By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. My family is on vacation. While we are gone I’ll be running articles from the past 12 months that you’ve indicated you particularly enjoyed. Dave
Earlier today a friend forwarded a remarkable story from the Chicago Tribune. Although not particularly friendly, the account, written by Manya Brachear, is about Resurrection Medical Center, the largest hospital of one of Chicago’s largest Catholic health care systems, which helps women who change their minds in the midst of a second-trimester abortion.
Working with two local pro-life groups, the hospital has established a procedure where, if a woman comes to them having rethought her decision, she can be treated immediately. “Since October, four women have arrived at the hospital seeking to halt their abortions, and three of them had their abortions stopped,” according to Brachear.
“Because these people have been through a lot, many times they don’t have the support in their decision-making, so they make decisions very quickly and oftentimes don’t think of all the consequences,” said Sister Donna Marie Wolowicki, Resurrection’s chief executive officer. “When the counselors meet them, sometimes this is the first person that’s really shown an interest in them and they respond to that quickly and come in. …”
“Catholic health care is to reach out to people and help them in their need,” she told Brachear. “Of course, it’s vital to be true to the ethics we believe in. Holding life sacred is a big piece of what we believe.”
The possibility of “undoing” the abortion is because a second-trimester abortion extends over two or three days. Typically on the first day the abortionist inserts “a dilator, often bundles of dried seaweed called laminaria, to soften a woman’s cervix,” Brachear writes. The second day they either “insert more laminaria or another dilator, or remove the fetus and complete the abortion.”
When a woman comes to Resurrection Medical Center, having decided to halt her abortion, the laminaria is removed and she is given antibiotics “to ward off infections in the uterine membrane when the cervix is dilated.” According to the story, it’s been known for decades that it possible to stop a second-trimester abortion, but occurs so rarely there is virtually no medical literature on it.
The story ends with the thoughts of a 28-year-old woman who halted her second-trimester abortion last month after a priest offered her and her boy friend a ride home from the abortion clinic. “Thank God this man stopped us,” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He saved the life of my baby and maybe he saved my life too.”