progesterone, needed to carry a viable pregnancy to term. Two days later the drug, Misoprostol, is given causing contractions of the uterus to expel the fetus. Side effects: nausea, cramping, bleeding, heart arrhythmia, edema, pneumonia, intestinal hemorrhaging and possible death.

Dilate and Curettage: This is done between the 6th and 16th week. It entails scraping the uterine walls and suctioning out the fetal contents. Side effects: severe or fatal reaction to anesthesia and cervical injuries that can lead to adverse infections that are difficult to treat, leading to sterility.

Dilation and evacuation: This is done after 16 weeks and becomes more difficult and hazardous. The cervix must be dilated larger than previous procedures and raises the risk of cervical injury. This procedure requires stronger mechanical suction, larger tools, and forceps to tear the baby apart from its connection to the uterine wall. The complication is the size of the baby. It is performed up to 24 weeks and is at this stage, from 20 weeks and up that "botched abortions" occur. Side effects: uterine perforation, hemorrhaging, infections, cervical injury, and possible death.

Induction abortion: This is the process of removing the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby, and replacing it with strong salt solutions that chemically burns the baby to death. Side effects: hemorrhaging, severe infections and injuries to the cervix will occur. This requires more than a one-day hospital stay.

Intact dilation and extraction: This is also known as partial birth abortion. The baby is maneuvered through the vaginal canal, feet first. When the baby's body except the head is completely outside the mother's vagina, the doctor punctures the baby's skull with a sharp instrument sucking out its brain and spinal fluid. The skull is crushed for easier removal from the vagina.

A "botched abortion" is a baby who survives this treatment. Gianna Jessen is one of many. She went before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996 when she was 19 years old, and testified of her life's story of surviving the abortion procedure that left her with cerebral palsy. Gianna told the committee that she was not a mere bloody lump of tissue. She was not a mere appendage of a woman. She was a real live baby, who lived to tell the story of all unborn aborted babies.

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