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.
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.