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Charlotte Lozier Institute

Phone: 202-223-8073
Fax: 571-312-0544

2776 S. Arlington Mill Dr.
Arlington, VA 22206

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Charlotte Lozier Institute

Phone: 202-223-8073
Fax: 571-312-0544

2776 S. Arlington Mill Dr.
Arlington, VA 22206

Maternal & Public Health

STATE DATA: ‘Dismemberment’ Used to Complete 10% of Alaska Abortions

Science Demonstrates Unborn Babies Feel Pain at 15 Weeks

Washington, D.C.According to the most recent Alaska Department of Health and Social Services data, 10% of all induced abortions in Alaska are completed using dismemberment procedures, in which the unborn baby is literally torn apart inside the mother’s womb.

Also known as “dilation and evacuation” abortion, the procedure is most often used in the second trimester, when the most up-to-date science shows that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain.

Dr. Kathi Aultman, M.D., is a Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar and retired board-certified OB/GYN who previously performed dismemberment abortions:

“Please don’t let the sanitized term ‘dilation and evacuation’ fool you.  It’s called a ‘dismemberment abortion’ because you literally grasp whatever you can with a clamp, usually an arm or a leg, pull down hard and twist, and then tear it from the body.  The abortionist has to crush the chest cavity and the head.  You can always tell when this is complete because a white substance, the brains, leaks out.

“This is uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s important to understand the reality of what happens to some babies in Alaska.  I used to be pro-choice.  Although I tried my best to make this painful procedure less painful for my patients, I never even considered the pain that the baby might be experiencing.  I stopped doing abortions after my daughter was born because I could no longer justify tearing babies limb from limb just because they weren’t wanted.”

Data collected by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and analyzed by Charlotte Lozier Institute reveals that in 2021:

  • 10% of abortions used dismemberment procedures.
  • 36% of abortions used the abortion pill, though the Alaska data does not include abortion pills mailed to state residents by out-of-state or international groups. “Mail-order abortion” poses significant risks as an in-person medical exam is needed to avert common complications.
  • Approximately 4% of Alaska abortions occurred at or after 15 weeks’ gestation. Pro-Life and pro-choice scientists confirm that unborn babies can experience pain by at least 15 weeks.

Dr. Robin Pierucci, M.D., a board-certified neonatologist, medical director of a 50-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained:

“The idea that unborn babies don’t feel pain is rooted in a bygone era when newborns were actually operated on without anesthesia or pain relief.  While abortion advocates continue to cling to that outdated belief, neither science nor humanity has stood still.

“The current standard of medical care calls for unborn babies to receive pain medication during fetal surgery starting at 15 weeks.  In fact, modern 3D and 4D ultrasound enables us to see an unborn baby cry and grimace when receiving that injection of pain medication in utero.  Their behavior is just like other kids’ when they get a shot at the pediatrician’s office.”

Source: Lisandra S. Bernardes et al., Sorting Pain Out of Salience: Assessment of Pain Facial Expressions in the Human Fetus, 6 Pain Rep. (2021).  Watch the 4D ultrasound of a baby (third trimester) reacting to an injection of anesthetic prior to surgery in utero.
The pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regularly cites a 2010 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists report as indisputable evidence against fetal pain prior to 24 weeks.  However, they fail to acknowledge that the co-author of that report, neuroscientist Dr. Stuart Derbyshire, objectively considered the growing body of scientific evidence and changed his long-held position in 2020.

Writing in BMJ’s Journal of Medical Ethics, Dr. Derbyshire concluded that the cortex is not necessary for pain perception, and that “the evidence, and a balanced reading of that evidence, points toward an immediate and unreflective pain experience mediated by the developing function of the nervous system from as early as 12 weeks.”

To review the most accurate and up-to-date science of human prenatal development, visit Charlotte Lozier Institute’s VoyageOf resource.

Click here to read Lozier Institute’s full analysis of Alaska’s 2021 abortion data.

Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.


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