Abortion "Doctor" Admits Partial-Birth Abortions Can Hurt or Kill Women
by Steven Ertelt
April 6, 2004
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) -- Contradicting claims made by a Planned Parenthood medical director, an anonymous abortion practitioner admitted during the partial-birth abortion trial in San Francisco that such abortions can damage the cervix of women, possibly causing their death.
Justice Department attorney Mark Thomas Quinlivan asked Dr. "Doe," testifying under a pseudonym to remain confidential, "Could there potentially be risks to the cervix when you are opening the forceps wide enough to get around the calvarium [the baby's head]?"
"Yes," the abortion practitioner admitted.
"In fact, one of those risks might be a perforation or a laceration of the cervix, right," the Bush administration attorney asked.
"Yes," came the response.
"And another risk might be a perforation or a laceration of the lower uterine segment," Quinlivan asked.
"Yes," the abortion practitioner said.
Quinlivan then asked whether those same risks apply during the next step of the abortion procedure, when the deceased baby's head is removed.
"And when you are crushing the calvarium, there are the same risks that we talked about earlier, possible perforation or laceration of the cervix, the lower uterine segment, or the uterus; is that right," the attorney asked.
"Yes," came the response again.
Then, according to the court's transcript, Quinlivan questioned whether a cervical or uterine laceration could be severe enough to cause a woman to "exsanguinate and die."
The abortion practitioner answered yes.
"Can you tell us what exsanguinate means," the attorney said.
"To bleed to death."
But those comments doesn't square with earlier testimony from Maureen Paul, the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.
Earlier in the trial, Paul told the court that "there is no evidence" of long-term adverse effects from an abortion.
In fact, research shows cervical damage to be a leading cause of long term complications following abortion.
During a pregnancy, the cervix is normally rigid and closed, but, in order to perform an abortion, the cervix must be stretched open considerably. During the forced dilation, the cervix muscles can be torn and occasionally ripped off the uterine wall.
According to the Elliot Institute, a research group that focuses on the aftereffects of abortion, 12.5% of first trimester abortions required stitching for cervical lacerations.
The Springfield-based group also points to a second study of women in Hawaii that found that cervical lacerations occurred on 22 percent of the women who had abortions.
Such cervical problems frequently lead to a permanent weakening of the cervix. This weakening may result in an "incompetent cervix" which, unable to carry the weight of a later pregnancy, opens prematurely, resulting in miscarriage or premature birth.