In Defense of Dismemberment Abortion, Texas Abortionists Condemn a Common Late-Term Abortion Procedure


By Cheryl Sullenger

Austin, TX – A trial currently playing out in an Austin Federal Courtroom has one infamous late-term abortionist claiming a procedure commonly used in his Albuquerque, New Mexico, abortion facility is too dangerous for Texas women.

Curtis Boyd, operator of Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas, has joined several other Texas abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, Whole Women’s Health, and others in challenging a provision of S.B.8 that prohibit the dismemberment of living babies in the womb at around 15 weeks gestation or later.

The procedure, known as Dilation and Evacuation (D&E), is currently used in 95 percent of all second trimester abortions nationwide. It entails partial dilation of the pregnant woman’s cervix in order to introduce grasping instruments that are used to dismember the living child, which is too big to remove by suction aspiration method commonly used in first trimester abortions.

As might be expected, the abortionists immediately began looking for loopholes in the law. They decided that if a living baby cannot be dismembered, then maybe the law would allow the abortionist to kill the baby first prior to dismemberment.

As bad as that option is, the abortionists rejected it completely, and in so doing, made a strong case (perhaps unintentionally) against abortions at 18-20 weeks gestation and later.

That late into pregnancy, the Induction Abortion Method is often preferred. That method requires that the growing baby be terminated before the induction of labor. This is usually accomplished through the use of an injection of Digoxin or sodium chloride into the baby, then dilating the woman’s cervix enough to allow for the dismemberment or intact delivery of the baby.

In addition to Boyd, other abortionists who specialize in the Induction Method include Nebraska’s LeRoy Carhart, Colorado’s Warren Hern, and Ohio’s Martin Haskell, along with a short list of others.

The arguments made by the abortionists – including Curtis Boyd — against this multi-day process, could have been made by a pro-life supporter making a case against the grisly procedure. They make it clear that the risks associated with killing the baby prior to dismemberment is so bad for women that the only real option is to continue dismembering living children in order to protect the “patients’ right to bodily integrity.”

It never occurs to them that perhaps they should simply not kill the baby.

“It is a bit hypocritical for Boyd to argue the dire dangers of the Induction Method in Texas while profiting from that same dangerous procedure in New Mexico,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “These abortionists are willing to make any argument so they can continue to dismember babies.”

Interestingly, the term “dismemberment” is not used in the plaintiff’s pleadings to describe pulling the arms, legs, and other body parts off a living child. Instead, they call it “separation or disarticulation of fetal tissue,” as if that makes the barbaric process any more palatable.

But perhaps there was some shred of truth that slipped through in the dire descriptions of the risks involved in the Induction Method listed in the abortionists’ court pleadings.

They warn that Induction procedures take from “five hours to three days and are extremely expensive; entail more pain, discomfort, and recovery time for the patient. . .” compared to ten minutes for the D&E process, and create “physical and emotional burdens” for patients, including the “increased risk of hospitalization.” These are surprising claims coming from abortionists, who sound more like pro-life supporters making a compelling argument against abortion.

The Digoxin drug used to bring about “fetal demise” is fraught with dangers, and provides no benefit to the patient, according to court documents. Digoxin can bring about patient death if it enters the bloodstream. They claim that those who do use Digoxin only do so out of fear of being prosecuted under the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

“Digoxin can take up to 24 hours to cause fetal demise,” they complain. Often the first injection doesn’t work, requiring a second injection that adds another day to the procedure, increasing the “risk of infection and extramural delivery,” or delivery outside the clinic setting – something abortionists who conduct Induction Abortions are actually reticent to admit.

Interview with a woman who had an Induction Abortion

Some abortionists use injections of potassium chloride directly into the baby’s heart to cause fetal demise, but the Texas abortionists complaint that is also is an unacceptable alternative to live baby dismemberment because it “requires years of specialized training and hospital-grade equipment,” (that the abortionists don’t have) “and can be fatal to the woman if administered incorrectly.” (Emphasis added.)

But perhaps the real reason the plaintiffs object to any form of Induction Abortion method is because, in Texas, such procedures may only be done in a hospital setting. That would take the profit from the more expensive second trimester abortions completely away from the clinics where the plaintiffs work.

Many Texas abortionists also lack the hospital privileges required to practice in hospitals, most of which refuse to allow abortions. That means, if the dismemberment provision was allowed to stand, abortionists in Texas would practically be prevented from conducting any second trimester abortions, which was the obvious intent of the law.

“If Curtis Boyd really believed all the horrible things that can go wrong during Induction Abortions, he should close down his Albuquerque late-term abortion facility that specializes in it,” said Newman.

Instead, Boyd’s late-term abortion business in Albuquerque has become the sole provider of aborted baby parts derived from second and third trimester aborted babies to the University of New Mexico. Both Boyd’s Southwestern Women’s Options and UNM have been referred by a House investigative panel to the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Attorney General’s office for criminal prosecution for breaking state and federal laws against trafficking in aborted baby remains.

Second trimester D&E abortion gone wrong at Boyd’s New Mexico abortion business

Illustrating how completely shameless Boyd’s Texas arguments really are, the Houston Chronicle reported:

In the second day of the trial before U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel, Andrew Stephens, an attorney for the state, pressed the medical director [Robin Wallace] of Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center, a clinic in Dallas, to explain why the clinic had altered a form explaining the risks and benefits of an injection used to cause fetal demise. . .

In 2014, the form read that the abortion process after 20 weeks was made “easier and safer” by injecting the digoxin. In July, the same month the lawsuit was filed, that language was removed. The updated form also listed “toxicity” as a potential complication. The original form did not use that word.

Wallace denied the change was related to the lawsuit, and said the clinic was in the process of changing all the consent forms so that they were concise and easier to read.

“That’s just one of them that was changed at the time, and it was not at all prompted by this lawsuit,” she said.

The state contends this is a significant point because the injection’s safety and efficacy are a key issue in the lawsuit.

It is true that the Induction Abortion method is extremely dangerous, as evidenced by a number of documented patient deaths from complications to that method, including:

Keisha Adkins, 23, died from a late four-day Induction abortion after she developed a raging infection that caused a clotting disorder resulting in hemorrhaging. Ironically, this abortion took place at Curtis Boyd’s Albuquerque abortion business, Southwestern Women’s Options.
Jennifer Morbelli, 29, died in 2013 from an embolism that was a complication from a 33-week Induction abortion conducted by LeRoy Carhart in Maryland.
Christin Gilbert, 19, who died in 2005 from complications to a 29-week abortion done by LeRoy Carhart. Gilbert had delivered her dead baby in the back of her parent’s vehicle on the way back to the Wichita, Kansas, where she succumbed to cardiac arrest and sepsis.

However, the D&E procedure hardly has a better track record. Documented deaths from complications to the D&E procedure include:

Jaimie Morales, 30, who bled to death in 2016 after an abortionist inflicted serious internal injuries during an D&E procedure in New York. Her injuries were so horrific that her abortionist, Robert Rho, was charged with manslaughter for her death.
Lakisha Wilson, 22, hemorrhaged from a botched D&E abortion in 2014. She was not breathing and unresponsive at Preterm in Cleveland, Ohio, by the time clinic staff called 911 for help.
Tonya Reaves, 24, died from complications to a 16-week abortion done at a Chicago Planned Parenthood in 2012. She suffered internal injuries and slowly bled to death.
Alexandria Nunez, 37, bled to death on the abortion table from internal injuries suffered during a 16-17 week D&E abortion in New York City. Her abortionist, Robert Hosty, was stripped of his medical license as a result.

“Abortionists are well aware of the serious dangers to patients for both the Induction and D&E abortion methods, yet they continue to subject women to these life-threatening risks because, for them, it’s always better to kill a child than find alternatives that would spare both the baby and the mother,” said Newman. “For some, it’s all about the money. For others, it’s all about the killing. In both cases, those who engage in these barbaric procedures can claim no noble reason for chopping babies and their mothers.”

For pro-life supporters, it is important to remember that Planned Parenthood, Whole Women’s Health, Curtis Boyd, and others made these arguments about the life-threatening dangers and emotional toll of Induction Abortions, so the next time abortionists try to claim the process is the best thing for women, they can be reminded of their hypocrisy.

The case is scheduled to end today with a ruling from Judge Yeakel expected by the end of the month. Yeakel previously struck down another Texas abortion law, H.B.2, in 2013. That ruling was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, Yeakel rules on S.B.8’s dismemberment abortion provision, it is expected that his decision will be appealed.

Read the full complaint in Whole Women’s Health, et al v. Paxton, et al