NRL News

A D&E illustration—an image impossible to forget

by | May 23, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Thank you to all who wrote so kindly about my four posts that addressed last Thursday’s hearing held by the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 3803, the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” For those few who might not know, H.R. 3803 would ban abortions on pain-capable unborn children, beginning at 20 weeks fertilization age (22 weeks LMP) in the nation’s capital. It is National Right to Life’s #1 priority, which by definition means that pro-abortionists are all fired up to defeat the bill.

We talked about many facets Tuesday—from the ugly reality of what happens when a baby is dismembered through the increasing percentage of babies who survive premature birth to the dignity of perinatal hospice, a humane alternative to abortion when the baby suffers from significant physical anomalies, including those that are lethal. The one I did not address, and should have, is the extraordinary impact of a graphic, more specifically a medical illustration.

Remember how during the debate over the ban on partial-birth abortion how a simple illustration of the “technique” drove pro-abortionists crazy? The illustration was in black and white drawing and very, VERY understated, yet the abortion crowd kept falsely insisting it was inflammatory (not to mention inaccurate).

In Part One yesterday, I included a link to a medical illustration from the respected Nucleus Medical Media firm, which provides images for medical education nationwide. It accurately depicts a “D&E”—a Dilation and Evacuation Abortion—of a 23-week-old “fetus.”

If you go directly to, you will see this set of restrained, judgment-free illustrations. Paradoxically its power is magnified by the matter-of-fact narrative which accompanies illustrations that are inherently and thus unavoidably revolting.

Not because of blood or expressions on the baby’s face. None of that. It is just the ascending drama—horror—of the four illustrations.

In illustration “A,” we see the abortionist’s hand grasping body parts “at random” using a “long toothed clamp.” In “B,” suddenly the baby’s right arm and both legs are gone; we see the right arm being “pulled from the fetal body out the vaginal canal.”

In “C,” the baby’s left arm and much of the bottom half of his or her torso is now missing—“the remaining body parts are grasped and pulled out” is the explanation. In “D,” in order to pass through the vaginal canal, “the head is grasped and crushed.”

There is no illustration to go along with “E,” just text: “The placenta and remaining contents are suctioned from the uterus.”

In Part Two yesterday, we wrote about the testimony of Dr. Anthony Levatino, who told the committee what a dismemberment abortion really is. You can watch his oral testimony at–MhKiaD7c& but be prepared. It is tough sledding.

One last thought. I know it’s just an illustration. And as such the baby’s expression never varies. It’s as if she is having her toenails clipped, not her body ripped apart using a powerful tool whose only purpose is to yank and tear and pulverize human flesh.

I have no never-to-be-forgotten last paragraph. I can only say that seeing “B”—seeing that baby’s amputated right arm being pulled through the vaginal canal—is an image I will never, ever forget.

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Categories: Abortion