Sunday, January 27, 2008

In memory of Rebecca Russell

Shari Russell* had an ultrasound by Dr. Gary DeBakey on June 16, 1992. DeBakey informed Mr. and Mrs. Russell "that their child was a little girl," and that she had anencephaly. The Russells wanted the infant delivered by C-section "to give the child a chance to live if she could," but reported that DeBakey pressured them to choose abortion. DeBakey told them that Shari's medical condition necessitated immediate abortion and "that any delay in the abortion could cost [Shari] her life and that would leave her 7-year-old daughter, [Meghan], without a mother." Under this pressure, the Russells relented, and DeBakey referred them to Robert P. Kaminsky for an abortion.

Kaminsky failed to verify that Shari had any life-threatening condition. Only after the abortion of the baby, whom the family had named Rebecca, did the family learn that Shari had no medical indications for abortion, "that anencephalic children are not necessarily stillborn, and that the abortion was not necessary for the safety of [Shari.]" Mr. and Mrs. Russell sued Kaminski for fraudulent concealment, failure "to disclose the emotional and psychological risks and hazards to the family members," "mental anguish, emotional distress and torment, emotional trauma, loss of affection, loss of solace, loss of comfort, loss of assistance, loss of love, loss of companionship and society, and harm to their family relationships." Suit was also filed on behalf of Meghan for the loss of her baby sister.

*Names changed to protect confidentiality of the family. Doctors' names have not been changed.

Source: Harris County District Court No. 94-027947

"Don't Like Abortions? Don't Have One."

"Don't Like Abortions? Don't Have One."
"Don't like abortions? Don't have one." It makes a great bumper sticker slogan. If only it were that simple in real life. Abortion advocates would have us believe that all legalization did was allow those women who would have had dangerous "back alley" abortions to have "safe and legal" abortions instead. It's all supposed to be about each woman making her own choices based on her own religion, her own ethics, her own plans, her own wants. But that's not the way it has turned out in practice.

David Reardon's research of post-abortion women showed that over 60% of them felt "forced" into unwanted abortions by people or circumstances. Nowhere is this more apparent -- or more dastardly -- than in the realm of "medically indicated" abortions.

This is not to cast aspersions on those rare women whose lives are endangered by a pregnancy. Sometimes the death of the unborn child is the unwanted but tragically necessary side effect of treatment necessary to save the mother's life. A conscientious doctor will struggle with such cases, and will make all reasonable efforts to preserve the child's life if possible. The trouble lies in the fact that abortion advocacy efforts have created a climate in which many doctors feel safest recommending abortion at the first sign of trouble.

We've all seen how often a small group of troublemakers can cause grief to others. Abortion proponents have painted abortion as a "right," rather than an evil to be avoided. They have filed suit against conscientious doctors, doctors adhering to the Hippocratic Oath, for failing to advise them to abort in the face of a possible problem with the baby or with the woman's health. Because these folks are loud and expensive to deal with, they have gotten what they want at the expense of other women and the lives of wanted children.

Over a decade before widespread legalization of abortion, even Planned Parenthood's Medical Director, Mary Calderone, recognized that "it is hardly ever necessary today to consider the life of a mother as threatened by a pregnancy."1 But thanks to the efforts of abortion advocates, pregnancy is perceived as dangerous, and women are being steered by litigation-shy doctors into needless, unwanted abortions, ostensibly for maternal or fetal indications.

Nobody knows how often women are channeled into such abortions. The fact that an abortion was prescribed unnecessarily is usually only discovered if the woman persists in her resolve not to abort, or if someone investigates the situation after the abortion. The very fact that such cases happen proves the lie behind the slogans about women choosing abortions freely. We can also hazard a guess about how frequently women are sold needless, unwanted abortions on medical grounds by looking at the experiences of doctors who take the mother's desire to preserve her child's life more seriously.

Dr. Thomas Murphy Goodwin is affiliated with an obstetrical service specializing in high-risk cases. His reflections on cases he has seen in his practice are described by him in The Silent Subject.2 In Goodwin's cachement area, there are approximately 30,000 births a year. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that there are slightly over 330 abortions for every 1,000 live births. That would mean that there are about 9,900 abortions per year in the area served by Goodwin and his colleagues. The Alan Guttmacher Institute estimates that 3% of abortions are for maternal health indications and another 3% are because of fear of fetal problems. So if we look at only half the problem -- maternal indication abortions -- there are approximately 300 abortions done for maternal indications in Goodwin's cachement area every year. Goodwin indicates that in his practice, he and his colleagues will see one or two women a year with health problems that mean they have a greater than 20% risk of death from carrying the pregnancy to term. That's one or two abortions that are actually medically indicated for every 300 women who abort because they believe their lives are in danger. This is, to say the least, overkill -- in the ugliest sense of the word.

Goodwin tells poignant stories of women who had been sent to his practice for unnecessary abortions. One 21-year-old woman was referred for "immediate abortion" of her 19-week pregnancy because she had been diagnosed with a congenital heart lesion. She was so distressed at the idea of aborting that a physician referred her to Goodwin and his associates for a second opinion. An evaluation that could have been done by the woman's referring physician showed that her heart abnormality was not endangering her life. She continued the pregnancy, with unremarkable labor induced, and a healthy baby delivered, at 38 weeks.

Another woman, 32 years old, had a test at 7 weeks gestation that was positive for cytomegalovirus. She was advised to abort lest her baby be born with mental retardation and multiple organ problems. Her doctor even told her that he had confirmed this grim prognosis with a "high risk pregnancy specialist." With great regret, the woman scheduled an abortion. A physician neighbor learned of her plight and referred her to Goodwin's practice. A review of her test results showed that there was a 4 in 100 chance that her baby had been affected by the virus, and that even if the child was affected, there was a 50% chance that the consequence would just be some hearing impairment. "She was stunned and relieved," Goodwin wrote, "to learn that the risk was no greater than that." More precise tests were done which showed that there had been no infection at all. Thanks to the kindly advise of a neighbor, this woman was spared the tragedy of an abortion, and gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Yet another woman was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was told that she needed immediate chemotherapy, that the chemotherapy would certainly harm her baby, and that trying to continue her pregnancy would worsen her prognosis. She was instructed to abort her 11 week pregnancy so that chemotherapy could be initiated. She scheduled an abortion, but was referred to Goodwin's practice by her pastor. There she learned that breast cancer did not require abortion for treatment, and that the fetus was likely to tolerate the chemotherapy well. The woman was able to have her chemotherapy, and delivered an apparently healthy baby boy. "That many chemotherapy regimens can be continued without apparent ill-effect in pregnancy is information readily available to any interested physician," Goodwin notes. "Why was the patient not informed?"

Although these women were put through needless anguish, they were spared the trauma of abortion. Other women have not been so fortunate. The next Feature will look at these sad cases

"Don't be stupid! It's just a blob of tissue."

Those are the chilling words alleged to be spoken by a person performing an abortion on a young woman who reports she didn't want one.

Here is the sad story:

Donna Santa Marie’s Forced Abortion

Lawsuit Would Ask Supreme Court to Tackle Botched Abortions

Washington, DC -- In a case which will determine whether women injured by abortion have any rights under the law, Norma McCorvey, the former "Roe" of Roe v. Wade and Sandra Cano, the former "Doe" of Doe v. Bolton (the two cases that brought legalized abortion on demand to America) are announcing that they are joining with 700 women who have been seriously injured by abortion to file an Amicus Curiae petition brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Donna Santa Marie Et Al v. Whitman, Et Al.

In addition to "Roe" and "Doe", 700 women who have been injured by abortion in similar circumstances will also file a Friend of the Court brief to show the Court that these conditions are widespread in the abortion industry.

Many of these women will appear at a Monday press conference to testify about their own personal experience in abortion clinics and to testify that it is time for the abuse of women to come to an end. There must be a remedy for this injustice. Women will be present to be interviewed from the following states Mississippi; Oklahoma, Tennessee, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Nebraska, California, Connecticut, and Florida.

The Donna Santa Marie case is the first case in the nation to reach the Supreme Court on Cert. Petition asking the Supreme Court to define the rights of women against the abortion industry.

Donna Santa Marie was a 16-year-old girl who was forced by her parents and abortionist to have an abortion against her will. Her father even punched her in the stomach to try to induce a miscarriage. The abortionist had to be called in to perform an abortion without her consent.

Despite these horrific facts, New Jersey Federal Courts have ruled that Donna Santa Marie cannot sue the doctor, the abortionist, because the infant was not born alive and have cited Roe v. Wade as justification. If Roe v. Wade is supposed to be based on a woman's choice, how can she be forced to have an abortion and have no remedy under the law.

The other women in the case were misled and deceived into having abortions. One of the Plaintiffs, Rosa Acuna, specifically asked her doctor: "Is it a baby?" Her doctor replied, "Don't be stupid! It's just a blob of tissue."

Later, after several weeks of bleeding, she was admitted to an emergency room and when she asked what the problem was, the nurses told her, "They left part of your baby in you when you had the abortion."

Rosa Acuna began to study fetal development and came to the horrible realization that she had killed her own baby, with severe psychological effects.

If Roe v. Wade is based on a woman's right to choose, shouldn't that choice be voluntary and fully informed? Shouldn't there be a remedy against an abortionist who does not fully inform a woman of the nature and consequences of abortion? The Federal Courts in New Jersey have said no. The Supreme Court will be asked to reverse this decision and allow women who are injured by abortion to sue the abortionist.

Source: The Justice Foundation; March 21, 2003 as quoted in Pro-Life Infonet 3/24/03 #2933

What goes on in an abortion clinic: views from the inside

Think of it this way- what is the best way to learn about abortion? To actually witness an abortion first hand or to work in a clinic. The second best thing is to read verified eye-witness accounts from people who are current and former abortion providers. These quotes have been tracked down from a number of sources, from the research of pro-choice author Magda Denes to the Washington Post to other magazines.
Verify the facts of fetal development in an encyclopedia or reference book (I suggest K.L. Moore's "The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology" 3rd edition, 1982). Look in the yellow pages of the phone book to see clinics advertising to perform abortions through the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.
Sarah Terzo

"In my facilities, I always gave option counseling. Of course you make the abortion the most appealing. I told them about adoption and about foster care and about [when there was welfare] assistance. The typical way it would go is, "Well, you know you can place your baby out for adoption." But then, in the second breath you would say, "That's an option available to you, but you also have to realize that there's going to be a baby of yours out here somewhere in the world you will never see again. At least with abortion you know what's happening. You can go on with your life...The longer I was in it, the less I cared, so I really didn't really care what my conscience said. My conscience was totally numb anyway. But what it did do was public relations-wise. You were able, when a reporter or TV crew came, to pull out a packet of information for the patients to read and they received it. So what can anybody say? Publicly it looked good -- in reality it was another tool that was used to force a woman into abortion. It's typical -- I would give them an option and then shoot it down. The only option you didn't shoot down, obviously, was abortion."

Former abortionist Eric Harrah quoted by Dr. Jack Willke and Brad Mattes

"In fact many women will come to me considering abortion, and I have been personally told that I am to turn the monitor away from her view so that seeing her baby jump around on the screen does not influence her choice."

Shari Richards, quoted from the John Ankerburg Show on 3/7/90
"I hated putting babies in strainers and rinsing them off and putting them in zip-lock bags."

--former abortion clinic owner Eric Harrah
By Dr. Arnold Halpern, former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic:
"There is no difference between a first trimester, a second trimester, a third trimester abortion or infanticide. It's all the same human being in different stages of development. I finally got to the point I couldn't look at those little bodies anymore."
"So when I went back to doing abortions and saw the fetus on the ultrasound, I recalled the early days of my pregnancies, when I found out I was pregnant and saw the baby on the ultrasound, and it really felt like this is a baby, a very real and potential being. Now, I do feel that this is a potential person and it does not have a life of its own outside of the mother, but I also am really aware that when you're ready to embrace a pregnancy, you can embrace it from the very moment you conceive or are aware that you are pregnant. Faye Wattleton said recently, "I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus, but it is the women's body, and therefore ultimately her choice. I believe that very firmly. You look at the ultrasounds and there's a fetus with a heartbeat and then after the procedure, there's the fetus, usually in pieces, in a dish. It was alive one moment and it's not the next. I don't believe it's a painful experience for the fetus because its nervous system is not 'wired' so that it can feel pain at that point. I don't believe, as some anti-abortion people would have you believe, that there's a silent scream.' But it's very clear to me that it's killing a potential life. And I found that hard at first."

----anonymous, quoted by Camille Peri at in Salon Magazine
Why do we need informed consent laws or mandatory counseling for women having abortions? Don't the clinics give accurate information about the fetus?

"Counselors are just to give the appearance of help. . . [They] think of themselves as company for the women."
--abortion counselor

"I have never yet counseled anybody to have the baby. I'm also doing women's counseling on campus at Albany State, and there I am expected to present alternatives. Whereas at the abortion clinic you aren't really expected to."
--abortion counselor

Rachel Weeping and Other Essays About Abortion. James Tunstead Burtchaell, editor. New York: Universal Press, 1982 pgs 42-43
"I was trained by a professional marketing director in how to sell abortions over the telephone. He took every one of our receptionists, nurses, and anyone else who would deal with people over the phone through an extensive training period. The object was, when the girl called, to hook the sale so that she wouldn't get an abortion somewhere else, or adopt out her baby, or change her mind. We were doing it for the money."
--Nina Whitten, chief secretary at a Dallas abortion clinic under Dr. Curtis Boyd

"They [the women] are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heart beat, they wouldn't want to have an abortion."-Dr. Randall

'Pro-Choice 1990: Skeletons in the Closet" by David Kuperlain and Mark Masters in "New Dimensions" magazine
"Every woman has these same two questions: First, "Is it a baby?" "No" the counselor assures her. "It is a product of conception (or a blood clot, or a piece of tissue)" Even though these counselors see six week babies daily, with arms, legs and eyes that are closed like newborn puppies, they lie to the women. How many women would have an abortion, if they told them the truth?"
--Carol Everett, former owner of two clinics and director of four
"A Walk Through an Abortion Clinic" by Carol Everett ALL About Issues magazine Aug-Sept 1991, p 117
"If a woman we were counseling expressed doubts about having an abortion, we would say whatever was necessary to persuade her to abort immediately."
--Judy W., former office manager of the second largest abortion clinic in El Paso, Texas
"We tried to avoid the women seeing them [the fetuses] They always wanted to know the sex, but we lied and said it was too early to tell. It's better for the women to think of the fetus as an 'it.'
--Abortion clinic worker Norma Eidelman quoted in Rachel Weeping p 34
"The counselor at our clinic would cry with the girls at the drop of a hat. She would find their weakness and work on it. The women were never given any alternatives. They were told how much trouble it is to have a baby."
--former abortion worker Debra Harry, quoted in the film "Meet the Abortion Providers" 1989
"When discussing the sonogram, you are supposed to tell the client that it is a measurement as far as the pregnancy is concerned, but not a measure of the fetal head or anything like that."
--Rosemary Petruso, on her training to be an abortion counselor. Her story appeared in the St. Louis Review and was also quoted in "Women Exploited: The Other Victims of Abortion" Paula Ervin, editor. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1985
"Sometimes we lied. A girl might ask what her baby was like at a certain point in the pregnancy: Was it a baby yet? Even as early as 12 weeks a baby is totally formed, he has fingerprints, turns his head, fans his toes, feels pain. But we would say 'It's not a baby yet. It's just tissue, like a clot.'"
--Kathy Sparks told in "The Conversion of Kathy Sparks" by Gloria Williamson, Christian Herald Jan 1986 p 28
"It is when I am holding a plastic uterus in one hand, a suction tube in the other, moving them together in imitation of the scrubbing to come, that woman ask the most secret question. I am speaking in a matter-of-fact voice about 'the tissue' and 'the contents' when the woman suddenly catches my eye and says 'How big is the baby now?' These words suggest a quiet need for definition of the boundaries being drawn. It isn't so odd, after all, that she feels relief when I describe the growing buds bulbous shape, its miniature nature. Again, I gauge, and sometimes lie a little, weaseling around its infantile features until its clinging power slackens."
--abortion worker Sallie Tisdale "We Do Abortions Here" Oct 1987 Harpers Magazine p 68
"Vital signs should be observed regularly, and a Doppler [for listening to the fetal heartbeat] inaudible to the patient should be used at intervals to determine the presence or absence of fetal heart tones.. This [informed consent] is a controversial area, but most professionals in the field feel that it is not advisable for patients to view the products of conception, to be told the sex of the fetus, or to be informed of a multiple pregnancy"
--Abortionist Warren Hern in "Abortion Practice" J.B. Lippincott Company, 1984 pgs 145 and 304
"Sonography in connection with induced abortion may have psychological hazards. Seeing a blown-up, moving image of the embryo she is carrying can be distressing to a woman who is about to undergo an abortion, Dr. Sally Faith Dorfman noted. She stressed that the screen should be turned away from the patient."
--"Obstetrics and Gynecology News" editorial February 15-28, 1986
"95 percent of women who have had abortions said that their Planned Parenthood counselors gave them " . . . little or no information about the fetus which the abortion would destroy."
--From Aborted Women-Silent No More by David Reardon, Crossway Books, 1987
"Now, the baby I aborted was eleven weeks old, and can you imagine what this did to me when I saw this baby with the hands and face, sucking his thumb? And they told me it was a cluster of cells!"
--Carole K.
State Director of Women Exploited By Abortion. From Women Exploited, which is a sampling of the stories of WEBA (Women Exploited by Abortion) chapter members.
"I have seen hundreds of patients in my office who have had abortions and were just lied to by the abortion counselor. Namely 'This is less painful than having a tooth removed. It is not a baby.' Afterwards, the woman sees Life magazine and breaks down and goes into a major depression."
--Psychologist Vincent Rue quoted in "Abortion Inc" David Kupelian and Jo Ann Gasper, New Dimemsions, October 1991 p 16
"The Pennsylavania Abortion Control Act went into effect on March 20, 1994. For the past six years, health centers that provide abortion services and the lawyers representing them have been fighting the provisions of the law. What does the law provide? Women seeking an abortion must be told by a physician at least 24 hours prior to the procedure the nature of the procedure and the probable gestational age of the fetus. Women must also be told that the Commonwealth's materials are available describing fetal development and listing for agencies that offer alternatives to abortion. . . What we must do now is make sure that our Representatives know how strongly we feel about the law. Call them, write to them! Let them know how burdensome these regulations are. Vote for pro-choice candidates...."
--Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women newsletter April 1994
Why is there so much fuss about abortion? Isn't what is removed only a mass of tissue?

"But when I look in the basin, among the curdlike blood clots, I see and elfin thorax, attenuated, its pencilline ribs all in parallel rows with tiny knobs of spine rounding upwards. A translucent arm and hand swim beside."
--Sallie Tisdale "We Do Abortions Here"
"I can remember...the resident doctor sitting down, putting the tube in, and removing the contents. I saw the bloody material coming down the plastic tube, and it went into a big jar. My job afterwards was to go and undo the jar, and to see what was inside.

I didn't have any views on abortion; I was in a training program, and this was a brand new experience. I was going to get to see a new procedure and learn. I opened the jar and took the little piece of stockingnette stocking and opened the little bag. The resident doctor said "Now put it on the blue towel and check it out. We want to see if we got it all.' I thought, "that'll be exciting-hands on experience looking at tissue.' I opened the sock up and put it on the towel, and there were parts of a person in there.

I had taken anatomy, I was a medical student. I knew what I was looking at. There was a little scapula and an arm, I saw some ribs and a chest, and a little tiny head. I saw a piece of a a leg, and a tiny hand and an arm, and you know, it was like somebody put a hot poker into me. I had a conscience, and it hurt. Well, I checked it out and there were two arms and two legs and one head and so forth, and I turned and said "I guess you got it all.' That was a very hard experience to go through emotionally.

"Saline abortions have to be done in the hospital because of the complications that can arise. Not that they can't arise during other times, but more so now. The saline, a salt solution, is injected into the woman's sac, and the baby starts dying a slow, violent death. The mother feels everything, and many times it is at this point when she realizes that she really has a live baby inside her, because the baby starts fighting violently, for his or her life. He's just fighting inside because he's burning."
--Debra Harry

"One night a lady delivered and I was called to come and see her because she was 'uncontrollable.' I went into the room, and she was going to pieces; she was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The other patients were upset because this lady was screaming. I walked in, and here was this little saline abortion baby kicking. It had been born alive, and 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. I'll tell you one thing about D & E. You never have to worry about a baby's being born alive. I won't describe D & E other than to say that, as a doctor, you are sitting there tearing, and I mean tearing- you need a lot of strength to do it- arms and legs off of babies and putting them in a stack on top of the table."
--Dr. David Brewer of Glen Ellyn Illinois

"I remember an experience as a resident on a hysterectomy. I remember seeing the baby move underneath the sack of membranes, as the caesarean 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. And t hen he delivered the baby,. and I couldn't touch it.. I wasn't much of an assistant. I just stood there, and the reality of what was doing on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart.

They took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking, and set it on that table in a cold, stainless steel bowl. Every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person moving in that bowl. And it kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at the baby when we were done with the surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest was moving and the heart was beating, and the baby would try to take a little breath, and it really hurt inside, and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was."

quoted in "Pro-Choice 1990: Skeletons in the Closet"
"Following [the doctor's] directions, I took the collection bottle and poured its contents into a shallow pan. Then I used water to rinse off the blood and smaller particles which clouded the bottom of the pan.

'Now look closely,' the doctor said. 'It is important that we have got all the stuff out.'

I looked in the pan to find that the stuff consisted of the remains of what had been, a few minutes before, a thirteen week old fetus. I could make out the remains of arms and legs and a trunk and a skull. I tried to piece them back together in my mind, to see if there were any missing parts.

Most of the pieces were so battered and bloody they were not recognizably human. Then my eyes locked upon a perfect little hand, less than half a centimeter long. I stared at four tiny fingers and a tiny opposed thumb, complete with tiny translucent fingers.

And I knew what I had done."

--former abortionist "Chi An" quoted in Stephen Mosher's "A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One Child Policy" pgs 60-61
"I got to where I couldn't stand to look at the little bodies anymore"
--Dr. Beverly McMillan, when asked why she stopped performing abortions.

"I have been there, and I have seen these totally formed babies as early as ten weeks... with the leg missing, or with their head off. i have seen the little rib cages..."
--Debra Harry

"We all wish it were formless, but its not...and its painful. There is a lot of emotional pain."
--abortion clinic worker

Quoted in "The Ex Abortionists: They Have Confronted Reality" Washington Post April 1, 1988 p a21
"You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room, you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity in the fetal heart is not important, that she is going to have a fine, healthy baby. Then, in the next room you assure another woman, on whom you just did a saline abortion, that it is a good thing that the heartbeat is already irregular....she has nothing to worry about, she will NOT have a live baby...All of a sudden one noticed that at the time of the saline infusion there was a lot of activity in the uterus. That's not fluid currents. That's obviously the fetus being distressed by swallowing the concentrated salt solution and kicking violently and that's to all intents and purposes, the death trauma. ..somebody has to do it, and unfortunately we are the executioners in this instance..."
--abortionist Dr.Szenes

"And then to see, to be with somebody while they're having the injection when they're twenty or twenty-four weeks, and you see the baby moving around, kicking around, as this needle goes into the stomach, you know."
--Susan Lindstrom, M.S.W.

"I look inside the bucket in front of me. There is a small naked person in there, floating in a bloody liquid- plainly the tragic victim of a drowning accident. But hen perhaps this was no accident, because the body is purple with bruises and the face has the agonized tauntness of one forced to die too soon. I have seen this face before, on a Russian soldier lying on a frozen snow-covered hill, stiff with death, and cold."
--Pro-choice doctor and author Magda Denes

"Performing Abortions" by Magda Denes, M.D. "Commentary" Oct. 26 p 35-37

Also quoted Magda Denes, "[the doctor] pulls out something, which he slaps on the instrument table. "there," he says, "A leg." . . . I turn to Mr. Smith. . . He points to the instrument table, where there is a perfectly formed, slightly bent leg, about three inches long. . . "There, I've got the head out now." ...There lies a head. It is the smallest human head I have ever seen, but it is unmistakably part of a person."
"If I see a case...after twenty weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it because the potential is so imminently there...On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is "who owns this child?" It's got to be the mother."
--Dr. James MacMahon, who performs D & X abortions, in Nat Hentoff "It's Just Too Late: Third Trimester abortions are an Outrage and an Insult to the Human Race" July 27, 1993 Pittsburg Post-Gazette
Describing an abortion that apparently did not prevent the child from being born alive, Dr. Haskell said this, "It came out very quickly after I put the scissors up in the cervical canal and pierced the skull and spread the scissors the previous two, I had used the suction to collapse the skull."
--Dayton Daily News Sun Dec 10 1989
"The first time, I felt like a murderer, but I did it again and again and again, and now, 20 years later, I am facing what happened to me as a doctor and as a human being. Sure, I got hard. Sure, the money was important. And oh, it was an easy thing, once I had taken the step, to see the women as animals and the babies as just tissue."
--abortionist quoted from a radio talk show by John Rice in "Abortion" Litt D. Murfreesboro, TN.
"I have never known a woman who, after her baby was born, was not overjoyed that I had not killed it."
--Abortionist Aleck Bourne "A Doctor Speaks" London Express, Jan 25
"We know that its killing, but the state permits killing under certain circumstances"
--Dr. Neville Sender, abortionist

"Even now I feel a little peculiar about it, because as a physician I was trained to conserve life, and here I am destroying it."

"There was not one [doctor] who at some point in the questioning did not say "This is murder."'
--Magda Denes on her two years of research done for her book In Necessity and Sorrow; Life and Death Inside an Abortion Clinic.

"You know there is something in there alive that you are killing"
--another abortionist interviewed by Denes
"Clinic workers may say they support a woman's right to choose, but they will also say that they do not want to see tiny hands and tiny feet....there is a great difference between the intellectual support of a woman's right to choose and the actual participation in the carnage of abortion. Because seeing body parts bothers the workers."
--Judith Fetrow, former clinic worker from San Francisco quoted in "Meet the Abortion Providers III" from a taped conference in Chicago 4/3/93
..the emotional turmoil that the procedure inevitably wreaks on the physicians and staff...There is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator...the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current."
--Abortionist quoted in "Meeting of American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians" OB GYN News P 196
Quoted in Melody Green and Sharon Bennett "The Crime of Being Alive: Abortion, Euthanasia, Infanticide" p 3

"Remember, there is a human being at the other end of the table taking that kid apart. We've had a couple of guys drinking too much, taking drugs, even a suicide or two."
--Dr. Julius Butler, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School

"Arms, legs, and chests come out of the forceps. It's not a sight for everybody"
--Dr. William Benbow Thompson at the University of California at Irvine
"Abortion Practice" by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colarado Abortionist published in 1984 by the J.B. Lippenott Company. Hern performs abortions up until the 4th month of pregnancy

"The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember" p 154

"A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus." - 154

"The aggregate fetal tissue is weighted, then the following fetal parts are measured, foot length, knee to heel length, and biparietal diameter" p 164

"Television interviews in particular should focus on the public issue involved (right to confidential and professional medical care, freedom of choice and so forth) and not on the specific details of the procedure." p 323
"Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks, because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It's really barbaric."
--abortionist quoted in M.D. Doctors Talk About Themselves by John Pekkanen p 93
"I was for abortion, I thought it was a woman's right to terminate pregnancy she did not want. Now I'm not so sure. I am a student nurse nearing the end of my OB-GYN rotation at a major metropolitan hospital and teaching center. It wasn't until I saw what abortion really involves that I changed my mind. After the first week in the abortion clinic several people in my clinical group were shaky about their previously positive feelings about abortion. This new attitude resulted from our actually seeing a Prostaglandin abortion, one similar in nature to the widely used saline abortion. . . this method is being used for terminations of pregnancies of sixteen weeks and over. I used to find rationales. the fetus isn't real. Abdomens aren't really very swollen. It isn't 'alive.' No more excuses...I am a member of the health profession and members of my class are now ambivalent about abortion. I now know a great deal more about what is involved in the issue. Women should perceive fully what abortion is; how destructive an act it is both for themselves and their unborn child. Whatever psychological coping mechanisms are employed during the process, the sight of a fetus in a hospital bedpan remains the final statement."
Quoted in "The Zero People: Essays on Life" by Jeff Lane Hensley, editor. Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1983
"I found much distress in the clinic, but it involved not only the women. I saw the pain of the babies who were born burned from the saline solution used for late-term abortions. I saw the bits of feet, bits of hands, the mangled heads and bodies of the little people. I saw pain and felt pain."
--One time clinic worker Paula Sutcliffe in "Precious in My Sight" "Pro-Life Feminism: Different Voices" Gail Garnier-Sweet, editor
>From "Rachel Weeping"

"The doctors would remove the fetus while performing hysterectomies and then lay it on the table., where it would squirm until it died. ..They all had perfect forms and shapes. I couldn't take it. No nurse could."
--Joyce Craig, director of a Brooklyn clinic of Planned Parenthood. who assisted in abortion for two months, then quit. p 34

Edward Eichner, director of medicine at a Cleveland abortion facility said "No doctor, for ethical, moral or honest reasons wants to do nothing but abortions...women don't like to do abortions over and over for moral reasons. Sometimes our women doctors become pregnant themselves, which upsets the patients. At the same time, if a woman is carrying a baby, she doesn't like to abort someone else's. WE have much more trouble keeping women doctors on the staff than men." --p 49
"After an abortion, the doctor must inspect these remains to make sure that all the fetal parts and placenta have been removed. Any tissue left inside the uterus can start an infection. Dr. Bours squeezed the contents of the sock into a shallow dish and poked around with his finger. "You can see a teeny tiny hand' he said.
--abortion clinic worker quoted in "Is the Fetus Human" and in Dudley Clendinen, "The Abortion Conflict: What it Does to One Doctor" New York Times Magazine Aug 11 1985b p 26
"From May to November 1988, I worked for an abortionist. He specializes in third trimester killings. I witnessed evidence of the brutal, cold blooded murder of over 600 viable, healthy babies at seven, eight and nine months gestation. A very, very few of these babies, less than 2%, were handicapped...I thought I was pro-choice and I was glad to be working in an abortion clinic. I thought I was helping provide a noble service to women in crisis....I was instructed to falsify the age of the babies in medical records. I was required to lie to the mothers over the phone, as they scheduled their appointments, and to tell them that they were not 'too far along' Then I had to note, in the records that Dr. Tiller's needle had successfully pierced the walls of the baby's heart, injecting the poison what brought day, Dr. Tiller came up the stairs from the basement, where the mothers were in labor. He was carrying a large cardboard box, and ducked into the employees only area of the office so that he wouldn't have to walk through the waiting room. He passed behind my desk as I sat working on the computer, and he turned the corner to go around a short hall. He called out for me to come and help him. the box was so big and heavy in his arms that he couldn't get the key into the lock. So I unlocked the door for him, and , pushing the door open, I saw very clearly the gleaming metal of the crematorium- a full sized crematorium, just like the one's used in funeral homes. I went back to my computer. I could hear Dr. Tiller firing up the gas oven. A few minutes later I could smell burning human flesh. Mine was the agony of a participant, however reluctant, in the act of prenatal infanticide."
--Luhra Tivis, [] now a member of Operation Rescue, on her experience in the abortion business Quoted in Celebrate Life Sept/Oct 1994 "Where is the Real Violence?"
>From the film "Meet the Abortion Providers"

"My heart got callous to against the fact that I was a murderer, but that baby lying in a cold bowl educated me as to what abortion really was."
--former abortionist Dr. David Brewer

"I want the general public to know what the doctors know- that this is a person, this is a baby. That this is not some kind of blob of tissue."
--Dr. Anthony Levantino

"I have taken the lives of innocent babies, and I have ripped them from their mother's wombs with a powerful suction machine"
--McArthur Hill, M.D.
"I am deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I have in fact presided over 60,000 deaths. There is no longer serious doubt in my mind that human life exists from the very onset of pregnancy"
--Dr. Bernard Nathanson, "Deeper Into Abortion" New England Journal of Medicine Nov 1974 p 1189
"I dare say that any thinking, caring individual can't not realize that he is ending life, or potential life."

"[Powell] said "Is this a fair way of expressing what you have just said, Doctor? You tell the mother "because your baby is defective, you have the right to kill it or not to kill it. If you choose to kill it, I will do the killing." "Of course," he [the abortionist] said. "There is no other way to say it and be honest."

both from The Zero People pg 9
"I wanted to be the world's best abortionist, for the good of my patients. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. So, after I met each patient, reviewed the medical information gathered by my nurse, examined the patient and performed the abortion, I would then carefully sift through the remains to be sure all the parts were accounted for. I had to find four extremities (two arms and two legs) a spine, a skull, and the placenta, or my patient would suffer later from an incomplete abortion...My attention was so focused on my perceived patient that I managed to deny that there were, in fact, two patients involved- the expectant mother and a very small child...I had to wonder, how can having a child be so wrong for some people that they will pay me to end its life?"
--former abortionist Dr. McMillan "How One Doctor Changed Her Mind About Abortion" Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs
"Abortions are very draining, exhausting, heart-rending. There are a lot of tears. Some patients turn on you...I do them because I take the attitude that women who are going to terminate babies deserve the same kind of treatment as women who carry babies...I've done a couple thousand, and its been a significant financial boon...the only way I can do an abortion is to consider only the woman as my patient and block out the baby."
--abortionist quoted in M.D. Doctors Talk About Themselves
>From the article "Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts" which appeared in the July 12 1993 issue of AAA News, a publication of the American Medical Association:

"I have angry feelings at myself for feeling good about grasping the calvaria, for feeling good about doing a technically good procedure that destroys a fetus, kills a baby."

"When I put my hands on somebody to feel how big they are and I get kicked, I am barely able to talk at that moment."

an abortionist stated that 'somebody had asked her what they could say to the staff to make them look less shocked when they look at a 20 week fetus.."It's hard to be in a profession where you have a hard time answering the questions that other people ask you about what you do."
"If the abortion is well done, we don't have to watch the baby die. So we inject a salt solution. The result is like putting salt on a slug, but we don't have to watch it."
--Dr. Russell Sacco M.D. quoted in James Long "Infants Aborted Alive: Officials Wink at Laws"
"Even if you are pro-choice, no one likes to see a dead fetus." -Vilma Valdez, Education Director Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, The Miami Herald, Oct 24 1992
"I went up to the lab one day and on the pathologist's table I saw what I thought was little rubber doll until I realized it was a fetus. . .I got really shook up and upset and I couldn't believe it. It had all its fingers and toes, you know, hands and feet. . . I never thought it would look so -real. I didn't like it."
--Planned Parenthood employee quoted in Magda Denes book "In Necessity and Sorrow" New York:Basic Books 1979
In an interview by Mark Crutcher, former abortion clinic director Joy Davis said "Each person who worked there had a different way of dealing with it. [One] would look at the ultrasound the entire time she was in the room, but she would never look down in the pan. She would never look at the tissue being removed. She never wanted to see that. She would never take her eyes off the screen. And I had one who would never look at the screen....she would never look at the tissue and never look at the screen, she just didn't want to see anything."
Also from the 1993 Chicago conference
"Planned Parenthood is set up so clinic workers never have to see the babies. It's set up that way because having to look at the babies bothers the workers. ...Generally there is one clinic worker in charge of the babies...I was that clinic worker. I had to look at the babies. I had to store them, I had to send them to pathology. And I was the person who had to dispose of order to maintain my sanity, I established a personal mourning ritual. I said Shiva for the babies. I said prayers for the dead. I also named the babies as I put them in a waste container."
"It [the fetus] is a form of life...This has to be killing...The question then becomes "is this kind of killing justifiable? In my own mind, it is justifiable, but only with the informed consent of the mother"
--abortionist quoted in "Democrat and Chronicle" 7/5/92
>From the Dallas Observer 3/18/95
Former clinic administrator Charlotte Taft, "We were hiding from the women some of the pieces of truth about abortion that were threatening....It is a kind of killing."

Compiled by Sarah Terzo - comments welcome
Contact Sarah at: terzo@TCNJ.EDU

It was alive one moment and it's not the next

An intimate conversation with a woman on the front lines of America's most emotionally charged debate.

BY CAMILLE PERI | She knows it is killing, but she doesn't believe it is wrong. As a doctor, she has performed hundreds of abortions, but as a mother of three small children, she has been forced to reexamine the values that propelled her to become pro-choice. Over time, says Dr. X, who requested anonymity out of concern for her safety and that of her family, her views about abortion have changed.

That kind of admission is rare in a public debate in which the truth has generally been the first casualty. The latest battle in this epic war has raged over "partial birth" or "late-term" abortion (depending on whose language you use), with pro-life activists charging that some women are terminating their pregnancies in the final days before delivery for reasons as trivial as not being able to fit into a prom dress -- a sensational charge that was never substantiated. The pro-choice side lost some of its own credibility when Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, announced that he and his colleagues had similarly misled the public by claiming that late-term abortions were performed rarely and only on women whose lives were in danger or whose fetuses had multiple deformities -- true for last-trimester abortions, but not necessarily for those done earlier.

Ultimately, however, while pro-choice advocates adhered to their traditional stance that abortion is a women's rights issue, pro-life advocates forced the focus on the fetus, splashing their campaign with gruesome imagery that made even some veteran pro-choice supporters squeamish. Rational questions about the timing and safety of late-term procedures paled next to images of crushed skulls and suctioned-out brains.

Predictably, the crucial ethical questions about abortion that the battle raised have been lost in the angry cacophony of the debate. Does pro-choice need to mean pro-abortion at any point in a pregnancy? Is abortion solely a women's rights issue? If not, when does a fetus gain rights -- at the first sign of a heartbeat, or the first gasp of breath? Physicians such as Dr. X, who performs first-term abortions at a clinic in the Pacific Northwest, face these kinds of ambiguities every day. (For this, they are called "hired assassins" by one side and hailed as heroes on the front lines by the other.) Dr. X reflected on her views and experience -- as a woman, a doctor and a mother -- and provided some insight into some of the moral complexities that the abortion debate has thus far sorely lacked.

You have been involved with doing abortions, as an assistant and then a physician, for about 20 years. What was it that first gave you such strong convictions about abortion?

When I was very young, my cousin got pregnant. She was 15 years old. It was before abortion was readily available, and in order to have one, she had to go before two psychiatrists and testify that she would kill herself. Then she was put to sleep for the procedure and had to stay overnight in the hospital and it was really a big deal. She didn't have to go to Mexico, but it was a harsh, guilt-inducing experience for her.

When she found out she was pregnant, though, she told my aunt and my mother. I saw that my mom believed it was a really important choice for her, that she shouldn't have to bear the consequences of getting pregnant and bearing a child when she clearly was not ready to. So I came away from that experience feeling that this had been a shame-inducing experience for her, but that it also made a difference that she was supported by her mother, my mother and me.

When you began assisting in abortions, did you see abortion primarily as a women's health issue?

Yes. I got involved in women's health when I was in college in Santa Cruz in the 1970s. I was part of a group of women who started a women's health center. That was the time of the self-help movement, learning how to do your own cervical exam and all that -- it was a very exciting time. And in 1972, even though abortion was legal, there was no place that it was provided in Santa Cruz County. It was a Catholic-dominated county and the big hospital there was the Dominican hospital. A physician came down from San Francisco and asked our group for people who would help him as counselors and medical assistants and he opened an abortion clinic one day a week.

So it was during that time that all the ideology came into it for me -- that women should have the right to make choices about what happens to their bodies and that men in positions of authority shouldn't be legislating those choices. For me, that was all very clear-cut, but what was not clear to me was what it meant to be pregnant and have a child. I just felt strongly that a woman shouldn't be forced to do something against her will.

Did you stop doing abortions for a while?

Yes, when I went into family practice, I was working at a hospital where that service was provided in a separate clinic, and because all my patients had that available to them, it didn't feel necessary for me to be doing them.

Why did you start again?

A year and a half ago, I was approached by a former student who was working for an abortion clinic and she said that they were having a hard time finding physicians to do abortions and wondered if I would be interested in doing them. I said yes.

Did you have any hesitancy or qualms about it this time?

I was only hesitant because of all the intervening history of violence against abortion providers, and now I had a family to consider. Right after I started working, there were telephone threats specifically against the doctor, although not me by name, just saying that they were going to kill the doctor in the clinic. So I had to wear a bulletproof vest. Lately, however, things have actually calmed down.

Did being a mother change your views about abortion?

I actually had an abortion during the first year of my internship. I just felt like I couldn't have a child and be a good parent when I would be working 100 hours a week for the next three years. Then, after my medical training, when I finally felt like I had the time to put into raising children, I had some trouble getting pregnant. During that period I became acutely aware, at the first inkling of pregnancy, that this was the beginning of a life.

So when I went back to doing abortions and saw the fetus on the ultrasound, I recalled the early days of my pregnancies, when I found out I was pregnant and saw the baby on the ultrasound, and it really felt like this is a baby, a very real and potential being. Now, I do feel that this is a potential person and it does not have a life of its own outside of the mother, but I also am really aware that when you're ready to embrace a pregnancy, you can embrace it from the very moment you conceive or are aware that you are pregnant.

Faye Wattleton said recently, "I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus, but it is the women's body, and therefore ultimately her choice."

I believe that very firmly. You look at the ultrasounds and there's a fetus with a heartbeat and then after the procedure, there's the fetus, usually in pieces, in a dish. It was alive one moment and it's not the next. I don't believe it's a painful experience for the fetus because its nervous system is not "wired" so that it can feel pain at that point. I don't believe, as some anti-abortion people would have you believe, that there's a "silent scream." But it's very clear to me that it's killing a potential life. And I found that hard at first.

It never made me think that this was not the right thing to do, however. Unless there was a perfect world, where women really had safe and 100 percent effective birth control and access to it and there was no such thing as rape and if there was, if the children were born into a society where they were supported and women were supported in raising children, then maybe it would be a different story. But none of those things exist. And having been through three pregnancies and knowing what kind of physical toll that takes on people, I still believe very strongly that women should not be made to carry a child for nine and a half months when they don't want to.

Still, there was also a sadness for me about the procedure that I hadn't really felt before I'd had my own children. In a way, though, I feel that makes me a better provider because I can talk to women about the children they have, about the difficulty of the decision, and let them express their ambivalent feelings and still support them.

Are there any situations that have been particularly poignant or difficult for you?

I can think of one woman who I saw a couple of weeks ago. The whole time during the procedure, she talked about her two sons and all of their accomplishments and how wonderful they were. Clearly she was broken-hearted to be having this procedure. But her husband just could not accept having a third child and there were financial problems that would have made it very, very difficult for them and the other two children. She knew it was the right decision, but it was a painful one for her.

So there are women who are married and who have families but for one reason or another -- because of a bad relationship, or domestic abuse, or financial constraints -- it's really not a good decision to bring another child into the world. For some people, it's a fairly straightforward procedure, but for others, it clearly is a sad event.

Do you ever see women who are getting abortions for reasons that seem frivolous to you -- and does it make you angry?

What makes me angry is people who aren't being careful about birth control, who don't make an effort to get a birth control system in place for themselves and have had several abortions. But it's usually those people who also make me think, "Oh great! They're not having a child" -- even though I think it's an awful way to do your birth control. I firmly believe that I cannot use my own value judgments in deciding when it's right for a person to make this decision or not, however. Ultimately it really is the woman's decision and she is the person who has to carry all the consequences.

How did having two daughters affect your views on abortion?

Well, I hope that they won't have sex before they're mature and ready to have sex, and that they will use birth control and try to avoid becoming pregnant when they don't want to be. But if either of them becomes pregnant before they are ready, it's extremely important to me that abortion be available to them -- and available in the way that I provide it, which is in a safe, clean environment with lots of support and lots of nurturing. A situation where they're not made to feel ashamed or guilty.

Do you still see a lot of shame on the part of women who get abortions?

It's incredible to me how much shame and guilt people have about it. Women will come in, having made this decision, and say, "You know, I don't believe in abortion." I always have to stop at that point and say, "I understand this might not be a situation you ever imagined you would be in, or that this is a sad and a hard decision to make, but you really cannot say that you don't believe in abortion if you've made this decision for yourself here today. You have to tell people that you do believe in that choice for people." I can't tell you how many people tell me that. Or they'll say, "Gee, you're so much better looking than I expected," as if we were supposed to come in with hunchbacks and moles on our faces.

Sometimes they're surprised that I have children, or that I talk about my children and that I want to talk about their children. Last week a very young girl came into the room, and I was with a counselor and a medical student that I'm training to do abortions. The girl said, "Have any of you ever had an abortion?" and I said, "Yes, I have." The medical student was shocked. After we left the room, she said, "I can't believe you said that to her." I told her that I think it is really important to let people know that it happens to all kinds of people and it doesn't have to mean the end of your life, or that you're doomed to a life of bad decisions. It doesn't have to be a shameful thing.

The “Typical” Plaintiff is a site that talks about the option of pursuing legal action against the abortionist and/or their clinic after an abortion experience. I thought some excerpts were of interest.

The “Typical” Plaintiff
In numerous cases in which we have either evaluated the patient, testified as expert witnesses, or consulted generally on a case, it is apparent to us that most plaintiffs have a number of factors in common.

First, most were between 22 and 35 years of age, unmarried, and experienced both physical and emotional injuries post-abortion.

Second, most did not receive pre-abortion counseling, or if they did, it was so deficient as to be meaningless to the plaintiff at the time of the abortion.

Third, most of these women remembered signing informed consent forms but did not read them or understand them.

Fourth, most were not given options counseling, nor the opportunity to ask questions privately.

Fifth, most had four to eight predisposing risk factors to post-abortion trauma, that were unacknowledged or unexplored at the abortion clinic, or minimized by either the abortion counselor or the physician.

Sixth, most plaintiffs experienced the staff and abortion provider as insensitive to their special circumstances or emotional state.

Seventh, most felt ill-prepared for the post-abortion emotional traumatization and deceived by the abortion counselor regarding the developmental characteristics and humanity of the fetus.

Eighth, most plaintiffs have suffered serious and significant emotional injury, that has negatively impacted their primary relationships, subsequent parent-child interactions, and resulted in lowered self-esteem, the use of dysfunctional coping mechanisms (drinking, drugs, food, avoidance behaviors, emotional numbing), and experienced posttraumatic decline in overall functioning.

Ninth, most of these women had first trimester abortions.

Tenth, most of these women had some preexisting psychosocial stressors, most were competent and functioning individuals in society prior to their abortion traumatization.

The following cases are presented here by way of example of the degree and variance of post-abortion emotional injury.

Predisposing Risk Factors for Post-abortion Trauma
Research evidence is clear that certain women are predisposed to significant negative post-abortion adjustment. Existing biased abortion counseling places maternal health of these women at risk. These women are in need of more counseling, more information, more exploration and deliberative time, and more assistance than others.

Abortion traumatization may in many cases be prevented or remedied if women who give evidence of documented risk factors receive adequate counsel to make a decision that fits their unique psychological and social needs.

Empirical evidence suggests that emotional harm from abortion is probable when the following risk factors are present:

prior history of mental illness
Immature interpersonal relationships
Unstable, conflicted relationship with one’s partner
History of a negative relationship with one’s mother
Ambivalence regarding abortion
Religious or cultural background hostile to abortion
Single status, especially if one has not borne children
Age, particularly adolescents versus adult women
Second trimester versus first trimester abortions
Abortion for genetic reasons, i.e., fetal anomaly
Pressure or coercion to abort
Prior abortion
Prior children
Maternal orientation
Biased pre-abortion counseling

Belinda Byrd: Remember her

Belinda Byrd
On January 24, 1987, 37-year-old Belinda Byrd had an abortion performed by Stephen Pine at Inglewood Women's Hospital in Los Angeles, California. Belinda was left unattended for three hours after the abortion, and was found unresponsive. Staff at Inglewood delayed an additional two hours before transferring her to a hospital with appropriate emergency services.

Belinda was one of 74 women who had abortions in Inglewood's single operating room that day, and one of 24 whose abortions were performed in the final two hours of the day. Belinda remained comatose until her death on January 27.

Belinda's mother wrote to a Los Angeles district attorney:

I am the mother of Belinda Byrd, victim of abortionists at [Inglewood]. I am also the grandmother of her three young children who are left behind and motherless. I cry every day when I think how horrible her death was. She was slashed by them and then she bled to death ... and nobody cares. I know that other young black women are now dead after abortion at that address. ... Where is [the abortionist] now? Has he been stopped? Has anything happened to him because of what he did to my Belinda? Has he served jail time for any of these cruel deaths? People tell me nothing has happened, that nothing ever happens to white abortionists who leave young black women dead. I'm hurting real bad and want some justice for Belinda and all other women who go like sheep to slaughter.

In the wake of the series of abortion deaths at Inglewood, the authorities inspected the place. Among other things, they caught an abortionist writing post-operative examination notes without even examining the patients. When the state closed Inglewood for numerous violations, the facility simply re-opened as Inglewood Women's Clinic; as a clinic rather than a hospital they were no longer subject to the same intense scrutiny and were able to remain in business.

Other women known to have died after abortions at the Inglewood facility include Kathy Murphy, Cora Lewis, Lynette Wallace, and Elizabeth Tsuji.

Vanessa Preston: Rest in Peace

As everyone acknowledges - either as a tragedy or as something we should be thankful for - the anniversary of Roe vs Wade and the mileston 20 year anniversary in Canada let us remember Vanessa Preston. In 1980 on January 22nd she entered the Fairmont Clinic in Dallas. She was the 22 year old wife of a local Pastor. Her husband and little child accompanied her to the facility. Mr. Curtis Boyd performed the procedure. During the abortion procedure she experienced a grand mal seizure and cardiac arrest. My understanding is that the records show that the facility employed immediate emergency procedures to try to save this 22 year old woman's life. They were able to get her heart started again but sadly she went into cardiac arrest again. At the hospital she was transported to she received surgical treatment for a retained placenta and multiple vaginal punctures. She went into cardiac arrest again. She has massive unstoppable blood loss that wasn't address by being given 24 full units of blood. She was pronounced dead despite every effort made. The autopsy reported the reasons behind her cardiac arrest. She had developed amniotic fluid embolism (AFE - amniotic fluid in the mother's bloodstream) and disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC - a blood clotting disorder) during the abortion.

This information is extracted from realchoice blog - and full credit should be given to her for her research.

"Is it right or wrong to let my child live? Should I give life or should I give it away?": The Courage of a mother

The young woman in this video shares a powerful testimony. Two years ago she was sexually assaulted. She sought emergency room care for medical attention. She was offered a morning after pill which she declined. She later learned that she was pregnant. She shares the whole process of reconciling all of the emotions of being pregnant raped at 19 years of age and becoming a mother though rape.

A moving pro-life video

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Operation Outcry: The pain of abortion

The National Post in the wake of a milestone abortion anniversary in Canada outlines some of the thoughts of people on both sides of this issue.

Ms. Mountenay, who would later be sued by Dr. Morgentaler for offering "sidewalk counselling" to patients outside this same clinic, was crushed. Having aborted two pregnancies of her own, to her profound regret, she wept at the thought that more women would see abortion as a "quick and easy fix," and wind up as she was, mourning her unborn children, cursing her naivete.

"I'll never forget the night," she said yesterday.

Denise is is the founder and president of Canada Silent No More. She is the author of FORGIVEN which is her own journey. It became a best seller. She has carried her message about the pain of her abortion to schools, conferences, prisons, churches, and to television and radio.

The article also profiles Andrew Mrozek

"I'm almost embarrassed, still sometimes, to be public on the issue," said Andrea Mrozek, 31, who has commemorated the anniversary by launching a new non-religious support group and Web forum, ProWomanProLife, to discuss the dangers of and alternatives to abortion

Andrea Mrozek is Manager of Research and Communications at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, which complies research from the perspective of people that want to change the definition of marriage to the traditional historical one.

The article also profiles the words of Joanne Byfield

Joanne Byfield, president of Life Canada, said in a phone interview she thinks Canadians are too often ignorant and complacent after a full generation with easy access to abortions and little critical public discussion, but also that this is changing. "I think people are questioning abortion," she said

Monday, January 21, 2008

A tender ballad about adoption

This is a song of healing.

ChrisTomlin singing Amazing Grace

Donna shares her story through music at Rachel Vineyard's

Gianna Jessen: I will limp my way into heaven

25,000 attend West Coast Walk for Life, event continues to grow

Some of the 25,000 marchers at the Walk for Life in San FranciscoSan Francisco, Jan 20, 2008 / 05:55 pm (CNA).- After hearing two speeches from the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., and a woman who survived an abortion, an estimated 25,000 marchers on Saturday walked 2.5 miles along the San Francisco waterfront to support pregnant women and to protest legalized abortion.

The marchers carried signs and banners reading “Abortion Hurts Women” and “Women Deserve Better.”

About 250 pro-abortion protestors chanted and jeered alongside the marchers’ route.

At the Walk for Life rally before the march, the audience was addressed by Gianna Jessen, who developed cerebral palsy as an infant after an attempted saline abortion in Los Angeles.

"I was aborted and did not die," Gianna Jessen told the cheering crowd, but referred to her injuries adding, "I will limp my way into heaven."

"The abortionist signed my birth certificate," Jessen said, though she continued, "My life is not defined by abortion. I am not a victim, I am a victor."

Alveda King, the niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to the marchers, comparing the pro-life movement to her uncle’s efforts to secure civil rights.

"We care about life from the womb to the tomb," Alveda King said. "My uncle said injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Dr. King said that the Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the future of his children for personal comfort and safety. So here we are on behalf of the children, the future generation."

King led the crowd in singing the civil rights song “This Little Light of Mine.”

Rev. Clenard Childress and the radio host Jesse Romero also addressed the crowd. Eight Catholic bishops from various regions of California were present to show support for the event and the marchers’ cause.

Walk for Life co-chair Dolores Meehan said her organization was pleased by the growing numbers of participants, noting the first event in 2005 drew about 5,000 people while the 2007 event attracted about 20,000

Unspoiled by Feminism: A culture of support and respect for their husband

A DATING agency's sleazy offer of Czech women "unspoiled by feminism" was slammed yesterday.

Protesters have demanded that council officials investigate the activities of the Hand In Hand agency, whose website features the women in skimpy clothing and underwear.

They promise clients women 10 to 20 years younger than them who are "unspoiled by feminism at a very affordable price".

It also claims they are "beautiful, intelligent and educated" and have a "culture of support and respect for their husband".

She said: "Its approach to women would be offensive to anyone, male or female. The implication is it is about the ability to buy a bride.

"As well as the offence it could cause to members of the public, the leaflet must raise concerns about exploitation of women in the Czech Republic."

Another woman who complained said: "The small print on the leaflets probably explains the women cost a couple of goats and half a dozen chickens and that they always look forward to their daily beatings."

Police have also been made aware of the agency's leafleting activities.

Dundee councillor Joe Morrow pledged to act yesterday after receiving a number of complaints.

He said: "Material like this is frankly disgusting and I am certain that everyone in Dundee will share my revulsion that it is being handed out in public."

A spokesman for Hand In Hand in Dundee, one of a number of franchises of the agency in the UK, insisted they were above board. He added: "We are simply an introduction agency and not a buy-a-bride service."

But it emerged last night that Hand In Hand have been criticised by websites investigating internet scams and blacklisted by one -

Their investigator said: "I first ran across this agency three years ago. All the girls are the same as then. Bad sign."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Huckabee's comments on gay marriage

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Republican Mike Huckabee is taking heat from some members of the gay community over recent comments that appeared to equate gay marriage with bestiality.

In an interview with the religious Web site, Huckabee pushes back on recent critics who have called some of his positions "radical."

"I think the radical view is to say that we're going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal," he said in the interview, published on the Web site Wednesday. "Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again."

David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign told CNN Huckabee's comments make clear the former Arkansas governor stance is "out of the mainstream of American thought."

"I think he's equating a loving marriage between two people of the same sex with some form of bestiality," he said. " I think that's really out of the mainstream of American thought, and most people will find that offensive."

Huckabee has previously come under fire for past comments on homosexuality. In his 1998 book "Kids Who Kill," the onetime Baptist minister seemed to link homosexuality with sexually deviant and criminal behavior.

"It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations — from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia," he wrote.

Responding to that passage, Huckabee said on ‘Meet the Press’ last month he was not linking the three, but rather pointing out all are deviations from the "traditional concept of sexual behavior."

Huckabee's campaign told CNN the candidate is not equating gay marriage with bestiality, but rather he simply saying that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. The campaign also said gay rights groups are trying to pick a fight

Who is aborting their baby?

NEW YORK — In American pop culture, the face of abortion is often a frightened teenager, nervously choosing to terminate an unexpected pregnancy. The numbers tell a far more complex story in which financial stress can play a pivotal role.

Half of the roughly 1.2 million U.S. women who have abortions each year are 25 or older. Only about 17 percent are teens. About 60 percent have given birth to least one child prior to getting an abortion.

A disproportionately high number are minorities. And regardless of ethnicity, high abortion rates are linked to hard times.

"It doesn't just happen to young people, it doesn't necessarily have to do with irresponsibility," said Miriam Inocencio, president of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island. "Women face years and years of reproductive life after they've completed their families, and they're at risk of an unintended pregnancy that can create an economic strain."

The American dream
In recent years, the number of abortions has fallen; the 1.2 million tallied for 2005 was down 8 percent from 2000, and the per-capita abortion rate was the lowest since 1974. But overall, since the Roe ruling on Jan. 22, 1973, there have been roughly 50 million abortions in the United States, and more than one-third of adult women are estimated to have had at least one.

Who are these women?

Much of the public debate focuses on teens, as evidenced by the constant wrangling over parental notification laws and movies like the current hit Juno, in which the pregnant heroine heads to an abortion clinic, then decides to have the baby.

In fact, the women come from virtually every demographic sector. But year after year the statistics reveal that black women and economically struggling women — who have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies — are far more likely than others to have abortions. About 13 percent of American women are black, yet new figures from the Centers for Disease Control show they account for 35 percent of the abortions.

Black abortion opponents depict this phenomenon in dire terms — "genocide" and "holocaust," for example. Often, however, the women getting the abortions maintain they act in the interests of children they already have.

"It wasn't a hard decision for me to make, because I knew where I wanted to go in my life — I've never regretted it," said Kimberly Mathias, 28, a black single mother from Missouri.

By contrast, Alveda King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., calls herself a "reformed murderer" for undergoing two abortions when she was young.

Now an outspoken abortion opponent, King says the best way to reduce abortions among black women is to dissuade more of them from premarital sex.

Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a black physician who is Planned Parenthood's national vice president for medical affairs, thinks allegations of "black genocide" do not help women meet day-to-day challenges.

"These actions take attention away from medically proven ways to reduce unintended pregnancy — comprehensive sex education, affordable birth control, and open and honest conversations about relationships," she said

Looking beyond racial dividing lines, Cullins views the right to abortion as an important component in the ability of all American women to determine the right size for their family.

"Groups that become assimilated in U.S. culture and experience economic opportunities naturally decide to limit family size, because they want to take part in the American dream," she said. "If you're a single mother, achieving the dream is all the harder, so it makes sense to limit family size so you can shower as much support as you can on the children you have."

A 'prudent choice'
Georgette Forney, who had an abortion when she was 16 and is now an abortion opponent leading Anglicans for Life, says she often sees economic pressures triggering abortions, even in middle-class families.

"We've begun to depend on abortions," Forney said. "We feel we have to choose between our unborn child and our born children."

Martha Girard, on the other hand, says she's appalled by the notion that women should lose the right to choose.

A hospital ultrasound technician from Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and a mother of three, Girard had an abortion two years ago, at the age of 44, when she mistakenly thought she was too old to get pregnant.

Having been through three difficult pregnancies previously, and coping with a mentally disabled eldest son, she felt abortion was the prudent choice.

"I knew that this pregnancy would end up badly — I could feel it — and we've already got enough problems with the mentally ill son," Girard said.

Even among many abortion opponents, the Guttmacher Institute — which supports abortion rights — is considered the nation's best source of abortion statistics.

Federal statistics do not include California, the most populous state, because its government does not provide data. But Guttmacher researchers surveyed abortion providers there as well as in other states to produce the latest national estimate of 1.2 million abortions in 2005. That's down from a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 but still represents more than 20 percent of all pregnancies.

When wealthy women abort
One of the Guttmacher's top researchers, Stanley Henshaw, said the recent drop may disguise the fact that abortion rates remain relatively high for black American and Hispanic women.

He believes the most effective countermeasure would be wider availability of contraceptives such as intrauterine device, or IUDs, that don't require attention as frequently as condoms or birth-control pills.

Though abortion is commonplace across the country, urban areas have far higher rates than rural areas where access to abortion providers can be difficult.

New York, New Jersey, California, Delaware, Nevada, Maryland and Florida had the highest abortion rates in 2005, according to the new Guttmacher report released this week. Wyoming, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota and Mississippi had the lowest rates — the latter two states have just a single abortion clinic in operation.

Susan Hill, founder of the National Women's Health Organization that runs the remaining Mississippi clinic, says the statistics may not fully reflect a subgroup of relatively affluent women who obtain unreported abortions through their private doctors.

"In Mississippi, it's the poor women who don't have access to that who have to run through the maze of protesters screaming and yelling abuse," Hill said. "Wealthier women can be more creative about their alternatives."

The demographics
According to Guttmacher data, the abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level is more than four times higher than among women from middle-income and affluent households.

An increasing number of women avoid surgery by using the RU-486 abortion pill or other early medication — these now account for about 13 percent of all abortions.

Of all U.S. women getting abortions, about 54 percent are doing so for the first time, while one-fifth have had at least two previous abortions. Of those over the age of 20, the majority have attended college. Almost a third those women have been married at some point. About 60 percent have at least one child; one-third have two or more.

"I don't think most people understand that these are women who have families, who are making a very serious decision about their reproductive health," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "The stereotype is that the decision is made lightly. It is not."

Ron Paul went to the SF pro life rally

Abortion activists take to SF streets

SAN FRANCISCO -- One issue that feels like it's fallen off the political radar is abortion - but this week marks the 35th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing the procedure. Activists on both sides of the issue took to the streets of San Francisco.

Thousands and thousands of abortion opponents filled the Ferry Plaza Park Saturday in the Walk for Life West Coast. The walk is deliberately located in the very pro-choice San Francisco.
"Look at the turnout -- I think the whole plaza is full. I think people care, and they want to know where the politicians stand on it," said Eva Muntean, march organizer.

The link has a video

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"There is the sac and there is the heartbeat"

Another pro-choice story from "I am not sorry"

showed me the monitor for the ultrasound and mention, "right there is the sac and there is the heartbeat."

I asked the Gods (I'm Pagan) to allow this soul to be born through a younger, healthier mother.... In my mind's eye, an angel appeared. She (yes, it was female) was holding close to her bosom a small white Divine light in her hands, and gave me the most serene smile (not judgemental in any way) and proceeded to disappear. I was comforted and able to go through with the procedure.

Time with Liza

A story at I am not sorry - a pro-choice website - where a mother talks about delaying the abortion so that she could spend more time with her unborn child before aborting it

We waited two months to get the money (I got a medical card) and make the appointment and to have time to share with "Liza". We both loved "her" dearly and wanted to commemorate her as much as we could.

The process of getting the procedure was the most nerve wracking thing ever... seeing the sonogram made me feel better about everything. I was 12 weeks pregnant and I know what Liza looked like. I loved her

When this child's birthday would have been

"I am not sorry" a pro-choice website hosts the stories of young women who are pro-choice and who have aborted without regret.

Two days before the positive result. I received a letter in the mail from a politician, thanking me for signing, then trying to explain to me the “horrors of abortion”. Fuck him

have had people wanting to talk to me about it. Telling me when this child’s birthday would have been. Telling me they wish they could have talked me out of it. People wondering why I did it.

have had people wanting to talk to me about it. Telling me when this child’s birthday would have been. Telling me they wish they could have talked me out of it. People wondering why I did it.

I wish I went to a more compassionate facility where they treated me like a person. Not a waitress serving ice cold medical procedures. My experience with abortion was not pleasant. They shuffled me from room to room. My doctor was completely rude to me. They denied me any anesthesia. Then gave me one sedative, The nurses all told me how gentle the doctor was, but I was "the last procedure of the day" and he was very rough with me, they gave me an Ibuprofen and sent me on my merry way. No one I've spoken to that had the same procedure recently was as poorly medicated as myself

We can’t fish in the drains for the baby can we?:

Another story from " I am not sorry" a pro-choice website

Excerpts as follows:

I arrived at the hospital and had some pills placed inside me. I was told that if I went to the toilet I was to ring an alarm and a nurse would come and inspect what was in the tray(it was a cardboard tray type thing). I started to get cramps and feel nauseated so I was taken to a room and spent the day shivering in bed with terrible cramps. My boyfriend was there this time and he just told me to stop crying and stop being stupid. I hated him for that. He showed no emotion. The pain was unbearable, I wasn’t allowed a surgical abortion because I was too far gone, 13 weeks I think they said but I thought I was only 9, because it was 9 weeks since the condom had split, I even got the morning after pill and it didn’t work, now I know why. Apparently he didn’t think it mattered when there was a tiny hole in the condom. I was quite adamant that I wasn’t 13 weeks, still not wanting to believe my boyfriend would put me through all that. The nurses had said it would take about six hours for my body to effectively give birth to the foetus. This was at about 11am. At around 2pm I went to the toilet and forgot to use a cardboard tray. I felt two large lumps fall out of my body and when I looked in the toilet it was full of blood. I rang for the nurses and told them what I felt and they said well we can’t fish in the drains for the baby can we? I was shocked at that, even though they were right. They didn’t believe me every time I went to the toilet they told me that nothing was happening, I believed that the foetus and placenta had gone down that toilet. At 9pm there was nothing but a small amount of bleeding and so I left the hospital. I wasn’t given the counselling I was promised

I cried myself to sleep for two weeks

Still offered no counselling that I was promised and ever since I have struggled to cope

Despite all of this Hannah does not regret her abortion

A pro-choice perspective on motherhood

"I am not sorry", a pro-choice website, shares the journey of a pro-choice mother as she reflects on the birth of her child and the onset of motherhood.

The context for this actually quite heartbreaking - a young woman promised oodles of support from a family and a boyfriend that ultimately never stepped up and helped her and her son. Still, her words are earthshatteringly harsh.

I think it has taken me so long to write this because I don't want to be seen as a bad mother. I regret having my son. I do and looking back, the memories of it aren't so bad overall, but my day to day life since then has been. If I had to do it all over again, I would have gotten the abortion at all costs. I do love my son, there is no doubt about that, but I find myself wishing, often, that I had not had him at all. If that makes me a bad mother, then so be it.

Subsequent to this she conceived unexpectedly again,

My decision was easy and it was to immediately seek an abortion. I told my boyfriend, I did not ask him, and he told me that he was actually relieved that I did not want to keep the pregnancy. I called my mother and explained the situation to her and that I would need to borrow some money from her.

And these were the words of the baby's grandmother when she was told the news:

I cried for a very long time when she told me that things would have been different if I had gone to her the first time I was pregnant