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.
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.Share on Facebook