By Trish Diggins
Editor’s note: Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the women involved.
Barbara went into the family planning clinic at her mother’s insistence. She wanted to have her baby and was anxious to have support from the women’s clinic.
That support became a rushed abortion that Barbara still regrets.
“The woman at the clinic started spewing facts so fast,” Barbara, 19, said, “They told me just enough to scare me … they mentioned all three points but made adoption sound negative and birth tragic, then really pushed abortion.
“I told them I was more than 14 weeks (the cutoff for first-trimester abortions). She said they had to do it really quick because they couldn’t do more than a 14-week and pushed me to make the appointment for absolutely that day.”
During the abortion, Barbara nearly passed out from the pain in the “painless” procedure. “The attending nurse said, ‘She’s gonna pass out’ and left the room.”
“They played on my emotions. I didn’t get any time to think about it, then it was over. When I came back for the checkup, they didn’t care anymore.”
Is this the caring attitude of a clinic that helps women?
Barbara is not alone in her experience. Jennifer decided to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic. “Planned Parenthood suggested only an abortion. No other options were ever discussed. They said abortion was painless and virtually risk-free … having it done hurt like crazy. You can’t imagine my shock and horror when I saw my dismembered baby after my “nice and easy” abortion. Planned Parenthood is not telling the truth to girls in crisis pregnancy situations. I have suffered severe emotional problems.”
Sheryl had an abortion before she realized what had happened. She too went to Planned Parenthood and was offered no counseling and said the word abortion was never used.
“They scheduled me for an ‘endometrial aspiration’ which they said would start my period … I didn’t know if I was pregnant. The doctor … used a machine to suck out the contents of my uterus. The pain was excruciating. After he finished he said, ‘Do you want to know if you were pregnant?’ … I was shocked to realize I had an abortion. I was never given a choice … I realize I’ve lost my child forever.”
How could these tragedies occur in clinics, especially Planned Parenthood, who advertises as “A name you can trust in women’s health care,” and is the nation’s most visible abortion and “women’s services” provider? Money.
Carol Everett owned and operated several abortion clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for six years. “The abortion industry is not about choices; it’s about money,” Everett says. “(It) is a skillfully marketed product sold to a woman at a crisis time in her life.”
And sell they do. The last month she was in business, Everett made $13,625. She received $25 per abortion. In addition, the abortionist usually makes 20-50 percent of the total cost and can perform 10-12 abortions per hour. “Remember, (the clinics) sell abortions – they don’t sell keeping the baby or giving up the baby for adoption or delivering the baby.”
How much do abortions cost? Depending on the gestational age, anywhere from $250 to over $2500 for late-term abortions. Dr. Anthony Levatino provided abortions in private practice for 10 years in Albany, NY. “It’s the one time as a doctor you can say ‘either pay me up front or I’m not going to take care of you.’ Either you have the money or you don’t. And they get it.”
Everett said clinic telephone operators use “telephone scripts” designed to overcome any objections the potential customer might have and to suggest ways to come up with the fee. “If they said they were thinking about adoption, the answer would be, ‘Wait, how do you think that baby would feel knowing you had abandoned it?’ We told them abortion could fix every problem … we found their fear and amplified it. The counselor is paid to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion.”
She admits her clinic sold unnecessary abortion, “fixed” records and often drove “botched” abortion victims to the hospital herself to keep ambulances away from the clinic. “We always told them it was their fault (if something went wrong),” she said, adding that one in every 500 clinic patients had major surgery, including hysterectomy and colostomy due to rips and punctures from the abortion, or died. By the time the woman has been through an abortion, complications, and recovery she is not interested in telling anyone.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson had lobbied for legalized abortion in 1968 and later opened his own clinic. He changed his mind about the nature of abortion when technologies such as ultrasound and cordocentesis (taking the unborn child’s blood to diagnose illness) led him to examine his view more closely.
“There was nothing religious about it,” Nathanson said, “This was purely a change of mind as a result of this fantastic technology.” Using ultrasound on a woman undergoing an abortion, Dr. Nathanson made the film Silent Scream, which shows the child in the womb struggling during an abortion.
“This was purely a change of mind as a result of this fantastic technology.” After expressing his doubts to the medical community, he was dismissed from the pro-abortion movement that he helped to create.
Many doctors, having faced the reality of abortion and pressure from the public, have stopped performing abortions. In recent years, the rate of physicians performing abortions has dropped from 4 to 5 percent to about 2 percent.
Dr. David Brewer recounts witnessing his first abortion: “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 into a big jar, and looked to see what was inside.” He was instructed to place the contents on a towel to make sure they had “gotten it all” as is standard practice after an abortion. What he saw shocked and sickened him.
“I had taken anatomy. I was a medical student. I knew what I was looking at. There was a little scapula and an arm … some ribs … a chest, a tiny little head. It was like somebody put a hot poker into me.” Eventually, Brewer says he hardened his conscience and began to routinely perform abortions until witnessing a late term abortion, when the child was born alive, fighting for its life. “I just stood there and the reality of what was going on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart. You could see the chest was moving and the heart beating.”
What would happen if women were told the facts when entering a clinic? How many women would not abort and how many dollars would be lost if clinic personnel said your baby’s heart started beating 18 days after conception, at 42 days your baby has brainwaves, and at nine weeks we can tell its sex. There is no law that forces abortion providers to give the mother information about her developing child.
How can a women choose what is “right for her” if she is not given all relevant information?
After the abortion, the sale still continues. “We wanted them to be ‘happy’ because of the return rate,” Everett said. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, the reporting arm of Planned Parenthood, gives a 43 percent return rate for second abortions. The women are given reinforcement for their decision and told that they did the right thing, that now their problems are over. But are they?
Many women suffer severe emotional effects. Often she will tell others (through clenched teeth and hands) how great her abortion was in order to assuage her guilt and pain.
“My mother won’t accept that I feel my abortion was wrong,” Barbara said, “and for years I insisted that I didn’t either. But I knew what I had done was wrong, and telling others to do it affirmed my decision.” Barbara is now active in Gainesville Right to Life. Her mother now helps to usher girls past pro-life demonstrators to obtain their abortions.
Abortion is the most performed surgical procedure in the nation and is the largest unregulated industry in the nation, second only to illegal drugs. Veterinary clinics are subject to greater regulation and more health department inspections. Many clinics, including some in Florida, have been closed due to gross negligence of health codes and sanitary procedures.
Women enter an abortion clinic scared and uninformed. They are sold the clinic’s product, given a pat on the back, and left to deal with the emotional and physical scars. How much longer can we allow our dogs to be treated better than our women?
Special thanks to Carol Everett, Gainesville Right to Life, and those who shared their personal stories with me. This article was reprinted from the Florida Review: “Have nothing to do with the unfruiotful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
Trish Diggins is a student at the University of Florida.