Abortionists Provide the Most Graphic Testimony at Abortion Ban Trial

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortionists Provide the Most Graphic Testimony at Abortion Ban Trial

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 6, 2004

[LifeNews.com Note: Many of the descriptions contained in this article are unsettling.]

Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocacy groups have long derided the pro-life movement’s medical drawings of the partial-birth abortion procedure, saying the photos are too graphic to be shown. However, the abortion practitioners themselves have offered some of the most graphic and unsettling descriptions of what happens during a partial-birth abortion.

Leroy Carhart’s name will forever be synonymous with the 2000 Supreme Court decision that overturned a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortions.

Testifying last week at the Nebraska trial — one of three ongoing trials of lawsuits seeking to overturn the partial-birth abortion ban — Carhart, who admitted he is not a board certified doctor, offered some of the most graphic descriptions yet about the death of a baby during the procedure.

"Under 17 weeks, I would use a forcep [to] remove the part of [the] fetus that was easily reachable," Carhart said. "Hopefully try to use small bites to work the way up and remove the rest of the fetus so that it comes out intact. If not, then remove whatever part that I could get easily and then go back and remove the rest."

Justice Department attorneys then asked whether Carhart had ever encountered a situation where the baby was already partially dismembered before being removed from the mother’s womb.

Chart’s description of what happens next rivals any description of the abortion procedure put forward by pro-life groups.

"But, certainly, when an upper extremity comes through the vagina, and I have to remove it, at that point — the shoulder, the shoulder joint actually tends to be more substantial than other joints in the body," Carhart explained. "So mostly if I can grab above the elbow, I will get part of the scapula, and sometimes even part of the chest wall from that extremity; ribs, and possibly even lung tissue or other tissue inside of the chest cavity."

"I can normally remove, virtually intact, as I said, two, three pieces. I can often get up to the base of the skull then go back and remove the skull. I can often get both lower extremities, and divide somewhere at the upper part of the spinal cord, removing abdominal organs and some even thoracic organs on the very first removal," Carhart continued.

Later, Carhart compared a woman’s womb to a "crockpot" when discussing whether there would be any parts of the body of the dead baby that could injure women having the abortions.

"[W]e are talking about a fetus that’s not only been dead for 48 hours, but we are talking about a fetus that has been dead for 48 hours in essentially a warming oven or crockpot," Carhart said of the dead baby as she is removed from the mother.

"It has been kept at a hundred degrees for 48 hours, and if, you know, that’s enough, that’s enough temperature to cook meat, so we are not only dealing with a fetus that has been dead in my practice, we are dealing with a fetus that’s both dead and soft, so it’s much more pliable," Carhart said.

Earlier, Carhart told federal attorneys that he was a member of pro-abortion doctors groups, but not a board certified physician. The following is an excerpt from the transcript of the hearing held on April 1, 2004:

Q. Are you currently a member of the Board of Directors for Physicians for Choice, Physicians for Reproductive Health and Choice?

A. Exactly. I am

Q. And are you also on the National Board of Directors of the Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice?

A. Yes, ma’am. I am

Q. Doctor, are you board certified?

A. No, ma’am. I’m not