“Is This What You Mean?”
Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries are announcing a special
project called “Is This What You Mean?” It aims to educate the public about the
nature of abortion and to challenge public officials and candidates who support
the legality of abortion to admit what it is.
It is a project that pro-life people everywhere can participate in.
Below is a brief description of this project, along with initial
resources that you can use. Additional information will be posted here as the
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director
We in the pro-life community have been fed up for a long time with “public
servants” who can’t seem to tell the difference between serving the public and
killing the public. They mask the violence of abortion with the smooth language
of “choice,” and refuse to protect the victims.
These politicians are found in both major political parties; some hold public
office and others seek it. And many Church leaders have been hesitant to
discipline such individuals, even though many of them claim to practice their
These abortion supporting politicians get away with what they are doing in
large measure because they refuse to talk about what the “choice” actually is.
They try to avoid the word “abortion” altogether; but even when they use it, the
word has lost practically all its meaning. Voters hear the word but are left
with little or no awareness of the gruesome horror it represents.
This election season, it’s time for that to change. No matter what
politicians or voters or Church officials are or are not going to do, it’s time
that we who know what abortion is draw a line in the sand and give candidates
and office-holders alike this challenge:
If you’re going to take a
position on abortion, then you’re going to have to come clean about what it is.
We are no longer going to let you obscure or trivialize the issue. Whether
people agree with you or not, you owe it to them to be honest about what you’re
Therefore we issue this simple call to
We will describe abortion to you, and you tell us if that’s what you’re
That’s it, pure and simple. This is not
a debate, nor a threat. It’s a call to clarity, a demand for honesty. That is
not partisan, nor is it unreasonable; it is not fanatical or inappropriate in
any way. Nor is this about religion or morality.
We just want to make sure that we’re
hearing you. When you say “abortion,” we just want to make sure we’re both
talking about the same thing.
I recently posted videos on You Tube in which I describe and
demonstrate the most common abortion techniques, using the actual instruments of
abortion and the words found in medical textbooks and court testimony. Below you
will see the links to these videos, as well as brief quotes you can use from
For example, Dr. Carolyn Westhoff testified, “In the
dismemberment D&E…it is necessary to insert our forceps…and then crush the
head.” (National Abortion Federation v. Ashcroft, April 2004, US District
Court, Southern District of New York).
Then simply ask “pro-choice” politicians (whether they are
candidates or already in public office) if this is what they mean when they say
“abortion.” Yes or no. Ask it publicly. Ask it repeatedly. Ask it at town
meetings, on blogs, in editorials. Those whose support they are seeking deserve
You Tube links on the abortion
Dilation and Extraction Abortion
Click here to order diagrams, with descriptions, of the two most common
Click here to order our DVD "The Procedure."
Additional quotes to use from abortion textbooks and court
testimony about legal abortion activity:
Trimester Suction Abortion
"The physician will usually first notice a quantity of amniotic fluid,
followed by placenta and fetal parts, which may be more or less identifiable."
(From the medical textbook Abortion Practice – Dr.
Warren Hern, p.114, in section on First Trimester Abortion).
“When we do a suction curettage abortion, you know, roughly one
of three things is going to happen during the abortion. One would be that the
catheter as it approaches the fetus, you know, tears it and kills it at that
instant inside the uterus. The second would be that the fetus is small enough
and the catheter is large enough that the fetus passes through the catheter and
either dies in transit as it’s passing through the catheter or dies in the
suction bottle after it’s actually all the way out.” (Sworn testimony given in
US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27,
1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes
Question: Can the heart of a fetus or embryo still be beating during a
suction curettage abortion as the fetus or embryo comes down the cannula?
Answer: For a few seconds to a minute, yes.
(Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the Western District of
Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S), by Dr. Harlan
Raymond Giles, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)
Second Trimester D&E Abortion
"The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because the fetal tissues
become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember. This problem is
accentuated by the fact that the fetal pelvis may be as much as 5cm in width.
The calvaria [head] is no longer the principal problem; it can be collapsed.
Other structures, such as the pelvis, present more difficulty….A long curved
Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus…" (From the
medical textbook Abortion Practice – Dr. Warren Hern,
“The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through
the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the
cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be
ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman.
The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been
completely re-moved.” (US Supreme Court, Gonzales vs. Carhart, April 18,
2007, describing the D&E procedure).
"Let's just say for instance we took a different view, a
different tact and we left the leg in the uterus just to dismember it. Well,
we'd probably have to dismember it at several different levels because we don't
have firm control over it, so we would attack the lower part of the lower
extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the
knee and then finally we get to the hip."
"And typically when the abortion procedure is started we
typically know that the fetus is still alive because either we can feel it move
as we're making our initial grasps or if we're using some ultrasound
visualization when we actually see a heartbeat as we're starting the procedure.
It's not unusual at the start of D&E procedures that a limb is acquired first
and that that limb is brought through the cervix and even out of the vagina
prior to disarticulation and prior to anything having been done that would have
caused the fetal demise up to that point."
"When you're doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to
be removed is the skull itself and it's floating free inside the uterine
cavity…So it's rather like a ping-pong ball floating around and the surgeon is
using his forcep to reach up to try to grasp something that's freely floating
around and is quite large relative to the forcep we're using. So typically
there's several misdirections, misattempts to grasp. Finally at some point
either the instruments are managed to be place around the skull or a nip is made
out of some area of the skull that allows it to start to decompress. And then
once that happens typically the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as
a unified piece…" (Sworn testimony given in US District Court for the
Western District of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, May 27, 1999, Case No. 98-C-0305-S),
by Dr. Martin Haskell, an abortionist. He describes legal activity.)
News and Blog Links
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children:
Catholic Online Homepage:
Catholic News Agency:
True Face of an Abortion by Kevin Roeten