Remember the notorious Pennsylvania abortionist exposed in January, whose practices even the secular media labeled as inhuman and monstrous? (See my blog post.) Well, here is yet another abortionist, James Pendergraft, in an honored place in a prochoice march just a few years ago, defending his right to make millions of dollars killing children. Read this account of how he is now performing a new method of late-term abortion in the DC area.
Despite the callousness of many abortionists, both past and present abortion clinic workers testify to how deeply disturbing it is to work in an abortion clinic. Here are some accounts that I document in my book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.
Abortion is often difficult and painful for clinic workers.
A veteran abortionist and his nurse assistant presented to the Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians a troubling report on reactions to the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure. They stated that the dismemberment of the fetus is “more traumatic for the operator and assistants than for the patient.” (Unlike the staff, the patient is not allowed to see the baby’s body parts.) They followed up a questionnaire with in-depth interviews of twenty-three present and former staff members of their abortion clinic:
Many subjects reported serious emotional reactions which produced physiological symptoms, sleep disturbances, effects on personal relationships, and moral anguish.... Reactions to viewing the fetus ranged from “I haven’t looked” to shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear and sadness.... Two felt that it must eventually damage [the doctor] psychologically....
Two respondents described dreams which they had had related to the procedure. Both described dreams of vomiting fetuses along with a sense of horror. Other dreams revolved around a need to protect others from viewing fetal parts, dreaming that she herself was pregnant and needed an abortion or was having a baby.... The more direct the physical and visual involvement [i.e. nurses, doctors], the more stress experienced.
Because of their lack of understanding of what abortion really is, it is hard for many people to understand such reactions. This firsthand description of an abortion facility’s saline unit, written by a prochoice advocate, should shed some light:
I am drawn to the unit, irresistibly, by my reactions of disbelief, sorrow, horror, compassion, guilt. The place depresses me, yet I hang around after working hours. When I leave, I behave outside with the expansiveness of one who has just escaped a disaster. I have bad dreams. My sense of complicity in something nameless grows and festers. I consider giving up the research....
I remove with one hand the lid of a bucket.... I look inside the bucket in front of me. There is a small naked person there floating in a bloody liquid—plainly the tragic victim of a drowning accident. But then perhaps this was no accident, because the body is purple with bruises and the face has the agonized tautness of one forced to die too soon. Death overtakes me in a rush of madness.
When the same woman watched an abortion for the first time from the surgeon’s end of the table her shock went even deeper:
[The doctor] pulls out something, which he slaps on the instrument table. “There,” he says. “A leg.”... I turn to Mr. Smith. “What did he say?” “He pulled a leg off,” Mr. Smith says. “Right here.” He points to the instrument table, where there is a perfectly formed, slightly bent leg, about three inches long. It consists of a ripped thigh, a knee, a lower leg, a foot, and five toes. I start to shake very badly, but otherwise, I feel nothing. Total shock is passionless....
“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. My vision and my hearing though disengaged, continue, I note, to function with exceptional clarity. The rest of me is mercifully gone.
Abortion clinic workers may cover twinges of conscience with flippancy, apparent indifference, or morbid joking about their profession. Beneath this veneer, however, they often suffer guilt, which manifests itself in destructive behavior.
Dr. George Flesh confessed, “Extracting a fetus, piece by piece, was bad for my sleep.... I stared at the sad face in the mirror and wondered how all those awards and diplomas had produced an angel of death.”
Here’s an article where former abortion clinic employees talk about what they experienced as part of the abortion industry that the prochoice movement regards as “heroic.”
May God have mercy on us. And as Christ’s followers, may we, in our hearts and actions, have mercy on the smallest and weakest of God’s precious children.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.