On this anniversary of the Supreme Court’s atrocious decision in Roe v. Wade, I’d like to highlight this interesting Weekly Standard article, “Mugged by Ultrasound,” by David Daleiden and Jon A. Shields. The article discusses how “advances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced [abortion] providers ever closer to the nub of their work,” causing emotional distress that has led to numerous defections to the pro-life cause. Some excerpts:
When [abortionist Lisa Harris] herself was 18 weeks pregnant, [she] performed a D&E abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. Harris felt her own child kick precisely at the moment that she ripped a fetal leg off with her forceps:
“Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes — without me — meaning my conscious brain — even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling — a brutally visceral response — heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.…” [Harris remains in the abortion business.]
One of the first doctors to change his allegiance was Paul Jarrett, who quit after only 23 abortions. His turning point came in 1974, when he performed an abortion on a fetus at 14 weeks’ gestation: “As I brought out the rib cage, I looked and saw a tiny, beating heart,” he would recall. “And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human being — a human being that I just killed.” . . .
Kathy Sparks is another convert formerly responsible for disposing of fetal remains, this time at an Illinois abortion clinic. Her account of the experience that led her to exit the abortion industry (taken from the Pro-Life Action League website in 2004) reads in part:
“The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with [the doctor’s] curette, so he had to pull the baby out with forceps. He brought out three or four major pieces. . . . I took the baby to the clean up room, I set him down and I began weeping uncontrollably. . . . I cried and cried. This little face was perfectly formed.”
As Daleiden and Shields sum it up:
This handful of stories is representative of many more. In fact, with the exception of communism, we can think of few other movements from which so many activists have defected to the opposition. Nonetheless, the vast majority of clinic workers remain committed to the pro-choice cause. Perhaps some of those who stay behind are haunted by their work. Most, however, find a way to cope with the dissonance.