Abortionists Speak on Abortion

Editor's Note: Please visit our home page for a full listing of abortion facts.

Our thanks to Sarah Terzo for gathering these quotes from many sources. There is more truth in the following quotes than you will find in a mountain of opinion. Just the bare, unvarnished facts.

Think of it this way - what is the best way to learn about abortion? To actually witness an abortion first hand or to work in a clinic. The second best thing is to read verified eye-witness accounts from people who are current and former abortion providers. 

These quotes have been tracked down from a number of sources, from the research of pro-choice author Magda Denes to the Washington Post to other news sources.

Verify the facts of fetal development in an encyclopedia or reference book (I suggest K.L. Moore's "The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology" 3rd edition, 1982). 

Look in the yellow pages of the phone book to see clinics advertising to perform abortions through the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.

Why do we need informed consent laws or mandatory counseling for women having abortions? Don't the clinics give accurate information about the fetus?

"Counselors are just to give the appearance of help. . . [They] think of themselves as company for the women."

- Anonymous Abortion Counselor (Rachel Weeping and Other Essays About Abortion. James Tunstead Burtchaell, editor. New York: Universal Press, 1982 pgs 42-43)

"I have never yet counseled anybody to have the baby. I'm also doing women's counseling on campus at Albany State, and there I am expected to present alternatives. Whereas at the abortion clinic you aren't really expected to."

- Anonymous Abortion Counselor (Rachel Weeping and Other Essays About Abortion. James Tunstead Burtchaell, editor. New York: Universal Press, 1982 pgs 42-43)

"It is when I am holding a plastic uterus in one hand, a suction tube in the other, moving them together in imitation of the scrubbing to come, that woman ask the most secret question. I am speaking in a matter-of-fact voice about 'the tissue' and 'the contents' when the woman suddenly catches my eye and says 'How big is the baby now?' These words suggest a quiet need for definition of the boundaries being drawn. It isn't so odd, after all, that she feels relief when I describe the growing buds bulbous shape, its miniature nature. Again, I gauge, and sometimes lie a little, weaseling around its infantile features until its clinging power slackens."

- Abortion Worker Sallie Tisdale ("We Do Abortions Here" Oct 1987 Harpers Magazine p 68)

"Vital signs should be observed regularly, and a Doppler [for listening to the fetal heartbeat] inaudible to the patient should be used at intervals to determine the presence or absence of fetal heart tones.. This [informed consent] is a controversial area, but most professionals in the field feel that it is not advisable for patients to view the products of conception, to be told the sex of the fetus, or to be informed of a multiple pregnancy".

- Abortionist Warren Hern ("Abortion Practice" J.B. Lippincott Company, 1984 pgs 145 and 304)

"Sonography in connection with induced abortion may have psychological hazards. Seeing a blown-up, moving image of the embryo she is carrying can be distressing to a woman who is about to undergo an abortion, Dr. Sally Faith Dorfman noted. She stressed that the screen should be turned away from the patient."

- "Obstetrics and Gynecology News" editorial February 15-28, 1986

"In my facilities, I always gave option counseling. Of course you make the abortion the most appealing. I told them about adoption and about foster care and about [when there was welfare] assistance. The typical way it would go is, "Well, you know you can place your baby out for adoption." But then, in the second breath you would say, "That's an option available to you, but you also have to realize that there's going to be a baby of yours out here somewhere in the world you will never see again. At least with abortion you know what's happening. You can go on with your life...The longer I was in it, the less I cared, so I really didn't really care what my conscience said. My conscience was totally numb anyway. But what it did do was public relations-wise. You were able, when a reporter or TV crew came, to pull out a packet of information for the patients to read and they received it. So what can anybody say? Publicly it looked good -- in reality it was another tool that was used to force a woman into abortion. It's typical -- I would give them an option and then shoot it down. The only option you didn't shoot down, obviously, was abortion."

- Former abortion clinic owner Eric Harrah quoted by Dr. Jack Willke and Brad Mattes

"I was trained by a professional marketing director in how to sell abortions over the telephone. He took every one of our receptionists, nurses, and anyone else who would deal with people over the phone through an extensive training period. The object was, when the girl called, to hook the sale so that she wouldn't get an abortion somewhere else, or adopt out her baby, or change her mind. We were doing it for the money."

- Nina Whitten, chief secretary at a Dallas abortion clinic under Dr. Curtis Boyd

"They [the women] are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heart beat, they wouldn't want to have an abortion."

- Dr. Randall ("Pro-Choice 1990: Skeletons in the Closet" by David Kuperlain and Mark Masters in Oct "New Dimensions" magazine)

Every woman has these same two questions: First, "Is it a baby?" "No" the counselor assures her. "It is a product of conception (or a blood clot, or a piece of tissue)... How many women would have an abortion, if they told them the truth?"

- Carol Everett, former owner of two clinics and director of four "A Walk Through an Abortion Clinic" by Carol Everett ALL About Issues magazine Aug-Sept 1991, p 117

"If a woman we were counseling expressed doubts about having an abortion, we would say whatever was necessary to persuade her to abort immediately."

- Judy W., former office manager of the second largest abortion clinic in El Paso, Texas

"We tried to avoid the women seeing them [the fetuses] They always wanted to know the sex, but we lied and said it was too early to tell. It's better for the women to think of the fetus as an ‘it’.

- Abortion clinic worker Norma Eidelman quoted in Rachel Weeping p 34

"The counselor at our clinic would cry with the girls at the drop of a hat. She would find their weakness and work on it. The women were never given any alternatives. They were told how much trouble it is to have a baby."

- Former abortion worker Debra Harry, quoted in the film "Meet the Abortion Providers" 1989

"When discussing the sonogram, you are supposed to tell the client that it is a measurement as far as the pregnancy is concerned, but not a measure of the fetal head or anything like that."

- Rosemary Petruso, on her training to be an abortion counselor. Her story appeared in the St. Louis Review and was also quoted in "Women Exploited: The Other Victims of Abortion" Paula Ervin, editor. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor, 1985

"Sometimes we lied. A girl might ask what her baby was like at a certain point in the pregnancy: Was it a baby yet? Even as early as 12 weeks a baby is totally formed, he has fingerprints, turns his head, fans his toes, feels pain. But we would say 'It's not a baby yet. It's just tissue, like a clot.'"

- Kathy Sparks (told in "The Conversion of Kathy Sparks" by Gloria Williamson, Christian Herald Jan 1986 p 28)

"When I first started working there [at the clinic], 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 know exactly what we were doing when we were talking to these women. We had to find out very quickly what their problem was, play on that and get them in the clinic for an abortion. We were very good salespeople."

- Joy Davis

"In fact many women will come to me considering abortion, and I have been personally told that I am to turn the monitor away from her view so that seeing her baby jump around on the screen does not influence her choice."

- Shari Richards, quoted from the John Ankerburg Show on 3/7/90

"When a girl called to make her appointment, we'd work her in as soon as possible. If she called on Tuesday, we'd have her in no later than Friday. We wanted to avoid a long waiting period where she'd have time to think about it. First she would fill out her forms, and then talk with a counselor. . . The counselors were trained in what areas to cover and which to avoid. They'd say, "I know this is a terrible situation you're in. What can we do to help make this better for you? Yeah, it doesn't sound like you're ready for a pregnancy right now." Their task was to keep the machinery moving - to get the woman into the procedure room as quickly as possible."

- Anonymous Abortion Clinic Worker

"There was a public health center in a town not far from Denver and they sent a lot of girls to us. They told us they did all the counseling. We weren't allowed to counsel them or even ask them about birth control. We couldn't even tell them what could happen during the abortion. Nothing. If we tried to discuss alternatives, we would get in trouble with the doctor because then the health center would threaten to send their business elsewhere. All we did was find out how far along they were, tell them when they were going to be finished, get their money, do the abortion, and send them home."

- Registered Nurse Sam Griggs (From "Abortion Clinics: An Inside Look" published by Last Days Ministries.)

"I have seen hundreds of patients in my office who have had abortions and were just lied to by the abortion counselor. Namely 'This is less painful than having a tooth removed. It is not a baby.' Afterwards, the woman sees Life magazine and breaks down and goes into a major depression."

- Psychologist Vincent Rue quoted in "Abortion Inc" David Kupelian and Jo Ann Gasper, New Dimensions, October 1991 p 16

Why is there so much fuss about abortion? Isn't what is removed only a mass of tissue?

"But when I look in the basin, among the curdlike blood clots, I see and elfin thorax, attentuated, its pencilline ribs all in parallel rows with tiny knobs of spine rounding upwards. A translucent arm and hand swim beside."

- Sallie Tisdale in "We Do Abortions Here"

"I can remember...the resident doctor sitting down, putting the tube in, and removing the contents. I saw the bloody material coming down the plastic tube, and it went into a big jar. My job afterwards was to go and undo the jar, and to see what was inside. I didn't have any views on abortion; I was in a training program, and this was a brand new experience. I was going to get to see a new procedure and learn. I opened the jar and took the little piece of stockingnette stocking and opened the little bag. The resident doctor said "Now put it on the blue towel and check it out. We want to see if we got it all.' I thought, "that'll be exciting-hands on experience looking at tissue.' I opened the sock up and put it on the towel, and there were parts of a person in there. I had taken anatomy, I was a medical student. I knew what I was looking at. There was a little scapula and an arm, I saw some ribs and a chest, and a little tiny head. I saw a piece of a leg, and a tiny hand and an arm, and you know, it was like somebody put a hot poker into me. I had a conscience, and it hurt. Well, I checked it out and there were two arms and two legs and one head and so forth, and I turned and said "I guess you got it all.' That was a very hard experience to go through emotionally.

- Former Abortionist

"Saline abortions have to be done in the hospital because of the complications that can arise. Not that they can't arise during other times, but more so now. The saline, a salt solution, is injected into the woman's sac, and the baby starts dying a slow, violent death. The mother feels everything, and many times it is at this point when she realizes that she really has a live baby inside her, because the baby starts fighting violently, for his or her life. He's just fighting inside because he's burning."

- Debra Harry

"One night a lady delivered and I was called to come and see her because she was 'uncontrollable.' I went into the room, and she was going to pieces; she was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The other patients were upset because this lady was screaming. I walked in, and here was this little saline abortion baby kicking. It had been born alive, and was kicking and moving for a little while before it finally died of those terrible burns, because the salt solution gets into the lungs and burns the lungs too. I'll tell you one thing about D& E . You never have to worry about a baby's being born alive. I won't describe D & E , other than to say that, as a doctor, you are sitting there tearing, and I mean tearing- you need a lot of strength to do it- arms and legs off of babies and putting them in a stack on top of the table."

- Dr. David Brewer of Glen Ellyn Illinois

"I remember an experience as a resident on a hysterotomy. I remember seeing the baby move underneath the sack of membranes, as the cesarean incision was made, before the doctor broke the water. The thought came to me, "My God, that's a person" Then he broke the water. And when he broke the water, it was like I had a pain in my heart, just like when I saw that first suction abortion. And then he delivered the baby, and I couldn't touch it. I wasn't much of an assistant. I just stood there, and the reality of what was doing on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart. They took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking, and set it on that table in a cold, stainless steel bowl. Every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person moving in that bowl. And it kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at the baby when we were done with the surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest was moving and the heart was beating, and the baby would try to take a little breath, and it really hurt inside, and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was."

- quoted in "Pro-Choice 1990: Skeletons in the Closet"

"Following [the doctor's] directions, I took the collection bottle and poured its contents into a shallow pan. Then I used water to rinse off the blood and smaller particles which clouded the bottom of the pan. 'Now look closely,' the doctor said. 'It is important that we have got all the stuff out.' I looked in the pan to find that the stuff consisted of the remains of what had been, a few minutes before, a thirteen week old fetus. I could make out the remains of arms and legs and a trunk and a skull. I tried to piece them back together in my mind, to see if there were any missing parts. Most of the pieces were so battered and bloody they were not recognizably human. Then my eyes locked upon a perfect little hand, less than half a centimeter long. I stared at four tiny fingers and a tiny opposed thumb, complete with tiny translucent fingers. And I knew what I had done."

- Former abortionist "Chi An" quoted in Stephen Mosher's "A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's Fight Against China's One Child Policy" pgs 60-61

"I got to where I couldn't stand to look at the little bodies anymore"

- Dr. Beverly McMillan, when asked why she stopped performing abortions.

"I have been there, and I have seen these totally formed babies as early as ten weeks... with the leg missing, or with their head off. I have seen the little rib cages..."

- Debra Harry

"We all wish it were formless, but its not...and its painful. There is a lot of emotional pain."

- Anonymous Abortion Clinic Worker (Quoted in "The Ex Abortionists: They Have Confronted Reality" Washington Post April 1, 1988 pg 21)

"You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room, you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity in the fetal heart is not important, that she is going to have a fine, healthy baby. Then, in the next room you assure another woman, on whom you just did a saline abortion, that it is a good thing that the heartbeat is already irregular....she has nothing to worry about, she will NOT have a live baby...All of a sudden one noticed that at the time of the saline infusion there was a lot of activity in the uterus. That's not fluid currents. That's obviously the fetus being distressed by swallowing the concentrated salt solution and kicking violently and that's to all intents and purposes, the death trauma. ..somebody has to do it, and unfortunately we are the executioners in this instance..."

- Abortionist Dr. Szenes

"And then to see, to be with somebody while they're having the injection when they're twenty or twenty-four weeks, and you see the baby moving around, kicking around, as this needle goes into the stomach, you know."

- Susan Lindstrom, M.S.W.

"I look inside the bucket in front of me. There is a small naked person in there, floating in a bloody liquid- plainly the tragic victim of a drowning accident. But hen perhaps this was no accident, because the body is purple with bruises and the face has the agonized tauntness of one forced to die too soon. I have seen this face before, on a Russian soldier lying on a frozen snow-covered hill, stiff with death, and cold."

- Pro-Choice Doctor and Author Magda Denes ("Performing Abortions" by Magda Denes, M.D. "Commentary" Oct. 26 1976 p 35-37)

"[the doctor] pulls out something, which he slaps on the instrument table. "there," he says, "A leg." . . . I turn to Mr. Smith. . . He points to the instrument table, where there is a perfectly formed, slightly bent leg, about three inches long. . . "There, I've got the head out now." ...There lies a head. It is the smallest human head I have ever seen, but it is unmistakably part of a person."

- Pro-Choice Doctor and Author Magda Denes

"If I see a case...after twenty weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it because the potential is so imminently there...On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is "who owns this child?" It's got to be the mother."

- Dr. James MacMahon, who performs D & X abortions, in Nat Hentoff "It's Just Too Late: Third Trimester abortions are an Outrage and an Insult to the Human Race" July 27, 1993 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Describing an abortion that apparently did not prevent the child from being born alive, Dr. Haskell said this, "It came out very quickly after I put the scissors up in the cervical canal and pierced the skull and spread the scissors apart...in the previous two, I had used the suction to collapse the skull."

- Dayton Daily News Sun Dec 10 1989

"The first time, I felt like a murderer, but I did it again and again and again, and now, 20 years later, I am facing what happened to me as a doctor and as a human being. Sure, I got hard. Sure, the money was important. And oh, it was an easy thing, once I had taken the step, to see the women as animals and the babies as just tissue."

- Abortionist quoted from a radio talk show by John Rice in "Abortion" Litt D. Murfreesboro, TN.

"I have never known a woman who, after her baby was born, was not overjoyed that I had not killed it."

- Abortionist Aleck Bourne "A Doctor Speaks" London Express, Jan 25

"We know that its killing, but the state permits killing under certain circumstances"

- Dr. Neville Sender, abortionist

"Even now I feel a little peculiar about it, because as a physician I was trained to conserve life, and here I am destroying it."

- Anonymous Abortionist

"There was not one [doctor] who at some point in the questioning did not say "This is murder."

- Magda Denes Pro-Choice Doctor and Author Magda Deneson (on her two years of research done for her book In Necessity and Sorrow; Life and Death Inside an Abortion Clinic.)

"I do think abortion is murder- of a very special and necessary sort. And no physician ever involved with the procedure ever kids himself about that. You know there is something in there alive that you are killing"

- Abortionist Interviewed by Pro-Choice Doctor and Author Magda Denes

"Clinic workers may say they support a woman's right to choose, but they will also say that they do not want to see tiny hands and tiny feet....there is a great difference between the intellectual support of a woman's right to choose and the actual participation in the carnage of abortion. Because seeing body parts bothers the workers."

- Judith Fetrow, former clinic worker from San Francisco quoted in "Meet the Abortion Providers III" from a taped conference in Chicago 4/3/93

..the emotional turmoil that the procedure inevitably wreaks on the physicians and staff...There is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator...the sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current."

- Abortionist quoted in "Meeting of American Association of Planned Parenthood Physicians" OBGYN News P 196 Quoted in Melody Green and Sharon Bennett "The Crime of Being Alive: Abortion, Euthanasia, Infanticide" p 3

"Remember, there is a human being at the other end of the table taking that kid apart. We've had a couple of guys drinking too much, taking drugs, even a suicide or two."

- Dr. Julius Butler, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School

"Arms, legs, and chests come out of the forceps. It's not a sight for everybody"

- Dr. William Benbow Thompson at the University of California at Irvine

"The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember" 

- p 154 "Abortion Practice" by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colorado Abortionist published in 1984 by the J.B. Lippenott Company. Hern performs abortions up until the 4th month of pregnancy

"A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus." 

- p 154 "Abortion Practice" by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colorado Abortionist published in 1984 by the J.B. Lippenott Company. Hern performs abortions up until the 4th month of pregnancy

"The aggregate fetal tissue is weighted, then the following fetal parts are measured, foot length, knee to heel length, and biparietal diameter" 

- p 164 "Abortion Practice" by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colorado Abortionist published in 1984 by the J.B. Lippenott Company. Hern performs abortions up until the 4th month of pregnancy

"Television interviews in particular should focus on the public issue involved (right to confidential and professional medical care, freedom of choice and so forth) and not on the specific details of the procedure." 

- p 323 "Abortion Practice" by Warren Hern, M.D., Boulder Colorado Abortionist published in 1984 by the J.B. Lippenott Company. Hern performs abortions up until the 4th month of pregnancy

"Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks, because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It's really barbaric."

- Abortionist quoted in M.D. Doctors Talk About Themselves by John Pekkanen p 93

"I was for abortion, I thought it was a woman's right to terminate pregnancy she did not want. Now I'm not so sure. I am a student nurse nearing the end of my OB-GYN rotation at a major metropolitan hospital and teaching center. It wasn't until I saw what abortion really involves that I changed my mind. After the first week in the abortion clinic several people in my clinical group were shaky about their previously positive feelings about abortion. This new attitude resulted from our actually seeing a Prostaglandin abortion, one similar in nature to the widely used saline abortion. . . this method is being used for terminations of pregnancies of sixteen weeks and over. I used to find rationales. the fetus isn't real. Abdomens aren't really very swollen. It isn't 'alive.' No more excuses...I am a member of the health profession and members of my class are now ambivalent about abortion. I now know a great deal more about what is involved in the issue. Women should perceive fully what abortion is; how destructive an act it is both for themselves and their unborn child. Whatever psychological coping mechanisms are employed during the process, the sight of a fetus in a hospital bedpan remains the final statement."

- Quoted in "The Zero People: Essays on Life" by Jeff Lane Hensley, editor. Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1983

"I found much distress in the clinic, but it involved not only the women. I saw the pain of the babies who were born burned from the saline solution used for late-term abortions. I saw the bits of feet, bits of hands, the mangled heads and bodies of the little people. I saw pain and felt pain."

- One time clinic worker Paula Sutcliffe in "Precious in My Sight" "Pro-Life Feminism: Different Voices" Gail Garnier-Sweet, editor

"The doctors would remove the fetus while performing hysterotomies and then lay it on the table., where it would squirm until it died. ..They all had perfect forms and shapes. I couldn't take it. No nurse could."

- Joyce Craig, director of a Brooklyn clinic of Planned Parenthood. who assisted in abortion for two months, then quit. p 34 "Rachel Weeping"

Edward Eichner, director of medicine at a Cleveland abortion facility said "No doctor, for ethical, moral or honest reasons wants to do nothing but abortions...women don't like to do abortions over and over for moral reasons. Sometimes our women doctors become pregnant themselves, which upsets the patients. At the same time, if a woman is carrying a baby, she doesn't like to abort someone else's. We have much more trouble keeping women doctors on the staff than men."

- p 49 "Rachel Weeping"

"After an abortion, the doctor must inspect these remains to make sure that all the fetal parts and placenta have been removed. Any tissue left inside the uterus can start an infection. Dr. Bours squeezed the contents of the sock into a shallow dish and poked around with his finger. "You can see a teeny tiny hand' he said."

- Abortion clinic worker quoted in "Is the Fetus Human?" and in Dudley Clendinen, "The Abortion Conflict: What it Does to One Doctor" New York Times Magazine Aug 11 1985 p 26

"From May to November 1988, I worked for an abortionist. He specializes in third trimester killings. I witnessed evidence of the brutal, cold blooded murder of over 600 viable, healthy babies at seven, eight and nine months gestation. A very, very few of these babies, less than 2%, were handicapped...I thought I was pro-choice and I was glad to be working in an abortion clinic. I thought I was helping provide a noble service to women in crisis....I was instructed to falsify the age of the babies in medical records. I was required to lie to the mothers over the phone, as they scheduled their appointments, and to tell them that they were not 'too far along' Then I had to note, in the records that Dr. Tiller's needle had successfully pierced the walls of the baby's heart, injecting the poison what brought death...one day, Dr. Tiller came up the stairs from the basement, where the mothers were in labor. He was carrying a large cardboard box, and ducked into the employees only area of the office so that he wouldn't have to walk through the waiting room. He passed behind my desk as I sat working on the computer, and he turned the corner to go around a short hall. He called out for me to come and help him. the box was so big and heavy in his arms that he couldn't get the key into the lock. So I unlocked the door for him, and , pushing the door open, I saw very clearly the gleaming metal of the crematorium- a full sized crematorium, just like the one's used in funeral homes. I went back to my computer. I could hear Dr. Tiller firing up the gas oven. A few minutes later I could smell burning human flesh. Mine was the agony of a participant, however reluctant, in the act of prenatal infanticide."

- Luhra Tivis on her experience in the abortion business Quoted in Celebrate Life Sept/Oct 1994 "Where is the Real Violence?"

From the film "Meet the Abortion Providers" "My heart got callous to against the fact that I was a murderer, but that baby lying in a cold bowl educated me as to what abortion really was."

- Former Abortionist Dr. David Brewer

"I want the general public to know what the doctors know- that this is a person, this is a baby. That this is not some kind of blob of tissue."

- Dr. Anthony Levantino

"I have taken the lives of innocent babies, and I have ripped them from their mother's wombs with a powerful suction machine"

- McArthur Hill, M.D.

"I am deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I have in fact presided over 60,000 deaths. There is no longer serious doubt in my mind that human life exists from the very onset of pregnancy"

- Dr. Bernard Nathanson, "Deeper Into Abortion" New England Journal of Medicine Nov 1974 pg. 1189

"I dare say that any thinking, caring individual can't not realize that he is ending life, or potential life."

- Anonymous Abortionist ("The Zero People" pg 9)

"[Powell] said "Is this a fair way of expressing what you have just said, Doctor? You tell the mother "because your baby is defective, you have the right to kill it or not to kill it. If you choose to kill it, I will do the killing." "Of course," he [the abortionist] said. "There is no other way to say it and be honest."

- ("The Zero People" pg 9)

"I wanted to be the world's best abortionist, for the good of my patients. If I was going to do this, 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

"Abortions are very draining, exhausting, heart-rending. There are a lot of tears. Some patients turn on you...I do them because I take the attitude that women who are going to terminate babies deserve the same kind of treatment as women who carry babies...I've done a couple thousand, and its been a significant financial boon...the only way I can do an abortion is to consider only the woman as my patient and block out the baby."

- Abortionist quoted in M.D. Doctors Talk About Themselves

"I have angry feelings at myself for feeling good about grasping the calvaria, for feeling good about doing a technically good procedure that destroys a fetus, kills a baby."

- From the article "Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts" which appeared in the July 12 1993 issue of AAA News, a publication of the American Medical Association

"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."

- From the article "Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts" which appeared in the July 12 1993 issue of AAA News, a publication of the American Medical Association

An abortionist stated that 'somebody had asked her what they could say to the staff to make them look less shocked when they look at a 20 week fetus.. "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."

- From the article "Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts" which appeared in the July 12 1993 issue of AAA News, a publication of the American Medical Association

"You would just look in the buckets and see arms and legs. I have horrible dreams about that now. It was something you would see in a scary movie."

- Former abortion clinic worker Kirsten Breedlove (From World magazine August 1995)

"The babies were frozen in a freezer. Now I wished I had not looked."

- Norma McCorvey

"Even if you are pro-choice, no one likes to see a dead fetus." 

- Vilma Valdez, Education Director Planned Parenthood of Greater Miami, The Miami Herald, Oct 24 1992

"I went up to the lab one day and on the pathologist's table I saw what I thought was little rubber doll until I realized it was a fetus. . .I got really shook up and upset and I couldn't believe it. It had all its fingers and toes, you know, hands and feet. . . I never thought it would look so real. I didn't like it."

- Planned Parenthood employee quoted in Magda Denes book "In Necessity and Sorrow" New York: Basic Books 1979

In an interview by Mark Crutcher, former abortion clinic director Joy Davis said "Each person who worked there had a different way of dealing with it. [One] would look at the ultrasound the entire time she was in the room, but she would never look down in the pan. She would never look at the tissue being removed. She never wanted to see that. She would never take her eyes off the screen. And I had one who would never look at the screen....she would never look at the tissue and never look at the screen, she just didn't want to see anything."

Also from the 1993 Chicago conference "Planned Parenthood is set up so clinic workers never have to see the babies. It's set up that way because having to look at the babies bothers the workers. ...Generally there is one clinic worker in charge of the babies...I was that clinic worker. I had to look at the babies. I had to store them, I had to send them to pathology. And I was the person who had to dispose of them.....in order to maintain my sanity, I established a personal mourning ritual. I said Shiva for the babies. I said prayers for the dead. I also named the babies as I put them in a waste container."

"It [the fetus] is a form of life...This has to be killing...The question then becomes "is this kind of killing justifiable? In my own mind, it is justifiable, but only with the informed consent of the mother"

- Abortionist quoted in "Democrat and Chronicle" 7/5/92

Former clinic administrator Charlotte Taft, "We were hiding from the women some of the pieces of truth about abortion that were threatening....It is a kind of killing."

- From "Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic" by Wendy Simonds. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996

Quotes from Abortion 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."

"Another thing that bothered me as I went about my work at the clinic was the fact that I had seen an ultrasound abortion. We did first trimester abortions. This was a late first trimester, probably second trimester. I handled the ultrasound while the doctor performed the procedure and I directed him while I was watching the screen. I saw the baby pull away. I saw the baby open his mouth. I had seen the Silent Scream a number of times, but it didn’t effect me. To me it was just more pro-life propaganda. But I couldn’t deny what I saw on the screen."

- Joan Appleton, former clinic worker

"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. Faye Wattleton said recently, "I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus, but it is the women's body, and therefore ultimately her choice." I believe that very firmly. 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 it's a painful experience for the fetus because its nervous system is not "wired" so that it can feel pain at that point. 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. "

- Anonymous, quoted by Camille Peri at http://www.salonmagazine.com/june97/mothers/abortion970623.aspl in Salon Magazine

"I hated putting babies in strainers and rinsing them off and putting them in zip-lock bags."

- Former Abortion Clinic Owner Eric Harrah

"There is no difference between a first trimester, a second trimester, a third trimester abortion or infanticide. It's all the same human being in different stages of development. I finally got to the point I couldn't look at those little bodies anymore."

- Dr. Arnold Halpern, former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic

An abortion doctor describes his job: "... As you get into the second trimester, if we remove the pregnancy using forceps, and if a heartbeat is the measure of being alive, that happens all the time."

- Dr. Dennis Christensen, Madison Abortion Clinic, Wisconsin. From The New York Times; May 15, 1998; page A14.

"I worked as an assistant nurse at Dr. Haskell's clinic for three days--September 28, 29, and 30, 1993. . . . On the third day, Dr. Haskell asked me to observe as he performed several of the procedures that are the subject of this hearing [D&X abortion, also called partial birth abortion]. Although I was in that clinic on assignment of the agency, Dr. Haskell was interested in hiring me full time, and I was being given orientation in the entire range of procedures provided at that facility. I was present for three of these partial-birth procedures. It is the first one that I will describe to you in detail. The mother was six months pregnant (26 1/2 weeks). A doctor told her that the baby had Down's Syndrome and she decided to have an abortion. She came in the first two days to have the laminaria inserted and changed, and she cried the whole time. On the third day she came in to receive the partial-birth procedure. Dr. Haskell brought the ultrasound in and hooked it up so that he could see the baby. On the ultrasound screen, I could see the heart beating. As Dr. Haskell watched the baby on the ultrasound screen, the baby's heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby's legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby's body and the arms--everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby's head just inside the uterus. The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I was completely unprepared for what I was seeing. I almost threw up as I watched the doctor do these things."

My official title at the mill was "health worker." I did various duties-lab work, leading groups (deceiving women about their abortions), "advocating" (deceiving women during their abortions), and assisting the abortionist, which included helping during the abortion and checking to make sure all the parts of the baby were therein the collection jar afterwards. I will never forget, in the second-trimester abortions, holding those little feet up to a chart on the wall to make sure of the age of the baby.

- Dina Madsen

My 23rd abortion changed my mind about doing abortions forever. This patient was a little overweight and ultimately proved to be a little farther along than anticipated. This was not an uncommon mistake before ultrasound was readily available to confirm the gestational age. Initially, the abortion proceeded normally. The water broke, but then nothing more would come out. When I withdrew the curette, I saw that it was plugged up with the leg of the baby which had been torn off. I then changed techniques and used ring forceps to dismember the 13 or 14 week size baby. Inside the remains of the rib cage I found a tiny, beating heart. I was finally able to remove the head and looked squarely into the face of a human being -- a human being that I had just killed.

- Dr. Paul Jarrett

At least 80 percent of the women would try to look down at the end of the table, wondering if they cold see anything which is why our doctor always went in with the scalpel first. Once the baby was already cut up, there was nothing but blood and torn up tissue for the woman to see. When a later abortion was performed, workers had to piece the baby back together, and every major part--head, torso, two legs, and two arms --had to be accounted for. One of our little jokes at the clinic was, "If you ever want to humble a doctor, hide a leg so he thinks he has to go back in." Please understand, these were not abnormal, uncaring women working with me at the clinic. We were just involved in a bloody, dehumanizing business, all of us for our own reasons. Whether we were justifying our past advocacy (as I was), justifying a previous abortion (as many were) or whatever, we were just trying to cope--and if we couldn't laugh at what was going on, I think our minds would have snapped. It's not an easy trying to confuse a conscience that will not stay dead.

- Hearing on H.R. 4292, the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2000" (From Norma McCorvey's book Won By Love)

I am a Registered Nurse who has worked in the Labor & Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, for the past five years. The method of abortion that Christ Hospital uses is called "induced labor abortion," also now known as "live birth abortion." This type of abortion can be performed different ways, but the goal always is to cause a pregnant woman's cervix to open so that she will deliver a premature baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward. The way that induced abortion is most often executed at my hospital is by the physician inserting a medication called Cytotec into the birth canal close to the cervix. Cytotec irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open. When this occurs, the small, preterm baby drops out of the uterus, oftentimes alive. It is not uncommon for one of these live aborted babies to linger for an hour
or two or even longer. One of them once lived for almost eight hours. In the event that a baby is aborted alive, he or she receives no medical assessments or care but is only given what my hospital calls "comfort care." "Comfort care" is defined as keeping the baby warm in a blanket until he or she dies, although even this minimal compassion is not always provided. It is not required that these babies be held during their short lives. One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down's Syndrome baby who was born alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not wantto hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about ½ pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I couldn't tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

- Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN

"When I first started out nursing in the late 70's I was working for the Ob/Gyn physicians in this hospital. My duties were not only to care for those that were in for abortions, I also cared for the older folks having hysterectomies and so forth. I didn't have a personal opinion on abortion until I saw how many were done and for the multitude of ridiculous reasons. Not to mention the actual procedure itself and the "aftermath". It wasn't until a few years afterwards that I started to feel this wasn't right. That is when I transferred to a different department and hospital completely. . . Plus you must understand, I worked for a hospital smack dab in the middle of NYC, I got to know some of the girls getting these abortions on a first name basis, since they had them so often. That really got under my skin, seeing these girls using it as a birth control measure. And why shouldn't they? The state paid for it anyway! Just not right!"

- Quoted from the woman.com message board

"I am walking out the back door, and I see a plastic jar of tissue and blood waiting to be sent to the path lab, and in the plastic jar a tiny perfect white hand. . . That flat palm reaching up through a wine-red wash of blood. Why does that stay with me?"

- From the book "Past Due" by Anne Finger, published by The Seal Press in 1990