A heart-stopping injection

by Andrée Seu Peterson
Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013, at 8:52 am

Does anyone remember the obnoxious 1960s TV commercial for the Veg-O-Matic, forerunner of your modern kitchen food processor? A man with a voice like a carnival barker boasted, “It slices! It dices!” As I recall, it also cubed and it may have julienned, and it definitely made life more worth living.

Other things in life can be multi-purpose, too. Take hydrogen peroxide, for example. I hear it is useful for wound care, whitening clothes, fighting infection, sanitizing, rejuvenating your bathwater, lightening your hair, soothing a toothache, getting rid of mold and stains, disinfecting your dishwasher, and as an enema.

I was interested to learn during my coverage of the Kermit Gosnell trial that potassium chloride (KCL) is useful for two oddly related things.

First, potassium chloride is useful to abortionists for injecting into babies through their mom’s tummy, to stop their hearts from beating before aborting them. I learned this not from Gosnell but from prosecution witness Karen Feisullin, an ob-gyn who performs abortions with society’s blessings in the hospital down the street from me, where I gave birth to three of my children.

For obvious reasons, the abortionist would want to stop the baby’s heart before aborting. That way, it is an abortion and not a murder, for the baby comes out already dead, so you don’t have to kill him yourself. Killing a baby on the outside of the mom is frowned on by the public, and is what got Gosnell into all the trouble he is in now.

I don’t mean to say that babies Feisullin attempts to abort don’t die outside of the mom. They do. But she doesn’t do it the icky way Gosnell did it. She provides them with what she calls “comfort care,” which involves parking them on the countertop while she busies herself with other things, and then when she comes back later to check: Oops! They’re dead of their own accord. I myself have engaged in similar exercises in self-deception, now and then putting an unwanted leftover boiled potato in the fridge with the tepid intention of coming back to it for tomorrow’s lunch. In a week I rediscover it and am despondent to find it moldy and beyond saving; there is nothing to do at this point but discard it. As undesirable boiled potatoes go, so do aborted babies born alive.

But the second handy use of potassium chloride is—ah, the irony—for killing convicted murders on death row. If Kermit Gosnell had not elected to take a deal and avoid possible execution, he could have had the dubious opportunity of experiencing what a shot of potassium chloride does, and how it feels when his heart stops. Potassium chloride is one of three ingredients in the lethal injection administered to criminals sentenced to death in Pennsylvania. The other two are an anesthetic and a paralytic agent.

A notable difference between the abortions and the executions is that the babies don’t receive the anesthetic. They just get the KCL.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.

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