A few weeks ago, I was standing outside Aslan Brewing protesting their Planned Parenthood Party with my Students for Life group. At one point a man come up to us and said, “You know none of that is true, right? Planned Parenthood doesn’t sell baby parts. That’s just something pro-life people made up.” He also didn’t think babies are dismembered. Ever. He told me we were living in a fairy tale land if we actually believed that.
This led to a long conversation, and by the end of the conversation, I learned that a lot of people don’t have a clear understanding of what Planned Parenthood does, or what abortion is. A majority of people think they simply provide healthcare for women. The man I was talking to told me that to end a pregnancy, you just take a pill, and walk out no longer pregnant. No side effects, no risks, and no pain. He painted abortion as an easy solution to a small problem. The truth is, abortion is violent, abortion is traumatic, and abortion is heartbreaking. I told him if he actually witnessed an abortion, he would be against it.
There are many different abortions methods. The procedure depends on the stage of pregnancy and size of the fetus. Two-thirds of abortions occur at eight weeks or earlier. Pregnancies terminated before eight weeks are called early term abortions. In the first trimester (1-12 weeks along) there are two different kinds of abortion procedures that are available. Medication abortions, which is the use of what is often called the “abortion pill”, and surgical abortions (vacuum aspiration).
The abortion pill is one of the most common abortion procedures. This form of abortion requires two pills to terminate the pregnancy. A nurse or doctor will give you the first pill, Mifepristone, at the clinic. The first pill blocks your body’s progesterone, which is a hormone necessary for pregnancy. Then, your nurse or doctor will send you home with the second pill, misoprostol, the drug that kills the baby. You use the second drug 6-48 hours later, usually at home. It will cause cramping and bleeding, often described as having a really heavy, crampy period or experiencing an early miscarriage. According to Planned Parenthood, you can get a medical abortion up to 70 days after the first day of your last period. Otherwise they do in-clinic abortions to end the pregnancy.
Surgical abortions, also called in-clinic abortions, are the most common in-clinic abortions. One of the primary surgical abortions used are called machine vacuum aspiration abortions. It is the use of a “gentle” suction to empty uterus. Machine vacuum aspiration involves the use of a thin tube (cannula) that is attached by tubing to a bottle and a pump, which provides a gentle vacuum. The cannula is passed into the uterus, the pump is turned on, and the tissue is removed from the uterus. Surgical abortions are usually used in the second trimester (13-27 weeks along), until about 14-16 weeks after your last period.
Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is another kind of in-clinic abortion procedure. It uses suction and medical tools to empty your uterus. You can get a D&E later in a pregnancy than aspiration abortion. Dilation and Evacuation abortions not only take place in the second trimester, but in the third trimester (28 weeks to birth) as well.
Currently in the United States late term abortions are legal, including through the ninth month of pregnancy. Not only are they legal, but late term abortions are more common than most people think. In 2012, the CDC reported that 1.3 percent of abortions were committed at 21 weeks’ gestation and later. With nearly one million abortions annually in the U.S., roughly 13,000 children every year are killed in very late-term procedures. There are two primary types of late-term abortions. Dilation and Evacuation and Induction Abortion. Induction Abortion is a surgical procedure where salt water, urea, or potassium chloride is injected into the amniotic sac; prostaglandins are inserted into the vagina and pitocin is injected intravenously. For late term D&E’s the abortion may involve administration of a lethal injection into the fetal heart in utero to ensure that the fetus is not pulled out alive or with the ability to survive.
Late term abortions are incredibly traumatic, and come with drastic risks such as, infection, sepsis, heavy bleeding, and a Ruptured or Perforated Uterus. Not only do abortions kill the most helpless of people, but they are causing millions of women physical and emotional trauma.
After talking to the man at the protest, I decided to read about various types of abortions so I could better discuss this with future people I meet. I had to stop researching because it made me feel sick, and it broke my heart. People need to know what it happening behind the walls of Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. We can’t ignore it any longer. Abortion is violent, and if we can shine a light on the truth of it, maybe we can change the minds of people who support it.