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How is an intracardiac injection abortion performed?

In an intracardiac abortion, a needle is guided into the fetus’s heart with the aid of ultrasound, and poison (often potassium chloride or digoxin) is injected, causing an immediate heart attack. Intracardiac injection is most commonly used for “pregnancy reduction” abortions following in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, if multiple embryos were implanted to increase the likelihood of pregnancy. In these cases, the procedure is typically performed between 10 and 12 weeks gestation.

Intracardiac injection is also used in late term abortions when there is likelihood of delivering a live baby, in order to avoid state laws that would require the baby to be resuscitated and given medical care.


Clowes, Brian, PhD. The Facts of Life. Front Royal, VA: Human Life International, 2001.

Jain, John K. and Daniel R. Mishell, Jr. Misoprostol regimens for termination of second trimester pregnancy, Human Reproduction 16, no. 2 (February 2011).

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