Image from Gov. Ned Lamont's message to businesses about reproductive rights.

Note: The following commentary contains graphic descriptions of medical procedures that might be disturbing to some readers.

Gov. Ned Lamont is trying a novel approach to attract businesses to Connecticut – marketing abortion.  He has even released a video.

According to the governor, “Connecticut has a record of providing equal opportunity to all people and one of the strongest records to protecting reproductive [abortion] rights.”

Joseph Bentivegna MD

He is correct. In 1990, Connecticut was the first state to pass a trigger law in case the Roe vs. Wade was overturned, allowing abortions until fetal viability. With present technology, this is 23-24 weeks, or the end of the second trimester. In April of this year, this law was updated making Connecticut a sanctuary state to women seeking abortions while allowing abortions during the third trimester if the mother’s health is affected.

But this definition of health includes psychological health allowing conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to be considered.  As these conditions have somewhat vague definitions, they can be diagnosed in almost anybody with careful questioning. Thus, Connecticut now joins China and North Korea in allowing third trimester abortions for any reason. No other western democracy permits this.

It is often reported that third trimester abortions (about 1% of abortions) are only done in cases where the mother’s health is in danger or because of severe fetal abnormality. But this is not true. According to a study done by the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-choice organization), the vast majority of mothers have these abortions for personal, not medical reasons.

Because of the recent reversal of Roe vs Wade, states will craft their own abortion policy and many will restrict it. But it is unlikely that businesses will relocate because of the Governor’s plea. Nor is it likely that women with early pregnancies will come to Connecticut since it is much easy to abort an early pregnancy with the pill, Mifepristone. While some conservative states will ban Mifepristone, they will soon discover that such bans are about as effective as laws against using marijuana, heroin and methamphetamines.

Thus, Connecticut is poised to become a mecca for women seeking second and third trimester abortions as few other states will allow this – let alone have a governor marketing it. And the people of Connecticut have the right to know what this entails, so – with apologies to my more squeamish readers – here goes:

Before abortion was legalized, illegal abortions were done by a method called Dilation and Curettage (D and C). The cervix (the entrance to the uterus that houses the unborn child) was dilated and the uterus scraped with a scalpel to remove the unborn child.

But the longer the duration of the pregnancy; the riskier the procedure. The wall of the uterus became thinner and the unborn child larger; thus requiring more scraping. This increased the chance of a life-threatening uterine perforation. It was also difficult to be sure that the entire unborn child had been removed – what abortionists referred to as “retained products of conception” causing future infertility.

While pro-choice forces have argued that legalized abortion made the procedure safer, a major reason for decreased maternal complications and death was advancing technology. A suction device 30 times more powerful than a vacuum cleaner was invented. This is inserted into the uterus and quickly dismembers and sucks out the unborn child with minimal maternal complications. But this procedure only works in the first trimester at the end of which the unborn child is 2.5 inches long, or the size of a plum.

After abortion was legalized, second and third trimester abortions were still technically difficult using the D and C method, even though they had moved from the back-alley to the operating room. Abortionists tried a safer technique using a medication called Pitocin to induce uterine contractions to expel the unborn child. But this occasionally resulted in a live birth and abortionists had to pith (stick a scalpel into the base of the skull severing the spinal cord) to complete the procedure. This was illegal and when abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell was caught doing so, he was sent to prison.

Another technique employed was the hypertonic saline abortion. The abortionist drained the amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding the unborn child) and replaced it with concentrated salt water. The unborn child then swallowed this salt water causing convulsions while the skin was scalded. Death occurred in about thirty minutes and the dead baby was either delivered spontaneously or via induction.

The problem with this technique is that the mother felt the unborn child kicking frantically inside of her as she died. Then she saw the dead baby expelled from her uterus, complete with scalded skin, what the abortionists called a “candy apple baby” because of the appearance of her head. This led to many screaming and distraught mothers, making for an unpleasant workplace environment and rendering worker retention problematic.

But abortionists were soon able to avail themselves to a new technology – ultrasound. This enabled the abortionist to visualize the unborn child in real time and perfect a technique called Dilation and Extraction (D and E). The cervix is dilated and then a forceps (large tweezers) dissects the unborn child limb by limb with ultrasound visualization. This is not easy to perform as the unborn child thrashes around after the first limb has been removed to in a futile attempt to avoid further dismemberment. Once this is completed, the remaining torso and head are then crushed and pulled out piecemeal.

The assisting nurse reassembles these body parts into a dismembered-baby jig saw puzzle to make sure no remnants of the unborn child remain in the uterus, as this can lead to complications such as infection and infertility. From the maternal point of view, this is a low risk procedure in the hands of a skilled abortionist.

Some third trimesters, especially those near to birth, use the induction technique. Under the guidance of ultrasound, the abortionist injects a toxic substance such as potassium chloride into the unborn child’s heart. After death, a uterine-contracting drug such as Pitocin expels the dead baby.

Do the good people of Connecticut really want our beautiful state to be known as the go-to place for late-term abortions? Does Governor Lamont really want this to be his legacy?

This is just sad. So sad.

The governor seems to be a good man. Hopefully he will find it in his heart to feel sympathy and compassion for the unborn babies being subject to such painful deaths in our state. And then he may reconsider his position.

Joseph Bentivegna MD is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill.