This is a guest post by an abortion doctor. Her name has been removed to protect her and her family.

I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you regarding abortion. I’m a doctor who does both 1st and 2nd trimester abortions.

Although most of my practice is general OB/GYN, I’m something of an abortion “specialist” because most folks in my profession don’t want to be involved in abortions. I work for a large group where abortions are sent to those of us who will do them, so I perform literally hundreds of abortions a year.

First of all, I and most of my abortionist colleagues are women. Most of us are Jews, atheists, and other non-Christians. Almost all of us are mothers. I continued to perform abortions late into my own pregnancies, and you could literally see the appreciation in the eyes of my patients, knowing that I accepted and supported their reproductive choice.

I rarely tell anyone but my closest friends and family that I do abortions because I don’t want to risk myself or my family. Those crazies out there scare me.

Who Gets Abortions and Why?


We all know that anti-abortionists aren’t really “pro-life,” they are “pro-forced birth.” They make huge assumptions about who the women are who actually have abortions. They think that all the women who have abortions are just young flaky women who have no concern for the life of the embryo/fetus they are aborting. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Most of the women seeking early abortion are either very young or in the late part of their reproductive life. The youngsters are often coerced into unwanted pregnancies by their partners, or they didn’t think or know that they could get pregnant. Some of the older women think they couldn’t get pregnant because they were “too old.”

The decision to have an abortion is an agonizing decision, that few women choose lightly. They will be criticized for whatever decision they make. What kind of terrible mother could kill her own child? What kind of terrible mother could give her child away to strangers? What kind of terrible mother would keep a child she can’t afford to care for?

Did you know that half of the abortions done in this country are done because of birth control failure?

The “pro-coerced birthers” think that these are immoral women who should be punished for their (sex) sins with an innocent child. Then they complain about “welfare mothers” who need money to support their children. Those “precious babies” become children who they don’t want to feed. Aren’t Christians supposed to provide charity for those who need it? Worse then that, they don’t want to use federal funds to provide effective contraception or abortions for poor women. They just want to keep punishing women. Of course, if it’s one of their own, she just “made a mistake, she’s really a good girl.” Abortions happen in the fundie community too, don’tcha know.

Did you know that 1/3 of women who have abortions had a partner who sabotaged their birth control method? This is true domestic violence.

Women who have abortions come from all walks of life. This is not a phenomenon of only the inner city. Many are educated, and most of them are just plain middle class people.

The 1st trimester and early 2nd trimester abortions are most frequently done as elective abortions for unwanted pregnancies. I don’t like to do elective terminations after 22 weeks because of the viability issue. Late 2nd trimester pregnancies are very different.

Virtually all of the late 2nd trimester abortions I do are for fetal anomalies, fetal deaths, and for maternal health reasons. These poor souls really wanted their babies. They are in deep mourning because of the loss of their children. They come in deep grief, many times feeling guilty because they are “killing” their loved and wanted children. They worry if the baby will feel the abortion, and they don’t want their child to suffer.

Performing Abortions


Many folks wonder what it’s like to perform abortions. First trimester abortions (dilation and curettage, D&C) are very unremarkable. Our patients are awake but sedated. The procedure is performed with a suction curette (hard plastic tube), and in the hands of an experienced abortionist, suctioning out the pregnancy lasts less than a minute. The “products of conception” come out as just a mass of undefined tissue about the size of a golf ball. No thunder and lightning. Most patients have worked themselves up to have it be a long, grueling process, but are shocked at how short the procedure is.

2nd trimester abortions are very different. The later procedure is much more difficult and riskier for the mom, hence the limited number of us who actually do them. They are also unpleasant, because the procedure (dilation and evacuation, D&E) involves pulling out the baby in pieces. That all being said, the procedure (in the hands of an expert) is much safer than inducing the delivery, and has a much lower complication rate that the induction does. Many of these poor parents don’t want to be awake for the birth of the child they are going to lose, and just prefer to lose the child under general anesthesia.

I’ve never done the famous “D&X” (dilation and extraction, “partial birth abortion”) procedure. This was the one that was outlawed because opponents thought it was too horrible of a procedure. The concept was to try to deliver the baby intact, but the brain matter was suctioned out to allow the delivery of the head through the cervix. This procedure was designed so that the parents of the child could hold an intact baby, back of the head covered up, after a surgical abortion. Not because we horrible abortionists love to torture babies and then kill them.

Why Do I Perform Abortions?

I would be the happiest person in the world to never do another abortion again. So why do I do them? Because pregnant women with unwanted pregnancies are willing to risk just about anything, including almost killing themselves, in order to try to end unwanted pregnancies.

I remember reading some statistics comparing abortions in the U.S. and Mexico, before they were legal there. About the same number of abortions were done in each country, just over 1 million abortions a year. In the U.S. about 10 women died as a result of legal abortion. In Mexico, about 10,000 women per year died as a result of illegal abortions. 10,000 women who were mothers, sisters, daughters, wives. Not pre-viable fetuses.

There’s excellent evidence that in countries where women control their reproduction, the families are more prosperous. Funny that, women knowing when it’s a good or a bad time to add a child to their family.

You would never pick out an abortionist in the crowd. We would probably be the last people you would figure. We are the kindest, most compassionate people you would wish to meet. We are, however, very passionate about protecting the lives and reproductive rights of our patients.

Last time I checked, abortion was legal in this country. But I can tell you that the people who oppose abortion have no feelings of any kind for the poor women who have to make the terrible decision to end a pregnancy for whatever reason. They want to end abortion because they love those theoretical innocent children.

Oh, yeah, forgot that we are all born sinners. Maybe they aren’t such great babies after all.

Via: http://unreasonablefaith.com

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What I meant was this. I very strongly believed in religion. I soon found that religion was very flawed. I then wondered if anything else I believed in was flawed. So I questioned everything. I developed my own moral code.

Give it a break. Woman will never be kept barefoot and pregnant again. They are not your slaves.

You are seriously pissing me off with the constant personal attacks. I do not want women to be my slaves. I have already said the following:

And I don't want to control the reproduction rights of anyone. I'm just trying to present a case to people on why abortion is wrong (based on my personal opinion). In the end it's still their choice and I'm fine with that. My goal would be to simply convince people that would be fine with getting an abortion to change their minds and keep the baby. I will not try and force them, but simply present my argument and let them decide.
Dawkins has been very compelling on the beginnings of morality. He believes they are part of evolution, which is why I say "hardwired."

The military does a lot of training to overcome this "hard wired" aversion to killing other people. Perhaps someone could dig up statistics I read somewhere regarding U.S. troops in WWI that didn't fire their weapons during heated firefights? It was a serious issue.

But some things come from culture and upbringing, too. Nature versus nurture is a terrible way to frame it. Both have legitimacy.
Since I'm not religous, I have to find ways to maintain good morals.
Personally, I'm not sure what one has to do with the other for those of us who are not religious.

The one rule I give myself is don't shit on someone elses porch and they won't shit on yours. So I don't murder, you don't murder, etc. So I always put myself in the position of another person, and then ask myself how would I feel about a certain action.
A good 'golden rule' approach. I think I would take it a step further, I don't want someone else pushing their opinion of morality on me, so I would not push my opinion of morality on them (unless they are blatantly breaking the law, or could harm me-or-mine in the process). Abortion should remain the choice of the mother, and she must live with the choice, and by her own moral judgment that she passes on herself. This is a civil right, and making it illegal a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, as religion would be pushing its moral views into law.

So I put myself in the position of a fetus (I realize a fetus would not be able to reason like the following, but it's a hypothetical).
I guess I also see this as something we are not really capable of truly conceptualizing, even as a hypothetical.

Its fine for you to not favor abortion personally. No one is "pro-abortion" - they are pro-choice.
Wow! Tough subject matter. I will say first off that it is powerful and insightful and I applaud the writer for the work she does, it would not be an easy job.

I have spent a lot of time reading many of the comments on this post, particularly since I am new here, and as expected, it has turned into quite a debate. Everyone has their own ideas of "morality", which is to be expected, hell even encouraged, so long as one doesn't try and force ones own beliefs on others.

For the record I will state my stance. While I may not, like many, agree with abortion, I am 100% pro-choice.

I have been through many different parts of these arguments throughout my life and have seen many of the possible outcomes. I have had a close friend who got pregnant and due to the society where I live would have been a total outcast. She asked me for help and support as the guy left her. Back then I was still a Christian and even though my religion taught me it was wrong, I supported her choice and helped her through it because I felt, based on what would happen to her, and the child, having the abortion was the best thing for her.

I have seen friends who have had children go through postpartum that was so severe that they wanted nothing to do with their children and even. Some got over it, others did not. Some went through severe depression and even suicide attempts, while others just had a total disconnect from their child.

My wife and I have tried for quite some time to have a child, and finally we have gotten lucky, only 3 more moths to go! While I agree with science and biology that life does not simply begin at conception, I was in love from the first time I saw the tiny dot in the ultrasound. This was my child and I was going to do what ever it took to raise it. Of course at this stage it was little more than a small clump of cells but it was my kid. I cannot even imagine the difficult decision and pain one would have to go through to decide to abort it. I know it would be hard, and I do not even want to think about it, but that is because I so badly want this kid.

All this being said, I fully support the right to choose. While I know that for me it would be a very hard choice, I know it is made even harder because I want this child. Someone who does not want the child, cannot afford to raise it, has been raped etc, has the right to choose what goes on with their own body.

However, personally I do draw a line, but this is MY OWN moral line and not one I would presume to impose on someone else.

I do feel that late term abortions are wrong unless it is a risk to the mother or there are serious medical circumstances. I think that the first term of 3 months is really plenty of time to try and make up ones mind and look at the options and by 5 to 6 months or more (by this time the baby to be has really started becoming a baby) you should have already made up your mind. After 6 months the foetus starts becoming more and more viable outside of the mother and on its own, surely with risks and possible complications, but viable. Once it can be said to be able to stand a chance outside of its mother I feel it should be brought to term.

Again, this is simply my stance, not one I would ever force on anyone but myself nor one I would use to persecute others with.

Anyway I thought I would pipe with my two cents on this rather powerful and thought provoking topic.
While I may not, like many, agree with abortion, I am 100% pro-choice.
I'm not sure that any of us "agree" with abortion, as-in the mythical "pro-abortion" stance. I would also speculate that all of us would find 'no need for abortion' to be an ideal world. Its about basic civil and human right though, that most of us think women should have a choice; and thus prescribe to a "pro-choice" view.
I do feel that late term abortions are wrong unless it is a risk to the mother or there are serious medical circumstances. I think that the first term of 3 months is really plenty of time to try and make up ones mind and look at the options and by 5 to 6 months or more (by this time the baby to be has really started becoming a baby) you should have already made up your mind. After 6 months the foetus starts becoming more and more viable outside of the mother and on its own, surely with risks and possible complications, but viable. Once it can be said to be able to stand a chance outside of its mother I feel it should be brought to term. Again, this is simply my stance, not one I would ever force on anyone but myself nor one I would use to persecute others with.
That's pretty reasonable, I won't argue against that; and I doubt many other pro-choice people would either.
Welcome to T|A Shawn!
I do feel that late term abortions are wrong unless it is a risk to the mother or there are serious medical circumstances. I think that the first term of 3 months is really plenty of time to try and make up ones mind and look at the options and by 5 to 6 months or more (by this time the baby to be has really started becoming a baby) you should have already made up your mind. After 6 months the foetus starts becoming more and more viable outside of the mother and on its own, surely with risks and possible complications, but viable. Once it can be said to be able to stand a chance outside of its mother I feel it should be brought to term.

A reasonable and reasoned stance, and one that I agree with Johnny that very few rational people would have a problem with.

Also, hearty congratulations on your upcoming child!
"I do feel that late term abortions are wrong unless it is a risk to the mother or there are serious medical circumstances. I think that the first term of 3 months is really plenty of time to try and make up ones mind and look at the options"

Please read the article again. Late term abortions are described as being largely for the health of the mother or because there is something wrong with the fetus, including the fact that it might have died. These things are not something that can be predicted in the first three months. Nor can one "make up one's mind and look at the options" at that stage, either. There are very few serious abnormalities which are obvious in the first trimester.
Thanks for the statistics and descriptions of actual patients. And for the descriptions of how other people get the women pregnant who end up in abortion clinics.

It is clear that you have far more compassion than the average anti-abortionist and forced-birth advocate.
Every sperm and egg has the potential for life. Science may one day be able to save all sperm and egg cells and put them together in an incubator and be able to prevent all diseases and have 100% healthy babies every time.

If that becomes the case would we be forced to save all sperm and eggs? Would nocturnal emissions become illegal? Would wacking off? Even regular copulation would be wasting many potential human-being-creating sperm cells. It would have to be outlawed.

All these potential humans that we are killing willy nilly without consideration how could it be justified if we had the ability to SAVE ALL THESE POTENTIAL HUMANS?
:Precisely what I try to point out. I think part of the problem is this conceit we have about ourselves. Some may call it a soul, other id, and yet others ego or something else. It is the essence of what makes you you in your own mind. It seems so stable and eternal, like a soul is described as being. But more secular people buy into this because it just feels right and it is not usually questioned. A natural extension of this type of inherent belief is the "person-ness" of an embryo.

But we see how brain trauma can change a person drastically from that core that they were and into someone else entirely. The solid foundation of what makes you you is an illusion of sorts. And an embryo, despite whatever potential it may have to be a person, is not a person and it's possible future self does not exist in it's current form.
this was a really insightful read. thanks so much for sharing.
sometimes i feel like the truth about the statistics you cite in the end of this are more well known amongst the anti-abortionists than we'd like to think, and they just don't care.
I'd like to think they care. They feel abortion is murder, therefore it should be illegal. If the mother wants to go and risk herself to break the law (if it were illegal), then that is her own problem because she should be following the law. A statistic, such as provided, will not change their foundational beliefs...and you really can't blame them. It's embedded into their brains. Much like religion, but hey.

Just playing Devil's Advocate here. I feel abortion should be legal based on that statistic alone.

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