Abortion Doctor Says: We are the Executioners
by Sarah Terzo
Pro-choice author Magda Denes, Ph.D., interviewed abortionists and clinic workers for her book In Necessity and Sorrow, Life and Death inside an Abortion Hospital. Surprisingly, many of the abortionists she interviewed admitted that they were terminating life.
One abortionist made it very clear that he knew he was killing. He speaks first about how strange it was to be treating premature babies and helping them survive while at the same time killing preborn babies of the same age elsewhere through abortion:
You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity of 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’s good that the heart is already irregular… She has nothing to worry about, she is not going to have a live baby.
The abortionist then describes how doing late-term abortions was easier for him because he started doing earlier abortions and “worked his way up” to the later ones. Because he was used to killing younger children, he was able to desensitize himself, which helped him progress to killing older children. These older babies actively reacted to his attempts to kill them.
At the beginning we were doing abortions on smaller fetuses… And the kicking and heartbeat did not manifest itself as much. I think if I had started with 24 weekers right off the bat, I would’ve had a much greater conflict in my own mind if this was the same as murder or not. But since we started off slowly with 15-16 weekers, the fetus just never got consideration. Then gradually, the whole range of cases started to become larger. All of a sudden, one noticed that at the time of the saline infusion, there was a lot of activity in the uterus. It wasn’t fluid currents. It was obviously the fetus being distressed by swallowing the salt solution and kicking violently through the death trauma. You can either face it, or turn around and say it’s uterine contractions. That, however, would be repressing, since as a doctor you obviously know that it is not.
He is speaking about saline abortions, an abortion method that was frequently used in the 1970s and ’80s but is less common now due in part to the large numbers of babies who were born alive, including Melissa Ohden. In this type of abortion, the abortionist injects a toxic saline solution into the mother’s womb, which slowly poisons and kills the child. It can take hours for a baby to die this way.
The abortionist says he never tells the women that their babies are struggling for their lives:
Now whether you admit this to the patient is another matter. Her distress by unwanted pregnancy is to be the primary consideration, ahead of any possible consideration for the fetus.
Then he makes the big admission:
“We just have to face it. Somebody has to do it. Unfortunately, we are the executioners in this instance.”
This abortionist compares himself to a person who kills convicted criminals. He casts himself as an executioner in order to justify his actions.
In making the comparison, the abortionist is saying that yes, he is killing, but the killing is acceptable. In our society, we don’t view those who execute criminals as murderers. It is, we say, justifiable killing.
The abortionist is able to tell himself that he isn’t the only one killing; executioners kill criminals all the time. If there was no capital punishment in America, and the value of life was always respected, would it be harder for the abortionist to justify his actions? There are many arguments against the death penalty, but one of them is that a nation that accepts the killing of criminals is more likely to accept the killing of other groups of people. The institution of capital punishment opens the door to further violence, because it makes killing, at least in some circumstances, acceptable. If we can kill undesirable adults, why not kill undesirable fetuses?
If our nation took a strong stand against taking human lives, even those of criminals, would it make abortion less acceptable? In the way that killing small babies made it easier to kill large babies, does the acceptance of the death penalty lead to the acceptance of other types of killing?
Violence tends to beget violence, and having the death penalty affects society in subtle ways. In this case, it has given an abortion doctor an excuse, a rationalization that makes it easier for him to end unborn human lives.
This is just one more reason to oppose the death penalty, one among many. The possible execution of innocent people, the unjustness of taking a human life for reasons other than self-defense, and the way legalized killing affects society- these are all reasons to oppose capital punishment.
The truth is, all life is valuable. A consistent life ethic leaves no human being out.
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