Dealing—Poorly–with the Stigma of Working in the Abortion Industry

By Dave Andrusko

Some things never change because they cannot change; they are part of the human condition. And that holds true even for the most inhuman of behaviors—or perhaps especially so, because those actions so cut against the grain of our deepest instincts.

An hugely revealing item ran yesterday on “The Abortioneers” website, (subtitled, ”The ins and outs and ups and downs of direct service in the field of abortion care”). The title of the piece was “Working 9-5: How we Talk (or Don’t) about abortion.”

No doubt when she wrote it, in the back of her mind was the apprehension that someone like me would comment on her ambivalence bordering on depression at working at an abortion clinic. But she had to get it out, about the isolation best captured, perhaps, in her comment that “Only recently have I been able to have conversations with my dad about abortion after years of bitter silence.”

You don’t read a lot of these admissions by abortion insiders. Why? In addition to not wanting to provide ammunition to the enemy (us), it’s very difficult to admit there is (as the author of this piece concedes) a “stigma” to trafficking in the blood of unborn babies (obviously my characterization, not hers). And if you do normal “mommy things” with the mother of your son’s best friend, you are loathe to come right out and admit that killing is what you do for a living, in case she is one of those you-know-who.

One of the very first pieces I ever read about the bottled up turmoil of those who worked in the abortion trade was a piece that appeared in the American Medical News July 12, 1993: “Abortion providers share inner conflicts.”

The story drew on discussions at workshops sponsored by the National Abortion Federation. I re-read it this morning. Here’s the operative three paragraphs that catches the core of their “inner conflicts”:

“The notion that the nurses, doctors, counselors and others who work in the abortion field have qualms about the work they do is a well-kept secret.

“But among themselves—at work, or at meetings with other providers—they talk about how they really feel. About women who come in for ‘repeat’ abortions. About women whose reasons for having abortions aren’t ones they consider valid. About their anger toward women who wait until late in their pregnancies to have elective abortions. And about the feelings they have toward the fetus, especially as gestational age increases.

“They 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?’”

To return for one second to  “Working 9-5: How we Talk (or Don’t) about Abortion” (http://abortioneers.blogspot.com/2012/01/working-9-5-how-we-talk-or-dont-about.html) …. The author finishes her pep talk/ justification for what she does by telling us she can live with the protestors and the unappreciative boss and the inability to freely talk about her job.  She sticks around because she is “committed to something larger (the ‘work’)”. She feels “like I’m making a difference in someone’s life…and I’m motivated by that.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful—and much easier on her psyche– if she found motivation not by lethally choosing sides, but because she had found a way to make a positive difference in BOTH lives, the mother and her unborn child?

Likely? No. But it has happened before and it will inevitably happen again.

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