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.


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Replies to This Discussion

"That shit is their problem and they need to deal with the consequences."

You're just proving the author's point: you're more interested in shaming and punishing women for their "sin" of having sex than you are in having an appreciation for either the science or the confirmed life of the mother.

"Anything beyond the first month or so is basically a baby to me."

Does the fact that your opinion isn't supported by science or medicine bother you at all?

"But if I knocked up my girlfriend, I'd move in with her family and raise that baby."

And what if she doesn't want that? Are you at all concerned with her autonomy and freedom? I seriously hope that you examine your true motivations in saying these things, because they seem to belie a strong anti-woman motive.

"You need some incentives to do the right thing. I guess we atheists don't quite have the moral high ground after all, do we?"

This conclusion only works if we were to adopt your ill-informed notion of fetal viability.
Peter you ignorant dick, a 4 week fetus is is no larger than fly larvae and it's placenta is barely much larger. To call this a "baby" is incompetent and no license to force yourself into a woman's crotch or her parents home. Try reading some books instead of your warmed over version of Catholicism called woman hating catechism pseudo Atheism. Life begins with a willing health mom, not your useless peckerwood for a brain
"People who lack the basic empathy for a baby to the point where they're willing to kill it to prevent some stress in their own lives are the kind of people the concept of hell was invented for."

Nice strawman. Seriously, you're arguing against a mythical baby-hater.
J Clo:You keep using the word 'child' and 'kill' a lot.
Can you please state your definitions? 'Killing' implies it's alive.
The medical community sees 'child' as someone that's been born. What makes you more knowledgeable than a doctor? Can you state your education, please?
If you're atheist, then you don't believe in a human soul, correct?
If you've got any medical education, then you know that a fetus (up to a certain development) does not have any self awareness. The pain of an abortion either does not exist or is minimal, depending on development. If an abortion takes place before pain-sensory and before any aspect of awareness, then what exactly is dying? It has all the intelligence of a tumor. It's smaller than one.
Now, unless you believe that a human soul is embedded in every sperm/egg combination from the moment they touch, then calling it a death is medically outlandish.
If you DO believe in a human soul, then it's not relevant to this discussion, as it's from an atheist perspective.

Before you respond, please keep in mind that I am a mod and I'm aware you've already been warned. Tossing in vulgarity doesn't bother me one bit (I'm probably worse about it than most, usually) as long as your argument is clear, concise and formulated. However, if I get back a string of fuckity fuckwit gibbish, you can pretty much consider your account being labeled 'troll' and your ass being banned.

So by all means. Step up to the plate. Let's have this discussion. Just keep in mind you're playing with the big kids. This isn't a middle school cafeteria. I'd greatly suggest reading the debate guidelines provided for this community. (located on the drop-down if you scroll over 'My Page' tab. )

....and yeah. I'm familiar with them.
After all.. I wrote them.
I guess, if I were to summarize my main point...

I live in a mindset where irresponsibility is the only "sin", apart from general wrongdoing. I can't think of anything more irresponsible than abortion (in common case, not our hypothetical Muslim rape scenarios).

You can refute the idea of when "humanhood" begins, but to me aborting a fetus is a hop-skip from chopping up and vacuuming the pieces of a newborn baby. If you're comfortable with that, I salute your consistency. That's just not my thing. Anyway, although I do agree that, obviously, fetuses aren't sentient, there's something that disturbs me about the idea. Especially regarding the way it's done, which is barbaric. You read those descriptions above, you know what I'm talking about.

If you want to flag us as "trolls" for disagreeing, go ahead. But I'd be quite sad to see censorship rear its ugly head in a place as sacred as an atheist/sectarian website.
You are a christian, as far as I can tell, and just mouthing off.

My money is that J and Peter are one and the same. I'd also wager that he is not an atheist. The tactic of "lying for Jesus" is a oft used one in the battle for souls. Anyone who rests their laurels on being a "full blooded atheist" is immediately suspect. No one cares if you are or you aren't and most real atheists would know this. But the religious person is so used to obeying authority, this is a simple mistake that they would make while trying to pretend to be something they are not.

Also, the arguments are rubbish. It is just the thing you expect from a Christian. Their arguments are usually based on a premise that is either faulty or has yet to be established, but they carry on with their emotional pleading anyway. It's probably safe to regard Peter/J as a Christian troll.
No i am not peter, and I cant speak for his religion, but I'm atheist.
yes, and some chrysters read 2 Thessalonians and make "the lord shall cause them to believe a strong delusion" come true, which means another twist on lies for Jeebus, Jehovah and Ghost Holes.
Wow, I find it amazing how quickly you guys jump to accusing us of not caring about the mothers.

I am by no means christian, i find them just as ridiculous as you do.

Oh right, and I've been to every march for life (an unfortunately christian dominated event) since I could walk.
Wow, I find it amazing how quickly you guys jump to accusing us of not caring about the mothers.
But you've shown clearly that you don't care about the mothers, only about the unborn life.

You've clearly stated that you only accept abortion in the case of rape. What about when the mother's health and life is in serious jeopardy if she carries the baby to term? What if the fetus has obvious birth defects?

You have seriously blinders on that can't get past the "unborn life" to look at the situation logically.
You know what? Babies have been killing mothers for millenia. I say it's time to pay those bastards back a little.


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