Sarah Cleveland is a board certification Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Fifteen years ago, she assisted in an amniocentesis that was done under ultrasound guidance. In an amniocentesis, a needle is inserted into a woman’s uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid, which is then tested to detect fetal abnormalities. It is not an abortion procedure, and the target of the needle is not the baby. Sarah describes what she witnessed happening in the mother’s uterus when the procedure began:
… I placed the transducer over the uterus and saw a baby approximately 18 weeks gestation on the screen. He was kicking, playful, and happy. Then the doc inserted the needle.
Immediately, the baby knew something was in his space. That something was different. As I held the transducer to guide the needle to a safe area away from the placenta and away from Baby, I saw Baby dart away from where we were in the uterus and move as far away as possible to the other side of the womb. He stopped kicking and playing… Then the heart rate. His little heart rate sky rocketed. He was scared. In fact, I am convinced he was terrified.
After only about 20 seconds of withdrawing fluid, the needle was out. … I watched Baby for a few minutes longer, while the parents conversed with one another. The Baby slowly, eventually, came out of the corner and the heart rate slowly decelerated.
Cleveland points out that “the baby was not the target” and “the needle never once touched him.” So imagine what might happen in an abortion:
So, what of it when something bigger than a needle is inserted into the uterus? What then, when the target *is* the baby? When a trained professional is aiming to remove this little guy, sometimes piece by piece, from the safety of his home? Imagine the terror he must feel when being pulled away from it. Imagine the physical pain that sometimes comes with it.
Former abortion worker Brenda Pratt-Shafer witnessed this very thing. A registered nurse, she worked for a late-term abortionist, and was so horrified by what she saw in his facility that she quit after only three days.
In her book, she describes seeing a late-term baby being aborted on ultrasound. The baby was aborted by D&E, in which the baby is torn apart and literally dismembered with forceps. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes this procedure in the video below:
Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabbed one of the fetal legs with his forceps. He clamped down hard and with a twisting and tearing motion, ripped the leg from the little body. He brought it out and threw it in the pan beside me. I stood in horror, as I looked at that little leg in the pan with perfectly formed toes! I had never seen such a small human body part.
The next time he went in, he tore off an arm with hands and little fingers! I could see the fetus on the ultrasound screen trying to get away from the forceps! Then I no longer saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. (The sound was purposely turned off so the mothers could not hear the heartbeat.) I remember at that time thinking of the bumper stickers that the pro-life movement had that said, “Abortion stops a beating heart.”
Pratt-Shafer witnessed the baby struggling even after his or her arm and leg were torn off. The child must have felt intense pain. Some studies show that preborn children begin to feel pain between 16 and 20 weeks, while other research has shown that babies in the womb may gain the ability to feel pain even earlier, around eight weeks.
The mother never witnessed her baby’s life and death struggle. The screen was turned away and the volume was muted, so she never heard her baby’s struggling heartbeat. Did she know how developed her baby was, or that he would be dismembered? Probably not. Pratt-Shafer describes the “counseling” she was instructed to give to women who came in for abortions:
Any excuse the mother had to want an abortion, we were in agreement and supportive of that reason. Options like adoption or even carrying the baby to full-term were never discussed ….I was told if they asked me if it was a baby to tell them no, that it was just a mass of tissue and at this stage, it was not a baby…. It was just part of how business was conducted.1
Would this mother have consented to the abortion if she had been told the truth? We will never know.
But both Cleveland and Pratt-Shafer can testify that a preborn baby is aware and reacts to instruments that invade the womb.
- Brenda Pratt-Shafer, David Shafer What the Nurse Saw: Eyewitness to Abortion (Mustang, Oklahoma: Tate Publishing & Enterprise, LLC, 2016) 25
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