A big part of people’s ambivalence about abortion stems from a refusal to acknowledge the gruesome nature of the procedure.


This article is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read, and says more about the schizophrenia of American culture than any work of fiction could. While reading it you may think this has to be an imaginary tale written by a rabid pro-lifer to make a point about the gruesomeness of abortion, but it is not. It is written by an abortionist.

I even called Lifesitenews.com to confirm that this was indeed a real article by a real abortionist, and it is (you have to purchase it if you want to read the whole thing, which Lifesite did).

"There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a ‘thump, thump’ in my abdomen. Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes." So writes abortionist Lisa Harris in a disturbing article relating her experiences as an abortionist, particularly her anguished and "brutally visceral" experience of dismembering an 18 week gestation unborn child, while 18 weeks pregnant herself.

In the article, entitled "Second Trimester Abortion Provision: Breaking the Silence and Changing the Discourse," Harris, an abortionist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan, explains the ethical position that she says helps her and other abortionists continue practicing despite the moral and psychological hurdles involved in what she describes as an undoubtedly "violent" procedure. The article was originally published in "Reproductive Health Matters" in May 2008.

"Abortion is different from other surgical procedures," Harris writes in her candid article.  "Even when the fetus has no legal status, its moral status is reasonably the subject of much disagreement. It is disingenuous to argue that removing a fetus from a uterus is no different from removing a fibroid."  
Harris says that there is a need to "cross borders and boundaries (including seemingly inflexible ones like ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’)" in order to "reflect seriously on the question of how providers determine their limit for abortion," and warned that the issues surrounding the question "may frankly be too dangerous for pro-choice movements to acknowledge.

Indeed the truth can be dangerous for a movement whose sole purpose is to make sure women have the “right” to destroy the fruit of their womb. As we’ve learned recently, more Americans are pro-life than pro-choice for the first time. Technology and the common sense of most Americans are the reasons why.

Yet many Americans still don’t realize what an abortionist does. The following description by Dr. Harris of the procedure on the unborn child of a woman 23 weeks pregnant is revealing:

Dutifully, I went through the task of reassembling the fetal parts in the metal tray. It is an odd ritual that abortion providers perform—required as a clinical safety measure to ensure that nothing is left behind in the uterus to cause a complication—but it also permits us in an odd way to pay respect to the fetus (feelings of awe are not uncommon when looking at miniature fingers and fingernails, heart, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands), even as we simultaneously have complete disregard for it.

After she finished killing this 23-week-old fetus, she went to a different part of the building to save the life of a 23 or 24-week-old “newborn.” She thinks it “bizarre” that one moment she is “dismembering” one preborn while at the next saving a newborn of the same age. I’m sure we could think of many other words than bizarre to describe such a moral contradiction.

One shudders to think of the moral darkness of a soul that can do such a thing over and over and over. You don’t have to be religious to see the barbarity of such a practice when it is described accurately.

Abortionists, however, believe they are doing great good for the women they see. Otherwise, they believe, all of these women would end up in a back alley somewhere with a coat hanger and die. Just as in the nineteenth century debate over slavery, those who continue to justify abortion appear increasingly desperate to deny what is so obviously true: abortion kills a living being, a person who has a right to live whether the mother wants the child or not.

One of the great, and according to the writer unintended, prolife moments in popular culture came in the movie Juno. As young Juno is going to an abortion clinic to solve what she sees as a personal problem, her zealous prolife friend screams, “It has fingernails!” As most women would do when they realize exactly what is in their womb, Juno decides to let the baby live, regardless of the difficulties it may cause her and the other opportunities for self-fulfillment she may miss.

The schizophrenia and ambivalence noted here are a product of ignorance and the unwillingness of many people to think about such an unpleasant reality in our midst. As the reality becomes harder to ignore, abortion will continue to lose favor with the American people.

—Mike D’Virgilio