On March 3, Live Action published an article about Kathy Sparks, a former abortion clinic worker who became pro-life. In this article, I will discuss what led to her quitting her job at the abortion clinic.
In her work at the abortion clinic, Kathy Sparks handled the bodies of aborted babies daily:
The ones [aborted babies] that were small enough, which would be 12-13 weeks or less, we would put in a jar, label them, and put them in a big box to go off to the pathology lab… When the babies would be put in the jars, we would hold them up and kind of twirl them around and look at the little arm and little leg float up, and we’d put them back in the box.
Sparks did not realize the heavy toll that her job was taking on her, but she would later say:
… all the sin that I had been participating in was killing me inside. And there I was, going into the abortion clinic every day, not realizing what it was doing to my soul. I wasn’t at all aware of what was happening to me, that had any part to do with why I was becoming the way I was becoming. So I became desperate, very desperate.
Sparks continued to work at the clinic, but her life was beginning to fall apart. She and her husband were on the verge of divorce. Her mother had disowned her, and when a close friend broke off their friendship after an argument, Sparks became distraught and suicidal. In her own words:
… when I got home I decided what I was going to do. I was going to kill myself with my husband’s off-duty revolver. He’s a policeman in Granite City, a detective. So, I took his off-duty revolver and put myself in this recliner, and I put the gun to my head and I cocked it. I was hysterical. I was actually having a breakdown and didn’t realize what was happening. I was just crying and crying.
As God is my witness today, I tried to pull the trigger, and I could not do it. I tried to pull the trigger and I could not do it. I thought, man, I can’t even kill myself. That’s what I thought. It was almost as if there was a lock on the gun, and I believe there was. God had a call for me, a purpose for my life.
In desperation, she called her mother-in-law, who told her to come over. Her mother-in-law was deeply religious, and encouraged Sparks to pray. Sparks experienced a religious conversion in which she embraced Christianity. Her new religious faith brought her some emotional peace, but as she began to study the Bible and pray on a daily basis, she started to have serious misgivings about her work at the clinic. One day, several weeks after her conversion, she had a horrible experience there that marked a turning point in her life:
One of the first abortions done that day was on a woman who was 23 weeks pregnant. This woman should have had a saline or a laminaria abortion, or even a hysterectomy. Anything would have been better than to try to do a D&C on a woman who was that far along. You have to realize that in this particular abortion clinic, what would be done was she would be examined one side; a pelvic exam by one doctor; then she’d come over and go through all the blood work and sign a release paper, etc. Then, by the time it was time for her abortion, she would be examined a second time. So we’re talking about two different doctors doing a pelvic exam who knew this lady was farther than certainly 12 weeks along. She lay on the table. She was a regular-built person, and she had a belly. And I thought, no way! That couldn’t be the baby! So the doctor did the pelvic and sat down on his chair and mouths up to me, “very big.” I’m thinking, very big, what are you going to do this for? I was trembling and getting a little bit nervous. But he began the procedure. He started to dilate her with the dilating rods and the water broke. He began to do a procedure that normally would take five to eight minutes, and we were in there for an hour. This woman was in so much pain, she was coming off the table. Every medical assistant and nurse was in that room. The nurse had to give her three doses of Sublimaze to try to calm her down. She was screaming; the nurse was yelling at her because everybody else was getting quite upset in the waiting area, as you can imagine, from this woman who was screaming. The doctor was trying to do the abortion, and the baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with this curette, and so he had to try to pull the baby out with forceps, which he brought out three or four major pieces. Then he scraped and suctioned and scraped and suctioned. There this little baby boy was laying on the tray. I took the baby and I took him to the clean-up room, and I set him down, and I began weeping, uncontrollably sobbing for what I had been a part of because God showed me that was a baby, they were all babies, and I had been a part of murdering probably nearly 1,000 babies, and I cried and cried. His little face was perfectly formed, just like the sign you saw, perfectly formed; little eyes were closed, little ears and everything was perfect about this little boy.
Sparks was rebuked for her emotional outburst by the clinic director:
So the recovery nurse was wondering what was taking me so long and she walked in and looked at me. She left, didn’t say a word, shut the door, and went and got the director of the abortion clinic. This woman walked in, shut the door behind her, put her hands on my shoulders and grabbed me. She began to rebuke me; pull yourself together; you’re a professional. She shook me. I was a limp rag and crying and crying, this baby was 23 weeks. The doctor himself had told me how far along she was. She said, when did you get your medical degree? She took the baby boy over the toilet and put him down the toilet. I was crying and crying. Finally, when she was finished, I told her I couldn’t work procedure anymore, that I’d stay in cleanup. She said, fine. We worked it out and the other girls went in to work procedure for the rest of the day.
At this point, Sparks wanted to leave her job, but she and her husband were thousands of dollars in debt with a young child. She asked God for a sign that things would be okay if she left her job at the clinic. The next day, she got what she believed was her sign:
I worked the cleanup room and at 10:00 in the morning, the director, the same lady who rebuked me the very day before, walked in and closed the door behind her. Only this time, she’s very bothered. She’s very troubled. “Kathy, I had a dream last night and it was so real that I don’t know if I dreamed it or if you told me this, or what.” I’m kind of looking at her and said, “What did you dream?” She said, “I dreamed that you walked into my office and you told …So I knew that God had given her a dream to come in and tell me to get out. So I told her, “You did have a dream; I did not tell you that, but I am going to quit. I do have to leave, and it is because of my religion. What you’re doing here is wrong and I must leave.”
The clinic director offered her more money to stay at the clinic, but Sparks was resolute. She walked out of the clinic that day and never went back.
For a long time, Sparks did not get involved in the abortion issue and did not share her story. She needed to emotionally heal. But eventually, she felt that God wanted her to talk about her experiences, and she began speaking out against abortion. Eventually, she took a job at a crisis pregnancy center, helping women choose life.