Why so many Abortion Workers have turned Pro-Life

Mugged by Ultrasound

Why so many abortion workers have turned

BY David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields – from weeklystandard.com

January 25, 2010,
Vol. 15, No. 18

 Abortion rights
activists have long preferred to hold themselves at some remove from
the practice they promote; rather than naming it, they speak of “choice”
and “reproductive freedom.” But those who perform abortions have no
such luxury. Instead, advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion
procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work.
Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the
fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional
toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are
sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their
belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead
fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and
have defected to the pro-life cause.

In the aftermath of Roe v.
Wade, second-trimester abortions were usually performed by saline
injection. The doctor simply replaced the amniotic fluid in the
patient’s uterus with a saline solution and induced labor, leaving it to
nurses to dispose of the expelled fetus. That changed in the late
1970s, when “dilation and evacuation” (D&E) emerged as a safer
method. Today D&E is the most common second-trimester procedure. It
has been performed millions of times in the United States.

although D&E is better for the patient, it brings emotional distress
for the abortionist, who, after inserting laminaria that cause the
cervix to dilate, must dismember and remove the fetus with forceps. One
early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that
although all of their staff members “approved of second trimester
abortion in principle,” there “were few positive comments about D&E
itself.” Reactions included “shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear,
and sadness.” A more ambitious study published the following year, in
the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan’s findings. It found “strong
emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional
disquieting dreams.”

Another study, published in the October
1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers
were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed
they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological
conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions
to abortion.

Such studies are few. In general, abortion providers have censored their
own emotional trauma out of concern to protect abortion rights. In
2008, however, abortionist Lisa Harris endeavored to begin “breaking the
silence” in the pages of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. When
she herself was 18 weeks pregnant, Dr. Harris performed a D&E
abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick
precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her

Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes—without
me—meaning my conscious brain—even being aware of what was going on. I
felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my
usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from
my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling—a
brutally visceral response—heartfelt and unmediated by my training or
my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in
my life.

Harris concluded her piece by lamenting that the
pro-choice movement has left providers to suffer in silence because it
has “not owned up to the reality of the fetus, or the reality of fetal
parts.” Indeed, it often insists that images used by the pro-life
movement are faked.

(Pro-choice advocates also falsely insist
that second-trimester abortions are confined almost exclusively to
tragic “hard” cases such as fetal malformation. Yet a review of the
literature in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics
and Gynecology found that most abortions performed after the first
trimester are sought for the same reasons as first-trimester abortions,
they’re just delayed. This reality only intensifies the guilt pangs of
abortion providers.)


For the rest of this compelling article see here.

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