Argument: Partial-birth abortion is especially traumatizing for doctors


Anonymous abortion doctor, M.D. Doctors Talk About Themselves by John Pekkanen (Delcorte Press: New York) 1988 – “Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It’s really barbaric. There are a lot of tears. Sometimes patients turn on you. They say “Let’s get out of here,” after the abortion, like you are some dirty person. It’s vicious. Then you get these teenyboppers in the office who laugh their way through it. It doesn’t mean a thing to them. That bothers me…I do them [abortions] because I take the attitude that women are going to terminate babies and deserve the same kind of treatment as women who carry babies…I’ve done a couple thousand and it turned into a significant financial boon, but I also feel I’ve provided an important service. The only way I can do an abortion is to consider only the woman and block out the baby…”

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Sept 1, 1976, 126 – “Of the various ways to perform abortion after the midpoint of pregnancy, there is only one that never, ever results in live births. It is D&E (dilation and evacuation) and not only is it foolproof, but many researchers consider it safer, cheaper, and less unpleasant for the patient. However, it is particularly stressful to medical personnel. This is because D&E requires literally cutting the fetus from the womb, and then reassembling the parts, or at least keeping them all in view, to assure that the abortion is complete…”

Anonymous abortion doctor, The Abortionist Mary Ellen Mark, GQ Magazine, Feb. 1994 – “The later ones though, they’re bad- you see little arms and feet…little, but you know what they are and you know what’s really being done.”

Anonymous abortion provider, Birth Mother, Doctor, Abortionist Salon Magazine, Camille Peri – “So when I went back to doing abortions and saw the fetus on the ultrasound, I recalled the early days of my pregnancies, when I found out I was pregnant and saw the baby on the ultrasound, and it really felt like this is a baby, a very real and potential being. Now, I do feel that this is a potential person and it does not have a life of its own outside of the mother, but I also am really aware that when you’re ready to embrace a pregnancy, you can embrace it from the very moment you conceive or are aware that you are pregnant….You look at the ultrasounds and there’s a fetus with a heartbeat and then after the procedure, there’s the fetus, usually in pieces, in a dish. It was alive one moment and it’s not the next… I don’t believe, as some anti-abortion people would have you believe, that there’s a “silent scream.” But it’s very clear to me that it’s killing a potential life. And I found that hard at first.”[1]

Anonymous medical student working at Planned Parenthood, Abortion Action Guide Medical Students for Choice, National Abortion Federation, Sept. 1993 – “It was disturbing for me to see recognizable body parts in the removed tissue, usually an arm or a leg. My intent is not to be gruesome, but there is a reality behind all the political jargon that I believe I allowed myself to ignore until this experience. I have images now that accompany phrases such as, “Potential for life” and I understand the emotions that drive pro-life forces…”[2]

Anonymous clinic worker Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic Wendy Simonds – “So by it looking like a baby, you’re associating it with yourself because you used to be a baby, you used to be a fetus.”[3]

Anonymous abortion doctor, Diane M. Gianelli, Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts American Medical News, July 12, 1993 – “When I can identify the four chambers of the heart, I start feeling miserable. And when I put my hands on somebody to feel how big they are and I get kicked, I am barely able to talk at that moment.”[4]

Anonymous abortion provider, Diane M. Gianelli, Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts American Medical News, July 12, 1993 – “It’s hard to be in a profession where you have a hard time answering the questions that other people ask you about what you do.”[5]

Abortionist Edward Allred, quoted in The San Diego Union , October 12, 1980. – “We try to use the physician for his technical skill and reduce the one-to-one relationship with the patient. We usually see the patient for the first time on the operation table and then not again. More contact is just not efficient.”[6]