To be truly pro-life is to admit that life begins at conception: at the precise moment that a sperm unites with an egg, creating a unique human being with his or her own DNA. In recognising this distinct point, the pro-life community is committed to defending life from that moment until natural death. The general population, however, is less exacting when it comes to the defence of human life; at least half of the population in mainstream western societies believes abortion should be legal in some circumstances, especially during the first trimester. But as the unborn child develops and begins to look more and more like the newborn babies we are all used to seeing, even many abortion supporters feel less comfortable with terminating an advanced pregnancy via abortion.
The late-term abortion procedure
The later an abortion takes place in a pregnancy, the more complicated and dangerous is the procedure. Most late-term abortions use a two-step procedure called a dilation and evacuation, or D & E, which takes place over two to three days. On the first day, after a brief consultation, rods made from seaweed are inserted into the cervix to dilate it, simulating the process of natural labour. Many abortion providers first inject the baby's heart with a deadly chemical; this is to eliminate the chance of a live birth. The mother then leaves the abortion facility - perhaps to stay overnight at a nearby hotel. The second stage takes place the next day when the mother returns to the facility. The baby is then either delivered intact or as is frequently the case with older, larger babies, it is dismembered and 'evacuated' through the birth canal. While the mother undergoes deep sedation, her child is not so fortunate. The preborn baby is not given any anaesthetic, despite being able to feel excruciating pain, perhaps even more intensely than an adult. The procedure is explained in depth by a former abortionist in the video below.
Partial birth abortion
The most extreme form of late-term termination is known as partial-birth abortion, also known as Intact Dilation and Extraction (IDX). This process involves delivering the lower portion of a baby's body, then cruelly killing him or her before the head is delivered. The practice has been outlawed in the US for several years, although it is estimated that around 2000 still occur annually. David Dalieden's undercover video (below) shows that abortionists will illegally use this process in order to gain an intact body from which parts can be harvested. In Australia, no such ban exists, and Australian abortionist, David Grundmann, is a world-renown master of the technique. He was a trainee of the infamous Bertrand Wainer, who opened the southern hemisphere's first abortion facility in Melbourne. Grundmann has written several papers about abortion and contraception including Abortion over 20 Weeks in Clinical Practice, in which he states that it may be hard to find staff willing to perform such abortions, due to the 'aesthetics' of the procedure. Dr. David van Gend, of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Life, had this to say about David Grundmann and his favourite abortion technique:
The procedure of ‘partial-birth abortion’ was performed in Dr Grundmann’s clinic only a few blocks from the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital where I recall assisting at the birth of a baby just under 24 weeks. It seems to me that if I had taken that baby from its mother's arms and pushed a puncturing instrument through its skull, that would be murder. Even if it had some minor abnormality, even if the mother wanted it dead and threatened suicide if I did not kill her baby, it would be indefensible murder. But when another doctor does this to another 24-week baby while it is being delivered at his clinic, that is family planning.
As with other concerns surrounding abortion, its advocates either disregard evidence or simply try to obfusticate the facts. From the Academic Programs International website:
One of partial birth abortion supporters, Kate Michelman, the President of NARAL Pro-Choice America organization, wrote in a Scripps Howard News published June 16, 1996: “Late-term abortions are only used under the most compelling of circumstances– to protect a woman’s health or life or because of grave fetal abnormality …. nearly all abortions are performed in the first trimester.” In the other press release of Planned Parenthood Federation of America it is stated that the procedure of PBA is “done only in cases when the woman’s life is in danger or in cases of extreme fetal abnormality.”
This is in direct contrast with the comments made by abortionist David Grundmann, and also with the collected data, which shows that the grounds for abortions performed after 20 weeks are frequently very flimsy. Below is a video of the partial-birth abortion procedure:
Late-Term abortion is not rare
While abortion statistics are notoriously hard to obtain in Australia, an indication of the number of late-term abortions can be gleaned from perinatal statistics published annually for each state. Victorian numbers prove particularly helpful in this regard (a full table can be accessed at Real Choices Australia.) The data shows that there have been 300 to 400 abortions after 20 weeks performed in Victoria every year for the last 10 years. Even in the last few years before abortion was decriminalised in 2006, numbers hovered around the 300 mark.
Western Australia also gives out some statistics: a recent article in The Australian stated that. '.. the number of induced abortions performed at 20 weeks’ gestation or more increased from 31 in 2002 to 76 in 2015, an increase of 145 per cent.' Most of those were performed due to an abnormal fetal diagnosis; 93% of mothers given a Down syndrome diagnosis aborted their babies. [Source.]
Unfortunately, research shows that parents of babies aborted on these grounds tend to suffer in a unique way. Post-abortion expert, psychiatrist Philip Ney, writes:
“Parents of stillborn infants, or those whose babies died of crib death, are also racked with guilt. But it is nothing like those parents, who, after having an amniocentesis, decided that their baby was the wrong sex, or had some imperfection that they did not want, and therefore he or she must be terminated. they suffer not only from having killed their helpless, possibly handicapped child, but also from the fantasies associated with having conceived what others regarded as a child not worth living. They realise that they have acted out the worst kind of derogatory discrimination.” Deeply Damaged page 3.20
Due to the disparity in abortion laws in Australia, many women travel to another state in order to access an abortion, although in 2016, the Victorian health minister, Jill Hennessy denied that this is the case. But in that same year, a spokesman for Children by Choice stated that that organisation does, in fact, assist women to access abortions in both New South Wales and Victoria. Children by Choice, which in that year was 70% funded by the Queensland government, financially assists hundreds of women in accessing terminations in a state where abortion is still technically illegal. In the ACT, abortions are legal only to 16 weeks, so women whose pregnancies are further travel to other states for abortions. According to Marie Stopes Australia, the number of women travelling from the ACT for an abortion increased nationally by 22 per cent in 2017. Women even travel from New Zealand to Australia for later-term abortions. At the 2016 New Zealand Family Planning conference, an Australian abortionist described the optimum pathway for women wanting to travel to Victoria for abortions to 24 weeks' gestation. Dr. Jane Baird explained the 'patient’s journey through the process of booking for a 2nd trimester service at our clinic in Melbourne, the staff they will encounter and the procedures they will experience' and detailed 'what a health care worker, assisting women to access this abortion service, will need to know to support and streamline her abortion journey.' [Source: p 34.]
Babies born alive are left to die
An aspect of all this that most frequently grabs the public's attention is when babies who survive an abortion are left to die by medical staff. This subject is one that abortion advocates consistently refuse to face. Pro-abortion politicians flatly state that this scenario simply never happens and that legislation to ensure these babies are revived is unnecessary. But evidence to the contrary has been presented to several parliamentary enquiries. As late as June of this year, WA politician, Nick Goiran again asked parliament to address the issue of babies born alive after a failed abortion. His questions led to the revelation that there had been 27 such cases over the years, with 6 of those beyond 26 weeks gestation. A petition asking for an inquiry was signed by over 7000 people. Mr Goiran asked, "Who else is going to speak for them? They can't speak for themselves, someone has to speak for them." A response from the Coroner's Office stated that deaths were nor reportable unless they were "unnatural, unexpected or violent, or resulted directly or indirectly from injury".[Read more in this article] Other states report similar numbers, [warning - disturbing images in this article] and In Victoria, the numbers are even higher, with staff unable to opt out of the process. One trainee was reported as being 'deeply traumatised when she was told to drop a living foetus in a bucket of formaldehyde.' Below is a new video from Jonathon van Maren: in it, a nurse from a Sydney hospital describes what it was like to see a baby boy who survived an abortion, but not be allowed to resuscitate him.
Babies don't have to be disabled
There has always been a portion of the population who has wrongly believed that abortion is an acceptable option - even an obligation - when unborn babies are diagnosed with an abnormality. Take the ancient Spartans, and Christian-era Romans, for example. But in the 21st century, late-term abortions are performed even on perfectly healthy babies. The reasons given for terminating the lives of these infants are varied, but are usually categorised under the heading, 'psychosocial.' In Victoria, one-third to one-half of abortions performed after 20 weeks fall into this category. [Source.] One abortion provider said a mother's agoraphobia was appropriate grounds for performing a late-term abortion on her. Former Australian Planned Parenthood director, David Grundmann, gave his take on psychosocial categories:
- “minor or doubtful fetal abnormalities,”
- extreme maternal immaturity i.e. girls in the 11 to 14 year age group,”
- women “who do not know they are pregnant,” for example because of amenorrhea [irregular menstruation] “in women who are very active such as athletes or those under extreme forms of stress i.e. exam stress, relationship breakup…,”
- “intellectually impaired women, who are unaware of basic biology…,”
- “major life crises or major changes in socio-economic circumstances. The most common example of this is a planned or wanted pregnancy followed by the sudden death or desertion of the partner who is in all probability the bread winner.”
Despite this, some abortion advocates claim that late-term abortions are only performed in cases of life-limiting abnormality. In fact, during the debate surrounding the 2016 Infant Viability bill, Monash University's Director of Obstetrics made several claims which appear to contradict the statistics. Apart from stating that there are no psycho-social late-term abortions, he contradicted the experience of many post-abortive women who say that there was very little counselling given to them before their abortion; some don't even meet the doctor who is to perform the abortion until the day of the procedure itself. He also failed to point out that babies aren't always delivered intact, as the video above demonstrates.
Late terminations were only carried out when the fetus had a lethal congenital abnormality. After intense counselling with multiple health professionals the patient goes through induced labour. The fetus is injected with lignocaine to stop its heart beating, he explained, and born intact.
The Atrocity of Abortion
The world was shocked to hear details of testimony given during the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the notorious abortionist who is now in prison for multiple murder convictions.
"Baby Boy A looked no different in size to any other newborn. He had opaque skin, brown hair, and feet that appeared larger than those of my own daughters when they were born. He laid with his chin tucked under his chin on a bloody blue chux pad in a plastic shoe-box container into which he barely fit. It was estimated that he was at least thirty-two weeks' gestation, maybe later. This was the child that Gosnell joked was large enough to "walk me to the bus stop." [From The Trial of Kermit Gosnell]
This natural revulsion towards late-term abortion is understandable; anyone with only a rudimentary knowledge of biology knows that this is no 'clump of cells' that is being killed; that these babies are, in many cases, healthy and able to survive outside the womb. This revulsion increases as some other aspects of the industry are exposed: the harvesting of babies' body parts, for example. But the challenge remains for the pro-life community to continue telling the truth about abortion during all stages of pregnancy, 'in season and out of season', exposing the most extreme human rights abuse the world has ever seen.