On the blog “Abortion Witness” in a post entitled “Talking about the babies: saying the things we cannot say,” a clinic worker writes:
“You’ve written in your chart that you feel guilty.” I say to the patient I am screening. “Can you tell me more about this? Why do you feel guilty?”
“I feel guilty because I am killing my baby,” she answers. “That’s why I feel guilty.”
The first time an abortion patient said this to me, I was completely unprepared for it. Although I was a long-time pro-choice activist, a Ph.D. who had studied feminist theory , and a former abortion patient myself, nothing in my experience had prepared me to talk with a woman about killing babies. “Oh no,” I said to her as gently as I could. “It’s not a baby- it’s just tissue.”
But the clinic worker later came to feel that her response was wrong.
She describes how pro-choice activists have trouble with using the word “baby” to describe the child who is killed in an abortion and says:
We all know that an unborn child dies in each abortion. And the majority of abortion care workers accept responsibility for our roles in these deaths. We have, for various reasons, determined for ourselves that having a part in these deaths is an important- and ethical- thing for us to do[.]
The blogger describes how a female abortionist who was 18 weeks pregnant performed an abortion on an 18-week-old unborn baby and felt her wanted baby kick just as she was pulling a leg off of the baby she was aborting. The blogger says:
We might start these honest conversations by asking what differentiates these two eighteen week unborn babies? The short answer – which is both incredibly simple and very complicated – is that the unborn baby moving inside the physician/mother is being carried by someone who has chosen to complete her pregnancy and deliver a living child, and the other unborn baby is being carried by someone who, for reasons that we may or may not understand, has decided that she cannot complete her pregnancy. In other words, the life or death of the unborn baby is determined by the mother’s decision about whether she wants to share her body with another being[.]
The blogger admits that “the distinction can feel unsatisfying to many people” but reiterates that it is moral to kill an unborn baby whose mother does not want her. She goes on to say:
… We should never deny that abortion kills an unborn child. When the topic comes up, a simple “yes, I know – and so do women who have abortions” will often suffice. Several years ago, the director at the clinic where I worked was on a radio talk show about second trimester abortion. A caller said, “You can’t tell me it’s not a baby. And you can’t tell me that baby won’t die!” Yes, she said calmly, it is a baby and yes, it is killed. Women know this, and they have abortions anyway. This is exactly why abortion is complicated, like many of life’s challenges. We must remember, though, that complicated does not necessarily mean wrong.
The clinic worker now suggests that the proper response to a woman in an abortion clinic who says “I feel like I’m killing my baby” is something like:
“Ok. Let’s talk about how you are going to cope with knowing that you’ve killed your baby. What do you believe happens to us when we die?” From this point, the woman and I could have an honest conversation about how she understood her abortion decision within the context of her own life circumstances, beliefs, and ethics.
The blogger then finishes her post by saying:
Women have always known that pregnancy means a baby and abortion means the baby will die. When women care enough about the lives of their children – born and unborn – and about the role lives to make that decision, we owe them the respect and support that honesty conveys.
Quoted in Sarah Terzo “Is it a baby?” Abortion clinic workers respond” Live Action News April 5, 2013Share on Facebook