Here is Dr. Brewer’s speech given at the Meet the Abortion Providers convention which was sponsored by The Pro-Life Action League in Chicago.
“You know, when Mr. Scheidler came to our room last evening to give us the program for the day, when he walked in I had forgotten how tall he is. It’s really neat to be able to look pretty much right-on into somebody’s eyes instead of looking down. I guess my dear mother and father did real good with the prenatal vitamins and also all those vitamins that were in vogue back in the 1940s when I was growing up.
You know, we all wear different hats and I have a lot of different hats, too. I’m a husband, I’m a father, I’m a doctor (OB/GYN), and I’m a concerned citizen about political issues and other issues of our day–and I was an abortionist, and am now known as what we call a cross-over; one who’s made the change. That’s due to my Lord, Jesus Christ, because Christ made a change in my life, and I want to share what that part of my life was like before and then after.
People are not naturally against life. Kids love other kids. Teenage girls (and we have several) like children. Mothers of children like children. There are trying moments, but we love our children. Fathers and mothers love their children. So, you have to be trained to hate children. We have to be trained against life. When we go to church, we don’t hear the pro-abortion story. When we read in the Bible, we don’t hear the pro-abortion story. When we talk with our mother and father about how they feel about us, etc., we don’t hear the pro-abortion story. When I talk with my mother about her and my dad having me, I don’t hear that they considered abortion. So the point is that we have to be trained to hate. We have to be trained to be against life.
Dr. Hill shared a little bit about his experience, and he took some of my lines. But it’s interesting, isn’t it, that two doctors who had done abortions before and went to different medical schools and trained in different areas of the country, and now are living and practicing in different areas of the country, would have a type of common beginning.
It happened after medical school as I began my residency in OB/GYN. You know, we learn on-the-job. A lot of medicine is on the-job training. A lot of medicine, including surgery, has a lot of skill that’s a mechanical, technician-type skill. Working on a car to fix it, putting in wiring in a home, doing plumbing, doing a Caesarean Section, doing a hysterectomy, taking a mole or a lump off, doing a D&C. A D&C is a common procedure that we use often in OB/GYN to get a sample of the lining of the uterus. For example, an older woman who is having trouble with bleeding, or a younger woman who had a problem with hormone balance or is/was having problems with her periods.
And so, as we learn that in residency, there came a time when we went to the clinic to learn about abortion. After all, abortion was just applying the technique of a D&C to a woman who was in a little different state–she was pregnant.
In 1973, when abortion was legalized, Dr. Hill mentioned New York (where I was trained, born and brought up) was one of the first states to go along with that. So I can remember in my training when they used to fly women from Ohio to New York to several of the doctors who worked at the hospital where I was training to have their abortions. Now there wasn’t a big local outcry in the community that I knew of, but I do know that as this doctor built a new house, funded partly by monies from these abortions, that his new home became known around town as “Abortion Manor.” So I began to understand that there was something about abortion that many people did not agree with.
We went to church as a family. We were taken to church, but we weren’t a Christian family. My parents weren’t Christians at that time; none of us were either. So as I went into residency, I didn’t have the type of moral and ethical background or preparation from the home that many people have. I didn’t have strong standards for myself.
I can remember that day watching the first abortion with the resident doctor sitting down and putting the tube in and removing the contents, and I saw the bloody material coming down the plastic tube and it went into a big jar. The first one. I’d never seen one before. I didn’t know what to expect. Well, it was my job afterwards to go undo the jar and see what was inside. It was kind of neat, learning about a new experience. I wasn’t a Christian; I didn’t have any views on abortion; I was in a training program; this was a brand-new experience. I was going to get to see a new procedure and learn, and that was exciting.
And it got more exciting as I opened the jar and took the little piece of stockinette and opened that little bag, and the resident doctor said, now put it on that blue towel and check it out. We want to make sure that we got it all. I thought, oh, that will be exciting hands-on experience, looking at tissue. And I opened the sock up and I put it on the towel and there were parts in there of a person. I’d taken anatomy; I was a medical student; I knew what I was looking at. There was a little scapula and an arm and I saw some ribs and a chest, and I saw a little tiny head, and I saw a piece of a leg, and I saw a tiny hand, and I saw an arm. You know, it was like somebody put a hot poker into me. I believe that God gives us all a conscience and I wasn’t a Christian, but I had a conscience and that hurt.
I checked it out and there were two arms and two legs and one head, etc., and I turned and said, I guess you got it all. That was a very hard experience for me to go through, emotionally. If I’d been a Christian against abortion it would have been simple–I wouldn’t have been there. And if I’d been excited and wanted to do them and excited about the money that I’d make later in practice, I would have been on the opposite end. But here I was with no real convictions, caught in the middle.
So I did what a lot of us do throughout our life, we don’t do anything. I didn’t talk with anybody about it. I didn’t talk with my folks about it. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t look in the Bible because I wasn’t a Christian, and so I did nothing, and do you know what happened? I got to see another abortion.
You know what? That one hurt, too. But I didn’t do anything again and kept seeing abortions, and do you know what? It hurt a little bit less every time I saw one. Do you know what happened next? I got to sit down and do one, because you see one, you do one, and you teach one, as Dr. Hill mentioned.
The first one that I did was kind of hard. It was like hurting again like a hot poker. But after a while it got to where it didn’t hurt.
I’m reminded of a summer when I was a 15-year-old boy, and, you know, when you’re 15 it’s tough, because you have to be 16 in New York State to get working papers, and so I wasn’t 16 yet and I wanted to earn some money and I couldn’t get working papers. I couldn’t work at a McDonald’s (I don’t even know if we had McDonald’s then!). But I couldn’t get a job and work in a place, so I decided to start my own little business. My dad had a lawn mower and I got a sickle and I had some trimmers, and went out and took care of people’s yards and had a little lawn and garden service. I did pretty well financially that summer. But, you know, the first couple of weeks, my hands hurt and I got big blisters. I was using tools that my hands were used to, all day, every day. That was like my heart when I saw and did abortions. But then you know, after a few weeks, I got calluses on my hands and pretty soon they didn’t look real good, but, boy, my hands could work all day and no blisters and no pain.
That’s what happened to my heart as I saw the abortions and then began doing them. My heart got callused. My heart was callused against the fact that I was a murderer.
That happens to us sometimes in life and it’s a hard thing. But I got so callused that when I was on duty at night some of the doctors who were in partnership with the doctor who lived in Abortion Manor would come in to do their saline abortions. These were women who were farther along, and they would do five in a night…line the women up all in one big room and put the needles in and put the salt solution in, and then there would be five therapeutic miscarriages, right? Five times 500 is 2,500. That’s not bad fifteen years ago for one night’s extra work. You do that a couple of nights a week and that’s a lot of money. But I really had no concept, having been through medical school even, of what was inside because when we got on the OB service we delivered normal, healthy babies most of the time. There weren’t very many miscarriages at four and five months. Once in a while we would see one.
But once they began doing abortions and doing the saline abortions, and I would take my turn with the other residents being on duty, guess who came in at night to take care of the women when they had trouble delivering the babies or had trouble delivering the afterbirths? The doctor who did it and made the money? No. It was me and the other residents. So I would go to a room and a lady would be screaming and crying and walk in, and here was like the “candy apple babies” that you’ve seen all scarred and burned from the salt solution, and the placenta would be stuck and we’d have to work with them, and once in a while we’d have to take them to surgery and do a D&C. Boy, that was grim! That was a lot worse than a little sock, because somebody else had to look through the sock now that I was a big resident and doing abortions and they had to check for me, so I didn’t have to look in the sock anymore.
But one night, a lady delivered and I was called to come and see her because she was uncontrollable. I went in the room and she was going to pieces. She was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The nurses were upset because they couldn’t get any work done and all the other patients were upset because this lady was screaming and I walked in, and here was her little saline abortion baby. It had been born and it was kicking and moving for a little while before it finally died of those terrible burns. Because the salt solution gets into the lungs and burns the lungs too.
Like Dr. Hill, I began thinking and you just think that if you club somebody on the head enough with a big club, they’d wake up, but like him, I had a very thick head, I guess, too. But I saw that more and more. Every time it would begin to eat away, I would thicken that callous a little bit more. I wasn’t making any money because I wasn’t in private practice yet. So it’s not that I was in it for the money. I was just simply uncommitted, and that’s the way a lot of people today are. We’re uncommitted; we’re afraid to stand up; we’re afraid to speak out. Maybe we aren’t afraid; we just don’t have our own convictions settled yet.
I remember another experience as a resident when I had an opportunity to help one of Abortion Manor’s partners on a hysterotomy. This lady was too far along for a suction D&C; we did not have prostaglandins in those days; we did not do D&Es very often in those days. So since she was in the second trimester and far enough along (four to five months), why she was going to have a hysterotomy. Well, that was kind of exciting to me, to see a Caesarian on a baby that young, so I helped on that surgery. I remember as we made the incision and got in and made the incision in the uterus, to see the baby move underneath the sack of membranes as the Caesarian incision was made before the doctor broke the water. The thought came to me, my God, that’s a person! Then he broke the water, and when he broke the water it was like I had a pain in my heart just like when I saw that first suction abortion. Then he delivered the baby and I couldn’t touch the baby. I wasn’t much of an assistant; I just stood there and the reality of what was going on was finally beginning to seep in to my calloused brain and heart. They simply took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking over and set it on the table in a cold stainless steel bowl. Every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in the uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person kicking and moving in that bowl. It kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at that baby when we were done with surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest moving as the heart beat and the baby would try and take a little breath, and it really hurt inside and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was.
What do we do when something gets so close to us that it hurts? We either fight it or we put it away. Either we fight it or we run. If somebody jumps out at me, I’m either going to run or I’m going to fight. I wasn’t equipped to fight, and so I ran. The way we run is by putting up barriers. My barrier was, well, boy, that really hurt; that was a living baby; now this abortion thing, I’ve got to deal with that somehow; I’m going to just have to decide something for myself here. This is not good. So I made a startling decision. I decided that, for me, life began when a baby could survive outside the uterus, and if I was involved in something like that, that would be an abortion. That was a nice smokescreen, wasn’t it? That meant that when I did the suction abortions I wasn’t killing anything. That meant that when I helped out on a saline abortion, and they said, do you want to do one? Sure, I’d like to try and see how the needle works and see how it goes. I wasn’t doing an abortion. That meant that the hysterectomy that I helped on was not an abortion because the baby couldn’t have survived outside. After all, it sat in the dish and died. So, for me, life began after 28 weeks and I continued doing abortions.
Then I saw more babies being born earlier and, you know, with our neonatal intensive care units and all of our modern technology. Back in 1973, we couldn’t do a whole lot other than on an anecdotal basis with babies that were even 28 weeks. But as technology increased, suddenly they were having luck with babies that were 28 weeks old, and then 27 weeks, and then 26 weeks. So I began to drop my smokescreen and I said, well, abortion then is after 27 weeks. Well, no, it’s after 26 weeks. Well, maybe it’s 24 weeks. Then I got to thinking maybe it’s 20 weeks. All I was doing was avoiding the problem.
The next smokescreen was, well, it’s really a baby when it’s all formed, so after 12 weeks it’s a baby so the first trimester abortions aren’t really abortions, and I can handle that. So I lived like that for a while.
I have big feet; I wear a size 14 shoe. All these different shoes I was trying on seemed big enough in the beginning, you know, but they were getting small real fast and they weren’t fitting. The next thing I knew I kept dropping my smokescreen back to where life occurred earlier and earlier.
When I became a Christian I realized that life occurs at conception. And once that startling discovery had been made, it was very simple to stop doing abortions. That decision and Christianity didn’t come during residency, however. After residency I went into the military for two years, and it’s hard for me to say these things because it took ten years for God to work in my life to where I was able to deal with the guilt that I felt for all the abortions that I had done. But when I went into the military, I used to take pride in the fact that if a woman came to me and she was pregnant and wanted the baby, I could take care of her. I had a fine training in OB/GYN. And, if a woman came to me and she did not want the baby, I took pride in the fact that I could take care of her as well by doing an abortion.
So, I was doing abortions in the military and we’d line them up. It was sort of like private practice, and we did a good number of abortions. At that time, my shoes had shrunk down to where now I had to wear the size that included just the first trimester.
What happened next in my life was that a very precious woman, who is now my wife, invited me to go to church. She wasn’t even a Christian at the time. But I went to church and guess what happened to me? What was I going to do with this girl who was coming in for an abortion, and I’ll tell you, that was a tough time for me. Because I had the feeling that if I did just the one more, then I wouldn’t have to do any again. I could just fulfill this commitment and do this last one, and that could be my last one.
But, you know, God reminded me of that calloused heart that I had developed, and that if I did one more, after making the commitment as a Christian, that I would get back into that same old problem again. So, by God’s grace, I told that girl that I couldn’t do it. I wish I had known what happened to her; I never did find out. But that was a turning point in my life and a very special time.
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