Abortion details

WARNING: This video contains a graphic description of the abortion process by a formerly pro-choice ob-gyn. Those who think that abortion involves removing just a "clump of cells" are morally obliged to watch this to fully understand the consequences of the "choice to terminate a pregnancy."

It is important to listen to Dr. Anthony Levantino's description of what it takes to perform an abortion "to save a woman's life."


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  • I have a close friend I grew up with who is devoutly religious. She and her husband wanted and planned for their second child, but unfortunately, if he would have been born, he would have faced hundreds of painful surgeries just to function and would have never been able to walk, talk or live a normal life - to say nothing of the enormous financial burden that would have ruined their lives. They ended the pregnancy late-term because they were holding on to hope that there was some way to save him. It didn't happen. She and her husband were torn up from the inside out about the decision they had to make. It was brutal.

    THESE are the people you are condemning - people who are already devastated enough. I don't say this often, but this piece makes me sick. People don't wait until late term to terminate pregnancies because they change their minds about being parents. It is with great sorrow they lose the baby they wanted.

    Until you have walked in those shoes, you have zero business judging other people. You might want to read that part of your Bible.

  • I understand your point; I have a relative going through the same thing right now. Acute Congenital Diagragmatic Hernia--all the vital organs have migrated to his chest. His chances of survival are poor at best, but she and her husband have decided to carry the baby to term. If he can't survive, they will let nature take his course. If there's a chance, they'll do what is necessary to preserve his life. They are willing to under take the financial and other burdens it wold require. At no time day they say that everyone should do this, or condemn those who don't.

    Meanwhile, they are treating the "fetus" with the same love and respect as they would any child, for example, reading and speaking to him and even naming him. They would never think of subjecting this child to the kind of pain it would take to dismember and kill him.

    You say you are sickened by this column; frankly I am sickened by your inability to recognize the cruelty that is involved in the act of killing a defenseless human being. Have we come that far where we can pass it by as cavalierly as you have? Does the child have any rights at all?

    I don't condemn your friend. They made an extremely difficult choice, one that I would have trouble with. But can't we at least agree that there is something dehumanizing about passing over, or routinely accepting such brutality as described by the doctor? Have we become so hard-hearted and cold-blooded that it doesn't trouble us to the core?

    I guess so.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    "I don't condemn your friend" - actually, you do and by extension, me. I'm currently pregnant with a child with a similar intestinal issue to your friend's and was given 50/50 odds of a lethal diagnosis. Thankfully, the testing came out in my favor, but I can't say what I would have done. It would destroy me to have to terminate a pregnancy, but in my case, carrying twins, inaction would result in jeopardizing both lives. I want both my children to live and so do my doctors. Guess who doesn't get an opinion about my delicate, personal medical matters? You.

    It must be nice to operate with such privilege of not carrying a child with a severe medical defect, Dennis. You can't get pregnant. You're not having more children. This is all idealism and circumspect for you - how nice for judging.

  • All I'm asking for is compassion for the person who will lose his or her life.

  • The people deserving of compassion are those families facing these decisions, which as I understand, is not yours.

    Your post is highly misleading. As a journalist, you should be embarrassed to imply these pregnancies are ended out of convenience. NO ONE loves a child more than a parent. You don't love mine or my friend's baby more than their families. These situations are absolute hell on earth and rubbing salt into other peoples' wounds is the height of insensitivity.

    You are the one who needs to learn compassion.

  • They have my compassion and my understanding. Is there no compassion in your heart for the other person involved? Your error is thinking that if you have compassion for one you don't have compassion for the other. Why not we grieve for both?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Do you think the parents don't grieve? You act like you're giving some new information here with what happens to the baby. The parents know and they grieve tremendously. The compassion they demonstrate is not putting their child through numerous painful surgeries or witnessing their baby's death by suffocation as they gasp for air with no lungs. You're not supplying grieving parents with information with this post (trust me, the medical community is more than forthcoming with the horrors of procedures), you are shaming them for their very difficult choices.

    What I find interesting is that you are so concerned with the plight of suffering creatures where in the majority of cases there is no real life to preserve. And yet, I guarantee you eat meat. If you like suffering videos, head on over to PETA and see how your dinner gets on your table. I guess the difference between an animal being tortured and slaughtered is that the animal is delicious.

    I normally don't comment negatively on fellow Chicago Now blogs, but this is just so personal to me and frankly hateful and ignorant, I had to speak up.

  • Sorry that you have intentionally misunderstood my point. I will restate it again: There is a Hobson's choice in such cases; all deserve compassion. The name calling you have engaged in and your obvious efforts to imply something I have not said or meant will end this discussion.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Yes, all do deserve compassion, including the families going through this, which you can't seem to summon the decency to do. Unreal.

    As for your link below of people surviving abortion - those are NOT the cases I'm talking about. If my friend's child could go on to lead a life where he could deliver speeches, he wouldn't have be terminated. And you have the audacity to call them "barbarians of the womb". Disgusting.

  • And now some words from people who survived abortions:


  • You must not stand behind this post since you deleted the opposing comments. I'm embarrassed for you.

  • I deleted my own comments too because our discussion had degenerated to name-calling (by you) and was of little use to the readers.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Actually, I said your were insensitive and it was YOU who called grieving parents "barbarians" as is still evidenced in the link to this post. You can change the title, but you can't change the original slug!

  • Okay, Jenna, I've restored the comments since it seemed to bother you so much. And so people who wonder what this is all about can see for themselves. Have at it.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Since they were deleted, I took it to my own blog. I'm not trying to give you a hard time personally, but if you're going to write such a strong opinion you can't be surprised when it hurts someone.


  • I've been writing a column for the Sun-Times and now the Trib since 1986 and I'm not surprised when someone takes offense. I expect strong reaction and I can handle it. That goes with the job.

    But when someone attributes something to me that I didn't say, as you repeatedly have, then I need to respond.

    Here's an example from your blog:
    "I don't envy their pain, but what I can imagine would add salt to the burning wounds would be the protesters outside the clinic. Oh, and reading the columns of professional journalists like Dennis Byrnes calling them barbarians."

    It is clear from your antecedent in your post that you would have me calling parents who found themselves in such situations barbarians. I did not say that. The reference was to people who do such procedures, but since you found it offensive I changed it.

    As I said in my first response to you, I have a relative with Acute Congenital Diagragmatic Hernia; do you think that I would call her a barbarian if she had decided not to keep the child? To suggest that I would is to claim that you can look into my mind and see what I truly feel. You don't know me, but somehow you have turned two paragraphs that I wrote into something way more than it is. I am so sorry for your situation and glad that it may turn out well for everyone.

    Just so I can make it clear, I'll try again. I am sympathetic to the parents and I am sympathetic to the child. Can I make it any clearer?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You didn't specify who the "barbarians at the womb" were, but you did criticize parents who make that "choice" and then put "to save the life of the mother" in quotes, as if that were not a valid reason.

    I don't care how old you are or how long you've been writing. You need to be careful with your words.

  • I must say that this is a disturbing video. However, I don't know anyone that feels that the unborn child is just a "clump of cells". They may be out there and I do agree 100% that abortion as birth control is wrong - no argument there.

    But, and this is a very large BUT - parents who agonize over choosing abortion for an unborn child that has insurmountable medical diagnosis prior to birth, ever think of that child as a clump of cells. That was a very harsh statement. This is also a very, very controversial subject that is apt to receive a lot of negative commentary. As a man and I am guessing you never had to face this decision in your life, I am surprised that you wrote about it. Just my humble opinion. The people that have made this choice for medical reasons have their decisions they must live with and those should be their own private hell - not for anyone to make them feel worse.

  • Jenna Karvundis: Step outside of yourself a moment.

    I've watched the video. I've read every comment above, including the referenced post on your blog. As usual in this old debate, neither of you are evil in where you come from. As usual, neither of you is "right" in any absolute way.

    Jenna, I've read MANY of your blogposts, including the one regarding your possible "Sophie's choice". I came to this website by way of your blog, which I came to by way of you gaining my respect in an entirely different theater. So if I am in any way biased, it would naturally be so toward you.

    But Jenna, really, step outside of yourself a moment and reflect...while I point out a few moments in which your grace has faltered...

    " People don't wait until late term to terminate pregnancies because they change their minds about being parents. It is with great sorrow they lose the baby they wanted.", you said.

    You're wrong to think that NO parent comes to late term abortion without the painful heavy heart that loving people like your friends do. If you think that is the truth, you are VERY inexperienced in the reality of abortion. MANY people avoid it at any cost, wrench their guts out with the pain of the decision, and face ongoing psychological trauma for having made such a decision....but not all do. I wish humanity was such, but that is simply not the case. Not all cases of late term abortion are necessary, OR truly regretted. (If nothing but a numbers game, psychopaths incapable of empathy make up 1% of the population, and to think psychopaths never become pregnant or receive abortions is beyond wishful thinking, its fantasy.)
    "NO ONE loves a child more than a parent." you say, but thats sheltered blind reasoning at its best. Some parents who HAVE their kids don't love them, and MANY MANY women get abortions without a second thought and DO in fact think of them as 'clumps of cells'. (Maybe not pretty blonde women from economically blessed and well educated backgrounds, but 'lady you ain't everyone'.) So as valid as your initial point is, it is A truth but it is not the ONLY truth. Clearly you realize this when you later backtrack and say "As for your link below...those are NOT the cases I'm talking about".

    Then you continue:
    "Until you have walked in those shoes, you have zero business judging other people."

    Here your real issue w/ the author begins to come to light: not just that your friends have faced such a decision, but that YOU have, recently...and ultimately you believe that anyone outside of your experience cannot fathom your experience. As much as that notion seems real to people in moments of pain, again, it simply is not reality. Can you at all imagine the horror of being kidnapped and sold into sex slavery? Do you really have to experience it to understand its horror? Can an FBI agent who has spent years busting human smuggling rings understand it if they have not been kidnapped personally? Are there no psychiatrists without personality disorders of their own? Your experience is valid and poignant, and it makes your opinion one that is well informed by personal experience. But none of it, not your experience, not your friends' experience, precludes another person understanding it equally. You may not FEEL this, but having read many of your works, I think that deep down you must KNOW its true. You're not better, you're not special, your experience is not more valid than anyone else's, and having faced this decision makes you no more expert. After all, you FACED the decision, but you never had to MAKE the decision to definitely abort. Could your friends from your anecdote tell YOU that YOU know nothing about it because you have only had to CONSIDER it but have never had to follow through like they did? *I'll get back to this point at the end of this spiel.*

    That's when you really stooped lower than yourself, I feel, when you took it to:
    "It must be nice to operate with such privilege of not carrying a child with a severe medical defect, Dennis. You can't get pregnant. "

    The first part presumes a knowledge of the author's life that you clearly don't have.
    The second part is REALLY low, and small minded too. How would your HUSBAND feel if you told him his opinion in your Sophie's choice didn't matter because he can't get pregnant? Do you really contend that men have NO say and NO opinion regarding abortion issues because they don't have a uterus? The fact is, YOU can't get pregnant without a male's sperm. Should YOU have no say in the debate of chemical castration for rapists? Should YOU have no opinion on whether or not female teachers who commit statutory rape with their male students be punished severely or get a slap on the wrist? After all, these are things you cannot personally experience the horror of without male genitalia, right? Saying "You can't get pregnant" makes your argument SEXIST. It also discredits your husband, and the every male who has ever seen ANY child in ANY condition die to an abortion they would rather prevent. You're not sexist, you're better than that, and that's why I feel you REALLY stooped beneath yourself on this point in particular.

    Your comments began with vitriol ("this is just so... hateful and ignorant", "You might want to read that part of your Bible.", "I'm embarrassed for you.", etc etc), with your tone and posturing remaining hostile through every reply.

    You say:
    "'I don't condemn your friend' - actually, you do and by extension, me."
    - Do you really need a lesson on logical fallacies? The author said the opposite of this, LITERALLY just inches above this reply.

    "Guess who doesn't get an opinion about my delicate, personal medical matters? You."
    - Again, you're putting words in the author's mouth...as well as injecting a political statement into the author's blog..with a vicious sarcasm that he doesn't deserve.

    "how nice for judging."
    - Hypocrisy incarnate, judging someone for judging...again, I'll save the lecture on logical fallacies for now. Thats not the only way you judge him in this piece.

    And ON and ON and ON...
    Author: There is a Hobson's choice in such cases; all deserve compassion.
    Your Reply: Yes, all do deserve compassion, including the families going through this, which you can't seem to summon the decency to do.
    (What does that even mean? The last part is self contradictory, and just plain incorrect given his multiple admissions to compassion.)

    And ON and ON and ON...while the author's replies remain calm, professional, dignified, and patient. In the face of hostility after ad-hominem attack after presumptuous insult from you, he remains on point and even keeled.

    Ultimately, that is a reflection of the difference between a journalist and a blogger. I mean no insult by that, really, but there is a difference in approach between the two, and it is almost perfectly evidenced in your little spat.

    I did not write all this to defend the author. I did not really write this to engage in the politics of the debate at hand. I certainly did not write this to dismiss your points or feelings as "hysterical woman emotions" in some 1950's throwback of misogyny (should it come off as such).

    I wrote this, because your thinking, both written on your blog and expressed in encounters on twitter, has strongly impressed me as highly intellectual and admirable...and frankly, I believe you're better than, smarter than, & stronger than the overly emotional, disrespectful, frankly amateur tone of the vitriol you so thinly disguised as "commentary".

    Now I won't tell you to apologize to the author, though I think you have many reasons to. I don't expect an apology to me, and I won't tell you that you or he are "right" or "wrong". I won't even really criticize you for having committed this little rampage of contemptuous disdain for Mr. Byrne, for we're all entitled to blazing our little warpaths now and again.

    But I will tell you this.
    As a man who (without a uterus) is still half of the biological requirement to create life,
    who has had to face the undesired abortion of a HEALTHY child that I helped create TWICE,
    who MYSELF was the only child not optionally aborted by his mother,
    who despite these facts remains pro-choice for other people,
    who sees BOTH sides of your little comment spat, and feels that both sides have completely valid points,
    I can NOT emphasize enough that it is YOU, Jenna Karvundis who should take your own advice when you say "YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS".

    For, you see, your words have offended someone who respects you, who largely agrees with you, who thinks that you're BETTER than what you have displayed here, and who has ACTUALLY had to face the loss of children to abortions that he didn't want to happen (which you, thankfully, did not ultimately face yourself).

    And if you AREN'T more careful with your words, I think that you'll find that people who are now willing to offer you long, well thought out, well spoken retorts to a moment in which you were lesser than the brilliance you're capable of...will ourselves fail to be this careful with OUR words in regards to YOUR mistakes.

    After all, as you so quickly chided Mr Byrne:
    "I'm not trying to give you a hard time personally, but if you're going to write such a strong opinion you can't be surprised when it hurts someone."

    Though I suppose Its up to you whether or not you care, now that you're on the other end of things.

    P.S. - Lest you think this was written by Dennis Byrne himself, I can tell you that it was to a parody account I run that you tweeted "Thanks! I haz a brain!" to earlier today. I doubt you will mistake the owner of that account for Mr. Byrne for obvious reasons. ;)

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