Warning: This article includes graphic descriptions of abortion.
As we read Psalm 94 recently, my husband and I were struck by verses 20 and 21:
Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You?
They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood.
With its 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, the highest court of this land approved laws that “devise evil” and “condemn innocent blood.”
If we are to protect the lives of the innocent from those who devise evil, we must shift the focus from a manufactured right of women to “control their own bodies” to the very real Constitutional right to life of the unborn.
In 2004, after the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn baby, Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. This was a step toward giving legal protection to the unborn. The irony of this law should be self-evident, however. For it did nothing to stop abortion, which is truly the most horrific form of violence against the unborn imaginable.
The recent testimony of Dr. Anthony Levantino, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist, in regard to the proposed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), brings this point home.
Dr. Levantino, a former abortionist who early in his career performed 1,200 abortions, described in detail how abortions are performed in the second trimester, once the baby is too large to pass through the suction catheter that is used during the first trimester. At this stage the doctor must use what’s called a Sopher clamp to remove the baby — piece by piece — from the mother’s womb.
A Sopher clamp is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. It has jaws about 2 ½ inches long and about ¾ of an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. “This instrument,” said Dr. Levantino, “is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go.”
In his testimony (which you can read at PriestsforLife.org), Dr. Levantino described the second trimester abortion procedure, referred to as a dilation and evacuation (D&E):
The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see a pure white gelatinous material issue from the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you.
Dr. Levantino testified on May 23 before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in regard to H.R. 1797. The subcommittee also heard the testimony of Dr. Maureen Condic, a neurobiology researcher at the University of Utah School of Medicine and a senior fellow at the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person.
According to Dr. Condic, the development of the neural circuitry, the spinal reflex, which is responsible for the most primitive response to pain, is developed by 8 weeks of gestation. “This is the earliest point at which the fetus experiences pain in any capacity,” she told the committee. At that stage “a fetus responds just as humans at later stages of development respond; by with withdrawing from the painful stimulus.”
In her testimony, Dr. Condic explained:
To experience pain, a noxious stimulus must be detected. The neural structures necessary to detect noxious stimuli are in place by 8-10 weeks of human development. There is universal agreement that pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester. The debate concerns how pain is experienced; i.e., whether a fetus has the same pain experience a newborn or an adult would have (LifeNews.com, 5/23/2013).
“Imposing pain on any pain-capable living creature is cruelty," concluded Dr. Condic. “And ignoring the pain experienced by another human individual for any reason is barbaric. We don’t need to know if a human fetus is self-reflective or even self-aware to afford it the same consideration we currently afford other pain-capable species. We simply have to decide whether we will choose to ignore the pain of the fetus or not.”
The House Judiciary Subcommittee has approved the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) and forwarded it to the full House Judiciary Committee — (you can follow its progress at www.thomas.gov). The legislation would prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks after fertilization, which is at about the start of the sixth month of pregnancy. The only exception is if the life of the mother is in imminent danger.
Rep. Trent Franks, originator of the bill, says that the recent case of Kermit Gosnell may have “shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans.” But, he said, “let us not forget that had Kermit Gosnell dismembered these babies before they had traveled down the birth canal only moments earlier, he would have, in many places nationwide, been performing an entirely legal procedure. If America truly understands that horrifying reality, hearts and laws will change” (LifeNews.com 6/4/2013).
The evidence is clear and indisputable. Abortion is truly a form of barbaric violence against unborn children. Let us do everything we can to end it by educating others on the issue, particularly those in the sphere of government and by faithfully praying that the violence against the unborn be stopped.
Dr. Karen Gushta is a writer and editor for Truth in Action Ministries. She has written The War on Children and several other books for Truth in Action. She writes weekly articles for www.TruthInAction.org and blogs at www.RestoringTheValueOfLife.org.
Publication date: June 11, 2013