Former abortionist turned pro-life activist dismantles pro-abortion myths about abortion survivors

Editor’s note. As we have noted elsewhere, a hearing on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act took place on Capitol Hill. The hearing was held by Republican Whip Steve Scalise, the Pro-Life Caucus, and the author of the bill, Rep. Ann Wagner, with many pro-life Republicans also speaking at the hearing.

Kathi A. Aultman, M.D., was one of the physicians who testified.

Dr. Aultman performed 1st trimester suction D&C abortions and received special training in 2nd trimester D&E’s. She also served as the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Jacksonville from 1981 to 1983. But her experiences doing abortions, and those in her Ob/Gyn practice, led her to a pro-life position.

In this excerpt from her testimony, which can be read in full here. Dr. Aultman addresses three of the myths about abortion survivors. Internal citations are omitted for clarity.

Kathi Aultman, M.D., Retired Ob/Gyn and former abortion provider

There are those who say we don’t need this law because late term abortions are so extremely rare that the law isn’t necessary.

The data is incomplete, because not all states are required to report abortions or their complications, but we know from the CDC Abortion Surveillance Report that 1.3 % of abortions performed in 2015 were done after 20 weeks. That sounds like a small number, but 1.3% of 638,169 abortions represents 8,296 late term abortions. [1]

We are told that Late Term abortions are only done in the most difficult and tragic circumstances where the mother’s health is threatened, or she is carrying a baby with severe fetal anomalies.

Julie Wilkinson is an RN who worked with Dr. Warren Hern for years in the 1980’s. She assisted him with late term abortions through 26 weeks. I recently spoke with her about her work at the clinic and she told me that the vast majority of the abortions that they performed were done for convenience, not for fetal anomalies or maternal health problems.

Researchers with the Guttmacher Institute recently published an article looking at the characteristics of women who seek abortions after 20 weeks. They reported, “women in our study who obtained first-trimester abortions and women who obtained abortions at or after 20 weeks’ gestation were remarkably similar demographically, the only significant differences between the two groups were in age (women aged 20–24 were more likely than women aged 25–34 to seek later abortion) and in employment status (employed women were less likely than unemployed women to have later abortions).”

Most women seeking later abortions fit one or more of five profiles: They were raising children alone (47%), were depressed or using illicit substances (30%), were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence (34%), had trouble deciding and access problems (22%), or were young and nulliparous (24%). [2]

Doctors are under tremendous pressure to deliver normal babies. If a doctor doesn’t disclose a congenital defect, and give the patient the option of abortion, he or she can be sued. That puts conscientious physicians in a terrible bind today when sophisticated sonography and genetic testing can pick up many subtle abnormalities which may or not be significant.

When Suzanne was pregnant with my friend Rachel, she was told that she didn’t have enough amniotic fluid and that her baby would be deformed and die a terrible death. They recommended she abort to spare herself and her child the agony and grief of a delivery. She refused and was discharged from the practice for not following medical advice. She subsequently delivered Rachel prematurely. Rachel stayed in the intensive care unit for 5 months but today Rachel is a vibrant normal intelligent young woman.

Just to give you some insight into the mind of at least one obstetrician, I will tell you a story about one of my patients. I had stopped doing abortions because the fact that the baby was unwanted was no longer enough justification for me to kill it, but I still believed that abortion was a woman’s right, and I still referred women for abortion. I treated a patient for an infection with doxycycline.

At the time neither of us knew she was pregnant. When she told me that she was pregnant, I was panic stricken. I was afraid she would sue me if the baby was born with abnormal teeth or other abnormalities due to the medication. I immediately recommended abortion to cover myself. She refused and left my practice. Years later I went to see her to apologize. By that time, her completely normal son was a high school football star. I was so thankful she didn’t follow my advice. I can’t tell you how many women I have met during the course of testifying, who delivered completely normal children after being told that they should abort a child that was abnormal and wouldn’t survive ‘til term or would die a horrible, painful death after birth.

There are those who say this bill isn’t necessary because babies can’t survive abortion.

And yet we have living, breathing reminders that they do in Melissa Ogden and Gianna Jessen, saline abortion survivors; Hope Hoffman, D&C with Suction abortion survivor; Claire Culwell, a surgical abortion survivor whose twin was aborted at 20 weeks; Nik Hoot, a dismemberment abortion survivor at 24 weeks ; and my cousin, a late term induction abortion survivor.

Melissa’s organization, Abortion Survivors Network, has been in contact with over 300 abortion survivors and you can read some of their testimonies on her site including one from a young man who survived a Partial-Birth Abortion. They lived only because someone other than their mother and her abortionist, intervened.

Should we really leave this “very personal and private” decision as to whether the baby lives or dies up to the patient and her doctor because they claim, “They know what is best!”, when these are the very people who just tried unsuccessfully to kill the baby?

[1] The Guttmacher Institute gathers more complete abortion numbers. It reported 926,200 abortions for 2014. 1.4% would be 12,041. But for a variety of reasons, this figure is likely considerably higher.

[2] Nulliparous refers to women who have never given birth.