In December 2004, Boston magazine published an article from an anonymous abortion provider. The doctor, whose name, location and gender were not identified, described how she (for the sake of simplicity I will use the pronoun “she”) had originally not wanted to provide abortions:
“When I started medical school in upstate New York, I didn’t want to do terminations of pregnancies at all. My mom is Catholic and my dad is Jewish, and the church we went to had a pretty strong stance on it: The message I got was that abortion was wrong.”
The future abortionist’s opinion was changed when she was influenced by the leader of the school’s chapter of Medical Students for Choice. Medical Students for Choice has been very successful at establishing abortion training in medical schools. The organization has inspired the careers of many abortion providers. Medical Students for Choice was formed in 1993 as a response to the murder of abortionist Dr. David Gunn. (1) They now have multiple chapters throughout the country.
The abortionist in this article believes in performing abortions, but also acknowledges the emotional strain of doing them:
“Doing them over and over and over again can be really taxing. All of us who provide abortions believe in what we’re doing and think it’s a good thing and a right that needs to be available. But when you’re in the clinic and in that group of people doing it, it can be tough, and you can get really tired. I don’t think it’ll ever make me stop doing terminations, but it can move people to tears. And it’s not just me — it extends to the nurses and the people who help us in the operating room. It’s not unusual that you’ll have only a couple of nurses who will help you out with it. There are nurses that will say, “No, I won’t help you take care of this patient.” I even know people who feel they can’t tell their families what they do; their families think they work on labor and delivery.”
Here we have an admission that abortion is different from other medical procedures. Routine surgeries do not “move people to tears,” and while practicing medicine of any kind can be taxing, the type of emotional strain that this doctor describes seems to go beyond what medical workers in other fields experience. In February, Live Action published an article about the emotional effects of abortion on clinic workers. You can read more quotes by abortionists and clinic workers here.
The abortion provider makes a shocking statement:
“I have the utmost respect for life; I appreciate that life starts early in the womb, but also believe that I’m ending it for good reasons. Often I’m saving the woman, or I’m improving the lives of the other children in the family. I also believe that women have a life they have to consider. If a woman is working full-time, has one child already, and is barely getting by, having another child that would financially push her to go on public assistance is going to lessen the quality of her life. And it’s also an issue for the child, if it would not have had a good life. Life’s hard enough when you’re wanted and everything’s prepared for. So yes, I end life, but even when it’s hard, it’s for a good reason.”
Abortion providers openly acknowledge that abortion is killing more often than you might think. You can read a number of similar quotes at this link. For example, Texas late term abortionist Dr. Curtis Boyd said in an interview that he knew he was killing. (See video here:)
So the abortion doctor in this article agrees with pro-lifers that life begins “early in the womb.” However, she feels that destroying this life is ethical because she is doing it “for good reasons.” But are they good reasons? Does it really make sense kill a child to prevent him from having a bad life? Putting aside the fact that “good life” and “bad life” are arbitrary labels, there is no guarantee that a wanted child will have a good life or that an unwanted child will have a bad one. To predict the kind of life an unborn baby will have as an adult is very difficult, if not impossible – some people who are very much wanted by their parents end up very unhappy (and it has been said that child abuse rates are actually higher for babies who were initially “wanted” pregnancies) and other people who experience hardships as children overcome their pasts and end of becoming happy adults.
A friend of mine was abused by her birth mother for 4 years before being taken away and given to a foster parent, who later adopted her. It cannot be denied that the trauma she went through has left some emotional scars; at times, she still struggles with her past. But she is now happily married with 2 young children of her own. She is a good mother who loves her family, enjoys her life and lives it to the fullest. I would hazard a guess that if she were asked whether or not she should have been aborted, she would say no.
Life is unpredictable. A person who has a happy childhood can develop a physical or mental illness and end up suffering a great deal. A person who is born in difficult circumstances may grow up to do amazing things.
As for a woman going on government assistance, this is obviously not a good thing – but to kill a child to prevent her mother from being poor cannot be ethically justified. If a poor woman was struggling financially to afford food and clothes for her 2-year-old, would we allow her to kill that child so she would no longer be poor? For her to kill her unborn child would be just as wrong.
When it comes to abortion “improving the lives of the other children in the family” some of the people on the blog “Surviving Siblings” have something to say about that.
It is true that “life is not easy.” There are very few people who do not have difficulties and problems at some point in their lives. But pro-lifers believe that life is valuable, despite its difficulties, and abortionists should not have the right to kill- whether they feel it is “for good reasons” or not.
1. Carole Joffe Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: the Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us (Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2009) 162