Abortionists Discuss Ambivalence

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The July 12, 1993 issue of AMA News, a publication of the American Medical Association, contained a fascinating article entitled "Abortion providers share inner conflicts". The author attended workshops at which abortionists and others who worked in abortion clinics discussed their thoughts and feeling about their profession.

Some excerpts:

Abortion clinic workers "wonder if the fetus feels pain. They talk about the soul and where it goes. And about their dreams, in which aborted fetuses stare at them with ancient eyes and perfectly shaped hands and feet, asking, 'Why? Why did you do this to me?'"

"Those attending these workshops do not argue about whether human life begins at conception. For them and other abortion rights advocates, the critical issue is 'personhood'. And some have definite ideas about when this happens: When brain activity begins. At quickening. At viability. At birth. When the woman decides she wants to have the baby. ... Abortion opponents, on the other hand, take issue with the focus on 'personhood'. Most consider it a highly subjective religious or philosophical concept designed to avert attention from the biological fact that human life begins at conception. From the moment a genetically distinct human life is created, they say, it has moral standing and deserves full legal protection."

"A New Mexico physican said ... 'I have angry feelings at myself for feeling good about grasping the calvaria, for feeling good about doing a technically good procedure which destroys a fetus, kills a baby. I don't think I've ever heard anybody talk about that. But there is a good feeling to doing a good job. Even with the destruction of a pregnancy as the outcome.'"

"A physician assistant from New York said ... 'When I put my hands on somebody to feel how big they are and I get kicked, I'm barely able to talk at that minute.'"

"In all of the choice movement, there is a balance between the fetus and the woman ... And between my experience with a saline abortion where I suffered, versus the option of a D&E where yes, the fetus may suffer. I always choose the woman.'"

An abortionist said that "someone had asked her what they could say to staff 'to make them not look so shocked when they look at a 20-week fetus'. ... It's hard being in a profession 'where you have a hard time answering the questions that other people ask you about what you do'."

"A nurse who had worked in an abortion clinic for less than a year said her most troubling moments came not in the procedure room but afterwards. Many times, she said, women who had just had abortions would lie in the recovery room and cry, 'I've just killed my baby. I've just killed my baby.'. 'I don't know what to say to these women,' the nurse told the group. 'Part of me thinks, Maybe they're right.'"

Posted 4 Sep 2000.

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Copyright 1995 by Ohio Right to Life. Used with permission.
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