Three People Hold Woman Down as she Struggles During her Abortion

A pro-choice feminist who observed at an abortion clinic told the following story of a woman who came in for an abortion:

“The second woman was Japanese and spoke very little English, and she had not brought anyone to translate.… This woman actively resisted… She was very drugged up – Demerol and Valium on top of the Sublimaze. She wouldn’t keep her legs open and kept sliding up on the table. From the second Roger first touched her, she looked like she was in agony.

What happened was that three people held her down, basically. Julia and Toby held her legs apart, and Ilene, who was assisting, held her at the waist to keep her from sliding up. I stood at her side and tried to get her to do deep breathing, pretty ineffectually. It was horrible to watch… Roger looked very annoyed during the whole thing. Toby told me later that when Julia was first encouraging the woman to take deep breaths, Roger said, “This will make or breathe!” And slid in the speculum roughly. I had thought of him as very compassionate but apparently not when things don’t go well. I wonder what that woman was thinking during the whole thing.”

Wendy Simonds. Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996) 75

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Author: Sarah

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

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