Wendy Simonds is a pro-choice author who observed abortions and interviewed abortion workers for her book Abortion at Work. She included a chapter on how abortion workers fought against pro-lifers, who she calls “anti-choice.”
She quotes one abortion worker saying:
“It’s just- I mean it looks like a baby. It looks like a baby. And especially if you get one that comes out, that’s not piecemeal. And you know, I saw this one, and it had its fingers in its mouth…it makes me really sad that that had to happen, you know, but it doesn’t change my mind. It’s just hard. And it makes me just sort of stop and feel sad about it, the whole necessity of it. And also….it’s very warm when it comes into the sterile room because it’s been in the mother’s stomach. It feels like flesh, you know…”
“Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic” by Wendy Simonds. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996
From an abortion provider’s speech at a conference on abortion:
“The procedure for mid-trimester termination was either a saline or prostaglandin injected [into the woman’s womb] to induce labor. The women actually delivered (or aborted) on the ward, either in bed or in a bedpan.
The nurse was left with all the difficult work – you could actually say all the “dirty” work…[T]he nurse had to weigh the fetus, the nurse had to place the fetus in a bag and transport it to a mortuary, the nurse had to clean bed, patients, and any remaining products.
The nurse had to answer patients’ questions, sometimes distressing, about the size, appearance, sex, disposal of the fetus, and whether it was still alive. The nurse had to deal with distressed patients and relatives…”
D. Krutli “Mid-trimester abortion service within a public hospital” Women and Surgery: Conference Proceedings (Melbourne: Healthsharing Women, 1990) 103
In a paper on the D&E abortion method, which at the time was new, an abortionist wrote:
“The fetus was extracted in small pieces to minimize cervical trauma. The fetal head was often the most difficult object to crush and remove, because of its size and contour. The operator kept track of each portion of the fetal skeleton….”
Sadja Goldsmith “Second Trimester Abortion by Dilation and Extraction (Evacuation) [D&E]: Surgical Techniques and Psychological Reactions” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians in Atlanta, Georgia Oct 13-14 1977
“There is violence in abortion, especially in second trimester procedures. Certain moments make this particularly apparent, as another story from my own experience shows. As a third-year resident I spent many days in our hospital abortion clinic. The last patient I saw one day was 23 weeks pregnant. I performed an uncomplicated D&E procedure. Dutifully, I went through the task of reassembling the fetal parts in the metal tray. It is an odd ritual that abortion providers perform – required as a clinical safety measure to ensure that nothing is left behind in the uterus to cause a complication – but it also permits us in an odd way to pay respect to the fetus (feelings of awe are not uncommon when looking at miniature fingers and fingernails, heart, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands), even as we simultaneously have complete disregard for it.
Then I rushed upstairs to take overnight call on labour and delivery. The first patient that came in was prematurely delivering at 23–24 weeks. As her exact gestational age was in question, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team resuscitated the premature newborn and brought it to the NICU. Later, along with the distraught parents, I watched the neonate on the ventilator. I thought to myself how bizarre it was that I could have legally dismembered this fetus-now-newborn if it were inside its mother’s uterus – but that the same kind of violence against it now would be illegal, and unspeakable. Yes, I understand that the vital difference between the fetus I aborted that day in clinic, and the one in the NICU was, crucially, its location inside or outside of the woman’s body, and most importantly, her hopes and wishes for that fetus/baby. But this knowledge does not change the reality that there is always violence involved in a second trimester abortion, which becomes acutely apparent at certain moments, like this one. I must add, however, that I consider declining a woman’s request for abortion also to be an act of unspeakable violence.”
“In some hospitals [that do abortions] …the patient is conscious. I wouldn’t be able to stand it, to lie there and listen to this suction thing go sworrpp and then hear something splash into the bottle on top of the machine. It’s bad enough for a doctor to hear, but how must the woman feel, knowing that splash was her fetus or baby that just got sucked out of her? Not only that, but in a lot of places the bottle sitting up there on the machine isn’t changed between abortions… To save time, many clinics just let the bottle fill up. Can you imagine walking into a room where there was a bloody bottle full of other people’s abortions?”
William J. Sweeney III, MD, Barbara Lang Stern Woman’s Doctor: A Year in the Life of an Obstetrician-Gynecologist (New York: Morrow & Company, 1973) 206-207
Below: preborn babies at 8 weeks, before and after abortion
many years ago i remember a patient telling me that she chose our clinic because she could tell that we respected her and knew that we would therefore respect the life within her. it was very important to her that she have trust in the clinic she chose because she felt that, given her life circumstances, returning her baby to god was the kindest, most maternal thing she could do for it.
i assured her that her feeling was correct, that we in fact do all we can to honor the life that women are unable to continue and we encourage them to find their own way to make peace with the pregnancy (whether it be a baby or a “pre-baby” to them), figure out how to forgive themselves and also to continue working through any religious or spiritual issues if they have them….
The blog goes on to say:
our clinic is the kind of place where women can ask, as one did today, if we would bless and baptize her baby. i was able to do that for her. honoring her pregnancy as she herself chooses is part of what we hope to do for each woman. using water (she had planned to bring holy water with her but had at the last minute forgotten it) and saying the words i know from my catholic upbringing, i did as she asked. she had a name in mind for the baby, one that could work for either gender and i gave it that name.
we want to be a clinic that respects life, that honors women’s choices. the two are compatible. believe me!
here is a picture of a baby whose life was “respected” in an abortion clinic
Two abortionists describing selective abortions done on multiple pregnancies:
“Using ultra-sound to locate each fetus, the doctors would insert a needle into the chest cavity of the most accessible fetus and place the needle tip directly into the heart of the baby. Potassium chloride was then injected into the heart and the heart was viewed on the ultrasound screen until it stopped beating. Even at 9 weeks, 3 of the 12 fetuses selected for elimination presented problems. The heart continued to beat and the procedure had to be repeated.”
“Selective Abortion, AKA Pregnancy Reduction.” New England Journal of Medicine, April 21, 1988