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Saline abortions, like all abortions, kill unborn babies in the womb. But this procedure is particularly brutal to the unborn child and dangerous for the mother.
Eugen Aburel, a Romanian obstetrician, is credited with the development of an abortion method in the 1930s in which amniotic fluid is removed from the pregnant uterus and replaced with something to kill the fetus and induce premature labor. The use of hypertonic saline, or a strong salt solution, was determined to be the best option for achieving a medically "successful" abortion of this kind. Abortions that involve taking out amniotic fluid and replacing it with something else are called "intra-uterine instillation abortions," "amniotic fluid replacement abortions," or are named after the substance injected. "Saline abortion" and "saline instillation" refer to saline abortion procedures.
The saline abortion procedure can only be done at 16 weeks or later when enough fluid is in the amniotic sac surrounding the baby. A long needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and the wall of the uterus into the amniotic cavity. As much amniotic fluid as possible, usually about one cup, is withdrawn. Then, a small dose of saline solution is injected. If the woman doesn’t experience any immediate signs of allergic reaction or rejection, the remaining solution is injected into the amniotic sac.
After the toxic mixture is injected, the baby swallows the salt solution and is poisoned and his skin burned. After suffering for 1 to 1.5 hours, the baby’s heartbeat stops. The corrosive effect of the salt solution burns the lungs and strips away the outer layer of the baby’s skin. The mother goes through labor and soon delivers a burned, shriveled and dead baby. The abortion, in medical terms, is considered a success.
Because the unborn child’s pain receptors in the nervous system have developed, an unborn child can feel pain at 13 to 14 weeks gestation, well before saline abortions are performed.
There are many complications involved with the saline abortion procedure. In addition to the possible death of the mother, if the hypertonic saline (salt solution) is inadvertently injected directly into the woman’s vascular system, which occasionally happens, the salt enters the woman’s bloodstream causing severe dehydration, seizures, and coma. If the needle is misplaced, injection of the hypertonic saline into the bladder will most certainly cause damage to the uterus if not irrigated immediately. Hypertonic saline may initiate uncontrolled blood clotting throughout the woman’s body, with severe hemorrhaging, as well as causing other serious side effects on her central nervous system, including on her brain and spinal cord.
But a saline abortion doesn't always kill the unborn child. There have been instances, where after enduring hours of the excrutiatingly painful burning of the saline solution and poisoning, that unborn babies were born alive. One of those babies is Gianna Jesson. She is a survivor of a saline abortion, and has an incredible story.
Saline abortion banned in other countries
Saline abortions became very popular in Japan following WWII. Within the Japanese medical community, however, word quickly spread that this method was unsatisfactory. Too many women were being injured and killed. The Japanese Obstetrical and Gynecological Society condemned the technique in the 1960s, and it was quickly abandoned.
As abortionists in the West gained experience with saline abortions, other grim reports arose. Swedish researchers noticed an unacceptably high rate of complications and deaths in women undergoing the procedure. Sweden and the Soviet Union abandoned saline abortions in the late 1960s as too dangerous for women. Even so, the method remained popular among abortionists in the United States.
American abortionists have denied saline abortion’s dangers to women and cruelty to unborn children for far too long. According to the Center for Health Statistics at the Minnesota Department of Health, the procedure may have been performed on more than 50 women in the state between 2002 and 2006.
It is unacceptable that saline instillation methods of abortion are still being performed on women in Minnesota. Saline abortions are a very real, serious threat to pregnant women’s lives and overall health, and an unnecessarily brutal way to kill unborn children.
MCCL has produced a brochure about saline abortion; it can be downloaded or ordered.
*Photo illustration above used with permission from Magnus Hirschfield Archive for Sexology.
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