Abortion worker: women’s tears may be from physical pain

From a reporter who interviewed abortion doulas, abortion doulas work in clinics and help comfort women as they kill their babies:

“Vicki Bloom, who does birth and abortion work in New York, told me that … seeing tears on the table doesn’t mean the patient is having an emotional response — sometimes it just physically hurts. “There are people who can say, ‘I made this decision it was kind of tough; it was a really crappy day, but life goes on,’”

Alex Ronan “My Year As an Abortion DoulaThe Cut SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

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Abortion doula: “women scream and cry”

An abortion doula, who volunteers at an abortion clinic and comforts women while they’re having abortions, says:

“Some of the first-trimester patients scream and cry and shake”

Alex Ronan “My Year As an Abortion DoulaThe Cut SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

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Post-abortion woman: I didn’t expect the pain

From a woman named Beth, who had an abortion:

“My first recollection is I’m out on the gurney before going in the room, and the anesthesiologist has put an IV in, and I’m concerned about what kind of drugs he’s given me. It feels like he’s just patronizing me: ‘This is just some Valium. Don’t worry.’ And I can feel the burn when it would go into my veins. So then, once I went in to start the procedure, as I recall, it started hurting immediately. I could keep feeling the burn of the Valium going through, and so they just kept giving me more and more. And that’s when I felt delirious, when I just shouted for Jesus to forgive me. I had no control, and I thought that it was gonna kill me. I didn’t expect that pain. … I’ve thought since that maybe I was further along than they thought, and maybe that’s why it ended up being so difficult.”

Before the procedure began, Beth recalled “wishing I could die so I wouldn’t have to do this. I felt very guilty.”

Cara J. Marianna Abortion: A Collective Story (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002) 114-115

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Woman compares her abortion to incest

In a book by a Planned Parenthood worker, a woman named Lisa comments on how painful her abortion was and how it brought on negative emotions:

“My abortion was physically painful. My body doesn’t react well to being invaded – it’s incest stuff. I really think it was emotional pain being put on the physical level because I didn’t know where else to put it.”

Anna Runkle In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion (San Francisco: Jossey–Bass Publishers, 1998) 34

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Abortion doula is reluctant to tell woman about abortion pain

Kim is a woman about to have an abortion and her doula’s name is Kat. Kat struggles to answer Kim’s question about how painful her abortion will be.

“Kim exhales, looks up at the ceiling then back at Kat [the doula]. “Is it gonna hurt?”

Kat pauses. This is one of the most common questions a doula gets asked before a procedure. It’s covered extensively in training, and while every doula has a slightly different turn of phrase, there is a standard approach that the Doula Project and the clinics we work with use. “Do you get cramps with your period?”….

Kim then says:

“You will feel something,” Kat explains, carefully choosing her words. “Everyone has a different reaction but for a few minutes it will feel like very strong period cramps.”

Mary Mahoney and Lauren Mitchell The Doulas: Radical Care for Pregnant People (New York: Feminist Press, 2016) 86-87

Read more about the physical pain abortion can cause. 

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Woman describes abortion pain as “Worst thing I’ve ever felt”

A woman describes the pain she felt in an abortion by pill:

“After leaving the clinic, I actually felt physically fine, but was advised to get a taxi home instead of walking.

But the pain that came afterwards was the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my life. I couldn’t even move, it was like taking on the period pains of 100 women combined. There was so much blood that I’d have to change my sanitary towel every hour. Overnight, my sheets were covered in blood beyond repair.”

Danielle Fersey  “What it’s really like to have an abortion”  Babe 9/5/2016

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Woman describes abortion: “God, the pain!”

Karen T, age 23, tells her abortion story:

“They told me the local would be less dangerous and that general anesthetics would give me cramps and make me throw up and have to stay there for hours recovering from it. The local, they said, was just a shot in the cervix which has no nerve endings, and that I’d be out in 45 minutes. And like an ass I believed them… Instead of shaving my crotch, they spray-painted it with some orange disinfectant. It was like graffiti. Then I saw a long syringe and nearly died. But it didn’t hurt, just like they said. The doctor said he’d have to dilate me three times with rods to open me up enough. So when he starts to work, the nurse start asking me dumb questions like what religion I am and who the father was. God, the pain. I was screaming and the doctor was getting worried. “Hang on,” he kept saying, “It’ll be over in just a minute.” I kept screaming back, “You said there’d be no pain and you lied!” Then they made me sit up and I didn’t know if I was going to faint or throw up. The nurse gave me some smelling salts and led me over to a cot… The cramping got so bad I had had to stay there five hours.”

Linda Bird Francke The Ambivalence of Abortion (Random House, 1978) quoted in Ann Saltenberger Every Woman Has a Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion (Glassboro, New Jersey: Air – Plus Enterprises, 1983)

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Study: Women report “severe pain” during their abortions

U.S. researchers found that most women report “moderate or more discomfort” during their abortions. Researchers say they  had not expected so many to report “severe pain.”

L. Borgatta and D. Nickinovich, “Pain during early abortion,” Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Vol. 42, No. 5 (May 1997), pp. 287-293.

For more quotes and information on the pain women feel during abortion, go here. 

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Abortionist talks about pain and pain control

One abortionist, on anesthesia and woman’s pain during abortion:

Abortions are not comfortable procedures. While I know that they are often done using nothing more than a paracervical block, I’m not convinced this is adequate in all circumstances, and the level of pain control can vary.

Dr. Toub

Tracey-Kay Caldwell. “Dr. Toub Discusses the Safety of at Home Abortions” Bella Online, 2013

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Abortion can be “uncomfortable” procedure

“It is now becoming apparent that, contrary to wishful thinking, abortion can be a relatively uncomfortable procedure. For early abortion many patients can be managed adequately with mild sedation and paracervical local anesthesia, but for a “considerable” number this is not sufficient to provide satisfactory analgesia, nor to prevent agitated and abrupt pelvic movements which can only contribute to increasing the complications rate…”

Thomas W Hilgers “The Medical Hazards of Legally Induced Abortion” from Abortion and Social Justice edited by Thomas W Hilgers and Dennis J Horan (Kansas City, Missouri: Sheed & Ward, 1972)

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