Former Clinic Worker: Catherine Anthony Adair, An Interview

Catherine Anthony Adair worked in a Planned Parenthood clinic. She left her job and now is a part of the pro-life movement. Here is an interview that Clinicquotes did with her.

What were your feelings on abortion before you got the job at the clinic?

I really didn’t have any feelings on it, I was much more concerned about feminism and women’s rights, and I felt that abortion, as a politic issue, was part of the feminist framework of forwarding women’s rights. I didn’t have any understanding that abortion could/did have any negative implications for women, and I certainly didn’t consider the baby involved. Looking back, I can see that my own abortion I had several years before working at Planned Parenthood greatly affected my views in abortion. I had found it highly traumatizing, and my way of dealing with the emotional aftermath was to bury it and not deal with my emotions. Instead, I turned to radical feminism.

How did you decide to work there, what led up to that decision?

I was finishing college and looking for a job when I saw Planned Parenthood was looking for clinic workers. I jumped at the chance because to me Planned Parenthood represented the feminist movement.

When the women came in for an abortion, did they receive counseling before hand?

The clinic where I worked was almost exclusively an abortion clinic. Abortions were performed all day, every day. The counseling occurred after the woman had paid for her abortion. The counseling was not meant to be an opportunity to discuss the woman’s decision to abort. It was merely a pre-operative screening. We went over her health questionnaire she filled out in the waiting room, I took her blood pressure and pulse, described the abortion procedure, and made sure she chose a birth control method to use when she left the clinic.I never once asked what had led the woman to choose abortion – the attitude was that she was already there so she must be sure. We did have to ask her if she was aware she could continue her pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption, but we didn’t get into any options counseling. We weren’t under any pressure to sell abortions, they had already been paid for by the time they came into the counseling room.

We never discussed fetal development. The baby was referred to as the”contents of the uterus” or a “clump of cells.” on the rare occasion a woman asked about the size of  the baby, I would tell her it was about the size of the tip of my pencil, regardless of how many weeks into her pregnancy she was.At the time I worked for Planned Parenthood ultrasounds were only done if the woman was unsure of the dates of her last menstrual period,or if the doctor ordered one.

ultrasound at 8 weeks

Women were not given the option of viewing the ultrasound.

Did you ever witness an abortion procedure? What did you see? 

I was a medical assistant in the room for hundreds of abortions. I witnessed the baby being suctioned out of the uterus and watched blood and tissue work it’s way through the tube into a metal bowl. The baby was dismembered during the process. The nurse would account for the baby parts and put it into a baggy, which I then put in a box with the other aborted babies. We then had to count them at the end of the day to ensure we had all of them to go to the lab.

When I saw a second trimester abortion, I saw dismembered arms and legs, with perfect feet and hands.

legs of an eleven week old unborn baby

What (if any) services did the clinic offer to post-abortion women? Was there a follow up appointment or any counseling offered?

We did not offer any post-abortive services, except for the occasional patient who chose to have her 6 week follow-up at the clinic. Most women saw their own doctor. There was absolutely no talk of any kind of mental health help or counseling, because that would have been tantamount to admitting that women suffer emotionally after abortion and Planned Parenthood is always going to deny that.

What led to you leaving the clinic?

I left the clinic for several reasons. First, I had become very disillusioned. I realized that Planned Parenthood was not the feminist place I thought it was. I realized it was racist, classist, and demeaning for women. I also was having terrible nightmares and anxiety attacks. One of my recurring nightmares was me floating through space in a sea of baby limbs torn from their bodies. In the dream I couldn’t breath or escape – I would wake up screaming. I couldn’t deal with it emotionally, so I left and I didn’t talk about my experience for over a decade.

9 week old unborn baby

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About Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a freelance writer and journalist who works for Live Action. She is a board member of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and the author of a number of poems and stories which have been published in various places. She has a personal blog with writings, poetry, stories, essays, and general random stuff you can visit here. Email her at sarah 5775@gmail.com
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One Response to Former Clinic Worker: Catherine Anthony Adair, An Interview

  1. Pingback: The ultrasound battleground: Cutting through "evasive rhetoric"

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