NAF conference: abortionist Glenna Boyd on coping with second trimester abortion

This is a transcript of one of the videos leaked from the National Abortion Federation convention. These videos were recorded in secret by David Daleiden

The National Abortion Federation filed suit to keep all the videos taped at their conference away from the public, but an individual unaffiliated with the Center for Medical Progress leaked them.

I have composed this transcript after listening to the video. It may not be accurate in every detail. When I have been in doubt, I have inserted a question mark. There may be errors in this even though I did my best to be accurate.

The video is of a panel discussion entitled “2nd Trimester Providers Self Care” which featured several different speakers. I am making a separate post for each speech.

The abortionists who spoke at this panel all do late term abortions.

In order for the reader to keep in mind the business the Dr. Glenna Boyd is in, I am posting examples of the handiwork of abortionists like her  throughout the transcript.  These pictures are of what she does every day.


The 1st thing I need to ask is, can you hear me, because I have a soft voice. Okay. Cassing (?) asked me to talk about self-care in the face of such a variety of stressful events. I actually made notes out of fear that I would get lost in the morass of this. So this is not cathartic storytelling for me. I would prefer to forget some of these experiences. [Laughter] So in general, I’m going to say just about enough of each situation to spark associations to your own experiences, real or feared. I’ve got 5 different categories.

15 weeks

15 weeks

The 1st is violence. So I’ll tell you that we’ve had 2 major arsons. Our administrative office in Dallas was burned to the ground on Christmas Eve of 1988. It was one of those Christmas presents to the baby Jesus, that we heard about in the 80s that the Reagans were so grateful for, they sent the arsonists notes in prison. The only reason (I’m not making that up), the only reason that the entire clinic didn’t go down was that there was literally a firewall between that office in the back and the remainder of the clinic.

Our entire Albuquerque clinic was burned to the ground in the night of December 7, 2007, so I don’t need to tell you that Christmas is not my favorite holiday.

The 2nd category of the fence is demonization by the media. My 1st experience with that was following a patient death in 1980. The death occurred on January 22, the 7th anniversary of the court decision legalizing abortion. A local TV news reporter and her cameraman burst into our staff meeting, with the reporter speaking into her microphone demanding that we, and I’m porting over here, “explain how we had killed a patient the previous day.” [Mutters of sympathy] we had nightly coverage at 5, 6, and 10, culminating on Friday with a heart-wrenching interview with the bereaved husband and the woman’s parents. The following week, when the office of the medical examiner in Dallas determined that the death, which was due to fulminating DIC was unpredictable and un-preventable, that was reported on page 7 of the Dallas Morning News. Again, we had a similar experience (okay, Shelley, was it this past fall or a year ago? Time flies when you’re having fun – was a 2012?) (Other abortionist: You know, one coping mechanism is to forget about it!) [Laughter]

18  weeks

18 weeks

So, either fall of 2012 or 2013.… Just before the New Mexican board ruled on charges that were brought against Doctor Sella based on complaints from Operation Rescue, the Albuquerque Journal chose to do a front-page story on the Sunday edition of the Journal, reciting Operation Rescue’s version of events. It was complete with a photo of Doctor Sella, a still taken from After Tiller, and an entire sidebar about the patient and her very tragic story, enough identifying information to violate all HIPAA regulations and literally reduce this woman’s life to a circus sideshow. When the New Mexico Board of medicine issued its ruling exonerating Doctor sella on all charges, and praising our quality of patient care 4 days later, that wasn’t front-page news.

The 3rd thing is a malpractice suit that was brought out against us, a physician who worked with us in Albuquerque which went to trial, jury trial, not once, but twice. This case from start to finish lasted for 10 years. We saw the patient in 1997, that’s when the complication occurred. The suit was filed in 1999 and it was 1st tried in 2000. The verdict I’ll tell you about later. The attorney then began working the case back to the Mexico courts to the Mexico Supreme Court. He began that process in 2001 and got established grounds to sue us again for the same complication. That 2nd verdict was rendered in 2007. So it was double jeopardy and the case that would not go away. Earlier today I said I create headlines and titles for lots of things. It was also a terrible complication. However, the injury to the patient occurred at the hospital not in our clinic, when an unsupervised

16 weeks

16 weeks

resident attempted to complete a 16 week abortion and perforated, didn’t recognize the perforation, and severed the patient’s ureter, and she lost a kidney. We actually thought this patient deserved compensation and our insurance carrier offer generous settlements both times, which the patient, whose life was the personification of chaos, and her Bible thumping antiabortion attorney refused. They wanted their days in court and they got them. Now part of the story was that we had transferred to University Hospital because she had an explosive temper tantrum mid-procedure and the doctor didn’t feel safe dealing with her in the clinic. There are obvious patient selection issues here, long back story which I’m going to spare you. What I will tell you is that at the 1st trial midway through she threw a similar tantrum and the entire courtroom got to see just why we had transferred her. At the 2nd trial her attorney threw the tantrum [laughter]. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Both times the juries ruled in our favor and the patient got nothing. Which I also regret. But the emotional toll on all of us was awful. And just as an aside I’m going to say that the biggest take home lesson from that case is something that all of us already know – patients sue doctors they don’t like and they accurately sense don’t like them. That’s an untold part of that story.

The 4th issue for me is the current state of affairs in the great state of Texas which is so painful that I’m not going to say anything more. Except that my working headline is, “Texas, Women’s Rights Successfully Aborted.”

24 weeks

24 weeks

I’ve done everything I can for now. We will survive and I choose not to dwell. Which is to say that suppression is a wonderful defense and I wish I was a hell of a lot better at it.

The 5th and final topic Cassing asked me to discuss was competition from other providers, something I was gonna say a book about that (?). For me, I put that on the long list of things I can’t control. I have a business which is also a social cause. So as long as we are in the cause together, which is to say I believe I’m competing for business with another provider of conscience, I have worked to maintain our (other?) relationships. Over the years I’ve done a lot of consulting and training of competitors. We have and we continue to work on political issues together. I want all of us to do the best we can for our patients, and we see us as in this war together. Among other things, that approach meant that after that Albuquerque arson, 3 other Albuquerque providers allowed us to do procedures in their space. It was, we missed one day of service. It was a logistical nightmare but we continued to see patients. And I was at the time and I continue to be very grateful to our competitors.

12 weeks

12 weeks

So when I reflect upon this assortment of lovely events, I ask myself is my actual or my ideal self-care significantly different depending on the source of the stress. And what I think is that it’s more dependent on how long the stressor lasts and that’s part of why the current situation in Texas is so grim. It’s why that malpractice case that wouldn’t go away was so wearing. I think it also for me depends on how much control I have or imagine I have, and whether or not I believe there’s a solution.

So the 1st thing that I want to stress to all of you, granting that’s a terrible pun, is that in every difficult situation, we can only be our very quirky selves. And I think it’s really important to know that. There are no universally effective prescriptions. For example, and really in many ways in contrast to Lisa, I’m an introvert and I have very low social needs, so what works for me is not going to be the same as what will work for somebody who is an extrovert and has high social needs. Social support is still going to be important to me and Mona for one was invaluable after the Albuquerque arson. She reached out and was so helpful. The physicians from the Centers for Disease Control… Were equally invaluable for both me and the Dallas medical examiner following the patient death, so I’m very grateful for that kind of support. But the truth is, I will talk less about my problems, I will seek less support, and I may even feel burdened by others’ need to help. As I say, it’s not that I’m ungrateful, it’s just that it’s more stress on me at a time when I’m already feeling overloaded. So I would say it is really wise to consider personality factors of your own when you think about how you handle stressful situations. And it’s also why having a team with different personalities and shared vision and values is so important when you’re facing big problems.

10 weeks

10 weeks

The other thing I want to say is you may not know that I did my doctoral dissertation on coping in situations of chronic stress… [Laughter] I had two particularly interesting findings and I promised myself that unlike my dear friend Uta who did a beautiful dissertation on women’s sexuality and was so sick of it by the time she finished  she never published, and I always told myself I wouldn’t do that, I would publish. By the time I finished my dissertation, I wasn’t going anywhere. So you will be among the few people who know that I actually found out a couple of useful things. 1st, the most important single factor in resilience under stress was not coping. It was a basic attitude toward life. And that attitude was, and listen to this carefully, the absence of the belief the world is basically a bad place and people basically cannot be trusted. It was not the presence of the belief that the world was a good place and that people are basically good. So being Pollyanna or Mary Poppins… Isn’t really helpful. It’s not the power of positive thinking, it’s the absence of negative thinking…


16 weeks

The 2nd thing was that the more coping strategies my subjects employed the greater their strain. Now on the face of it that is completely counterintuitive and nobody on my dissertation committee liked that…

And this leads me to a reframing of the situation… So now you got the world according to Glenna… There are plenty of situations in life that we cannot fix.,,,

The third is that defenses are greatly undervalued in popular psychology. There is wonderful work on the maturity of defense, it was done nearly 20 years ago now most notably by George Bayland of Harvard. So here I’m gonna get quirky and personal on you again.

I use a lot of suppression. I’ve never googled myself to see what the antis are saying about me. I do not read every article on abortion. I don’t spend much time on the news. I refuse to learn the names of our picketers. I don’t grant them that much standing in my inner world. They’re wallpaper. This is a conscious refusal on my part. But I gotta tell you that in a pinch I will settle for repression or even denial to buy me enough time to get a little better. And my second fall back invaluable defense is that I intellectualize. Having words and concepts for what I’m experiencing helps me, just like preparing this presentation, I’m intellectualizing. And there is research which many of you are familiar with, this is why writing and journaling can be so helpful. They now think that we move events from parts of our brain where we are overwhelmed to the frontal cortex, where in the process of verbalizing, of writing, we are manipulating that event that event which we cannot change, and experiencing a form of mastery. And that act is invaluable.

21 weeks

21 weeks

So, that’s helpful to me, I hope it’s helpful to you. And finally, for my survival basics, and there are only two

Basics at work. That’s for when the crap that swirls around our work really gets to me, I schedule myself as a counselor or nurse so I connect to the reason that I do this work. I love direct patient care. That’s my passion, it’s my gift. It’s the part of the work that feeds me. That’s not the part of the work that feeds everyone in this room, but under stress, find the part that feeds you and do as much of that is you can. And the other thing is basics in life. And that’s the task of going on with living. For me these more stressful experiences have a large element of grief in them. I’ve lost something and I’m preoccupied with the lost object. So I have to remind myself to sleep, and eat, and exercise, and snuggle, and I use that not only as a euphemism for sex, though that’s part of it, [laughter] but also for pet therapy. Snuggle with your dog, your cat, I snuggle with my bird. Pet therapy works! Oscar Wilde, who we all love for a lot of reasons, pointed out that “simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex” so when I say is here’s to good friends, good marriages, good partnerships, good defenses, good dark chocolate, and occasional glass of good wine at the end of the day.”

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About Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
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