By Sarah Terzo
“A fetus isn’t a baby.” “A woman has a right to choose.” These are often the most common statements a pro-lifer hears when discussing abortion with pro-choice people. “It isn’t a baby until it’s born.” “Abortion isn’t killing.” The rank-and-file of the pro-choice movement usually deny that an unborn baby is a human being with a right to life. Occasionally you will find someone who argues that the fetus is a baby, but the woman has a right to abort him or her anyway – but usually you’ll hear pro-choice people denying the humanity of the unborn.
One word that’s always avoided is pro-choice publications is “baby.” “Fetus” or “product of conception” or “tissue” is how the aborted baby is described. It isn’t a life, they say.
But the people who know the most about abortion are the clinic workers and doctors who perform them. And many of them have come out saying things that would make even the most hardcore pro-choicers cringe.
In one article in the American Medical News that was probably never meant for pro-life eyes, abortion providers from around the country discussed the emotional difficulties of performing abortions. One doctor said:
I have angry feelings at myself for feeling good about grasping the calvaria [head], for feeling good about doing a technically good procedure that destroys a fetus, kills a baby. (1)
Baby? Perhaps this doctor didn’t get the memo. Pro-choice activists know never to refer to the “fetus” as a baby. You won’t hear NARAL Pro-Choice America or the National Organization for Women using the term “baby” to describe a child being aborted.
Another abortion doctor uses honest terms to describe his job:
A late termination is actually not very nice and there is no way of getting away from it, I don’t feel I am doing it for any other reason than for the best of both the mother and the baby. (2)
Again the word “baby.” Could it be that these abortionists are fully aware that the “fetuses” they are aborting are in fact living babies?
If there is any doubt that at least some abortion providers know that abortion is killing a baby, it is put to rest by British abortionist Judith Arcana:
It is morally and ethically wrong to do abortions without acknowledging what it means to do them. I performed abortions, I have had an abortion and I am in favor of women having abortions when we choose to do so. But we should never disregard the fact that being pregnant means there is a baby growing inside of a woman, a baby whose life is ended. We ought not to pretend this is not happening. (3)
This straightforward admission must have caused some consternation to pro-choice activists who read Arcana’s article. Few are willing to admit to the reality of abortion.
One unnamed abortionist said the following in a book that profiled doctors from different fields:
Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It’s really barbaric. Abortions are very draining, exhausting, and heartrending. There are a lot of tears. … I do them because I take the attitude that women are going to terminate babies and deserve the same kind of treatment as women who carry babies … I’ve done a couple thousand, and it turned into a significant financial boon, but I also feel I’ve provided an important service. The only way I can do an abortion is to consider only the woman as my patient and block out the baby[.] (4)
In this short paragraph, the doctor mentions the word “baby” four times.
It is clear that many abortion providers know that they are ending life. They see the babies kicking and moving on the ultrasound screen and then see them later, in pieces, in the back room of the clinic.
Clinic counselor Tim Shuck, who worked at the Lovejoy abortion clinic until his death from AIDS, said the following to a writer who was chronicling the daily workings of the clinic:
I have never denied that human life begins at conception. If I have a complaint about our society, it’s that we don’t deal with death and dying. Do we believe human beings have a right to make decisions about death and dying? Yes we do, and those decisions are made every day in every hospital. (5)
The author who quoted Shuck never revealed whether or not Shuck told the women he counseled that life begins at conception.
Another clinic worker said the following:
I see more of murder the further along they get. Although inside me I know it’s murder from the beginning… (6)
In an article in the Dallas Morning News, abortion clinic administrator Charlotte Taft made the following statement:
We were hiding … some pieces of the truth about abortion that were threatening. [Abortion] is a kind of killing, and most women seeking abortion know that. (7)
This was a little too much honesty for Planned Parenthood – after Taft came out with this statement, they stopped referring patients to her clinic. Eventually, she resigned.
Reporter Leonard Stern spoke to Joan Wright, the owner of a clinic in Ottawa. She explained how she and her fellow workers were fighting to force pro-lifers to take down a banner that announced, “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart” and gave a phone number for women considering abortion to call for help. Stern confronted her with pro-lifers’ allegations that her clinic gave deceptive counseling to women. From the article:
She said. “Good grief! They accuse us of pretending we’re not doing what we’re doing? I’m in the business of death!” (8)
This is probably the most honest and frank admission by an abortion provider that you are likely to hear.
In his essay “Why I Am an Abortion Provider,” Dr. William F. Harrison says the following: “No one, neither the patient receiving the abortion, nor the person doing the abortion, is ever, at any time, unaware that they are ending a life.”
In reality, the fact that abortion ends a life is often hidden from women. The baby is described as “products of conception” or “tissue.” The abortion “empties out the uterus.” The facts of fetal development are glossed over or outright distorted. The woman is facing a life-changing, irrevocable decision at a vulnerable time in her life, and she is susceptible to being deceived.
Look at the way one abortion clinic (Summit Medical Center) describes an abortion on its website.
You will first lay [sic] on an exam table like you would’ve for regular gynecological exam. Most patients will then receive IV sedation/twilight anesthesia… Patients opting for twilight anesthesia are mildly awake, but should feel no more than slight (if any) discomfort, and usually have little or no memory of the procedure afterwards.… Just as with a Pap smear, the doctor will use a speculum to hold the vaginal walls open, and then begin the procedure of using a series of dilation instruments to open the cervix. The contents of the uterus are then removed with a gentle vacuum aspirator.
Here are more examples of abortionists and clinic workers who acknowledge that abortion is killing:
The owner of one abortion clinic, identified only as “Michelle” in a book by James D. Slack, said the following:
I’ve thought through this issue, to do it as long as I have, and I have to sleep well at night… Is it life? Clearly it’s life. Does it deserve protection? My answer is “no.” The bottom line, you have two competing interests: the mother and the baby (or the embryo or the fertilized egg). And sometime during that nine month gestation, a woman’s rights are going to digress. At that point, I guess, rights can be ascribed to the fetus. (9)
This clinic owner has no problem calling an embryo a baby. She merely considers the baby’s life unimportant. There is no doubt that she knows exactly what is happening at her clinic.
Abortionist Don Sloan, explaining the morality of abortion to his teenage niece in an essay that appeared in an anthology on abortion, said the following:
Is abortion murder? All killing isn’t murder. A cop shoots a teenager who appeared to be going for a gun, and we call it justifiable homicide – a tragedy for all concerned, but not murder. And then there’s war… (10)
In this case, the abortionist (Sloan has been practicing for over thirty years and has done over 20,000 abortions) admits that abortion is killing but claims that it is not murder. He equates abortion with self-defense and war. But is the unborn baby sleeping in her mother’s womb really an aggressor? Except in very rare cases, a woman’s life is not endangered by a pregnancy. And unless the pregnancy is a result of rape (which is a factor in only 1% of all abortions) the woman’s own actions (along with those of the baby’s father) resulted in the baby developing where he or she is. The baby may be unwanted, but she is not truly an intruder if the woman’s own actions are responsible for her presence in the womb. An unborn baby is not a teenager with a gun or an enemy soldier on a battlefield; she is an innocent and helpless member of the human race.
Abortionist Dr. Neville Sender said the following in a newspaper article:
We know that it is killing, but the states permit killing under certain circumstances. (11)
The clinic where Sender worked later came under scrutiny for throwing the bodies of aborted babies in the trash.
Abortionist Dr. Curtis Boyd, who performs abortions up to 24 weeks: “Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that.” You can see a video of him saying it here.
Another abortionist, who remained anonymous, said:
It [the fetus] is a form of life[.] … This has to be killing[.] … The question then becomes, ‘Is this kind of killing justifiable?’ In my own mind, it is justifiable, but only with the informed consent of the mother. (12)
Another abortionist admits that abortion is killing but also tries to justify it by saying the babies he kills would have difficult lives if they were allowed to be born:
I have the utmost respect for life; I appreciate that life starts early in the womb, but also believe that I’m ending it for good reasons.
Often I’m saving the woman or I’m improving the lives of other children in the family. I also believe that women have a life they have to consider. If a woman is working full-time, has one child already and is barely getting by, having another child that would financially push her to go on public assistance, yes that is going to lessen the quality of her life. And it’s also an issue for the child, if it would not have had a good life. Life is hard enough when you’re wanted and everything’s prepared. So yes, I end life, but even when it’s hard, it’s for a good reason. (13)
Are these good reasons to kill a child?
Another abortionist puts it more plainly:
Abortion is killing the fetus. … Human life, in and of itself, is not sacred. Human life, per se, is not inviolate. (14)
This doctor has foregone excuses and accepted the belief that human life is not sacred or worthy of protection. He has no need for justifications. He knows he is killing – and he doesn’t care.
After talking extensively to one abortionist, author Nancy Dey writes:
Dr. Ed Jones (pseudonym) says it’s always in the back of his mind that he is terminating a life. (15)
Another abortionist, Dr. Harrison, simply said, “I am destroying a life” (16). This doctor has performed over 20,000 abortions.
Dr. William Rashbaum performed thousands of abortions before his death in 2005. He revealed to an interviewer that he was haunted by a recurring nightmare of an unborn baby hanging on to the uterine wall with its tiny fingernails, fighting to stay inside. When asked how he dealt with this dream, he said, “Learned to live with it. Like people in concentration camps.”
The interviewer then asked if he really meant that metaphor:
I think it’s apt – destruction of life. Look! I’m a person, I’m entitled to my feelings. And my feelings are who gave me or anybody the right to terminate a pregnancy? I’m entitled to that feeling, but I also have no right communicating to the patient who desperately wants that abortion. I don’t get paid for my feelings. I get paid for my skills… I’ll be frank. I began to do abortions in large numbers at the time of my divorce when I needed money. But I also believe in the woman’s right to control their biological destiny. I spent a lot of years learning to deliver babies. Sure, it sometimes hurts to end life instead of bringing it into the world. (17)
Rashbaum knew that abortion takes a life, but he never mentioned this to the women who were coming in for abortions. One can only wonder about the psychological strain of equating oneself with a Nazi, with knowing that you end babies’ lives for a living.
Pro-choice writer Miriam Claire interviewed several abortion providers for a book she wrote. One of them, Dr. Bertram Wainer, said the following:
My whole professional training was to prolong life, to nurture and protect it. Abortion is clearly at odds with that ethos … [yet] I have never refused to perform an abortion because of any personal conflict[.] (18)
There are other examples of abortionists and clinic workers who admitted that abortion ends lives. Magda Denes, a pro-choice author, interviewed a number of doctors and clinic workers in her book In Necessity and Sorrow: Life and Death Inside an Abortion Hospital. Every doctor she interviewed, and many of the clinic workers, admitted at some point during the interviews that they regarded abortion as murder. One doctor said:
It [abortion] goes against all things which are natural. It’s a termination of a life, however you look at it. (18)
There are similar quotes throughout the book.
There is no way to know for whether or not these doctors and clinic administrators are representative of all abortion providers. But it is clear that many, if not most, abortion providers know that they kill. It is also clear that the average pro-choice person, who argues in support of allowing these men and women to continue practicing, has no awareness of the truth that so many abortion providers know – that abortion kills babies.
1. Diane M. Gianelli, “Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts,” American Medical News, July 12, 1993
2. ABC.net: Religion and Ethics: 12-28-2005. Quoted by Life Dynamics
3. Judith Arcana “Feminist Politics and Abortion in the US” Pro-Choice
Forum (Psychology and Reproductive Choice) Sponsored by The Society for the Psychology of Women.
4. John Pekkanen. M.D.: Doctors Talk About Themselves (Delcorte Press: New York, 1988) 90-91
5. Peter Korn. Lovejoy: A Year in the Life of an Abortion Clinic (The Atlantic Monthly Press: New York, 1996) p 94
6. James Tunstead Burtechaell, C.S.C. Rachel Weeping: the Case against
Abortion (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers, 1982) 135 – 136
7. “Abortion rights activist resigns as clinic director; Taft cites differences with Routh Street owner” Dallas Morning News 2/2/1995
8. Leonard Stern “Abortion Wars” The Ottawa Citizen Sun 28 May 2000
9. James D Slack Abortion, Execution, and the Consequences of Taking Life (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2009) 49
10. Tamara L. Roleff. Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press: San Diego 1997) 25
11. John Powell, S.J. Abortion: The Silent Holocaust (Argus Communications: Allen, Tx) 1981, p 66
12. Democrat & Chronicle 7/5/92
13. Cheryl Alkon “Confessions of an Abortion Doctor” Boston Magazine December 2004
14. Abortionist “Dr. Smith” (Pseudonym) . Leo Wang “The Abortionist”
Berkeley Medical Journal Spring 1995
15. Nancy Dey Abortion: Debating the Issue (Enslow Publishers: Springfield, IL 1995) 49
16. Nat Hentoff “An Abortionist’s World: How to Rationalize
Inhumanity” The Washington Times Febuary 6, 2006. Citing Stephanie Simon “Offering Abortion, Rebirth” Los Angeles Times November 29, 2005
17. Norma Rosen “Between Guilt and Gratification: Abortion Doctors
Reveal Their Feelings,” New York Times Magazine April 17, 1977 p 73, 74, 78
18. Miriam Claire The Abortion Dilemma: Personal Views on a Public Issue. (Insight Books: New York) 1995, p 30
19. Magda Denes, PhD. In Necessity and Sorrow: Life and Death Inside an Abortion Hospital (Basic Books, Inc.: New York 1976)147
Editor’s note. This first appeared at http://liveactionnews.org/abortionists-agree-abortion-is-killing/