The Guttmacher Institute, founded by Planned Parenthood, reports that there were 1,060,000 abortions in the United States in 2011. In the video above, Levatino specifically describes an abortion performed at the end of the second trimester (24 weeks). The Guttmacher Institute reports that only 1.2% of abortions occur at 21 weeks or later. Now 1.2% may sound small, but 1.2% of 1,060,000 is 12,720.
The procedure Levatino describes is called the Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) procedure. Here is further testimony concerning this procedure by abortionist Martin Haskell:
Let's just say…we left the leg in the uterus just to dismember it. Well, we'd probably have to dismember it at several different levels because we don't have firm control over it, so we would attack the lower part of the lower extremity first, remove, you know, possibly a foot, then the lower leg at the knee and then finally we get to the hip. And typically when the abortion procedure is started we typically know that the fetus is still alive because either we can feel it move as we're making our initial grasps or if we're using some ultrasound visualization when we actually see a heartbeat as we're starting the procedure. It's not unusual at the start of D&E procedures that a limb is acquired first…prior to anything having been done that would have caused the fetal demise.
When you're doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the skull itself and it's floating free inside the uterine cavity…So it's rather like a ping-pong ball floating around and the surgeon is using his forceps to reach up to try to grasp something that's freely floating around…So typically there's several misdirections, misattempts to grasp. Finally…the skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece.
D&E's, the procedure typically used for later abortions, have always been somewhat problematic because of the toughness and development of the fetal tissues.…I just kept doing D&E's because that was what I was comfortable with, up until 24 weeks. But they were very tough. Sometimes it was a 45-minute operation.This is an excerpt from a description of the D&E procedure in the medical textbook Abortion Practice by abortionist Warren Hern:
The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because the fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember. This problem is accentuated by the fact that the fetal pelvis may be as much as 5cm in width. The calvaria [head] is no longer the principal problem; it can be collapsed. Other structures, such as the pelvis, present more difficulty…A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus.