Kate Cox and D&E Abortion

Posted on March 5, 2024 By

by Sarah Terzo

This is Part 2 of 2.  Part 1 last week covered children with Trisonomy 18

Kate Cox, who was pregnant with a baby with Trisomy 18, sued the state of Texas to obtain a legal abortion. Many media outlets covered her story. Cox demanded a Dilation & Evacuation, or D&E abortion. She was denied an abortion in Texas but had one elsewhere. Cox’s child was over 21 weeks old.

Cox was falsely told that her daughter couldn’t survive, and that there were no treatment options available. She had an abortion partly because “I didn’t want her to suffer. I felt it was best for her . . . ”

Cox also claimed that, because of two previous caesarian sections, having her daughter would destroy her future fertility and make her unable to have more children. A Live Action News article challenged this claim and pointed out that D&E abortions can also jeopardize fertility.

The D&E Procedure

Ironically, through the D&E, Cox’s daughter likely suffered far more than she would’ve if Cox had given birth. In a D&E, the preborn child is dismembered and pulled out piece by piece.

In this video, former abortionist Kathi Aultman describes the procedure

Sometimes, abortionists inject the baby with the drug digoxin to kill her before dismemberment occurs. But digoxin takes hours to kill a baby and fails between 5-10% of the time. And many abortion facilities don’t use it because it renders the baby’s body parts useless for research and they can’t be sold.

Potassium chloride is also sometimes used. This is the same drug used in executions. One woman considering abortion, who worked in the prison system, chose life because she didn’t want her child to die the same way death row inmates do.

A Former Abortionist Describes the D&E

Abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino described a D&E.

He described the Sopher Clamp, the instrument used to dismember the child. It is:

about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At one end are located jaws about two inches long and about an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go.

Once the cervix is dilated and the amniotic fluid suctioned out, the abortionist reaches into the woman’s uterus with the Sopher Clamp. Levatino says:

Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard—really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg … Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length.

Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart, and lungs.

The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head … You will know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see a pure white gelatinous material issue from the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull in pieces.

If you have a really bad day like I often did, a little face may come out and stare back at you.

Levatino finishes his description by saying, “Congratulations . . . You just made $600 cash in fifteen minutes.”

A Witness to the Procedure

Nurse Brenda Pratt-Shafer worked in a late-term abortion facility and witnessed several D&E abortions before quitting. One was committed under ultrasound, and she saw the baby being aborted on the screen. She saw the child trying to escape the forceps after one leg and an arm had been torn off:

Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabbed one of the fetal legs with his forceps. He clamped down hard and, with a twisting and tearing motion, ripped the leg from the little body. He brought it out and threw it in the pan beside me. I stood in horror as I looked at that little leg in the pan with perfectly formed toes…

The next time he went in, he tore off an arm with hands and little fingers!

I could see the fetus on the ultrasound screen trying to get away from the forceps! Then I no longer saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound screen.

The ultrasound’s sound was turned off so the mother couldn’t hear her dying baby’s heartbeat. The abortionist had turned the screen away from her as well.

Pratt-Shafer watched the abortionist tear off the remaining arm and leg, pull out the intestines, and crush and remove the baby’s head.

The baby was conscious and alive after being partially dismembered. He was still trying to escape. The child would’ve experienced intense physical pain. There is a great deal of research showing that babies in the womb feel pain by 20 weeks, or even earlier.

A Preborn Baby’s Awareness

This baby reacted to a physical assault. But witnesses have reported that preborn babies also react when foreign objects are put into the womb and come near them, even when they aren’t actually touched.

Diagnostic sonographer Sarah Cleveland assisted in an amniocentesis done under ultrasound guidance. In amniocentesis, a doctor inserts a needle into the uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid for testing. It isn’t an abortion procedure. The target of the needle isn’t the baby.

The baby having the amniocentesis was 18 weeks old. Before the doctor inserted the needle, Cleveland says the baby was “kicking, playful, and happy.”

But when the needle was inserted:

I saw Baby dart away from where we were in the uterus and move as far away as possible to the other side of the womb. He stopped kicking and playing … His little heart rate skyrocketed. He was scared. In fact, I am convinced he was terrified.

After the needle was removed, she watched the baby’s heart rate decelerate and saw him “come out of the corner” where he’d retreated.

The baby reacted to a needle that never touched him, and Cleveland witnessed what she interpreted as fear and distress. It is impossible to know what the child was truly feeling, but he was clearly aware of the needle.

D&E abortions are brutal to preborn children. They’re never the kinder option.


For more of our writings on the Kate Cox case, see

Kate Cox and Stories of Trisonomy 18

The Kate Cox Case in Texas

For a similar post on cruel procedures see: 

What’s Cruel for the Incarcerated is Cruel for the Terminally Ill

For a post on alternatives, see: 

A Process of Tender Understanding and Loving Closure when Life Ends



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