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. It did nothing to stop abortion, which is truly the most horrific form of violence against the unborn imaginable.
There is now another bill making its way through the House that takes another step toward stopping the violence against the unborn. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) would prohibit all abortions after 20 weeks after fertilization, except if the life of the mother is in imminent danger.
Dr. Anthony Levantino, a former abortionist who early in his career performed 1,200 abortions, testified last month to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice in regard to the bill. He 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 perform a procedure referred to as Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) using what’s called a Sopher clamp to remove the baby from the mother’s womb — piece by piece.
The Sopher clamp is used, said Dr. Levantino, “for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go.”
“The toughest part of a D&E abortion,” said Dr. Levantino, “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. Maureen Condic, a neurobiologist, also testified before the committee. She stated that in the neurological development of the baby 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 said. At that stage “a fetus responds just as humans at later stages of development respond; by withdrawing from the painful stimulus.” She 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 now approved the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797) and forwarded it to the full House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, originator of the bill, says, “[L]et 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)
Rep. Franks is correct. Acknowledging the “horrifying reality” of abortion is the first step to changing hearts and laws. Testimonies like those of Drs. Levantino and Condic help to show the reality that abortion is truly the most horrific form of violence against the unborn imaginable.
Sacred ground? Blood-soaked ground is more like it, Nancy.