Church and state

Column: Write your legislator in support of ban on dismemberment abortion

Editor’s note: This column contains graphic material that some may find very disturbing. 

Michael Schuttloffel is the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

Michael Schuttloffel is the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference.

by Michael Schuttloffel

After 42 years of seemingly endless legislation, litigation and protest, the debate over abortion has become detached from the reality of abortion, like a word said over and over until it loses its meaning.

The word “abortion” does not bring to mind a procedure so much as thoughts of political activism and party politics.

Legislation currently pending before the Kansas Legislature could help refocus the national mind on exactly what it is we have been arguing about lo these many years. The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act would ban a particularly barbaric method of abortion currently used in Kansas.

Dismemberment abortions are most commonly used to kill unborn children 3-5 months along in a pregnancy. At this point, the unborn child has arms and legs, fingers and toes, her own heartbeat, her own brainwaves, her own blood, and all of her organs formed and functioning.

Dr. Tony Levatino, who used to perform dismemberment abortions, described the procedure this way below in testimony before Congress. (Bear in mind that the baby is alive at this point.)

You “look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 21⁄2 inches long and about 3⁄4 of 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.

“Picture yourself reaching in [the uterus] with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. . . . 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 six 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 head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. . . . You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you.

“If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.”

The next time someone criticizes one-issue voters, remember Levatino’s testimony. And remember that unless the law is changed, 600 unborn children will die this way in Kansas this year.

About the author

Michael Schuttloffel

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