A Saline Abortion in Rochester
By Susan LeDoux
I walked into the nurses’ station just after 11:00 p.m. I was a “float” nurse, assigned where needed in Rochester, New York’s second largest hospital. Paula (name changed), the older nurse in charge on this gynecological unit, told me to pass medications for all the patients except for the girl in room S60.
“She’s having a saline abortion.” Paula informed me as if that explained everything.
“I’m not familiar with that procedure,” I managed to croak as my stomach sank. Paula explained:
“The amniotic fluid is removed and replaced by saline. This kills the fetus and contractions are induced to expel the uterine contents. I don’t want to prolong her labor with narcotic medication, so that’s why I don’t want you to medicate her.”
I took a deep breath. Oh Paula, there is no way I could go into that room anyway. To me, abortion is destruction of human life and this procedure struck me as particularly horrendous for both the baby and the mom. As I answered call lights, passed medication, and made the usual nursing assessments, the cries from the girl in S60 struck like daggers into my heart. “Mommy! Mommy!” she screamed at intervals that grew closer and closer. How old is she, I wondered. I could feel death haunting the hospital unit, serenaded by the pitiful cries of a young girl. Then there was silence. Paula walked out of S60 carrying a small white plastic bucket and entered the utility room.
Like a predator, I waited for Paula to leave the room and turn the corner. I entered the room and took the bucket down from the shelf. With a deep breath, I lifted the lid and looked in. There, lying on its side was a perfectly formed, ever so tiny infant with black hair. Little legs curled up as if he or she were only asleep. Tiny hands and fingers lay unmoving. My eyes filled with tears and it felt as if even the floor itself shook to cry out at this unspeakable evil. I took the bucket to the sink, poured tap water over the head of the still child and intoned through my tears: “I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Perhaps there are some who would find fault with baptizing a dead infant. I am not a theologian, but I believe God holds all His creation in His loving hands and it does not seem unreasonable that the Father held that little soul in that tiny body until someone He knew would say those blessed words of salvation.
I returned the bucket to the shelf and went into the rest room and sobbed. After a while I gathered myself together and finished that busy shift.
I have never forgotten that night. The image of that dead infant rises in my mind every time someone tries to give me a good reason why abortion should be legal.
In response to RARTL’s questions, Susan said, “…this incident happened over 20 years ago so I don’t [remember] how long the mom was in pain. I seem to recall that she delivered after a few hours – maybe half way through the night. I don’t know how long she was in labor before the night shift started. … These were pre-epidural days. …” Thankfully, Susan’s hospital respected the conscience of each staff member, so she was not pressured to participate in abortions.
Saline abortions are normally done after the 16th week of pregnancy and the baby dies in about an hour. Typically, the mother goes into labor about 35 hours after the salt solution has been instilled and delivers a dead, burned baby within about 35 hours after that. For more information click on http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/ASMF/asmf9.html.
RARTL Updated September, 2009