Abortion: 40 Years and Counting


“Though I’d been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, I had never been called into the exam room to help the medical team during an abortion, and I had no idea why I was needed now. … I could not have imagined how the next ten minutes would shake the foundation of my value and change the course of my life. … ‘Thirteen weeks,’ I heard the nurse say after taking measurements to determine the fetus’s age. ‘Okay,’ the doctor said, looking at me, ‘just hold the probe in place during the procedure so I can see what I’m doing.’  … At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula.  It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief.  Of course, I thought.  The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood.  The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed.  Get a grip, Abby.  This is a simple, quick medical procedure.  My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquite that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.”

“The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader.  As the cannula pressed in, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away.  It seemed clear to me that the fetus could feel the cannula and did not like the feeling.  And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me.  ‘Beam me up, Scotty,’ he said lightheartedly to the nurse.  He was telling her to turn on the suction—in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.  I had a sudden urge to yell, ‘STOP!’  … My eyes shot back to the screen again.  The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it.  For the briefest moment it looked as if the baby were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed.  And then the little body crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes.  The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then everything was gone.  And the uterus was empty.  Totally empty.”

“I had believed a lie!  I had blindly promoted the ‘company  line’ for so long.  Why?  Why hadn’t I searched out the truth for myself?  Why had I closed my ears to the arguments I’d heard?  Oh, dear God, what had I done?  My hand was still on the patient’s belly, and I had the sense that I had just taken something away from her with that hand.  I’d robbed her.  And my hand started to hurt — I felt an actual physical pain.  And right there, standing beside the table, my hand on the weeping woman’s belly, this thought came from deep within me:  Never again!  Never again. — Abby Johnson



“We fed the public a line of deceit, dishonesty, a fabrication of statistics and figures. We succeeded because the time was right and the news media cooperated. We sensationalized the effects of illegal abortions, and fabricated polls which indicated that 85 percent of the public favored unrestricted abortion, when we knew it was only 5 percent. We unashamedly lied, and yet our statements were quoted [by the media] as though they had been written in law.”

“Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalization.”

In a widely reported 1974 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, “Deeper into Abortion,” Dr. Nathanson described his growing moral and medical qualms about abortion. “I am deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.” His unease was intensified by the images made available by the new technologies of ultrasound.

“For the first time, we could really see the human fetus, measure it, observe it, watch it, and indeed bond with it and love it,” he later wrote in “The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind.”

“The Silent Scream,” a 28-minute film produced by Crusade for Life, was released in early 1985. In it, Dr. Nathanson described the stages of fetal development and offered commentary as a sonogram showed, in graphic detail, the abortion of a 12-week-old fetus by the suction method.

“We see the child’s mouth open in a silent scream,” he said, as the ultrasound image, slowed for dramatic impact, showed a fetus seeming to shrink from surgical instruments. “This is the silent scream of a child threatened imminently with extinction.” — Dr. Bernard Nathanson


America made a covenant with death and we are now reaping the unintended consequences. When the highest court in the land rules that killing the child in your womb is an acceptable way of dealing with your unplanned pregnancy, we shouldn’t be surprised when children reared in such a culture turn to murder and suicide when life becomes overwhelming.  — Jim Thornber


“Our laws reveal a blatant moral schizophrenia when our society believes that it is legal to kill a baby while it is still in its mother’s womb or even on its way out of the birth canal, but all of a sudden deem it murder when the same thing is done to a child three minutes after it is born.”



“In our own country, a man is charged with murder and faces the death penalty for killing his own unborn daughter at five-months gestation, when her mother miscarries after she was assaulted.  Another man is charged with murder after being found guilty of causing the death of an unborn child due to an accident involving his decision to drive drunk.  What then is the difference between these destructive acts against human life and those that are “lawfully” and routinely carried out in clinics across our country? To those who believe in the U.S. Constitution and the Holy Bible, there is no difference.“ — Shawn Paul


Abortion has been a dark cloud over the U.S. for 40 years. In that time we have become a culture of death, a people who collectively takes pleasure in witnessing the pain of other humans on reality television, who obsesses over celebrities with drug problems, and who chooses to selfishly focus on the material objects of our world. We don’t value each other as much, we don’t value our relationships as deeply, and we have become completely desensitized and unsympathetic. – Nancy Flanders


Though it may still surprise some, there are few things more certain…than that the unborn are human beings.  We know that its heart begins to beat eighteen days after fertilization, that brain waves can be recorded by the fortieth day, and that all body systems are present at eight weeks and working by the eleventh week. And yet, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that an 8½ month-old unborn child was not a human being under Minnesota law (1986, p. 22, emp. added).



“Sold to a willingly ignorant public as a matter of personal choice, abortion has had terrible consequences for society and, tragically, the women who choose abortion thinking it is a solution to their perceived problems. The enormity of the consequences, one would presume, would lead to a massive re-thinking of unrestricted legal abortion. But instead of either sober reflection or a vigorous debate on abortion’s societal and individual ramifications, there is silence. And more death. And more suffering. Forty more years and millions more deaths are too great a cost for a dearth of necessary leadership to oppose abortion. But someday, these costs and consequences will be too great to ignore. Until then, we will continue to pay in blood, treasure, women’s health and a myriad of other ways.”



I am convinced that abortion is the most important problem facing our nation today. Abortion is no less a moral outrage and a cultural evil than slavery, and my prayer is that someday my children and/or grandchildren will look back on our culture of death with the same horror we feel when we look back at slavery in the United States and other parts of the Western world. … A culture that sanctions abortion is a culture that does not and cannot care for the “least of these.” All the talk in the world cannot change the reality of what they actually do when faced with the most helpless and vulnerable members of society when no one, not even their own mothers, will care for them.



In a story titled “Under Din of Abortion Debate, an Experience Shared Quietly,” reporter John Leland recounted conversations he experienced during a visit to Little Rock Family Planning Services, an abortion clinic located in the Arkansas capital.

Leland’s article is heartbreaking. He takes readers into the lives of the women who have come to the clinic seeking an abortion. Their stories–and the rationales they gave for their abortions–only deepen the sense of tragedy that surrounds the reality of abortion.

The issue of abortion has been front and center in America’s culture war for the last four decades. The issue is controversial, and the debate over abortion is often contentious. Nevertheless, the reality of abortion is even uglier, as the stories of these women will make clear. Something is missing from this picture, and that missing element is an acknowledgement that the one factor most glaringly excluded from this consideration is the developing baby. The baby has no voice, no say in the decision, and no advocate in this process. But then, the reporter cannot interview the baby, can he?



Some of the most popular tweets during the event reiterated comments made by NARAL president Ilyse Hogue that “when women thrive, communities thrive, marketplaces thrive and our country thrives.” Can women, communities, marketplaces and our country truly thrive when we pit mother against child and doctor against patient? Ending the life of another human being is not a viable solution to societal ills or economic challenges. It would be an incredibly sad commentary on our nation if abortion were required in order for women to achieve their dreams. We’re better than that.




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