Former Abortionist Kathi Aultman Speaks Out On Her Pro-Life Conversion

In an interview with Live Action, former abortionist Kathi Aultman describes her pro-life conversion, The interviewer is Lila Rose:

Rose: Can you tell us first how you got involved in doing abortions?

Aultman: Well, what most people don’t realize is, almost all OB/GYN’s have done abortions. Unless you have opted out on a conscience clause, you have to learn how to do abortions. Now at the time, I wouldn’t have opted out, because I felt abortion was really something that was important for women. I felt that no woman should have to have a baby if she didn’t want it. I felt that it was their right to have an abortion. They should have control over their own bodies. So I felt it was important, and I wanted to learn how to do it.

Rose: And where did that strong conviction come from, that women should have a right to an abortion?

Aultman: I think that really came from the, kind of, the women’s lib movement, and I was one of very few women in medicine at the time, so I had to really, not fight my way up, but had to try to be better at everything to get where I got. I wanted to make sure that women had access to abortion and I thought I could help with that.

Rose: And you first started, you learned how to do first trimester abortions and that you elected to learn second trimester abortions. Can you share more about that?

Aultman: We had an attending [doctor ] that I highly admired. As a matter of fact, this man had done my abortion several years earlier. And I just thought a lot of him, and he was doing late-term abortions, and I decided I wanted to learn how to do that.

I was challenged by the procedure and I really hate to say this, but the bigger the better. I cringe now when I say that, but I wanted to do the biggest ones I could. It was a challenge, and my whole focus was being good at what I did, and stretching the limits.

Rose: When you were doing those later trimester abortions what was, you said, “the bigger the better.” What was the experience for you like, when you were – these involved going in with forceps, and involved dismemberment. What was that like for you, as a medical professional, to try and distance yourself? From “this is not a baby, it’s just a procedure.” How did that work in your mind? What was your mindset when you were doing that?

Aultman: I think when you go through the process of medical school and residency, you learn to compartmentalize things. I think also, in medical school, you have to learn so much so fast that you just take it all in without question. I think I just bought the whole line that abortion was a part of women’s healthcare. I didn’t question it. I just bought it.

I think part of the problem was that I didn’t see a fetus any than a chick embryo. The chick embryos that we dissected in college. And I didn’t see them as human beings.

As a matter of fact, and again I hate to admit this, but when I would look at the parts that I had taken out, I was fascinated with them. I thought, “Oh, these are so cute. And they’re great, they’ve got little fingers and toes.”
I actually would do extra sections through the different organs when we would send them to pathology so that I could look at those pathology slides later, because fetal tissue is a little bit different than mature tissue. The cells were a little bit different. And so, I just wanted to find out everything about them that I could. But I did not see them as human beings. I just saw them as embryos and fetuses. Not as people.

Rose: And then what was the moment or the experiences that changed that for you. Instead of like, this is what, this is like, it might as well be a chick embryo, it changed to, “this is a human.”

Aultman: A baby.

I got pregnant while I was in residency, and I was moonlighting at an abortion clinic at the time doing abortions. And I was almost proud of the fact that here I was pregnant and I was still doing abortions. I felt like, well, my baby’s wanted, theirs is not. They have the right to abort their babies. And so I continued to do abortions during my whole pregnancy. But then when I went back after having had my baby, there were three patients there that changed my mind.

The first one was a young girl that came in, and she was scheduled that morning. I had done three abortions on her myself.

Rose: The same girl.

Aultman: Same girl. And she had had other abortions that I didn’t do, but I had done three of them. And I told the people at the clinic that I didn’t want to do it. And they said, “You don’t have the right to judge. It’s her choice. If she wants to use abortion as birth control, that’s up to her.”

I looked at them, and I said, “Yeah, but I’m the one that’s having to do the killing.” So I ended up doing the abortion, and afterwards I tried to get her to take birth control and she refused, so she left.

Then the next woman came in with a friend, and sometimes people did want to see the tissue. And the friend said, “Do you want to see the tissue?”

And she said, “No. I just want to kill it.”

And it just hit me, like cold water in the face. And I thought, “What did this baby do to you?” It’s not the baby’s fault.

And then the third woman was a mother of four, and she and her husband didn’t feel that they could afford another child. And so she came in for the abortion. And she cried the entire time. Thankfully, she was my last patient, because I just, I couldn’t do them after that.

I think I had finally made that baby = fetus connection. And I realized that that was a little person, just like my daughter was a little person. And the fact that they were no longer wanted was not enough for me to kill them.

But I have to say it was really sad because I still believed abortion was a woman’s right. I still believed that abortion was necessary, and I still referred for abortion.

It wasn’t until I started to see young girls in my practice who had babies and did really well. I had always thought that an unplanned pregnancy for a young girl was the worst thing that could happen to her. That’s sort of the normal thinking.

Rose: That’s the narrative

Aultman: That’s the narrative. And to see these girls do so well. And then I had other patients who were seeing psychiatrists, or were struggling with the physical complications of abortions. And, it just wasn’t what I expected. It didn’t jive with the rhetoric, the rhetoric that I had embraced.

Rose:… You were seeing in the clinic as you were doing these abortions, and you just saw this callousness in some of these experiences you had.
Aultman: Yes.

Rose: And then you went from that to still thinking, well, I’m not going to do abortions myself, you made the baby/fetus connection, as you say, but then you were still referring for abortions. So what were the other experiences? What happened next, that move you from “I can’t do an abortion, but I’m still okay with them” to “now I’m a pro-life advocate and none of it is okay.”

Aultman: I did one more little step in there, and that was that in the process of all of this, my marriage was falling apart and I ended up going back to church. I became a Christian, but that didn’t change my beliefs. I still felt it was a woman’s right. It was something that was important to have.

The other thing that began to change my opinion was as I saw children that were born at church – were born to women at church – young girls, who very easily could’ve easily had abortions. If I had been taking care of them I would’ve recommended they have an abortion. But they didn’t.

And as I watched those little children grow up into these wonderful people, I began to again see, okay, these are real people that we are killing. Who never get a chance to be alive. And we never get to see who they’re going to become.

The thing that finally did it was I had friends who were very good friends and accepted me even though they knew my position, but they were brave enough to at one point say, “We understand your position, but would you read this article?” And it was an article on the Holocaust. And comparing the Holocaust to abortion.

My dad was with…the group that opened the first concentration camp during World War II. And so I grew up with all those stories and those horrific pictures. And then, when I became a doctor, I couldn’t understand how the German doctors could do the things that they did.

Rose: So your dad was part of that generation.

Aultman: Yes, my dad fought in World War II, and was there when they liberated the first camp.

Rose: And you were hearing those stories.

Aultman: And I heard those stories my whole life growing up. When I read that comparison between the Holocaust and abortion, I finally understood how they could do the horrible things that they did. Because just as I didn’t see the fetus as a person, they didn’t see the Jews and the Gypsies and the others as people. And if you don’t consider someone human, you can do anything you want.

That’s when I realized that I was a mass murderer. I had killed all of these people. And that’s when I completely changed my opinion on abortion. And then it took a lot of prayer and a lot of healing to get over all of that.

Rose: Tell me more about that. So you have this pain of conviction, you see, you said yourself, considering yourself a mass murderer, looking at what happened during the Holocaust and saying, it’s happening today. It is happening here, with abortion.

Aultman: 6 million vs. 60 million.

Rose: 6 million vs. 60 million children. 6 million killed in the Holocaust. I mean, the numbers are horrific. So what did you do? What was your journey like once you had that realization? You saw, this is our Holocaust. This is our Holocaust, and your part in it, what was that journey like to even process that?

Aultman: It really took reading a lot of books, and some counseling, and then I actually went to the Christian healing center there in Jacksonville, and one of the women in our church was there, and was a counselor there, and prayed with me.… I never understood what “crying your eyes out” meant until that point. Because I literally cried my eyes out and couldn’t stop. But after that, that was probably the biggest bit of healing.…

Rose: There are hundreds of doctors or others out there right now, in America and worldwide there are more than that, but in the United States who are committing abortions. That’s part of their daily work. What message, especially for you having this realization of the life in the womb and feeling forgiven, knowing you’ve been forgiven what message would you send, would you want to share with all of them?

Aultman: That these are people. I would want them to have as much compassion for that baby as they would for the woman who’s in the circumstance of having the unplanned pregnancy. Because in the one case, when you think about it, there’s not that much time from the point you find out that you’re pregnant to the point that you deliver. Months. Not that many months.

So you’re thinking you’re helping this poor woman. There are alternatives for her, okay? There aren’t any alternatives for the baby. So you’re, in order not to inconvenience this person, or make her feel bad about “giving her baby away” or whatever you’re then taking the life of this other person, who never gets to experience the light of day. Never can grow up and be who they’re supposed to be. So, have as much compassion for the baby as you do for this woman. And let’s, as a society, provide the things that she needs to be able to thrive even though she’s had a pregnancy that was unplanned. So that we can encourage her, and help her, and also help this baby.

Rose: You have been a member of the American College of Obstetricians [and] Gynecologists for years, so those are the doctors, ACOG, the medical professionals of the United States who are involved in women’s healthcare.

They are pro-abortion. They support abortion. Tell us a little bit about your experience with ACOG, having gone from doing abortions now to being a pro-life advocate.

Aultman: It really saddens me because they’re the ones who really should be up to bat for women and their babies. And most obstetricians care about both patients – the mother and the baby.

As a matter of fact, and I didn’t tell you this earlier, not many people can continue to do abortions. They may do them during their residency training, but very few of them go on to do abortions because the normal human cannot be ripping apart and killing other human beings for very long, if you have a conscience. And that’s why there aren’t that many abortionists, because people just can’t continue to do it. Something happens along the way, where they see the light, and they realize what they are doing.

Rose: Do you think there’s a lot of doctors like that, who are members of ACOG, that went to medical school, that had to commit abortions in residency, then stopped – they don’t do it anymore – but they’re not as outspoken as you are. They’re not sharing their story. Why do you think that is?

Aultman: One, because they don’t want their pregnant patients to know they did abortions. Because here they’re trying to take care of their babies and do all of that, and most women don’t like the idea of someone taking care of their baby if they did abortions. So I think that’s a biggie.

It’s very embarrassing to say that you’ve done it. Most people want to hide that fact, they don’t want to put it out there.…

Imagine if all those doctors came forward to say, “yes, I did abortions during my training, and I regret it. It was a terrible thing to have done.” Think what would happen if all the women who’ve had abortions came forward and said what it really did to them. You know, the devastation it wreaked in their lives, which doesn’t show up on polls and things like that because women don’t want to talk about it. And oftentimes, it doesn’t hit them until they’ve either had a child later or they haven’t been able to have a child because of the abortion.

Rose: Dr. Aultman, you also testified multiple times, including before the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, and you shared, as a former abortionist, what actually happens during a dismemberment abortion. So you’re talking about the baby. And you’re describing it in detail. But you’re sitting in front of, sometimes, groups of legislators who are still supportive of abortion through all nine months. What do you – I mean, it’s one thing, we talked about doctors, but for legislators, why do you think that is? How do we change them?

Aultman: I think they were the same as I was. They’re believing a lie. It is a delusion that is so powerful that it’s very difficult to get past. They truly believe they’re doing the right thing. I think some of them feel that if they become antiabortion they’ll lose the female vote. I think that’s probably a big one. But also, I think many of them really believe they’re doing the right thing. It’s a woman’s choice. We’ve convinced them that it should be a woman’s choice. So they see it as a choice issue, not a life-and-death issue. They don’t see the baby as a baby. They see it as an embryo, or a fetus.
And I think what may get through to them, I think, are their constituents telling them they don’t agree with their pro-abortion stand. And hopefully some friends that might come into their life who might gently talk to them about it and explain why their position is incorrect.

It wasn’t people yelling at me, berating me, trying to make me feel guilty, that’s not what changed my opinion. It was people loving me, even though I was pro-abortion and me respecting them and then them telling me, “well, maybe you should consider this.”

Rose: And the friends who had the courage to share that Holocaust article with you.

Aultman: Right. That’s really what did it.

Rose: Friends willing to talk to you about it in a loving way.

Aultman: In a loving way.… And I think that’s what’s critical. Because I actually used to think all of you pro-lifers were crazy radicals, rabid, nasty people. And I think that’s the opinion of many pro-abortion people.

Rose: They’ve got to get to know us.

Aultman: Yes. And as I have gotten to know people in the pro-life movement, I have found them to be the most loving, caring people that I’ve ever met.

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Former abortionist: Kathi A. Aultman

Written Testimony of Kathi A. Aultman, MD Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing March 15th 2016

Chairman Grassley, I would like to thank you for inviting me to participate in this hearing today. I have spent my entire career as a women’s advocate and have a keen interest in issues that impact women’s health. I come to you as someone who has done 1st and 2nd trimester abortions and who has treated women with the medical and psychological complications of abortions. I have cared for women and their babies throughout normal pregnancies, medically complicated ones, and those with fetal anomalies. I have taken care of women who decided to keep their unplanned pregnancies and those who aborted them. I have given birth vaginal vaginally twice and I have had an abortion. I also have a cousin who survived an abortion. I have testified on issues related to abortion in state courts and legislatures, and before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.

At the time I entered medical school I believed that the availability of abortion on demand was an issue of women’s rights. I felt that a woman should have control over her body and not be forced to bear a child she didn’t want. My commitment to women’s issues was strengthened as I was exposed to the discrimination inherent in medical school and residency at that time, and to the plight of the indigent women we served in our program. I also believed it was wrong to bring unwanted children into an overpopulated world where they were likely to be neglected or abused.

left-knee-and-hip-flexion

Foot of baby at 12 weeks
Foot of baby at 12 weeks

During my residency I was trained in 1st trimester abortions using the D&C with suction technique. I then sought and received special training in 2nd trimester D&E procedures during which the fetus is crushed and removed in pieces. After each procedure I had to examine the tissue carefully to account for all the body parts to make sure nothing was left to cause infection or bleeding. I was fascinated by the tiny but perfectly formed intestines, kidneys, and other organs and I enjoyed looking at their amazing cellular detail under the microscope. I realize it is hard to imagine someone being able to do that and be so detached but because of my training and conditioning a human fetus seemed no different than the chick embryos I dissected in college. I could view them with strictly scientific interest devoid of any of the emotions with which I would normally view a baby. I wasn’t heartless I just had been trained to compartmentalize these things.

If I had a woman come in with a miscarriage or a still birth and she had wanted the baby I was distraught with her and felt her pain. The difference in my mind was whether the baby was wanted or unwanted.

After my first year of training I got my medical license and was able to get a job moonlighting at a women’s clinic in Gainesville, Florida doing abortions. I reasoned that although the need for abortion was unfortunate, it was the lesser of two evils, and I was doing something for the wellbeing of women. I also could make a lot more money doing abortions than I could make working in an emergency room. I enjoyed the technical challenges of the procedure and prided myself on being really good at what I did. The only time I experienced any qualms about what I was doing was when I had my neonatal care rotation and I realized that I was trying to save babies in the NICU that were the same age as babies I was aborting, but I rationalized it, and was able to push the feelings to the back of my mind. My last year in residency I became pregnant but continued to do abortions without any reservations.

15 weeks
15 week

The first time I returned to the clinic after my delivery, however, I was confronted with 3 cases that broke my heart and changed my opinion about abortion. In the first case I discovered that I had personally done 3 abortions on a girl scheduled that morning. When I protested about doing the abortion, I was told by the clinic staff that it was her right to choose to use abortion as her method of birth control and that I had no right to pass judgment on her or to refuse to do the procedure. I told them it was fine for them to say but that I was the one who had to do the killing. Of course she got her abortion and despite my urging she told me she had no desire to use birth control. The next situation involved a woman who when asked by her friend if she wanted to see the tissue she replied “No! I just want to kill it!” I was taken aback by her hostility and lack of compassion towards the fetus.

The last case brought me to tears. This was a mother of four who didn’t feel she and her husband could support another child. How I hurt for that mother. What a terrible decision to have to make. She cried throughout her time at the clinic and that was the end of my abortion career. I had finally had made the obvious connection between fetus and baby.

I found out later that few doctors are able to do abortions for very long. Physicians are taught to heal, not harm. OB/GYNs especially, often experience a conflict of conscience because they are normally are concerned about the welfare of both their patients but in an abortion they are killing one of them.

Although many people view an abortion as just removing a blob of tissue, the abortionist knows exactly what he or she is doing because they must count the body parts after each procedure. Eventually the truth sinks in and if they have a conscience they can no longer do them.

My views also changed as I saw young women in my practice who did amazingly well after deciding to keep their unplanned pregnancies and those who were struggling with the emotional aftermath of abortion. It was not what I expected to see.

I will never forget one woman who had gone to the Orlando area for a late term abortion. She had not recovered from the horror of delivering her live 20+ week baby boy into the toilet. Her agony was compounded by the fact that her baby brother had died by drowning.

Another woman told me that she was seeing a psychiatrist because although she strongly believed in a woman’s right to choose abortion she couldn’t cope with the realization that she had killed her child. Some of my patients didn’t express any remorse until they realized they would never get pregnant either because of medical problems, advancing age, or personal issues. I personally didn’t have any concern or remorse about having had an abortion until after I had my first child. It was then that I mourned the child that would have been.

As a society we have shifted our priorities from basic human rights to women’s rights and have taught our young women that nothing should interfere with their right to do whatever they want with their bodies, especially when it comes to pregnancy. We have also done a good job of sanitizing our language to make abortion more palatable. We don’t speak about the “baby”, rather we talk about the “fetus”. The abortionist “terminates the pregnancy” rather than “killing the baby”. As medical doctors and as a society we have moved away from the idea that life is precious and closer to the utilitarian attitudes which wreaked so much havoc during the last century. In most ethical dilemmas we must weigh the rights of one person against the rights of another.

Even for the most staunch abortion supporter there is a line somewhere that they feel shouldn’t be crossed. I would agree that we need to give a women as much choice as possible in determining her future and what she does with her body but we must also recognize the truth that there are at least 2 people involved in a pregnancy and that at some point the rights of the weaker one deserve some consideration. Some people believe life begins at conception when the egg and sperm meet and should be safe guarded at that point. Others feel it isn’t until it is safely implanted it its mother’s uterus that it deserves protection. Many feel it should have some rights once it is viable or old enough to live outside the womb. Yet there are some who feel that the baby has no rights even in process of being born. Should a baby that can live outside the womb be given no consideration, no protection, and no rights, just because it is unwanted? Should we not at least have compassion on babies at 20 weeks gestation when their nervous systems are developed enough for them to experience pain and protect them from the excruciating pain of being dismembered or killed in other ways?

Hopefully we all agree that a mother should not be able to kill her 3 year old child; but what about an infant? There are some who advocate that a mother should have the right to euthanize her infant up until 3 months of age because there may be a defect that didn’t express itself at birth. I think most Americans would say that once a baby is born there is no question it should be protected and yet there are those who say that if it is unwanted but managed to survive an abortion it does not qualify for the same care that any other baby would get at the same gestation and it is OK to kill it. Is it the child’s fault that it is unwanted? Should it lose its rights simply for that reason? Doesn’t the government have a responsibility to protect that child even if its parents won’t? What if a baby is defective when it is born? We have laws to protect people with disabilities. Are we going to exclude babies, our most vulnerable citizens, from that protection? The problem is where does it stop? Where does a civilized society draw the line?

As legislators you have the burdensome task of writing the laws that govern our society and that the majority of people will accept. At the same time you must protect the most vulnerable among us. You are ultimately the ones who will determine where that line is drawn. It’s a difficult job. We are a people of many religions and traditions with different needs and wants.

In making your decision you should not forget that abortion generates a lot of money. Much of the power and influence behind the drive to prevent any restriction on abortion comes from those who make a profit on it and I am sad to say they have used a distorted view of women’s rights as a cover.

I have always thought of myself as a good person but at one point I was horrified by the realization that I had killed more people than most mass murderers. Today when I meet young men and women that I delivered, the joy of meeting them and knowing that I played a part in bringing them into the world safely, is clouded by the thought of all the ones I will never meet because I terminated their lives. I would not want to be in your shoes and have the burden of knowing that I could have prevented the deaths of thousands even millions and did nothing. I would encourage you to vote for both of these bills.

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Former Abortionist: Dr. Kathi Aultman

Columnist Phil Greenberg witnessed former abortion provider Kathi Aultman’s testimony at a trial on Partial Birth Abortion at a federal courthouse. From his column:

“One of the expert witnesses, Dr. Kathi Aultman of Orange park, Florida, explains that she no longer does abortions. She used to. She never thought overmuch about what it was she was destroying. Actually, she found it fascinating, how all the expelled parts fit together into a tiny, perfect being. Amazing. She would go down to Pathology and section them- the little hearts and livers and lungs.

But one day Dr. Aultman read an article comparing the abortion industry with the Holocaust.

“Personally,” she testifies, “I had a hard time understanding how the German doctors could do what they did during the war.” Now it became clear.  “Any time you take a group of people and consider them non-human, you can do anything to them. It wasn’t until I had my own baby and then read that article that I understood how the German doctors could do what they did….All of a sudden, I saw what happened to me during training.”

Phil Greenberg “A Perfectly Normal Morning” October 12, 1997.

From “To Life: A Collection of Editorials & Columns on Abortion, Life, and Choice” (Little Rock, Arkansas: The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 1999) P 91

9 to 10 week old unborn baby

On another day of testimony:

Testimony of Kathi A. Aultman, MD before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution at a Legislative hearing on HR 4965 the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2002”  July 9, 2002 

When I started my OB/GYN Residency, I was very pro-abortion. I felt no woman should have go through a pregnancy she didn’t want. I felt abortion was a necessary evil, and I was determined to provide women with the best abortion care possible. I perfected my D&C with suction technique and then convinced one of our local abortionists to teach me to do D&Es. I moonlighted at an abortion clinic in Gainesville as much as I could. The only time I felt uneasy was when I was on my neonatal rotation and I realized that the babies I was trying to save were the same size as the babies I had been aborting.

I continued to do abortions almost the entire time I was pregnant (with my eldest daughter) without it bothering me. It wasn’t until I delivered my daughter and made the connection between fetus and baby that I stopped doing abortions. I found out later that few doctors are able to do abortions for very long. OB/GYNs especially, often experience a conflict of interest because they normally are concerned about the welfare of both their patients but in an abortion they are killing one of them. It’s hard for most doctors to deliver babies and do abortions.abort10w9

It also has to do with the fact that to almost everyone else the pregnancy is just a blob of tissue, but the abortionist knows exactly what he is doing because he has to count all the parts after each abortion. I never had any doubt that I was killing little people, but somehow I was able to justify and compartmentalize that.

Even though I later became a Christian, I continued to be a staunch supporter of abortion rights. I just couldn’t stomach doing them myself anymore. It wasn’t until I read an article that compared abortion to the Holocaust that I changed my opinion. I had always wondered how the German doctors could do what they did to people. I realized that I was no better than they were. I had dehumanized the fetus and therefore felt no moral responsibility towards it.”

24 weeks. partial birth abortions were often done around this time
24 weeks. partial birth abortions were often done around this time
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