Cover Story

'Please forgive me!'

Issue: "Supreme Court dividing line," May 6, 2000

Editor's note: The following is a portion of the statement of Brenda Pratt Shafer, R.N., for a March 21, 1996, hearing of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. The subcommittee was considering the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (HR 1833). Warning: Contains graphic detail of an abortion. Mr. Chairman and honorable members of the Judiciary Committee, I am Brenda Pratt Shafer. I am here before you at the request of the Committee, to relate to you my experience as an eyewitness to what is now known as the partial-birth abortion procedure.... I am a registered nurse, licensed in the State of Ohio, with 14 years of experience. In 1993, I was employed by Kimberly Quality Care, a nursing agency in Dayton, Ohio. In September, 1993, Kimberly Quality Care asked me to accept assignment at the Women's Medical Center, which is operated by Dr. Martin Haskell. I readily accepted the assignment because I was at the time very pro-choice. I had even told my teenage daughters that if one of them ever got pregnant at a young age, I would make them get an abortion.... I thought this assignment would be no problem for me. But I was wrong. I stood at a doctor's side as he performed the partial-birth abortion procedure-and what I saw is branded forever on my mind.... I saw Dr. Haskell do a second-trimester procedure that he called a D&E (dilation and evacuation). He used ultrasound to examine the fetus. Then he used forceps to pull apart the baby inside the uterus, bringing it out piece by piece and piece, throwing the pieces in a pan.... I was present for three of these partial-birth procedures. It is the first one that I will describe to you in detail.... Dr. Haskell brought the ultrasound in and hooked it up so that he could see the baby. On the ultrasound screen, the baby's heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby's legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby's body and the arms-everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby's head just inside the uterus. The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby was completely limp.... Dr. Haskell delivered the baby's head. He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw that baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he'd used. I saw the baby move in the pan. I asked another nurse and she said it was just "reflexes." I have been a nurse for a long time and I have seen a lot of death-people maimed in auto accidents, gunshot wounds, you name it. I have seen surgical procedures of every sort. But in all my professional years, I had never witnessed anything like this. The woman wanted to see her baby, so they cleaned up the baby and put it in a blanket and handed the baby to her. She cried the whole time, and she kept saying, "I'm so sorry, please forgive me!" I was crying too. I couldn't take it. The baby boy had the most perfect angelic face I have ever seen. I was present in the room during two more such procedures that day, but I was really in shock. I tried to pretend that I was somewhere else, to not think about what was happening. I just couldn't wait to get out of there. After I left that day, I never went back.... That baby boy was only inches, seconds away from being entirely born, when he was killed. What I saw done to that little boy, and to those other babies, should not be allowed in this country.

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.

Comments

You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading

     

    Going blue

    A new documentary strikes back at the green movement

     

    Cesar Chavez

    Si, Se Puede. Yes We Can. Ask almost anyone…

    Advertisement