Some women have multiple abortions. And while it may seem surprising, there are abortionists who have expressed frustration with these women, feeling upset that women would treat abortion so casually. One staffer expressed it this way: “Women attending for repeat abortions do evoke powerful primitive feelings in us. We both have experience of women attending up to their fifth termination. It is hard to remain open to a woman and not fall into the easier position of being judgmental of her.…”
The abortion providers quoted below had feelings of anger and judgment toward women who have multiple abortions. If abortion is only the removal of tissue, no more significant than pulling a tooth, as many pro-choicers claim, why should providers get upset? These abortion workers’ feelings only make sense if abortion is what pro-lifers say it is – the killing of a preborn child. Abortionists and workers, who see aborted baby remains, know this.
One abortionist described his frustration with a patient who refused to use any sort of contraception:
She used to come in all the time … She didn’t use contraceptives and they were being offered to her … Now she’s coming in without using any birth control of any type – a ‘frequent flier.’ She comes in [for] #15 abortion. And I just had a little problem with that.1
Someone who left the industry wrote that repeat abortions caused a feeling of ‘disgust’:
I would counsel the women during the sedation process before their abortions. … One woman was there for her eleventh abortion. Eleventh! That disgusted me. One thirty-seven-year-old patient was having her seventh abortion on the same day that her daughter was having her first grandbaby.2
Another abortion worker, Marie Stafford, wrote:
I once had a young girl who’d had four abortions and she said it was cheaper for her to have abortions than use any form of contraception because her boyfriend paid for the abortions. She complained about our menu, saying it wasn’t as good as the last time.
An abortionist said in the New York Times Magazine that for some women, abortion is their ‘birth control’:
For some it is definitely a kind of birth control. These women are on their sixth one. They have a troubled family situation, and you feel it’s in the best interest for the possible future child. In some ways I do feel that – but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant.
The son of an abortionist described how his father felt about women who came in for repeat abortions and expressed no remorse:
Generally, though, he said, seeing patients register sadness did not disturb him… What did bother him was seeing a patient (and there were some) for her second, third, or fourth abortion, even after she had been counseled to use contraception, and finding that she still acted blasé about it. “That upsets me,” he said.3
Another abortionist was even more frustrated with women having repeat abortions:
I have one kid here, seventeen, who’s just had her third abortion… I want to beat the sh*t out of her. I want to put her through the damn wall. “What’s the matter with you?” I say to her. Every time she thinks a relationship is going on the rocks, she gets pregnant. Then she has an abortion and starts up a new relationship.
In the blog The Abortioneers, a worker wrote, “The fact of the matter is there are women who will present in a clinic five, six, seven times for a procedure. This makes a lot of people, myself included, uncomfortable on some level.”
Another staffer, however, had a different perspective:
Most of the counselors didn’t like dealing with women who had had several abortions, they saw them as irresponsible at best, or, at worst, stupid. But I liked “repeat aborters” because they already knew what to expect and weren’t afraid of the abortion. They offered less emotion for me to soak up; they were easy process in 10 min[utes].(4)
In the pro-abortion book, Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice, abortion worker Jenny Higgins wrote that women having repeat abortions caused her to question her own pro-choice position:
A number of patients used – or abused, depending on one’s moral perspective – their right to abortion in ways that forced me to question the depth of my own pro-choice stance. For example, I was deeply troubled by “repeaters,” women who came to us for their third, fourth, or fifth abortion, and who often exhibited lifelong histories of spotty – or no – contraceptive use. …. [T]he tough cases took a personal toll as well. They tarnished my innocently romanticized version of abortion as a difficult but worthy, and even admirable, decision.(5)
- Lisa A. Martin, PhD, Jane A. Hassinger, MSW, Michelle Debbink, MD, PhD, Lisa H. Harris, MD, PhD “Dangertalk: Voices of abortion providers” Social Science & Medicine 184 (2017) 75e83
- Abby Johnson The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2016) 95
- Eyal Press Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict that Divided America (New York: Henry Holt & company, 2006) P 246-247
- Wendy Simonds Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1996) 7
- Jenny Higgins “Sex, Unintended Pregnancy, and Poverty: One Woman’s Evolution from “Choice” to “Reproductive Justice” from Krista Jacob Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2006) 35
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