Former Clinic Worker Deborah Henry

Deborah Henry was hired at an abortion clinic after working at a clinic that did not do abortions. She gives her testimony at the Meet the Abortion Providers Conference in 1993.

“We had quite a few women coming through the clinics who would be referred for abortions.

Three of the doctors that I worked for in that clinic had their own practice and they had four different offices throughout the area. This is where our referrals [were] to.

After a while, I wanted to get out of the clinic because they just weren’t paying enough money. A doctor offered me a position in his own private practice in Livonia, so I took the position. He explained to me that they did the abortions, but again, I didn’t think too much of it. At that time, I was pro-choice, or pro-abortion as now I would say it, and I didn’t really think much about what abortion was. I used to think of abortion as eliminating a problem, instead of killing a baby.

The women who would come into the office mostly came in for an abortion. We only did about four a day–it wasn’t like a typical abortion clinic, but we did more than our share. The women would go through routine exams, blood work and blood pressure, and then we would confirm the pregnancy with a urine test. I did not experience any of the women having abortions who were not pregnant, although this may have happened. I just was not aware of it.

The reasons that women had for having an abortion were totally unreal. I can see this now; but at that time, the brainwashing helped me to understand why they had to have these abortions. We were told as medical assistants that we were there to help the women, no matter what the reasons were. Many women could not afford to have babies, so we would use examples–like the price of babies’ shoes, the price of clothing, how much it cost to raise a baby. If they weren’t finished with their education, the hindrance it would have on their education, how they would have to find a baby sitter, who was going to take care of that baby for them? We would find their weaknesses and work on them. After the basic questions, they were told briefly about what was to happen to them after the procedure. All they were told about the procedure itself was that they would experience slight cramping similar to menstrual cramps, and that was it. They were not told about the development of the baby. They were not told about the pain that the baby would be experiencing or the physical effects or the emotional effects that it would have on them. They had no idea who was going to be there to help them when they fell apart afterwards. They were taken into the room then, and, as I said, there was no counseling done. These women basically had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They were just told to lay on the table; they were undressed.

Some of the women were a little apprehensive about it. We were told that in explaining to them that we could never use the word “babies.” It was always tissues, tissues of cells or clusters of cells or products of conception. We would then start the procedure.

unborn baby at eight weeks

There were three basic procedures that we would use, and I will go into a little bit more detail about them. The first one is the most common procedure that is used–that is the vacuum curettage. From some research that has been done, it was explained that the suction on these machines is 49 times stronger than that of your home vacuum cleaner. I realize that many of you are familiar with many of the procedures that we do, and some of you may not be. But for those of you who are, please bear with me and just think about what I am saying. I have seen this, and I am here to reaffirm what you have heard, because everything you read about is the truth. None of this is lies. We don’t exaggerate any of it.

The vacuum curettage is normally done between 6 and 8 weeks of pregnancy. The instrument is inserted into the woman’s uterus, and then the baby is sucked out of the uterus. She experiences the pain and the baby is then pulled into the jar. We would take it out of the little sac, lay it in the pan. The doctor would then come in and examine it. If he felt that it was adequate enough tissue, we would take the baby, put it into a jar and send it to the lab if the mother had insurance. If she had no insurance, the baby was simply put down the garbage disposal.

14 weeks – early D&Es are done at this stage

The second common procedure that I have assisted in is the D&E, which is dilation and evacuation. This is normally done between 9 and 16 weeks of pregnancy. I noticed many times that the laminaria was brought into the description. But in my experience, we did not use laminaria all the time; sometimes, we did. A laminaria would be inserted the day before and then the next day, the women would come back in to have the procedure done. However, on the ones that did not have the laminaria, we would use instruments, that are like long metal rods and each end is a little wider than the last one which were inserted into the cervix to help dilate it. of course, through this procedure, the woman is going through a lot of pain. She is given an IV of Valium and Sublimaze to help make her relax, but she is awake during the whole procedure.

The procedure starts with an aspiration of the fluid, and then the doctor uses his forceps to go in and literally break the limbs off of the baby. There was one incident where a white piece came out and I asked the doctor later on what it was, and it was the baby’s skull. I can still, to this very day, hear the crushing noise of that baby’s skull being crushed. The women are feeling pain. It is not until after the procedure that they realize what is happening to their baby or to themselves. Ninety percent of these women start crying afterwards and it is not because of the pain.”


20 weeks – candidate for D&E

“The women were never given any type of alternatives to the abortion. It was just automatically assumed that they knew what they wanted. They were never told about adoption agencies. They were never told about people out there who were willing to help them–to give them homes to live in, to provide them with care and even financial support. The euphemisms that are used — clusters of cells, products of conception, or just plain tissue — are all lies.

10 weeks

I have been there, and I have seen these totally formed babies as early as 10 weeks, a couple of inches long with a leg missing, or with their head off. These are things that I have to live with now. I know the Lord has forgiven me, but I can never erase those things from my mind. The sounds of those bones breaking, The sight of those babies. It seems like the longer I go on working with the Pro-Life people, the more it is affecting me. I can understand the reality of a baby inside of you–a full baby growing.

One of the famous lines that the doctor’s wife used to use after the procedure, when she would come in and the women were crying–she would pat them on their shoulder and say: “It’s okay, honey, everybody makes mistakes–that’s why pencils have erasers.” How can you erase that thought from your mind? Where is she going to be when that woman is threatening suicide because she realizes that she killed her child, and there is no bringing that baby back. Where is she going to be then? She is off, counting her money and buying new cars, or whatever. She doesn’t care.

When I was in Nuremberg, I came across an interesting story I always repeat this when I speak–about little Josh. His mother went through a divorce and had an affair shortly afterwards. She got pregnant and she was forced to have an abortion. Afterwards, she kept experiencing pain, so she went to the doctor. She had not had any relationships since this one. So, she knew that she could not have been pregnant again because she had had the abortion and had not had any relations. That doctor had told her that what had happened was that because of the abortion, she developed a tumor, and that they were going to have to perform a hysterectomy. She was on the table, just about ready for the surgery, when the doctor did another exam and found that it was not a tumor. She was, in fact, still pregnant. She continued on with the pregnancy and little Josh was a miracle in himself. At the program, he had a sweatshirt on that said: “I Survived the Abortion Holocaust.” Unfortunately, because of the procedure, he did have a scar on the side of his head, and slightly impaired hearing and vision. What they think happened was that he might have had a twin that was, indeed, aborted.

10 to 12 weeks

We had a rather interesting group of people outside of our clinic–the picketers. They were out there almost every single day, with their signs, walking back and forth, really looking ridiculous out there. We were told to ignore them because they were silly. They didn’t know what they were doing. They didn’t understand the justification for these women, and, of course, I believed it. So when I would go to my car every day they were out there. I would look down–I wouldn’t look at them at all. I was afraid that they would say something to me. But I found out that they were all very loving people. One of them in particular is Lynn Mills. She is the Director of the Michigan Pro-Life Action League. We have since become best of friends.

One day we decided to meet at a local restaurant with one of my other co-workers, and she had taken along one of her friends. We debated all of these questions that I thought meant that it was okay to have an abortion. Lynn had a reason or an answer for every single question that I had for her. I went back. It took a little while longer, but eventually it hit home. More than that, I think it was the Lord working on me then. I really think that he has given me the strength to endure everything that I saw in that clinic. I was only there for six months, but I think there was a reason for it because now I can go out and tell everybody what I experienced.

16 weeks

There are a few more experiences that I want to go into before I forget. There was one incident of a baby who was about 16 weeks. One of the girls had called me into the lab as she was cleaning up, and on the end of the cannula, which was the instrument at the end of the hose, was a little baby’s foot. It was about half an inch long. This foot was perfectly formed. I couldn’t believe it. I was so amazed by the sight of it. It was all black and blue. When you drop something on your foot and your foot becomes bruised, it is usually because of pain. This baby’s body was completely ripped apart because of the abortion.

In another incident, the hose popped off of the machine, and we had blood splattered all over us. This poor woman just lay there and cried. It was too late for any of us to do anything about it. That baby was dead.

I was told that one of the Pro-Life problems is that we talk too much about the babies being ripped apart. We show terrible pictures–we dwell on these too much. What are we supposed to do? This is the reality of abortion. Are we supposed to say, Oh, don’t go into that abortion–your fetus, or tissues, will become deceased? It doesn’t make sense. You tell them the truth–the facts. We are not there to lie to them. I am there to tell them the truth. Babies are being ripped up. Yes, babies do look like this after an abortion. And yes, it does hurt your baby, and most of all, it does affect the woman.

There was an incident of a 14-year-old girl this past spring, who was pregnant. Her mother forced her to have an abortion. The doctor botched it up and now she’s sterile. How is that mother going to answer to that girl when she grows up and understands later on that she will never be able to have a child?

We had a lady who came into the clinic who was married to a foreign man. This was really interesting because still, to this very day, I don’t understand how this marriage was existing. He could not speak English, and she couldn’t speak his language. I guess there was some communication, but not enough. She told him that she wanted to make a baby. He didn’t know what he was doing and she ended up pregnant. So when she told him they were going to have a baby, he was upset. He didn’t want a baby. He didn’t know this was what he was doing. So, she went in and had an abortion. Just like that–for no reason. She didn’t want a baby now. That was it.

five weeks

We had another woman who came into the clinic who was on her ninth abortion. She was about 40 years old. Nine! There is no justification for it. I just don’t understand it. I get dumbfounded sometimes just thinking about it again.


Our doctors used to also work with surrogates, which is becoming a very popular thing now for infertility patients. I couldn’t understand how he could go in one room and kill a baby, and go in the next room and give his full effort in trying to impregnate another woman for a couple who could not have a baby. It was even stranger because every once in a while, we would get a letter from, for instance, a couple in California who couldn’t have any children. They were sending letters out to different offices, hoping that they would get a response from a pregnant woman who was willing to give up her baby for adoption to them. The doctor wouldn’t consider that at all. I mentioned it to him. I said that this couple was so nice–a nice picture, a nice home, and they made nice money. They could offer a baby everything. I asked the doctor why we couldn’t refer one of our women to them? He said that we couldn’t do that–the women were here because that is what they want to do and we were not to interfere with their decision. That was all of the answer that we would ever get.

Probably the most effective thing that converted me over was a nightmare that I had one night, shortly after I had met with Lynn. I had this dream that I was in the examining room with the doctor, and we had just completed an abortion. Alongside her table was another little table and we had a little baby that was about so long. I had never really experienced this, but this baby was born. He was just laying on the side of the table. His little leg was dangling off the side and his body was covered with a paper towel. The mother looked over and said, “Do I have to lay here and look at this baby?” The doctor asked me to take the baby into the lab. I picked up the baby, It was one of those dreams where there is an endless hall, and you are walking on and on and on, and you are never getting to your destination. All I could feel in my hand was this big baby. I woke up and I was crying and in a sweat. I was never so shaken by anything in my life. It was the most horrible experience that I have ever had. For the first time in my life, I realized that what I had been involved in was killing innocent babies. I didn’t do the abortion itself, but I might as well have. I handed those instruments to the doctor. I still have nightmares–not as often and not as much, but I think it is a reminder to tell me that I have to keep going on for these babies, and with the love and support that I get from all my new Pro-Life friends, I am able to do this. I hope that there are some people here infiltrating our convention because you know what I am saying is true. I want you to think about this. When you go home and you have nightmares about those dead babies, it is because you are killing them. That is all there is to it. Abortion is murder. There is no other way to put it. Hopefully, you will call one of us, and, I guarantee, we will be there with open arms to greet you and to help you through this ordeal.

This testimony came from a conference held by The Pro-Life Action League

Please also visit the Pro-Life Action League’s abortion providers page for more info. 

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