On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Stories of Despair and Defection

I won’t add too much to this story other than one of the surest way to measure the evil of an action is by the way it changes those who perpetuate it. From the Weekly Standard:

Mugged by Ultrasound

…Another study, published in the October 1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions to abortion.

Such studies are few. In general, abortion providers have censored their own emotional trauma out of concern to protect abortion rights. In 2008, however, abortionist Lisa Harris endeavored to begin “breaking the silence” in the pages of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. When she herself was 18 weeks pregnant, Dr. Harris 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 concluded her piece by lamenting that the pro-choice movement has left providers to suffer in silence because it has “not owned up to the reality of the fetus, or the reality of fetal parts.” Indeed, it often insists that images used by the pro-life movement are faked.

Tragic and horrific.


5 Responses to On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Stories of Despair and Defection

  1. jackhudson says:

    The troubling comparison of unborn humans to animals aside, this comment doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

  2. bZirk says:

    @Michael, Wow.


    One of the few exceptions to this silence is the approach encouraged by the “November Gang” to confront the grief and have the mothers write love notes to their aborted children. Man, I don’t know which is worse — silence or cold blooded killing cloaked as good intentions. Can barely shake my head as I write that.

  3. jackhudson says:

    The more closely someone can relate to something, the more likely emotion is to play a role. Sometimes this role is undue. For instance, most people will eat cow but not dog. Most people will poison rats but feed squirrels. People do this sort of thing routinely. Just the same, the more a fetus has human characteristics, the more likely one may be to view it as a human. Of course, this is emotion playing its role, not logic.

    It’s not like the unborn child is an ape, and it only happens to resemble a human – it has human characteristics because it’s the offspring off two humans. It’s no mystery.

    All that said, I think the abortion debate is one of the most poorly considered debates of all time. Not that people haven’t spent time discussing it, but there’s a drive toward extremes that makes no sense; there’s this search for absolutes which do not exist. Calling a day-old embryo human is an insult to what it means to be human. Furthermore, what’s the difference between that and, say, skin cells? They both contain all genomic material. Is it potential? Okay. What about gametes? They all have potential? What level of potential must two sex cells reach to be human? Why? How do we measure it?
    And then there’s the other extreme. The average pregnancy is something like 9 months, 2 weeks. Okay, so a 9 month, 2 week, 6 day old fetus is not a child, but the next day it is? Why does location determine this? It’s an irrelevant factor.
    It should be obvious that whatever line is chosen is going to be an arbitrary one, similar to how calling a person who is 17 years, 364 days old a child but an 18 year old an adult is arbitrary. The only thing that can be done is to find a reasonable point. Clearly both extremes fail horribly; one defines personhood as a few cells with potential, the other defines it dependent entirely upon location. Something better needs to be reached. Perhaps 6 months? Three? Seven? That can be debated. But 1 day or 9 months both fail the test.

    I personally think this is a very cogent observation, and one that forms part of the basis of my opposition to abortion – though I come to somewhat different conclusions.

    It is the very fact that we don’t know when a ‘fetus’ becomes a child that should compel to do what we can to protect it. Lack of knowledge isn’t an excuse in this case.

    The way I think about it is this. If I discovered a locked box on my porch, and I heard crying coming out of it and felt something moving inside, while I might not be able to accurately identify what the contents are, my uncertainty doesn’t absolve me if indeed there is a baby inside.

    And that happens to be one of the major points of the article; increasingly we can ‘peer inside the box’ as it were, and as we gain that ability, it becomes increasingly obvious that what is inside is human.

  4. jackhudson says:

    If the doctor or whoever is viewing the fetus has come to the conclusion that it is not a human in the sense that the mother is a human, then resemblance is the relevant factor, not logic or previous reasoning.

    Well that is the point of the article; a number of doctors are coming to the conclusion that what they are seeing is human.

    And a reasonable position can be reached based upon that. But I think it is clear that conception is not a reasonable point in the least. What’s more, this has adverse effects in science and has done more harm in recent years than good.

    I think conception is the only the definitive point; the rest are merely arbitrary matters of degree. And I don’t know what specific adverse effects you are talking about; I would question whether there are any such effects.

  5. jackhudson says:

    This is based upon appearance, not any logical definition or consideration. This goes to my point that people will feed the fuzzy squirrel but hit the ugly rat with a bat.

    Well, I think it goes without saying that if something is alive, is genetically human, and in every way resembles a human, we should seriously consider whether or not it is in fact human. It should at least give us pause if not serious reflection.

    Conception is just another arbitrary point. What makes it so special? It can’t be having all the genetic material together because skin cells would then constitute being human. I think it has to come down to potential. And how do we determine what degree of potential matters?

    Well, it’s not just another arbitrary point – it is the beginning point of every human that ever lived. That should go without saying, as the very reason we call it ‘conception’ is because that is when we are conceived – that is when we come into being. Before that point individuality doesn’t exist. It certainly is less arbitrary than any point that comes after. All the potential you and I have begins at that point.

    As for adverse effects in science, I was referencing stem cell research.

    I am not convinced that any potential benefit embryonic stem cell research might have has been harmed by our careful consideration of what the consequences are.

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