Pennsylvanians for Human Life Logo - PHL provides educational information 
                                              to approximately 35,000 people each 
                                              year. Pennsylvanians for Human Life Logo - PHL provides educational information 
                                              to approximately 35,000 people each 



Sophomore Presentations:

The sophomore presentation builds on the freshman presentation by introducing to the students how abortions are performed. This is not meant as a "scare" tactic; rather to give honest, factual information about a procedure that has been effectively glossed over by the pro-choice movement as a safe, simple procedure. While the subject matter is inherently "violent" in nature, it gives the presenter an opportunity to show the true, compassionate nature of the pro-life movement to both baby and mother.

  1. Review the highlights of the middle school/freshman presentation.

    • Life begins at conception; the beauty of human development
  2. For what reasons are abortions done in the US today? 93% are done for elective, non-medical reasons (does not fit my lifestyle, too young, family pressure).
    • Less than 1% are done to end pregnancy due to rape or incest.
    • The remainder deal with maternal health and fetal abnormalities; the ultimate discrimination against persons with disabilities
    • Opportunity to discuss the "hard" cases : rape and incest
  3. Surgical Methods of Abortion
    • Suction Aspiration or Vacuum Curettage - discuss what dilation means; used in 90 of first trimester abortions; first trimester method
    • Dilation and Curettage - done before 12 weeks
    • Dilation and Evacuation - used up to 24 weeks; traumatic dismemberment
  4. Chemical Methods of Abortion
    • RU486 - the perception of an "easier" method -a combination of pills; 2 powerful hormones mifepristone and misoprostal; 3 trips to office; uncertain outcomes for different women, heavy bleeding, etc., may require surgical abort
    • Methotrexate - originally a cancer drug used to attack tumors it attacks the fast growing cells of the new life's support mechanism, the placenta
  5. Partial Birth Abortion
    • Late term abortion method in which the baby is partially delivered outside the women's body; catheter inserted at base of skull and brain matter evacuated
    • Discuss the legislative battle to end this practice (est. 2800-4000/yr.) begun in the Clinton administration and successfully banned in Nov. 2003
  6. After effects of abortion are both physical and emotional.
    • Post Abortion Syndrome - regret, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem; Clinically classified now
    • Physical - higher incidence of miscarriage after abortion
There are many methods of abortion. The procedure used depends largely upon the stage of pregnancy and the size of the unborn child. Dr. J.C. Wilke, in his book Abortion Questions and Answers (Hayes Publishing Co. Inc., Cincinnati, 1985) has divided the methods of abortion into three main categories:

» those that invade the uterus and kill the child by instruments which enter the uterus through the cervix;
» those that kill the preborn child by administration of drugs and then induce labor and the delivery of a dead baby;
» and, those that invade the uterus by abdominal surgery.

Dilation of the uterus is required in cervical methods of abortion. The usual method of dilation is to insert a series of instruments of increasing size into the cervix. A set of dilators, metallic curved instruments, are used to open the cervix sufficiently to accommodate the instruments of abortion. In contrast with a normal birth, where the dilation occurs slowly over a period of many hours, the forceful stretching by the abortionist to open the cervix can result in permanent physical injury to the mother.

Laminaria (dehydrated material, usually seaweed) is sometimes used to reduce damage to the cervix. Inserted into the cervix the day before the scheduled abortion, it absorbs water and swells, gradually pushing open the cervix in the process.

The Abortion Procedures

Abortion ends a pregnancy by destroying and removing a developing child. App. 93% of all induced abortions are performed for elective, non-medical reasons.

Surgical abortions are done in a variety of methods.
Simply put – a non-pregnant woman’s uterus is small and tight (like a fist). The cervix is very soft. A pregnant woman’s uterus is larger and soft and the cervix is tightly closed.

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Suction Aspiration/Vacuum Curettage/Vacuum Aspiration

» surgical, first trimester
» used in 90% of first trimester abortions
» a suction curette (hollow tube with a knife-edged tip) is inserted into the womb through the dilated cervix. This dismembers the body of the developing baby and tears placenta from the wall of the uterus. It is then connected to a vacuum machine by a transparent tube, sucking blood, amniotic fluid, placental tissue and fetal parts into a bottle and discarded.
» Uterus can be punctured, causing hemorrhage and infection.
» Infection can easily develop if any fetal or placental tissue is left behind in the uterus. This is the most frequent post-abortion complication.

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Dilation and Curettage (not to be confused with routine D&C)

» Usually done before 12 weeks
» Cervix dilated and stretched to permit insertion of loop-shaped steel knife (curette).
» Body of baby cut into pieces and removed
» Placenta scraped off the uterine wall
» Blood loss likely as is the likelihood of uterine perforation and infection.

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This abortion is done with salt poisoning in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. This technique is used after 16 weeks, when enough fluid has accumulated in the amniotic sac surrounding the baby. A needle is inserted through the woman’s abdomen and a cup of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. The baby breathes in, swallowing the salt and is poisoned. It causes painful burning of the skin, and usually after an hour the child dies. The woman goes into labor within 24 hours. Seizures, coma or death may result if saline is inadvertently injected into the woman’s vascular system.

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Chemical Abortions

Why an abortion pill? Surgical abortion is increasingly unpopular with women, doctors and the American public. It is intimidating, mechanical, invasive and abrupt. Doctors who do surgical abortions are considered pariahs (social outcasts) among other doctors.

The changing image of abortion – REPACKAGING
» RU486 – the “magic pill” that makes the baby “go away”.
» Smaller babies – easier targets. The ultrasound pictures of the developing fetus damages the pro-choice cause.
» Methotrexate – originally designed as an anti-cancer drug was accidently found to abort babies.
» Planned Parenthood is very involved in the marketing of this abortion pill
» Increases the pressure on the woman – the woman takes the pills herself
» Price is the same or more than a surgical abortion

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Uses 2 powerful synthetic hormones – mifepristone and misoprostal.
~ chemically induces abortions in women 5-7 weeks pregnant
~ procedure requires 3 trips to abortion facility

» First – after physical exam, patient swallows pills (if she has no contra-indications – “red flags” smoking, asthma, diabetes, high blood-pressure, obesity). RU486 blocks action of progesterone, the natural hormone vital to maintaining the rich, nutrient lining of the uterus. The developing baby starves as the lining disintegrates. 90% of women experience abdominal pain enough to warrant a pain killer; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

» Second - 36-48 hours later, the woman is given a dose of artificial prostaglandins, usually misoprostol. This initiates uterine contractions and forces the embryonic baby to be expelled from the uterus. Woman feels pain, sweaty and nauseas.
Most women abort during the 4 hour waiting period at the clinic, but 30% abort at home and as many as 5 days later. Excessive bleeding occurs – 4x the average blood loss compared to surgical abortion. The bleeding lasts 1-2 weeks and some women have bled for as long as 2 months. One in 20 women need a special drug to stop the bleeding.

» Third – 2 weeks later determines whether abortion has occurred or if a surgical abortion is necessary. This occurs in 5-10% of women. There are serious well-documented side effects. One woman died in France, several suffered heart attacks. One woman almost bled to death and required emergency surgery. Long term effects are not known. Could affect future pregnancies, inducing miscarriages and causing malformations in later children.

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Methotrexate was originally designed to attack fast-growing cells – such as cancers - by neutralizing the B vitamin folic acid necessary for cell division. Methotrexate attacks the fast growing cells of the trophoblast as well – the tissue surrounding the embryo that eventually turns into the placenta.

The trophoblast functions as the “life support” system for the developing child, drawing oxygen and nutrients from the mother’s blood supply and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products. It also produces the HCG hormone which give the signal to continue production of progesterone necessary to prevent breakdown of the uterine lining and loss of pregnancy.

Methotrexate initiates disintegration of that environment. Deprived of food, oxygen and fluids the baby dies. 3-7 days later – a suppository of misoprostal (same prostaglandin used in RU486) is inserted into the woman’s vagina to trigger expulsion of the baby from the uterus.

Sometimes this occurs within the next few hours, but often a second dose of prostaglandin is required. It could take as long as several weeks. One in 25 still pregnant are given surgical abortions.

Even doctors who support abortion are reluctant to prescribe methotrexate for abortion because of high toxicity and unpredictable side-effects.

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Dilation and Evacuation

This is a surgical abortion done in the 2nd trimester through the 24th week. It is similar to the D&C abortion described above.

The difference is that forceps with sharp metal jaws are used to grasp parts of the baby, which are torn away until the entire body is removed from the womb. The baby’s skull is hard bone by now and must be crushed. Bleeding may be profuse.

This procedure is traumatic for doctors and nurses.

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This hormone is injected prematurely into the amniotic sac and induces violent labor and the birth of a baby too young to survive. Often salt or another toxin is first injected to insure a dead baby.

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This method is similar to a cesarean section. An incision is made in the woman’s abdomen and uterus and the baby, placenta and amniotic sac is removed. The umbilical cord is cut while the child is still in the womb, thus cutting off the oxygen supply and causing him to suffocate.

The “complication” of a live birth is a significant risk with this method. Many abortionists prefer the more effective partial-birth abortion.

This method offers the highest risk to the health of the woman, because the potential for rupture during subsequent pregnancies is appreciable.

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Partial-Birth Abortion

With the legalization of abortion throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, one problem arose with a late-term abortion and that was the delivery of a living baby. The partial-birth abortion (PBA) procedure was devised to eliminate that possibility.

» The baby is turned around so that she is delivered feet first
» The baby’s legs are pulled out into the birth canal
» The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except the head
» The abortionist jams surgical scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
» The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child’s brains are suctioned out. The baby is then “evacuated”.


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