“the abortionist problem is inherent to abortion and likely to get worse, not better.”

by 1389 on April 19, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), abortion/pro-life, corruption, Texas

Human Life Review: The Ex-Abortionists: Why They Quit


Attitudes Toward Women, Minorities and Money

A few former clinic staffers reported that they or colleagues had negative attitudes toward women who came to them for abortions. Former ultrasound technician Joy Davis reported that in an Alabama clinic where she once worked, there were doctors who were “doing abortions because they hated women.” Dina Madsen, who worked in a feminist clinic in California, admitted that she didn’t have much sympathy for her patients. Her attitude was, “Well, you got yourself into this position; you better tough it out.” A couple of the doctors there, she said, “hated women. . . . And there was a lot of comment-making . . . crude jokes . . . sarcasm . . . touchy-feely type of games with the staff members.” Some of the women staffers “wouldn’t let any of these guys touch ’em with a ten-foot pole,” Madsen said. Yet they told women coming to the clinic that: “They’re wonderful doctors. They won’t hurt you. They’re the best at what they do. He’s really a nice man.”

A few also reported wretched attitudes toward minorities. Mark Bomchill worked as a guard at a Minnesota clinic where he heard a doctor make racist and anti-Semitic comments. After former clinic worker Luhra Tivis became involved in pro-life work in Little Rock, Arkansas, she found herself up against an abortionist “who brags about killing black babies.” She said he had told pro-life sidewalk counselors, “If you would just leave me alone, I could clear out Harlem.”

Far more commonly reported, though, was an avid interest in money. Doctors and administrators can make fortunes from abortion. Other staff–well-paid at some clinics, poorly-paid at others–are often single mothers in precarious economic circumstances, and they understand that their jobs depend on abortion sales. Hellen Pendley, who ran a Georgia clinic, would listen in on telephone conversations to see whether her staffers were good at sales. She said they knew the bottom line: “If you can’t sell abortions over the phone, you will not last.”

Kathy Sparks described a skilled “counselor” at her clinic who would find what a woman’s key pressure point was–perhaps a fear of telling her parents she was pregnant, perhaps money worries–and then “magnify it.” She said that ninety-nine percent of the women who came in decided to have abortions. Joy Davis reported the careful training she received at her first clinic in Alabama: “I had to sit and listen to women answering the phone for at least a month before they would allow me to answer the phone . . . We had to find out very quickly what their problem was, play on that, and get them in that clinic for an abortion. We were very good salespeople.” Hellen Pendley’s staff learned how to play on money fears by asking a woman who was ambivalent: “Do you know how expensive it is if you go through with this? Let me just tell you. . . . It’s gonna cost you about $8,000 just to have [the child]. Now, where are you gonna get that kind of money?” Pendley commented that “it’s really pretty simple to bring someone around to your way of thinking if you can manipulate what they’ve told you and use it against them. And that’s exactly what we did.”

What Abortion Does to Women Many women are psychologically devastated by abortion. And note that the word “women” should be interpreted broadly here: in many cases those having abortions are actually girls. Nita Whitten, who worked in a Texas clinic, said many women forced their daughters to have abortions. One such daughter, subjected to a second-trimester abortion, was clearly miserable and kept making trips to the bathroom. On one visit there, she started screaming, “It’s a baby! It’s a baby! Mama, Mama, Mama!” She had seen the baby in the toilet.

For another example of such callousness:

Abortion has a politically privileged status in many other states. Politicians who have spent their careers supporting “safe, legal abortion” cannot admit that, after Roe v. Wade, many incompetent back-alley abortionists just moved around to the front and obtained instant respectability.

Whether competent or incompetent, many abortionists understand the value of campaign contributions. Luhra Tivis reported that Dr. George Tiller–the late-term abortionist with his own crematorium–made a great deal of money. “And, believe me, he spreads it around,” she added, “because I mailed out the checks to the legislators, so I know.” In 1996 Tiller contributed $25,000 to the Democratic National Committee and attended one of President Clinton’s White House coffees. Nita Whitten said that Texas abortionist Curtis Boyd made large campaign donations to people “he knew would be effective in keeping abortion legal in Texas and in the United States.” [emphasis added] In this, as in so many other ways, abortion has become just another business.

Why People Become Involved in the Abortion Business

Those who are in the business, though, know that it is different in significant ways. Involvement in the planned, routine administration of death can take a heavy toll. Many former clinic staffers report that they suffered from nightmares, depression, alcoholism, and/or drug abuse. Some considered suicide.

Some had enormous personal problems before they ever worked in the abortion business. Indeed, they may have wound up in the clinics largely because of their personal problems. Former Planned Parenthood worker Judith Fetrow said that over one-third of the workers at her clinic “had child sexual abuse or forcible rape in their backgrounds.” Some were from alcoholic homes; some had suffered emotional or physical abuse. Many were lesbian or bisexual, she said, adding that “their lesbianism was a response to having been abused.” (This is often the case, according to literature on lesbianism.) Fetrow said that, for a woman who has grown up in “a world of secrets and pain, where the only safe place is the company of other wounded women, then it is not reaching very far to come to the wrong conclusions: that killing children means saving them and that women are safer, more autonomous and better able to care for themselves in a dangerous world if they bear no children.”

Hellen Pendley, in her searingly honest account of running a clinic, portrayed herself as a greedy monster who cared nothing for the women she was supposedly helping–much less for the children she was destroying. But then she revealed her own world of secrets and pain. When she was only twelve years old, a man who had given her rides to church youth gatherings raped her and “told me, as he raped me, that God sent him to do this to me.” The predictable result: “I felt nothing but hatred and bitterness and anger that a God could send anyone to do this.” She thought that God “was a hateful, destructive man.” She started using drugs and eventually ran away from home. Retrieved by her father, she finally told him about the rape. Instead of comforting her, he turned her over to the juvenile authorities, saying: “You can have her. I can’t do anything with her.” By age twenty-eight, after one “shotgun wedding” and two divorces, Pendley “was taking anti-depressants just so I could get out of bed in the mornings.”

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the most famous of the ex-abortionists, a brave man who blazed a path for everyone else, described a tormented life in his autobiography, The Hand of God. Among the stories in Nathanson’s past:

  • His father’s father, supported by his poverty-stricken immigrant family in a tuberculosis sanitarium, committed suicide so that his children would have more money for food. Nathanson’s sister also committed suicide, and his father once attempted it.
  • His father, after making an unhappy marriage, bullied his wife mercilessly, so that Nathanson grew up in a “hate-filled household.”
  • His father made him attend Hebrew school, but then methodically attacked the religion he learned in that school.
  • With the influence of “this warped and twisted man,” Nathanson said, “a monster was germinating within me. The monster recognized nothing but utility, respected nothing but strength of purpose, craved love–and then perverted it.

Nathanson was also influenced by his own experience with illegal abortion as a medical student, when his girlfriend aborted their child–with his agreement and using money provided by his father. And he was influenced, as were many doctors of his generation, by having to care for women badly injured by illegal abortionists. Dr. Beverly McMillan, rotated to Chicago’s Cook County Hospital as a young resident, found that fifteen to twenty women per night “were coming from the back-alley abortion mills of Chicago.” She was delighted, four years later, when the Supreme Court struck down laws banning abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision.

Both doctors ultimately concluded that legal abortion was not the answer to the tragedies they had seen. When Nathanson was asked to clean up a legal abortion clinic in New York in the early 1970s, he found that the abortion doctors there were “an extraordinary variety of drunks, druggies, sadists, sexual molesters, just plain incompetents, and medical losers.” One, he said, “was a fugitive from justice, with the FBI close on his tail.” Nathanson replaced the old crew with skilled doctors. But then competition from other clinics led him to reduce the doctors’ pay in order to reduce the price of abortions, and many of the most competent doctors left his clinic. The result? “Abortion clinics, my own included, were increasingly populated with younger, inexperienced physicians and–yet again–the medical losers.” Nathanson finally concluded that “the abortionist problem is inherent to abortion and likely to get worse, not better.” [emphasis added]

Dr. McMillan and others decided that the answer to crisis pregnancies is helping women with counseling, prenatal and obstetrical care, and other assistance. Many of the ex-abortionists do volunteer work for pregnancy aid centers started by pro-life activists in the past thirty years. What if such centers had been started by senior doctors and medical professors sixty years ago? It seems fair to say that millions of children’s lives would have been saved, and women and health professionals would have been spared much guilt and grief.

For many people who became involved in abortion, however, it was not because they had been abused as children or because they wanted to help women. Some of the doctors started doing abortions simply because this was expected in their residency training or because they wanted to be agreeable to their medical partners. Dr. David Brewer described himself as having “no real convictions” and being “caught in the middle” when he became involved in abortion as a young resident. Dr. McArthur Hill, involved as a young Air Force surgeon, later said that his participation “was not as an avid abortion proponent, but as a reluctant puppet in a world gone berserk.”

Money was certainly a major incentive for some. Dr. Noreen Johnson became medical director of a California abortion clinic in the late 1970s when she was still a hospital resident. Averaging 30 to 40 abortions a week, she was making $70,000 to $80,000 per year from abortions alone. That was over twice as much as her resident’s salary of roughly $30,000 per year. By 1994 the main doctor at a North Dakota abortion clinic made $100,000 a year while working there only two days per week.

Carol Everett described herself as consumed by greed during her years in the abortion industry. When she surpassed her first goal of two hundred abortions per month at her clinic and $5,000 per month for herself,

I already had my sights set on my next six-month goal–four hundred abortions and ten thousand dollars a month in take-home pay by the end of March, 1982. When I got there, I planned to reward myself with a new Oldsmobile Toronado. . . .

Insanely, I kept pushing to do more abortions and “bigger” ones. I was hopelessly hooked by the love of money and what it could do for me next. After remodeling my home, I planned to buy two new sports cars for the children. I was consumed with the thought of all the things I was going to do . . . and blithely forgetful of the horrors we were committing at the clinic.

Hellen Pendley recalled that “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 next paycheck.”

At the other end of the payscale were single mothers who could not easily leave their jobs even if they became assailed by doubts about what they were doing. When Joy Davis was hiring staff for Thomas Tucker’s chain of abortion clinics, she looked for single mothers who “needed us and needed the money. That way, I knew that I would have their loyalty and that they would stick with it no matter how tough it got.”
Much, much more here. Read it all.

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