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|From "Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic" by Wendy Simonds. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996
Quotes from clinic employees:
"You're going from dealing with people to dealing with what most people here at the Center consider a real hurdle, to do sterile room, because you have to deal with the actual abortion tissue. And for some people, that's really hard. They can be abstractly in favor of abortion rights, but they sure don't want to see what an eighteen-week abortion looks like."
"It's just- I mean it looks like a baby. It looks like a baby. And especially if you get one that comes out, that's not piecemeal. And you know, I saw this one, and it had its fingers in its mouth...it makes me really sad that that had to happen, you know, but it doesn't change my mind. It's just hard. And it makes me just sort of stop and feel sad about it, the whole necessity of it. And also....it's very warm when it comes into the sterile room because it's been in the mother's stomach. It feels like flesh, you know..."
"It's going to be weird now because you're going to see the sono. You're going to see the heart beating- little hearts, you know- and then, all of a sudden, you're going to put his cardiac medicine in it to make it stop- to kill it. So you're going to see the exact moment when you kill the fetus. I won't kill it, the doctor will kill it...and, I mean, it might be more humane...[if] the fetuses do feel something, why not kill it, you know, fast, [rather] than rip its leg off?"
"I feel some sadness [about abortions] and I think part of the problem is that we don't talk about that...we don't talk about it as much as we think about it...somehow your pro-choice stance is compromised by saying the word "baby."...We don't allow ourselves to say or think that word...."
"At nine weeks...you start seeing fetal parts. And by the second trimester it's, you know, it's a baby, and by eighteen weeks it's definitely a baby. And by like, you know, twenty-two weeks, you go in and you watch someone do a sonogram, and you're like, "Oh my." There it is just moving, moving around. And it's really hard because I always thought of abortion in terms of just the woman, just her body."
"You're looking between the woman's legs; you're seeing, you know, what the doctor's doing. And it's what a lot of people would call kind of, I guess, gruesome- that's not really the word because- it's identifiable. I mean, when he...takes the forceps and pulls out a foot, you can see the foot, and my reaction- because I feel so strongly that women who want to have a twenty week abortion should be able to have that- but I mean when I look and was just like, you know, my first reaction was, you know, I was pretty horrified."
"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."
"...when you're, you know, putting a fetus's feet in over its head in a baggie, there's just this brief moment of "This could have been me," which I fundamentally believe is okay. She should have the right to choose..."
"...it looks like a baby, That's what it looks like to me. You've never seen anything else that looks like that. The only other thing you've ever seen is a baby...You can see a face and hands, and ears and eyes and, you know...feet and toes...It bothered me real bad the first time..."
"The destruction I can't deny....I wish we lived in a world where abortion didn't have to exist."
"You know, we still say "products of conception." Well, why don't we say it looks like- you know, a twenty-week fetus looks like a baby. Why can't we say that in public? Because that's what the antis say, you know."
"I think the tough part was seeing actual pieces of fetus being removed..And in the beginning, yes, I remember looking, standing behind this woman's shoulder [as she performed an early second- trimester-abortion] and thinking, "I can't do this...There's something emotionally upsetting about this..Features are discernible; you can count five fingers on a hand and five toes on a foot. You know, all the organ systems are formed. You know, you can see ears as structures, and the nose and eyes as structures...I have gotten to the point now that because I've been doing this work five months, four months, I look at it a little differently. I don't see the same things that I did. And, honestly, when I sit down to do one of these now, I am watching to be sure that I'm getting everything that I need to get. It's 'Do I have two lower extremities? Do I have two upper extremities? Is t here a spine? ...and the skull?...It does become a bit routine after a while. I don't fear it."
"I hate it when people put it together to look like a baby. I hate that...I don't want to look like it when its like that because it's like a broken doll, and that grosses me out."
From the author: "Many health workers told me they 'never look at the face' when processing tissue."
Picture is of 8 week fetus, well in the 1st Trimester
In the book "Abortion: Debating the Issue" (New York:Enslow Publishing, Inc., 1995) Nancy Day quotes abortionist Dr. Ed Jones, who had worked at a Planned Parenthood Clinic for 4 years at the time of the interview, saying the following:
"This can burn you out very, very quickly...not so much by the physical labor as the emotional part of what's going on. When you do an ultraound, particularly if you have children, and you see a fetus there, kicking, moving, living, doing things that your own child does, bringing it's thumb to its mouth, and things like that- it's difficult. Then, after the procedure, sometimes we have to actually look at the specimen, and you see arms and legs and things like that torn off...It does take an emotional toll."
"I wanted to be the world's best abortionist, for the good of my patients. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. So, after I met each patient, reviewed the medical information gathered by my nurse, examined the patient and performed the abortion, I would then carefully sift through the remains to be sure all the parts were accounted for. I had to find four extremities (two arms and two legs) a spine, a skull, and the placenta, or my patient would suffer later from an incomplete abortion...My attention was so focused on my perceived patient that I managed to deny that there were, in fact, two patients involved- the expectant mother and a very small child...I had to wonder, how can having a child be so wrong for some people that they will pay me to end its life?"
--former abortionist Dr. McMillan "How One Doctor Changed Her Mind About Abortion" Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs
"I walked in the laboratory every day. I saw dead babies every day for three years. If I could see fifty, I was so happy. Because, you know what? That meant I was really gonna have a good bonus in my paycheck."
---Clinic worker Hellen Pendley. Quoted by Mary Meeham in "The Ex-Abortionists: Why They Quit"
In "Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion's Front Line" by Sue Hertz (New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1991)the author documents what she saw in and at one busy abortion clinic. Here are some excerpts.
"It was easy to shrug off an aborted pregnancy as nothing more than a sack of blood and globs of tissue - as many pro-choice activists did- if one never saw fetal remains, or products of conception (POC) as they were known in medical circles. But the nurses, medical assistants, and doctors who worked inside procedure rooms ...knew that an eleven week old POC harbored tiny arms and legs and feet with toes. At twelve weeks, those tiny hands had tiny nails. Althouth the fetal head was too small at this stage to withstand the evacuation machine's suction, pieces of face- a nose and mouth, or a black eye...were sometimes found in the aftermath...Later abortions spawned even more grusome fetal remains...the head did not come out whole during the evacuation, but the legs and arms and rib cage made it through intact. The hand of a second trimester fetus, as a Preterm doctor described it, seemed big enough to shake."
"The counselor/medical assistants (CMAs) met regularly to discuss their feelings about their work...Inside a procedure room, facing the contents of the uterus, there was no denying whawt abortion was."
"During the procedure, Doris [Merrill] would offer her hand for the patient to squeeze, or if the abortion were particularly painful, a notepad for the patient to bite...Doris knew what Waldo was doing at the end of the examination table as he pored over the legs and ribs and hands, but she chose not to look. It wasn't that Doris ignored the truth, but rather that her commitment was to the woman, not the fetus..."
Unborn fetus in the second trimester, 5 months.