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KCl Abortions: Induced Intracardiac Feticide

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the staff of Spectrum Health Maternal Fetal Medicine will gather to hear a presentation on the latest type of abortion they would like to approve for practice. The Women's Health Medical Director will present his formal recommendation to approve KCl abortions to be preformed on babies with lethal abnormalities.

What is a KCl abortion? Intracardiac potassium chloride (KCl) abortion was first recorded as a method of induced abortion in 1988 [1]. This procedure is preformed by these means:

1. Potassium chloride (KCl) is injected directly into the left ventricle of the fetal heart, using a long needle that is inserted through the mother's abdomen, guided by a free hand ultrasound. Up to 20mL of KCl can be injected into the fetal heart to cause asystole (the most serious form of cardiac arrest). The doctor will use between 10mL and 20mL of KCl, continuing to inject the substance until the ultrasound shows decreased fetal cardiac activity.
2. Once complete asystole has been achieved, fetal demise has been induced.
3. Next the doctor will assess what kind of delivery will be necessary for the deceased fetus. Options could include a spontaneous delivery, D&E, or more invasive procedures could be necessary if complications occur. [2]

The following conditions could be diagnosed as a lethal fetal abnormality: Central Nervous System abnormalities [including anencephaly and hydrocephaly], cardiac abnormalities, structural birth defects, kidney disease, trisomy 18, other chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders, prematurity, and Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. [3] Any unborn child diagnosed with one or more of the above conditions could be aborted by the KCl procedure at Spectrum Health, if this type of abortion is approved.

A staff member of the Maternal Fetal Clinic reports: "For those that do not know, Michigan law permits abortion up to 24 weeks and given these patients often learn of their baby's birth defect at the 20 week anatomy ultrasound, many [abortions are] occurring between 20-24 weeks."

Many medical sources report that unborn children can experience pain at 20 weeks. [4]

"Within 20 weeks of fertilization, pain receptors and nerves connecting these receptors to the brain are already developed. After only eight weeks, babies are shown to respond to touch, and after 20 weeks, they will actually recoil from painful stimuli. When experiencing pain, the baby will produce more stress hormones as well, showing that this sensation is real to them." [5]

The goal of a KCl abortion is to induce fetal cardiac arrest by injecting potassium chloride into the baby's heart. If a child already has developed pain receptors, one can only imagine the pain a 20 gauge needle injected into the heart would cause. But this is not the end of the unborn child's trial; next the substance is released into the heart, causing the child's heart to arrest over a period of (approximately) five minutes.

The Grand Rapids community has a right and responsibility to know how our local hospitals treat developing babies in the womb. Tomorrow Spectrum Health Maternal Fetal Medicine will determine if they will add another type of abortion to their practice. Is our community comfortable with the way children with disabilities in the womb are being treated? Can we ever justify abortion?

If this news concerns you, contact Spectrum Health Maternal Fetal Medicine: 616-391-3681

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[1] “Feticide with Intracardiac Potassium Chloride to Reduce Risk of Hemorrhage in Medical Termination of Pregnancy.” Journal of Gynecology and Women Healthcare, 2 July 2018, article.scholarena.co/Feticide-with-Intracardiac-Potassium-Chlorid-to-Reduce-Risk-of-Hemorrhage-in-Medical-Termination-of-Pregnancy.pdf. p.3
[2] ibid p.1-3,5
[3] Tosello, Barthelemy, et al. “Lethal Fetal Abnormalities: How to Approach Perinatal Palliative Care?” The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 25 May 2016, p. 756., doi:10.1080/14767058.2016.1186633.
[4] “Fact Sheet: Science of Fetal Pain.” Charlotte Lozier Institute , 2018, lozierinstitute.org/fact-sheet-science-of-fetal-pain/.
[5] DaCosta, Alyson. “What Does Science Say about Fetal Pain?” Live Action, 21 Jan. 2017, www.liveaction.org/news/what-science-says-about-fetal-pain/.