[Warning: graphic descriptions and images included]
William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was an Englishman who dedicated his life to the abolition of slavery – first in his homeland and eventually throughout the world. Wilberforce recognized the humanity of the Africans and was appalled that any human being could treat another the way slaves were treated. Despite death threats, rumors devised to mar his character, and beatings from irate slave ship captains, he persevered in declaring the truth of slavery. He detailed the gruesome conditions of the captives aboard the slave ships. Here is an excerpt from Reverend Walsh, a preacher who traveled on ships seeking to intercept slave ships, that describes the slave ship environment of 1829:
The heat of these horrid places was so great and the odor so offensive that it was quite impossible to enter them, even had there been room. They were measured as above when the slaves had left them. The officers insisted that the poor suffering creatures should be admitted on deck to get air and water. This was opposed by the mate of the slaver, who, from a feeling that they deserved it, declared they would murder them all. The officers, however, persisted, and the poor beings were all turned up together. It is impossible to conceive the effect of this eruption – 517 fellow creatures of all ages and sexes, some children, some adults, some old men and women, all in a state of total nudity, scrambling out together to taste the luxury of a little fresh air and water. They came swarming up like bees from the aperture of a hive till the whole deck was crowded to suffocation front stem to stern, so that it was impossible to imagine where they could all have come from or how they could have been stowed away. On looking into the places where they had been crammed, there were found some children next the sides of the ship, in the places most remote from light and air; they were lying nearly in a torpid state after the rest had turned out. The little creatures seemed indifferent as to life or death, and when they were carried on deck, many of them could not stand. (Read on)
Yet despite the obvious facts of this barbaric practice that had embedded itself into civil society, it was nearly 20 years of persistent determination before slavery was abolished in the United Kingdom. When Parliament approved the bill in 1807, Wilberforce bowed his head and wept. After this he began petitioning the governments of other nations on behalf of African slaves to bring an end to this trend of inhumanity. Why did it take so long for such an overt evil as slavery to be abolished (though it is still ongoing in various forms throughout the modern world)? Was it because people were not aware of it or the gruesome practices that it involved? No. William Wilberforce and his supporters made sure that everyone knew the truth of slavery. It was because too much comfort was at stake for society to make a change. Money, luxury, and convenience were the motivators behind the slave trade. People assuaged their conscience by saying that the Africans were really better off in the long run by being brought to the western world; or they consoled themselves with the delusion that the Africans were not human anyways, or at least not fully human, and therefore didn’t truly realize what was happening to them. These lies were repeated often enough to harden hearts, stop ears, and seal eyes to the not-so-silent wails of desperate human beings being stolen, branded, raped, brutalized, and murdered for hundreds of years. People knew the truth, but getting involved cost too much.
Looking back we shake our heads in disbelief at such apathy, and in some cases such justification, of a horrific practice. Slavery, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and other historical horrors have left scars on the human conscience. We are ashamed that our fellow human beings would commit such crimes against one another, and that those who could make a difference chose to look the other way. At every museum and memorial, in every book, movie, or documentary, in each history class that is taught, we vow to learn from the past to ensure that history does not repeat itself on our watch. But are we really keeping our promise?
National Right to Life estimates that since its legalization in 1973 there have been over 56 million abortions performed in America. According to militaryfactory.com, there have been roughly 1.3 million American war deaths in just over 200 years. For some of us, numbers can be a bit too vague for comprehension. We are used to seeing acres of white crosses at Arlington as memorials to those who laid down their lives for our freedom; but have we ever stopped to consider the implications of abortion? It sounds so surgical, so sterile, so accepted. Here is a little research that I conducted in order to better understand abortion procedures and their results:
A common first trimester abortion procedure is the suction and curettage method. The abortionist begins by dilating the mom’s cervix until it is large enough to allow a cannula to be inserted into her uterus. The cannula is a hollow plastic tube that is connected to a vacuum-type pump by a flexible hose. The abortionist runs the tip of the cannula along the surface of the uterus causing the baby to be dislodged and sucked into the tube – either whole or in pieces. Amniotic fluid and the placenta are likewise suctioned through the tube and, together with the other body parts, end up in a collection jar. Any remaining parts are scraped out of the uterus with a surgical instrument called a curette. Following that, another pass is made through the mom’s uterus with the suction machine to help insure that none of the baby’s body parts have been left behind. The contents of the collection jar are examined to assure that all fetal parts and an adequate amount of tissue commensurate with gestational age are present. (Read on)
Second trimester abortion procedures described by Dr. Tony Levatino, M.D.: Imagine for a moment that you are a “pro-choice” obstetrician-gynecologist as I once was. Your patient today is seventeen years old and she is twenty weeks pregnant. At twenty weeks, her uterus is up to her umbilicus and she has been feeling her baby kick for the last two weeks. If you could see her baby, she would be as long as your hand from the top of her head to the bottom of her rump not counting the legs. Your patient is now asleep on an operating room table with her legs in stirrups. Upon entering the room after scrubbing, you dry your hands with a sterile towel and are gowned and gloved by the scrub nurse.
The first task is remove the laminaria that had earlier been placed in the cervix to dilate it sufficiently to allow the procedure you are about to perform. With that accomplished, direct your attention to the surgical instruments arranged on a small table to your right. The first instrument you reach for is a 14-French suction catheter. It is clear plastic and about nine inches long. It has a bore through the center approximately ¾ of an inch in diameter. Picture yourself introducing the catheter through the cervix and instructing the circulating nurse to turn on the suction machine which is connected through clear plastic tubing to the catheter. What you will see is a pale yellow fluid the looks a lot like urine coming through the catheter into a glass bottle on the suction machine. This amniotic fluid surrounded the baby to protect her.
With suction complete, look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At one end are located jaws about 2 ½ inches long and about ¾ on an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go.
A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. At twenty weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard – really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about 4 to 5 inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.
The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see a pure white gelatinous material issue from the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you.
|Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s leg with forceps.|
|The baby’s leg is pulled out into the birth canal.|
|The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except for the head.|
|The abortionist jams scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole…|
|The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child’s brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.|
These disturbing images are justified by “women’s rights,” “a woman’s right to choose what is done with her body,” “what about in the case of rape and incest?”, “these children may end up the victims of poverty, abuse, or violence,” “women will seek abortions anyway so they might as well have it done professionally,” and I am sure there are at least a dozen more excuses given to explain away the heart-wrenching images that are legal in our country. We can now add the harvesting of fetal tissue for the advancement of science to that list. But when I finish reading the procedural descriptions that are performed on little bodies that feel pain and have every sign of life (beating hearts, moving limbs, nervous systems that respond to stimuli, etc.) and when I see the images of tiny torn bodies, I am left wondering what happened to the humanity of the humans endorsing, condoning, and performing this slaughter. Am I the only one who hears the silent screams of abortion’s nameless victims?