By Dave Andrusko
You wouldn’t expect moral (or any other kind of) clarity from someone who came to believe that working in an abortion clinic is the ultimate female bonding experience. And Amy Beeman proves to be no exception to the rule.
The title of her Salon piece–“Working at an abortion clinic challenged my pro-choice views — and confirmed them”– is typical of the genre. All those tiny arms and legs “floating in the glass baking pan” may have initially been a trifle startling, although nothing indicates Beeman experienced the normal human response: being grossed out.
She matter of factly observes, “The sucking noises during the aspiration sounded much like when they suck your spit at the dentist.” The furthest she can go is, “It was all so heavy.”
But as time went by Beeman came to see that these “recognizable” appendages were just so much “P.O.C.” (Products of Conception). Under the tutelage of her ”trainer,” she concluded that a place of pain and misery and a “be quiet” abortionist (aka “our gentle and warm doctor “)
taught me that grace can be found in the unlikeliest of places. I saw the deep thread that binds us.
Not to the children, mind you, but to one another, aborting women and “counselors.”
The operative paragraph is near the end. It both dismisses anyone silly enough to object and celebrates women’s autonomy.
Abortion is fraught with so much negative sentiment, and in a sense, abortion is plucking a life from existence that has yet to have the opportunity to thrive. No one is claiming it’s pleasant. There is nothing black and white about abortion. It’s every shade of gray. But for us pro-choicers, the woman’s life trumps the embryo or fetus. That’s the bottom line. We place value on a woman’s ability to know what is best for her. It simply needs to be a safe and legal option. When I started at the clinic, all I saw was the individual moment of pain, but over the years I began to see a much richer portrait — women coming out the other side, relieved, even if it was simply a relief to have the procedure behind them. They could go back to their lives.
So, nothing about abortion is “black and white”… except what is black and white: that “the woman’s life trumps the embryo or fetus. That’s the bottom line. We place value on a woman’s ability to know what is best for her.”
Pain? Sure, but what’s a little “crying out in pain” compared to coming out the other side minus the P.O.C. and ready to “go back to their lives.”
For Beeman, initially working in an abortion clinic beat being an unemployed recently graduated college student. In one of the many unintentionally telling remarks, she adds “It was a grown up job.” To the people who ran this mom and pop abortion clinic it made no difference that she had no medical experience; what she didn’t know they’d teach her on the job.
So what did Beeman have to offer? “I’d worked in hospitality as a waitress, and she said my people skills would be one of the most important things I’d bring to the job.
“Besides, I agreed with the mission of the organization. I was a feminist.”
But she really hit her stride when she moved up from operating room lackey to counselor. From holding hands to explaining the “procedure” and philosophizing about the meaning of it all.
The perfunctory question she rhetorically asks along the way is, “Seeing every side, the whole complicated and profound process,” would her feminist, pro-abortion views be altered? Not a chance: “I came out more pro-choice than ever.”
In fact, the same woman who wrote of “the loneliness of those little arms and legs” and “That girl, so clearly suffering during the procedure” would “start to see it from a purely biological standpoint. We were removing an unwanted growth to preserve the woman’s chosen course.”
“Arms and legs” become “products of conception” become “unwanted growth.”
The moral trajectory of Amy Beeman is complete.