Saline abortions became more and more frequent in the Labor and Delivery Unit. In an effort to cope, I read about the procedure, hoping against hope that it was not as horrible as my mind imagined it to be. It wasn’t – it was worse.
The physician first raised a skin wheal with a local anesthetic on the maternal abdomen. Then a long needle was inserted into the uterus, through the numbed abdominal area. A fairly large amount of amniotic fluid was withdrawn from the uterus and then replaced with hypertonic saline. Hypertonic saline cause the fetal cells to burst. Death ensued shortly, but not before the fetus convulsed in death throes. Sometimes the mothers could feel these convulsions, depending on how far along in pregnancy they were.
— Bonnie L. McClory, Obstetric Technician