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A Gruesome Procedure

Letter to the Editors

By Maryelizabeth M. Mcgillicuddy

To the editors:

I am confused why didn’t you describe the “dilation and extraction” procedure (Editorial, “Undermining Roe v. Wade,” March 31). It would be helpful for many who are sometimes confused about abortion procedures, and this one in particular, to understand what this terminology describes.

The procedure involved opening the cervix followed by the baby being pulled out feet first and delivering the legs, body, shoulders and arms. When the baby’s head is lodged in the cervix, the doctor takes curved scissors and inserts the scissors into the base of the skull and spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. The doctor then removes the scissors, inserts a suction catheter into the hole and vacuums out the content of the skull which causes it to collapse, and the rest of the baby is pulled out of the cervix. It is important for readers to understand the complete process involved and that it is used not only in the second, as your article describes, but third trimester of pregnancy when the baby can survive outside of the womb.

MaryElizabeth M. McGillicuddy ’04

March 31, 2003

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