Medical doctors continue to testify to the atrocities committed during partial-birth abortions in three federal court cases currently being heard in New York, Nebraska and California. An official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued excerpts from the trial transcripts, in which doctors recount in frank terms how fetuses in their fifth and sixth months are killed with forceps or scissors.
When the ban on partial-birth abortions became federal law last November, Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and the American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits in three federal courts – in New York, Nebraska and California – claiming that the ban takes away a fundamental constitutional right. Pro-life groups and the U.S. Catholic Church firmly disagree.
“The transcripts, while not easy reading, should be required reading for politicians who voted against the ban,” said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq. director of Planning and Information for the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
Dr. Carolyn Westhoff, testifying in the New York trial, spoke of how it is "necessary to insert our forceps, open them as wide as possible to try to capture the head within the opening of the forceps and then crush the head using external force applied against the head." She admitted there is "usually a heartbeat" when she performs a partial-birth abortion, and that even when she collapses the skull, the baby is still "living."
Another New York witness, Dr. Timothy Johnson, was asked to describe what doctors use to crush the head. He described the instruments as "tongs" but "thick enough and heavy enough that you can actually grasp and crush with those instruments as if you were picking up salad or picking up anything with...."
Here, he was interrupted by Judge Richard Casey, who interjected: "Except here you are crushing the head of a baby."
"Correct," said Dr. Johnson.
Dr. William Fitzhugh told the Nebraska court that his only worry was delivering a live baby. "The one thing that ... I don't want the staff to have to deal with is to have a fetus that you remove and have some viability to it, some movement of limbs, because it's always a difficult situation."
Cluse, of USCCB pro-life office, remarked how there was no sentiment in Dr. Westoff's description of stabbing the baby’s head with scissors or her own finger causes it to look "a little wrinkly and collapsed, but the facial structures are not disturbed at all by that procedure.”
“Even the ‘small coffins’ and ‘little hats’ available to ‘cover the back of the head where the incision had been made’ are discussed with an insouciant air,” stated Cluse.
Cluse pointed out that the only emotion doctors expressed was anger, and it was expressed when the question of fetal pain arose.
Judge Casey in New York asked Dr. Marilynn Fredriksen if she tells the mother whether the procedure will be painful for the fetus.
The doctor tried to evade the question by answering: "The intent [is] that the fetus will die during the process of uterine evacuation."
But the judge pressed on: "Ma'am, I didn't ask you that. You will deliver the baby partially and then insert a pair of scissors in the base of the fetus' skull. ... Do you tell them whether or not that hurts the fetus?"
In response, Dr. Fredricksen snapped: "I have never talked to a fetus about whether or not they experience pain."
However, a pain specialist in the California trial, Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand, said: "There will be pain caused to the fetus. And I believe it will be severe and excruciating pain."