Lies, half-truths, exaggerations
Was the woman on whom the abortion was filmed asked at all whether she agreed with the filming? In any case, she would hardly have consented if she had been informed about the true purpose of the project…
The pictures of advanced fetuses in tubs towards the end of the film obviously have the purpose of triggering horror. Such late abortions after the 20th week are extremely rare (less than half a percent) and are only carried out in the case of severe malformations of the fetus or other extreme cases of hardship. It is not acceptable to ignore the dramatic backgrounds of such rare exceptional cases and misuse them for propaganda purposes.
• The fetus shown in the ultrasound scans is 12 weeks old, says Nathanson. This would correspond to the 14th week of pregnancy. Nathanson says: “This is not a late abortion, but a normal one, as it is performed 4’000 times a day in the USA”. In fact, abortions are usually carried out long before this stage of development, in the first 3-9 weeks of embryonic development (USA in 1983: 77.2%; 2006: 79%). Switzerland 2010: 88%; Germany 73%. Source: national statistics). During these 6 weeks, the embryo grows from 2 mm to 4 cm. At the age of 12 weeks it measures 8 cm. The plastic fetus, with which Nathanson handles during his commentary, is at least 12 cm tall, which corresponds to the 16th week after fertilization (i.e. fifth month of pregnancy!), and he has trained arms and legs. At the time when most of the abortions are actually carried out, there are no or only tiny buds of the later arms and legs visible. see embryo images
• Since the nervous system and the brain are still far away from functioning at the age of 12 weeks, the fetus cannot possibly feel pain (and even less foreshadowing fear!). His movements are merely reflexes, like a paraplegic who does not feel the sting in the foot as an unpleasant feeling or pain, although he reflexively retracts the leg.
Declaration of the American Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics: “We do not know any serious scientific information that would support the claim that the fetus can feel pain in early pregnancy stages. However, we know that the cerebellum reaches its final shape in the seventh month and that myelination of the spinal cord and brain begins between the 20th and 40th week of pregnancy. These and other developments of the nervous system must have taken place before the fetus can feel pain”. see Biological Facts
From: Prenatal and perinatal pain perception – Statement of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Medical Association (Germany, 1991)
“Pain without consciousness leads to no pain experience, but to different (unconsciously remaining) equivalents of the pain perception (for example motorically as “flight reflex” over the associated spinal plane). These processes were first recognized by physiologists in animal experiments and then also proved in humans and described as nociception. […]
first reactions triggered by skin contact occur at the age of 50 to 51 days (p.c.) (= 10th week of pregnancy). […]
However, the connection of the thalamus with the cerebral cortex, which is particularly important as a precondition for a pain experience, is only reached in the 24th week p.c.[…].
Important steps in the functional development of the spinal cord and brain stem take place at the age of 32-34 days. 50-51 days as well as in the early fetal period between the 9th and 12th week p.c. While the first neuronal activities in the upper spinal cord and lower brain stem are detectable in these periods, there is still no connection to the cerebral cortex. The cortex has not yet formed the structural prerequisites for the onset of function. This occurs only at the transition from the middle to the later fetal period (24th week p.c.).[…]]
Since the anatomical prerequisites are missing, the embryo (until the end of the 8th week p.c.) – according to the current state of knowledge – is unlikely to have any sensation of pain,
After the 8th week p.c. the nociception develops continuously until the 21st week p.c., so that nociception but not pain is probable.[…]
Beyond the 22nd week p.c. [= from the 25th week p.c.] one has to reckon increasingly with a pain experience (of any kind) of the fetus.”
Half truths and exaggerations
• The possible complications of the procedure are massively exaggerated and dramatized and without relation to the total number of abortions. Serious complications occur in significantly less than 1% of cases. The risks of a birth are considerably higher.
• Explanation of the American Professional Association of Psychologists: “The scientific findings largely agree that the legal termination of an unwanted pregnancy, especially when performed in the first third of pregnancy, does not involve any psychological risks for most women. On the contrary, the vast majority of scientific data support the conclusion that women’s freedom of choice and self-reliance in critical life situations promote their mental health.”
• Experts in ultrasound and film technology have explained that “technical antics” were used. The recording speed was deliberately slowed down during the procedure and then accelerated back to normal when the instrument was inserted to give the impression of foetal hyperactivity. It is not spontaneous movements of the fetus, as claimed, but the uterus and the amniotic sac including its contents are moved by the operation of the suction curette [as if one pushes a plastic bag full of water and causes an object floating in it to slosh around. A.M. Rey]. The movements, incidentally, are no different from those of a fetus in the 4th month of pregnancy.
The judgement of experts:
• Dr. med. Rolf Wyss, former senior physician at the Geneva University Women’s Hospital: “An unscientific piece of propaganda. The second part of the film has nothing to do with the problem of abortion. That is pure demagogy”. The statement in the film that the fetus feels fear of death qualifies Dr. Wyss as “bare nonsense”.
• Prof. Dr. med. Felix Gutzwiller, Zurich: “The commentary of the American Nathanson is medically and scientifically completely untenable. Behind the polemic agitation of the film there is hardly any real information.”
• Prof. Hart Peterson, neurologist, New York: “The ultrasound images are very blurred and unclear. The commentary fills everything you can’t see. This is a cheap trick – an emotional, unscientific piece of propaganda.
• Prof. Richard Berkowitz, Gynaecologist, New York: “The film is actually misleading and unfair.
• Prof. Dr. med. Etiennne Baulieu, Biochemist, Paris: “The film is a scientific fraud.” Prof. Baulieu was accused of slander by the authors of the film, but acquitted. The Paris court wrote in its judgement of 20.2.1992: “The film obviously tends to dramatize the subject. It cannot be described as an objective, scientific document. Rather, it is a propaganda film that tries to convince the audience by all means, namely by stirring up emotions.”
• Prof. Rosalind Petchesky, political scientist, Hunter College, City University of New York: “The ‘Silent Scream’ pretends to show the real-time ultrasound image of a twelve-week-old fetus being aborted. But what we see in reality is the image of a picture of a picture, or rather three concentric frames: our television screen, in it the video screen in the film studio, which in turn frames a blurred, black-and-white, pulsating something. All the time we are instructed by Dr. Bernard Nathanson what we have to see in the spongy images.”
Correction of the medical expert group of the American Society for Family Planning:
(Prof. Dr. med. Sally Faith Dorfmann, Albert Einstein University; Prof. Dr. med. Hart Peterson, Neurologist, New York; Prof. Dr. med. William Rashbaum, Albert Einstein University; Prof. Dr. med. Seymour L., Seymour) Romney, Gynecologist, Albert Einstein University; Prof. Dr. med. Allan Rosenfield, Gynecologist, Columbia University; Prof. Herbert G. Vaughan, Neurologist, Albert Einstein University; Prof. Dr. med. Ming-Neng Yeh, Gynecologist, Columbia University) :