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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@ Dave G:

Jen mentioned that part, but then went on to say that this was a "win" as if to imply that other women's health and lives thereafter are not subordinated to fetuses, when that's out and out false!

One such case that, albeit did not result in death of the mother, *did* result in a wrongful conviction and incarceration that has yet to be made right: the case of Regina McKnight in South Carolina.

Ms. McKnight is still sitting in prison for her stillbirth that subsequent tests showed not to be caused by the mother. Yet Ms. McKnight still rots in prison as far as I know. For having a stillborn which was blamed on her poor prenatal care and 'lifestyle."

Now, if this is not an egregious violation of women's human rights and enslavement of women in the name of fetal personhood rights, I don't know what is!

Now I know you and Reggie think I am "too emotional" and "too strident" about this issue, but I am in the trenches on the frontline of this war against women — just like Larry Carter Center is.

And as a woman who is too old to risk high risk pregnancy due to pre-existing health problems and advanced maternal age, I am directly affected by this war.

I am 100% at risk here. For the "crime" of being born female in THIS country, being poor in THIS country, and daring ::gasp:: to enjoy making love with a man for the sake of enjoying intimacy — something that is a fundamental human need, not a social class privilege reserved for those who can afford to travel out of state (or country) to get an abortion if prudent birth control useage somehow fails and tubal ligation is not made available due to social engineering policy in the medical field.

My health, wellbeing, life and liberty is being made fodder in these ideological culture wars. For me to not have ANY emotional investment in this issue would be indicative of severe dissociative personality disorder, OK.

And yes, emotions about this DO count. Because it is the end results that are FELT — not merely thought about — by the victims in this war.

Do you have any idea just how frustrating it is for me when I see the gravity of this situation's reality overlooked or downplayed?

The same people who are using the Bible and their Sky Daddy as their moral compass and justification for forcing women to be pregnant when they don't want to be (or are medically advised not to be) are the same people that are terrorizing frontline Atheist activists who are fighting for Atheists' civil rights.

I just got off the phone with Larry Carter Center. He lives in South Carolina with his girlfriend/partner, Sue. They sued for the removal of Xtian symbols from a municipal firestation down the street from their home. In retaliation, these Southern Baptist firemen have repeatedly tried running Larry down with a 25 ton fire truck while he bicycled to work a mile away. They did this to him again yesterday. We are talking about Xtian "pro-life" firefighters who are using a municipal-owned vehicle as a deadly weapon and committing criminal acts that transcend simple harassment here.

NO ONE in the mainstream news media is even touching this. But as an unembedded/freelance journalist, I will. And I will get it on Democracy Now even if it kills me.

I am right now working on trying to marshal some loaner media/filming equipment, gas and toll money, so I can get down to Charleston, SC and cover what mainstream news media and "liberal" organizations like the ACLU will not since Atheists are viewed as the pests of the neighborhood.

I don't bring a stick to a gunfight, Dave. I've got bigger balls than Attila the Hun when it comes to fighting social injustice. My life's circumstances dictated that.

I am not anti-male — I love men in more ways than one and probably too much for my own damn good (hence my direct vested interest in access to contraception and abortion). I am anti-injustice, OK. Big difference, there. And when it is you or Reggie or whoever else's human and civil rights they come after next, I am that pit bull that will be fighting for you too! Will you or Reggie then say, "Oh gee, she's too 'emotional' for us?" Sorry for the rant, but I really needed to get this off my 36 DD chest. ::Hugs::
Later tests PROVED that Regina McKnight's stillbirth was the result of an infection that had nothing to do with drug use. You left out that fact, so don't you dare accuse me of leaving out facts when you have clearly done that which you accuse me of doing!
Jen: "I was more focused on responding to your post and filling the people of this community in on your misinformation that she was still rotting in prison when that is clearly wrong and an out right lie..."

No, I did NOT "outright lie" because I included in my post, "as far as I know" or "to the best of my knowledge" regarding the McKnight case. Because I did NOT know that after 7 years into her incarceration, she was *finally* released. I am thankful that you posted that updated information to share with everyone. Although the fact remains that this woman lost 7 years from her life that she cannot recoup. I doubt that she got any monetary compensation for that, either.

Jen: "Yes it is true that the jury was given bad science upon which they based their verdict. However, that goes on in all sorts of cases and not just those dealing with women's rights. Maybe legal systems should focus more on getting that bad science out of the court rooms and should make better requirements/standards for expert testimony before they let a jury hear such testimony. Or maybe a jury tried case was not the way to go in this case. After all it was a jury of her peers and not some judge that put her in prison. So I do not know that you can truly blame the law on this one when it was really the legal system that allowed this to happen."

On that point of getting bad science out of courts is something I wholly agree with you. But there is the matter of "jury of her peers" that is a sticking point with me regarding the McKnight case.

Did an underprivileged woman (i.e. "poor white trash") from the dregs of society, the bottom of the socio-economic totem pole, truly have a "jury of her peers?"

How many of her jurors were poor welfare recipients living in public housing? How many were homeless and living in transient shelters? How many were poor women who had shit for families and opportunities? How many of Regina McKnight's jurors were really her peers?

I have yet to hear about cases where the jurors were the socio-economic peers of the accused. And this is just as important in the matter of jurisprudence as is the consideration of whether or not a black defendant faced an all-white jury.

Coming from the bottom of society's totem poll, I can tell you from firsthand experience that I understand and see things that are not visible to society's privileged who have always enjoyed the luxury of a supportive family, a middle class life and all the opportunities these things entail.

What I see (that others may not) is the fact that when you're a poor girl/woman in a Xtian rich white male dominated society that doesn't give a fuck about you (women are merely 'vaginal respirrators'), a society which deliberately crushes your hopes and dreams and denies you an equal opportunity, you're life is disposable.

Life sucks so bad that the only thing that makes life worth living is the "love" you may get from enjoying intimacy with a man (who might also be "poor white trash") — because for that brief moment frozen in time, he made you feel like you were a "somebody" instead of a "nobody."

And when life gets to the point of sucking so bad, complete with an unwanted pregnancy that you lacked the funds to prevent and subsequently terminate, you wake up every day thinking about eating a bullet. But the temporary diversion into the la la land denial — the feel good euphoria that drug use brings — is your only escape.

Now, I personally never had an unwanted pregnancy and I never did drugs (maybe because my life had not gotten quite to that point of total dispair), but this was the world I grew up in — the "Other America" that no one cares about.

Twenty years ago, I saw firsthand how the hypocrisy of our sexist and classist society belittled and trashed on women like me who had to dance naked for drunken rich white men to get enough money to be able to live.

Part time minimum wage jobs don't cut it and jobs like stripper are the only kind of jobs available to poor women and girls who don't have families or the opportunity to go to college right out of high school in hopes of MAYBE getting an "in" at a middle class job that is not closed to women (unlike union municipal jobs, factories and construction trades).

I saw elitist "liberals" who had theirs look down on poor women with their snide judgmental comments that thinly veiled their classism — while so-called moral white middle class and rich Xtian males fought to suppress equal rights for women, while they paid big bucks, and enjoyed being dick teased into blue-balls oblivion by nude exotic dancers (like the one I used to be) that they would castigate as "whores" if any ended up raped or found herself in need of contraception or an abortion.

How many middle class or affluent jurors sitting in judgment of Regina McKnight — people who never knew a moment of economic, physical, or emotional insecurity in their lives — would possibly understand the dynamics of that? More to the point: how many would even care?
JHS -But YOU fail to mention that the DC Court of Appeals ruled AFTER Mrs Carder already died!

JHS - But it did nothing for Angela Carder. The fact that this woman lost her life is something I would hardly call a "win!"

JHS - So don't insult me by saying I don't know what I'm talking about, or that I am giving wrong information, OK.

Dave G - Actually, Jacqueline, Jen did mention it. She specifically said both she did die as a result of a forced C-Section and Yes it was too late to save Ms. Carder's life.
Emphasis mine.

Let's review this again before we go running off to a hundred other things. Can you see why I don't trust overly emotional pleading? In your haste to defend your feelings, you abort facts. You made claims in a reply to a post. That post was the very post that stood in direct contradiction of your claims, and then said that you don't misinform. Her words were there even as you typed a response, claiming that they were not. I'm astonished.

JHS - The post-humous ruling in the Carder case does not right the wrong that ended up being fatally irreversible for Angela Carder

She is dead. How can you right this wrong? Raise her from the dead? I don't get this. The "win" that Jen spoke of was not for Carder, but for others that might find themselves in similar positions.

And tell Larry to call the police.
Sorry Lawson.

I will try to remember that.
Well, good for you! Now, could you show me how that changes the context of the story that Regina McKnight was originally sentenced to 12 years in prison? I don't care whether it's one year, 10 years or 100 years, it still looks like an unjustifiable sentence to me, and not something that makes a damn bit of difference whether she was released or not! The fact that she was sentenced and sent to prison is my takeaway from the story..........but then, I'm not a lawyer!

Uh, Ralph. Her whole point was that JSH pointedly said that McKnight was still sitting in prison. Jen never said that because she was released that there was no injustice done. If you would like to build a time machine, we can begin adventures together undoing injustices before they are done. Unless you know another way to give McKnight her seven years back. Do you?

Whatever you decided to takeaway from the story seems beside the point that Jen was making about misinforming people. If JSH wants to tell people that somebody is sitting in prison still because of the law, when that is clearly not the case on so many levels, then she is spreading misinformation. That is what you should have taken away from Jen's post.
and I suppose tossing up a few examples of men who have been unjustly accused makes it okay to throw drug-addicted women in prison for harming their fetuses, or having a stillbirth.

Yeah, Ralph! I saw it too! She said that it was okay to throw people in jail! I saw it...wait...where is it? Oh, your post. No wait, those are your words. Odd, it's not in Jen's post. It's almost like you misconstrued what she was saying! No, you wouldn't do that, would you?

You had stated that Jen left out certain information. I pointed out that she had, indeed, included that information. A simple correction of fact. That you took it as an attack is unfortunate and confusing.

I never said it was not unfair what happened to Ms Carder. It was, horribly so. In fact, when you first posted about it (among others) back in December, I believe I referred to them as being 'mind-boggling in their severity'. I have not said that you are too emotional (Reggie has talked about people making overly emotional arguments, I've not.), in fact I specifically pointed out that this was an emotionally charged issue. There is nothing inherently wrong with being emotionally invested in an issue, it provides passion and a desire to do something which might otherwise be lacking. It is only when emotion overrides all else that it becomes a problem.

I can understand your need to rant, but it might be better aimed at someone who has actually done what you are claiming they have done.

As for Larry, I hope that you get it in the media nationwide if need be. Has he tried contacting the state police (as opposed to the locals who may be overly sympathetic to the local firefighters) or the ACLU (you mentioned them, but not if Larry had tried contacting them)?

Also, you said this has happened repeatedly. I'm sure that Larry has been documenting the occurrences (places, times, etc) to make making a case easier. One thing he might consider is mounting a video camera on his bike. Videos of such attacks would go a long way towards getting it in the media. Such videos have a way of going viral and attracting national, if not international, attention.

Needless to say, I hope that he is not subject to another attempted assault, but taking steps to record it if it happens might be handy.
I have been in Federal District, Appellate and US Sup courts nearly a dozen times in my career. I've been in the Iowa Sup Ct once, and county/city courts in 6 states since 1968. I learned long ago that "frivolous" bench rulings are not reversed often, with or without a long "diary" of events that prove up a pattern of "invidious discriminatory animus." Unless one has a criminal conviction one is seeking relief from, advancing a civil petition is next to impossible for an American Atheist. Unless I lose my job up the street from Firestation 12, the mere fact that these rogue firefighters have chased me several times there or raced the diesel motor driving into a dead end parking lot that they routinely back into as the only way to get in and out of this tiny place.....all such facts need a judge on the scene and willing to enjoin these "LIberty Lawyer" empowered Jerry Falwellian Baptists from their crucifix display that has been merged with the tasteful stone monument memorializing 9 dead firefighters of the June 17, 2007 preventable deaths. Just like Madalyn, Jon and Robin and Danny Fry did not have to die if public officials did their duty and protect Atheists from theocrats and re-direct such public employees to lawful pursuits..... cops have been called hundreds of times at the abortion clinic with zero arrests in 7 years. US Marshalls WILL NOT WORK ON EARLY SATURDAY MORNINGS, nor will Highway Patrol Officers. FBI ditto, but if Atheists spent this much time (debating here) telphoning law enforcement agencies, not just me, we might get a 8 foot bubble zone like was enacted in Milwaukee last year out of the Charleston City Council from Mayor for Life Riley 35 years in office now, his Catholic highness would not have set up the menorrah and Kwanzaa box last Dec 23rd as a sham "community display
.......Timothy John Cox, convicted FACE law stalker of a nurse and her daughter, demanded a jury trial at 10:00 a.m. before judge Veronica Small.
......Attourney MS Fowler entered her appearance and attempted to make pleadings in writing before the bench, the judge refused all conversation from the perpetrator and instructed him to "speak through your lawyer in this court."
.......Moments before when I was called to sidebar in preparation for a possible bench trial, I spoke to City Prosecutor Melinda Lucka, I said: "I want both parties affirmed by secular oath." She approached the bench and the judge said: "what you said makes no sense to me" upon which Lucka whispered again approaching the bench: "don't say: 'so help you god.'"
.......The judge nodded in agreement, but the previous trial had instructed 2 females and 3 males at side bar that "the first thing you learn in church....." and numerous references to : "god."
.....Parties shall be notified by mail of when a jury trial will be empaneled.
.....Lucka does not do jury trials. Prosecutor and future judge unknown.
.....Judge Small said: "though you were brought here via courtesty summons, this is criminal matter and if found guilty will be taken into custody and police will process you as though were arrested. If found not guilty, you will be going free."
.....Tampon terrorist Timothy John Cox was in the company this morning with 6 co-conspirators: Donald Ted Williams. Katherine Williams, a 9 year aged criminal "protesting" since age two, one elderly female terrorist weekly stalking patients onto private property across from the abortion clinic, a up state "Marine" who displays 3' by 4' photos of dead Jews and scrambled fetal parts labeled: HITLERS HOLOCAUST, AMERICA'S HOLOCAUST.......A MAN wearing a "firefighter's" jacket and of course the new counsel of record. 843-926-1750 for other details of today's proceedings and 48 months of crimes on clinic property and within earshot.
......Larry Carter Center, USN '71-'73
Cox is charged with 3 counts of assault on December 5th last year.
@ Larry Lawson
Socratic method and logical follow throughs never offend... when they occur.

You are correct that I may have lost the gist of your comments over the length of this thread. If I have painted you with the wrong brush, I apologize.

Yes. It seems better that I ignore your comments from this point on. I am unable to distinguish between someone who makes all the arguments of an anti-choice person and one who is playing devils advocate. In fact, since there are plenty of "devils" here already, I fail to understand why anyone would play devils advocate by way of "Socratic method" or any other.

And I apologize for becoming annoyed so quickly. I have read your posts and I don't think we disagree on anything fundamental on this issue. My purpose for playing devil's advocate lies in my thinking that some people on here are right (or close to it), but for all the wrong reasons. I want to explore their boundaries because they so narrowly confine their arguments.

I am not afraid to question myself or my positions. If I am right, it will only strengthen my position. If I am wrong, then I can discover the error in my thinking. If you don't see the value in that, then maybe this discussion is not about open and honest dialogue in your eyes. And the questions I ask I do not have a good answer for, but I can offer up my thoughts about them.

As far as my line of reasoning in asking these questions of others is because of the nature of the more strident pro-choicers here (of which there seem to be only a couple). I'd like to discover where they, personally, draw the line on ending a life. And make no mistake, it is a life, as in it is alive, and I would never deny that. Personhood is where is see the value in human life. Uncomfortably, there is no distinct demarcation for when this occurs and can be argued to not happen until toddler age. That causes quite the dilemma, so I hope you forgive me if I choose to explore this immense area of gray, as I do not have a set position when it comes to difficult questions. And sometimes, silly hypothetical questions can tease out the reasoning behind some peoples' positions.


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