As a practical matter, abortions become more difficult and more bloody as the fetus gets larger. A dilation and curettage (D+C) is possible for second-trimester abortions. Abortions after approximately 24 weeks required day-long dilation. Then delivery/termination is performed on the second day.
I started to understand the statements of Gosnell's workers about "it raining fetuses" after studying late term abortion. The process of dilating the cervix enough to remove a larger fetus is painful and lengthy, and can itself cause the woman to go into premature labor and delivery. This is actually safer because the fetus is aborted whole, and no parts can accidentally be left behind to cause medical problems like infection.
If the fetus is not expelled in premature labor, the abortion doctor has to try to remove it, sometimes cutting it apart. The procedure to cut apart the fetus can cause injury to the mother, such as perforated uterus or perforated bowel. It isn't surprising that instruments that can dismember a fetus can also lacerate the internal organs of the mother.
In writing this post, I've tried to provide only facts without interpretation or taking sides. I believe that it's best to be informed and to have a scientific understanding of the issues. Science will not dictate decisions, but it provides a firm basis for your own decision making.
More resources (in no particular order):
- Video of a real second-trimester abortion (graphic).
- Undercover video of an informational session for a woman considering a fairly late abortion. I judge based on my general healthcare background that the information is accurate.
- Discussion of late-term abortion with a few graphic line drawings.
- Clearinghouse of ads for late-term abortion services.
- Fetal growth chart.
- Growth chart using comparison to everyday objects.
- If I wanted to find more statistics and research, I would go to the NIH site here.
- A doctor talks about the reasons for and against abortion.