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

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

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Editor’s Note: In the ordinary course of events, when a story that previously appeared in NRL News Today is reposted, it is usually from one year ago. This article was originally published four years ago and is being reposted herewith. A hearing was held on Capitol Hill regarding the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The hearing was chaired by Republican Whip Steve Scalise, the Pro-Life Caucus, and the author of the bill, Rep. Ann Wagner. Many pro-life Republicans also spoke at the hearing. One of the physicians who provided testimony was Kathi A. Aultman, M.D.

Dr. Aultman performed first-trimester suction D&C abortions and received specialised training in second-trimester D&E procedures. Additionally, she served as the medical director for Planned Parenthood of Jacksonville from 1981 to 1983.

However, her experiences performing abortions and those in her obstetrician-gynaecologist (Ob/Gyn) practice ultimately led her to adopt a pro-life stance. 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 have been omitted for the sake of clarity.

It is important to note that… Dr. Aultman employs data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to calculate the number of late-term abortions. The Guttmacher Institute is a more comprehensive source of data on abortion numbers. The report indicated that 926,200 abortions were performed in 2020. This yields a figure of 12,041, which represents 1.3% of the total number of abortions. However, for a number of reasons, it is likely that this figure is considerably higher.

Some argue that the necessity of this legislation is negated by the rarity of late-term abortions.

The data is incomplete due to the fact that not all states are required to report abortions or their complications. However, the CDC Abortion Surveillance Report indicates that 1.3% of abortions performed in 2015 were conducted after 20 weeks. Although this may appear to be a relatively small number, when expressed as a percentage of the total number of abortions performed in 2015 (638,169), it equates to 1.3% of abortions being carried out after 20 weeks. This figure translates to 8,296 late-term abortions.

It is commonly believed that late-term abortions are only performed in cases where the mother’s health is at risk or where the fetus is severely malformed.

Julie Wilkinson is a registered nurse who collaborated with Dr. Warren Hern for a considerable period in the 1980s. She assisted him with late-term abortions up to 26 weeks gestation. I recently spoke with her about her work at the clinic and she informed me that the majority of the abortions that they performed were for convenience, rather than for fetal anomalies or maternal health problems.

A recent article published by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute examined the characteristics of women who seek abortions after 20 weeks. The researchers reported that women who obtained first-trimester abortions and women who obtained abortions at or after 20 weeks’ gestation were remarkably similar in terms of their demographic characteristics. The only significant differences between the two groups were in age, with women aged 20–24 being more likely than women aged 25–34 to seek later abortions, and in employment status, with employed women being less likely than unemployed women to have later abortions.

The majority of women seeking later abortions can be classified into one of five distinct profiles. The women 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%). [1]

Doctors are under considerable pressure to deliver normal babies. Should a physician fail to disclose a congenital defect and offer the patient the option of abortion, they may be subject to legal action. This places conscientious physicians in a difficult position, particularly given the ability of sophisticated sonography and genetic testing to identify a multitude of subtle abnormalities, some of which may be significant, while others may not be.

When Suzanne was pregnant with my friend Rachel, she was informed that her amniotic fluid levels were insufficient, and that her baby would be deformed and die a painful and distressing death. The medical professionals advised her to terminate the pregnancy to spare her and the unborn child the distress and suffering that would be caused by the delivery. She declined to comply with the medical advice and was subsequently discharged from the practice. Subsequently, she proceeded to deliver her child prematurely. Despite the initial prognosis, Rachel survived the ordeal and was discharged from the intensive care unit after five months. She has since made a full recovery and is now a healthy, intelligent young woman.

In order to provide some insight into the mindset of at least one obstetrician, I will recount a story about one of my patients. I ceased performing abortions because I no longer considered the fact that the fetus was unwanted to be a sufficient justification for termination. However, I continued to believe that abortion was a woman’s right and continued to refer women for abortions. I treated a patient for an infection with doxycycline.

At the time, neither of us was aware that she was pregnant. Upon learning of her pregnancy, I experienced a profound sense of distress. I was concerned that she might sue me if the child were born with malformed teeth or other abnormalities resulting from the medication. I promptly advised her to undergo an abortion to protect myself from any potential legal ramifications. She declined and terminated her relationship with my practice. Subsequently, I sought to make amends by visiting her. By that time, her son, who was born without any abnormalities, had become a high school football star. I was gratified that she did not follow my advice. It is impossible to quantify the number of women I have encountered during the course of testifying who have delivered completely normal children after being informed that they should have terminated an abnormal pregnancy that would not survive until term or would die a painful death after birth.

Some have argued that the necessity of this bill is questionable, given that the survival of the fetus is uncertain following an abortion.

Despite this, there are living, breathing examples of those who have survived such procedures, including Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen, who were saline abortion survivors; Hope Hoffman, who survived a D&C with suction abortion; Claire Culwell, who survived a surgical abortion in which her twin was aborted at 20 weeks; Nik Hoot, who survived a dismemberment abortion at 24 weeks; and my cousin, who survived a late-term induction abortion.

The Abortion Survivors Network, a project of Melissa, has been in contact with over 300 individuals who have survived an abortion. These accounts can be accessed on the Network’s website, including the testimony of a young man who survived a partial-birth abortion. The children survived only because someone other than their mother and the abortionist intervened.

It is questionable whether the decision to terminate a pregnancy should be left to the patient and her doctor, who claim to know what is best for the patient, given that they have previously attempted to terminate the pregnancy unsuccessfully.

[1] The term “nulliparous” is used to describe women who have never given birth.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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