John Jalsevac

The most heartrending abortion testimony you’ll ever hear, from a former abortionist

John Jalsevac

Last week a former abortionist, who admits to having committed around 1200 abortions, appeared before a U.S. House subcommittee. The hearing was on the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks in D.C., based upon the fact that unborn babies can experience pain at that stage of pregnancy.

Dr. Anthony Levatino, who has since turned his life around and is pro-life, was speaking in favor of the ban. And his testimony is perhaps the most brutal explanation you will ever hear for why abortion is evil - plain and simple. (Read his testimony below, with the strongest portions in bold.)

For those who may be tempted to write off Levatino’s testimony because he’s just “another pro-life nutjob,” it’s interesting how his testimony has eerie echoes to that of notorious late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart, who is still involved in the gruesome trade. During a preliminary injunction hearing in a US District Court in 1997 on the issue of late-term abortions, Carhart testified that he would sometimes dismember advanced-stage unborn babies during abortions, while the babies were still alive. Carhart described in detail the process of grasping the limb of the baby to be removed, and then twisting it off. When asked if the babies usually die during the process of dismemberment, Carhart responded, “I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”

How is this considered anything but evil?

 

Testimony of Anthony Levatino, MD, JD before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives on The District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803)
May 17, 2012

Chairman Franks and distinguished members of the subcommittee, my name is Anthony Levatino. I am a board-certified obstetrician gynecologist. I received my medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York in 1976, and completed my OB-GYN residency training at Albany Medical Center in 1980. In my 32-year career, I have been privileged to practice obstetrics and gynecology in both private and university settings. From June 1993 until September 2000, I was associate professor of OB-GYN at the Albany Medical College, serving at different times as both medical student director and residency program director. I have also dedicated many years to private practice and currently operate a solo gynecology practice in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I appreciate your kind invitation to address issues related to the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803).

During my residency training and during my first five years of private practice, I performed both first and second-trimester abortions. During my residency years, second- trimester abortions were typically performed using saline infusion or, occasionally, prostaglandin instillation techniques. These procedures were difficult, expensive and necessitated that patients go through labor to expel their pre-born children. By 1980, at the time I entered private practice first in Florida and then in upstate New York, those of us in the abortion industry were looking for a more efficient method of second-trimester abortion. We found that the “Suction dilation and evacuation” procedure (or “Suction D&E”) offered clear advantages over older installation methods. The procedure was much quicker and never ran the risk of a live birth.

Understand that my partner and I were not running an abortion clinic. We practiced general obstetrics and gynecology, but abortion was definitely part of that practice. Relatively few gynecologists in upstate New York would perform such a procedure at the time, and we saw an opportunity to expand our abortion practice. I performed first-trimester suction dilation and curettage abortions in my office up to 10 weeks from last menstrual period and later procedures in an outpatient hospital setting. From 1981 through February 1985, I performed approximately 1200 abortions. Over 100 of them were second-trimester Suction D&E procedures up to 24 weeks gestation, by which I mean 24 weeks from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), which is equivalent to 22 weeks post-fertilization age.

...

Imagine, if you can, that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I once was. Your patient today is 24 weeks pregnant (LMP). At twenty-four weeks from last menstrual period, her uterus is two finger-breadths above the umbilicus. If you could see her baby, which is quite easy on an ultrasound, she would be as long as your hand plus a half, from the top of her head to the bottom of her rump, not counting the legs. Your patient has been feeling her baby kick for the last month or more, but now she is asleep on an operating room table and you are there to help her with her problem pregnancy.

The first task is to remove the laminaria that had earlier been placed in the cervix, the opening to the uterus, to dilate it sufficiently to allow the procedure you are about to perform. With that accomplished, direct your attention to the surgical instruments arranged on a small table to your right. The first instrument you reach for is a 14-French suction catheter. It is clear plastic and about nine inches long. It has a bore through the center approximately • of an inch in diameter. Picture yourself introducing this catheter through the cervix and instructing the circulating nurse to turn on the suction machine, which is connected through clear plastic tubing to the catheter. What you will see is a pale yellow fluid the looks a lot like urine coming through the catheter into a glass bottle on the suction machine. This is the amniotic fluid that surrounded the baby to protect her.

With suction complete, look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 2 inches long and about 1/2 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. A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. At twenty-four weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. 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 about six inches long. 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. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion.

If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.

Before I close, I want to make a comment on the claims that I often hear that we must keep abortion legal in order to save women’s lives, or prevent grave physical health damage, in cases of acute conditions that can and do arise in pregnancy. Albany Medical Center, where I worked for over seven years, is a tertiary referral center that accepts patients with life-threatening conditions related to or caused by pregnancy. I personally treated hundreds of women with such conditions in my tenure there. There are several conditions that can arise or worsen, typically during the late second or third trimester of pregnancy, that require immediate care. In many of those cases, ending or “terminating” the pregnancy, if you prefer, can be life saving, but “terminating a pregnancy” does not necessarily mean “abortion.” I maintain that abortion is seldom if ever a useful intervention in these cases.

Here is why: Before a Suction D&E procedure can be performed, the cervix must first be sufficiently dilated. In my practice, this was accomplished with serial placement of laminaria. Laminaria is a type of sterilized seaweed that absorbs water over several hours and swells to several times its original diameter. Multiple placements of several laminaria at a time are absolutely required prior to attempting a suction D&E. In the mid-second trimester, this requires approximately 36 hours to accomplish. If one were to use the alternate method defined in federal law as Partial-Birth Abortion (but now generally banned), this process requires three days, as explained by Dr. Martin Haskell in his 1992 paper that first described this type of abortion.

In cases where a pregnancy places a woman in danger of death or grave physical injury, a doctor more often than not doesn’t have 36 hours, much less 72 hours, to resolve the problem. Let me illustrate with a real-life case that I managed while at the Albany Medical Center. A patient arrived one night at 28 weeks gestation with severe pre-eclampsia or toxemia. Her blood pressure on admission was 220/160. A normal blood pressure is approximately 120/80. This patient’s pregnancy was a threat to her life and the life of her unborn child. She could very well be minutes or hours away from a major stroke. This case was managed successfully by rapidly stabilizing the patient’s blood pressure and “terminating” her pregnancy by Cesarean section. She and her baby did well. This is a typical case in the world of high-risk obstetrics. In most such cases, any attempt to perform an abortion “to save the mother’s life” would entail undue and dangerous delay in providing appropriate, truly life-saving care. During my time at Albany Medical Center I managed hundreds of such cases by “terminating” pregnancies to save mother’s lives. In all those cases, the number of unborn children that I had to deliberately kill was zero.

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Fury took hold of me as I saw the box of Playboy magazines just casually out for display like everything else at the sale. Shutterstock

I was at a garage sale with my toddlers. Then I found THIS in a box.

Melanie Pritchard Melanie Pritchard Follow Melanie
By Melanie Pritchard

One morning when my son was an infant, I took him for an early morning drive to get him out of the house. We had no destination to reach and were casually driving through the neighborhood. I saw a few garage sale signs and I stopped at one that I saw selling a hammock. Oh how I love hammocks!

I got out and asked the woman how much and did a quick scan of what else she had for sale. And what to my wandering eye should appear? PORNOGRAPHY. Fury took hold of me as I saw the box of Playboy magazines just casually out for display like everything else at the sale. PORN—for sale—at a neighborhood garage sale! I guess I assumed there was an unwritten, common sense rule that not selling pornography at a neighborhood garage sale would just be an obvious consideration.

Instead, the homeowners found no shame in sharing their porn addiction with their neighbors. Did they stop to think that these magazines displayed right there out in the open could possibly scandalize the unsuspecting guests in their carport?

“I promise you that the porn industry is looking for your child and if you don’t set up accountability and filtering on your computers, phones, and tablets, it’s not a question of will they, it is a question of when will they or have they already and are they still looking at it.”

As soon as I saw the box, I said to the woman, “I will not buy anything here.” She did not realize my change in tone, so I asked her, “How can you have Playboys at a garage sale? What if the magazines scandalize a small child walking by with their parents?” She said, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. This is my guy friend’s garage sale, but I tried to put the ones that were most clothed towards the top.” Clearly since she admitted this to me, there had to be unsettling thoughts stirring in her mind telling her this just isn’t right to expose others to.

I said, “Why don’t you just throw them away.” She said, “They are my friend’s, and he’s selling them because they are old,” suggesting they might be collector’s items. I said, “Listen, you think these have worth because they are old, but they have no worth since they were trash to begin with.” Trying to hold back my fury, I said, “What if some woman’s husband comes to your garage sale and gets tempted by these images.” The discomfort set in for the woman and she went to the box and tried to reorganize. I’m not sure if she got rid of them or attempted to conceal them better, but I didn’t stick around to find out. My final words to her were, “I hope you do the right thing and throw them away.”

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What infuriated me most is that there was a video game chair sitting right next to the box of Playboy magazines. I envisioned a junior high boy going to the garage sale with his mom, and rushing to see how much the chair costs, all the while catching an image of a naked woman.

The unsuspecting boy would go from innocence to experience in a place he and his mother thought was safe. It would be an image he would not forget, an image that may lead to a curiosity that would slowly corrode his mind and heart into thinking and looking at women as objects instead of unrepeatable souls. This could be followed by years of struggling with the fake counterfeit instead of fighting for the dignity of the women in his life. And some day, he might possibly trace his addiction back to the neighbor’s garage sale.

This reminds me of the stories I have heard from many young men who tell me about their struggles with and addictions to pornography. When I ask these men how it all started, they share similar stories of being exposed to porn in the most unlikely places, like the old gas-station, grandpa’s shed, in the alley, or at friend’s house. And, in most recent years, young men who share their stories with me after a chastity talk I give, almost always share that their porn addcition started from their activity on the internet. For many, it was while innocently searching for one thing that they discovered pornography instead.

What more can we do to protect our children from pornography? Especially now in the Internet age when it is merely an accidental click away? Recently, I interviewed my friend and fellow speaker Matt Fradd. Matt overcame his own pornography addiction and has dedicated his life in ministry to help many others conquer theirs. He is the author of the book Delivered and works for Covenant Eyes: Internet Accountability and Filtering Software Company.

In our interview, I asked Matt what the benefits are for parents who want to use this software for their children. “I promise you that the porn industry is looking for your child and if you don’t set up accountability and filtering on your computers, phones, and tablets, it’s not a question of will they, it is a question of when will they or have they already and are they still looking at it,” he said. “Unless you want your child exposed to pornography and likely to become hooked on it since it is quite addictive, then I say you should really get Covenant Eyes.”

As a mom of  four- and a six -year-old, I am doing everything I can to protect my children from porn. Matt opened my eyes to the fact that if the Internet is in my home, then so is pornography, just one click away. Internet accountability and filtering is a must. We spend our money on monthly home and garden magazines, Netflix, apps and other subscriptions. But this kind of software is one of the most valuable safety-nets we can buy for our families. Now that I know it exists, I will be making it a part of my family’s monthly budget and I hope you consider it too.

Matt had this message for parents: “If you give your child an iPhone and you don’t put Covenant Eyes Filtering or Accountability or both on it, then what you have essentially done is given your child a potential x-rated movie theater. Please realize the seriousness of this.”

I make no money or profit in advocating for this type of software. In fact, Matt shared that if a family cannot afford the monthly $9 or $13 fee for Covenant Eyes products, they can apply for a hardship program and get it for free. Let us make no excuse when it comes to the protection and safety of our children and the seriousness of pornography.

I encourage you to listen to this 9-minute interview with Matt Fradd in its entirety to hear about his struggle as well as the details of this helpful software. As a parent, the interview opened my eyes, but also made me feel empowered to be able to do more to protect my family against the harm and dangers of pornography exposure.

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A screenshot from the UK's version of "Sex Box."

TV continues its campaign to ruin sex

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

Go home, TV, you’re drunk.  That’s my only reaction to the announcement that WE tv has picked up a British reality show called Sex Box.

Sex Box is, rather incredibly, not a euphemism for anything.  Rather, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  The talk-show-style setting features a panel of sex experts sitting on a stage in front of a live studio audience.  There is a large, windowless, soundproof gray box behind them.

The box has a door and confessional-style indicator lights: red means a couple's in there, orange means they’re done, and green means … well, I hope it means someone’s in there cleaning the box, because multiple couples use this thing over the course of an hour-long show.

The idea behind the show is that couples – both straight and homosexual, if the UK debut is indicative of the upcoming U.S. version – with relationship issues will enter the box, have sex, then come out and talk about their problems with the “experts.”

Love, devotion, commitment, rules and limitations – these are all good things.  Intriguing things.  Sexy things.  They’re the stuff every good romance is made of. But sex in a box?

If that doesn’t sound awkward and slightly creepy, then I’m not explaining it right.

Here is my main problem with this show, and it’s probably not what you think: I don’t hate Sex Box because I’m a prude.  I hate Sex Box because it is the most boring show I’ve ever seen.

Sex Box manages to take sex – SEX! The amazing connection between a husband and a wife that feels incredible and allows mere human beings to create new life! – and make it seem like the most banal, utilitarian, uncomfortable and depressing thing ever.

Seriously, enough is enough.  Porn has already ruined the sex lives of a generation of men and women by warping their expectations of the marital act. No, Sex Box isn’t porn, but in a way, it might be worse, because when people watch porn, at least they know it’s fake.  Maybe they decide it’s something to aspire to, but there’s still an air of artifice about the whole thing.  It’s fantasy. 

On the contrary, Sex Box is all about being “real.”  But by focusing on the mechanics of various physical acts and sharing depressing statistics about the state of most sexual relationships today, it reduces what should be a sacred, mysterious union of the flesh between a husband and his wife to something much less divine, and certainly less human. The makers of Sex Box seem to think of sex less as a physical expression of love and more as an itch in need of scratching – or a system in need of a tune-up. Gone is the mystery, the sacredness, the spiritual component – to say nothing of the private nature of the act.

The same goes for Dating Naked, the new VH-1 reality show where strangers are dropped off in the nude at a tropical resort and go on dates with a series of other naked strangers, before choosing which one they might like to pursue a relationship with once they put their clothes back on. 

What?  Why would anyone want to do that?

Look, if you’re married (and statistically, for some of you, even if you’re not), you remember the excitement and vulnerability of the first time your body was exposed to the one you love.  For decades, teenagers have even had nicknames for the progressive levels of exposure – First base, second base, third base, and so on.  Whatever your moral code may be when it comes to sex, you have to admit, the thrill of the chase is part of the excitement.

So if you’re dumped naked onto a beach with a half-dozen strangers and assigned to go on dates with them, where is the excitement in that? Yes, it might feel shocking at first, but once the shock wears off, what’s next?  The mystery is gone.

Contestant Joe probably summed it up best during the series’ first episode: “What the hell is going on? It's like you're naked and I'm naked, and I didn't even get to buy you a drink first.”

TV, stop it.  We get it, sex sells.  But there’s more to sex than naked bodies and physical mechanics.  There’s a reason Romeo and Juliet is a beloved classic and Kim Kardashian’s sex tape is not.  It’s the same reason people rooted for Mulder and Scully on The X-Files to get together for the better part of a decade even though they weren’t having sex at all (at least that we knew of). 

Love, devotion, commitment, rules and limitations – these are all good things.  Intriguing things.  Sexy things.  They’re the stuff every good romance is made of. 

But sex in a box?  Random naked bodies on a beach?  That just explains why I don’t have cable.

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Michael Lorsch, the real-life gay stripper hired by Canadian children's charity, Free the Children.

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So, a gay stripper walks into a top children’s charity and asks for a job…

Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony
By Anthony Esolen

This week I'm taking a break from my essays on how to form in your children a wholesome moral imagination.  Instead I'd like to engage my readers in a fantasy of decadence.

Let's suppose that a prominent child-oriented charity in a once Christian nation hires somebody to meet with teenagers to encourage them to be “shameless idealists.”  Imagine that the pedagogue is a male stripper for a gay ho-down called Boylesque. 

At the Boylesque webpage, suppose you find a Mountie in a passionate kiss with a lumberjack, who is holding a bottle of beer foaming over. “Imagine your dearest Canadian icons,” say the Boylesque promoters, “stripped down and slathered in maple syrup for your viewing pleasure!”

Free the children? Teach them to blush. It's a good start.

The page features “Ray Gunn,” the Canadian “Mount-Me Police,” a rousing rendition of “O Canada” to make you “stand at attention,” an ad for a Valentine celebration of “debauch” at “our den of iniquity,” somebody named “Bruin Pounder,” somebody else named “Sigourney Beaver,” some stars of a “bisexual-athon,” and so forth. 

Imagine third-rate puns, puerile fascination with the parts down under, dopey titillation, debauchery, and “putting male nudity at center stage where it belongs.”

Now, let's see, what else can we add to this eye-rolling story? Suppose the boy-man who strips at Boylesque at night, after he works with girls and boys during the day, calls himself Mickey D Liscious. Let's give him an absurdly bogus education - a major in Sexuality Studies. Suppose the people who run the charity do more than look demurely aside from Mickey's mooning and lighting. They name him Rookie of the Year.

Now, to complicate the plot, suppose that people catch on to Mr. Liscious' nightly swinging, and complain to the charity. The directors say what cannot possibly be true.  They say they do not “discriminate” on the basis of what their employees do after hours. We presume that although whores and nudie wigglers may be welcome, people who write for conservative magazines would not be welcome, or embezzlers, pickpockets, bookies, loan sharks, dogfight promoters, or peddlers of contraband sealskin. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Prudence is a virtue. After all, we're dealing with boys and girls here. A priest who says, “Men and women are meant for one another, in marriage,” is to be shunned, but not somebody who simulates sex in front of hooting and howling strangers.

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Let's add the icing to the fantasy. We'll call the charity Free the Children, and we'll suppose that Free the Children encourages Mr. Mickey D Liscious to tell teenagers to be “shameless idealists.” 

Of course, everything in this tawdry and silly fantasy is fact. You can't make it up. No one would believe it.

You might suppose that I'd criticize Free the Children for its choice of Cool Child Companion, saying that he is the wrong boy to tell boys and girls to be “shameless idealists.” Mr. Liscious, for his part, believes that what he does at night and what he does during the day are of a piece, greasing the grooves and pistons of change. I take him at his word. He's right, and the directors of Free the Children agree. It's our turn to try to figure out what they mean.

By “idealist,” Mr. Liscious and his promoters do not mean “someone who believes that the immaterial is more real than the material.” Mickey is not giving lectures on Plato's Republic. They also do not mean, colloquially, “someone who believes in a high standard of personal virtue,” since such standards would deprive Boylesque of all those boys who like “a dirty flashmob” and “a Tim Horton's double-double served straight up.” They cannot mean that, because shame is what people with a strong sense of virtue often feel when they behave in a base or cowardly way.

The best they can mean is “unembarrassed promoters of some idea,” some fantasy of perfection upon earth, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, the dictatorship of the proletariat, a “better world,” and other gauzy dreams that earn you points at a beauty contest, while you tilt your head like a poodle and modulate your voice for caring and sharing. 

And all I can say is that the last hundred years have been stuffed to the eyeballs with shameless idealists: shameless ideologues. They had an idea, or an idea had them, and shame on them for it. The more wicked among them had names like Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Khomeini. The more foolish had names like Harold Laski, who carried water for Lenin; Beatrice Webb, who carried water for Stalin; and Neville Chamberlain, who made a nice little pact with Hitler and proclaimed “Peace in our Time.”

Wilson was an idealist whose ideas got the better of his prudence and shame. We paid for that idealism in a crushed and belligerent Germany. The flower people of the sixties were idealists who scoffed at “hangups.” They could gaze upon the stars and sing about the Age of Aquarius, while their children looked to the empty place at table where Daddy or Mommy used to sit. Margaret Sanger was a shameless idealist. Hospital dumpsters are full of the result. 

We have had enough of shamelessness and foolish wars against reality.  

You cannot make “the world” a better place. The world is the world, old and stupid. Man is a sinner, and worst when he forgets that he is. That's not to say that you should sit and do nothing. Do the dishes. Read a good book. Be kind to your bothersome neighbor. Darken the church door and bend your knee in prayer.

Accept reality, and do the hard and unheralded work of cultivating virtue. Children are imprudent because they lack experience. Let them learn prudence from their elders. It takes no courage to follow the dreamy fad of the day, and children are suggestible. Let them learn the courage to resist the foolish and ephemeral. Children are often intemperate, because they're full of energy and so are given to hasty action and violent passions. Let them master and marshal their passions by subordinating them to right reason. Children see the world in stark oppositions of just and unjust. Let them keep their strong sense of justice, but let them temper it with the mercy that comes from acknowledgment of sin. Let shame instruct them in clemency.

Deny reality, dive deep into vice, and you will be a slave. Free the children? Teach them to blush. It's a good start.

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