Author Sue Hertz interviewed clinic workers and observed antiabortion activity at a busy abortion clinic. Her book was written during the height of the Operation Rescue clinic blockades, and the book focuses mainly on the drama outside the clinic rather than inside.
However, Hertz did find the time to observe several abortions and describe how clinic workers reacted to seeing the bodies of aborted babies.
Hertz describes how a clinic worker named Doris coped with being in the operating room while the abortionist did a dismemberment abortion. Doris looked away as the doctor extracted a woman’s preborn child piece by piece and then sorted through the remains of the baby:
During the procedure, Doris would offer her hand for the patient to squeeze, or if the abortions were particularly painful, a notepad for the patient to bite…Doris knew what [the abortionist] was doing at the end of the examination table as he pored over the legs and ribs and hands, but she chose not to look. It wasn’t that Doris ignored the truth, but rather that her commitment was to the woman, not the fetus.
By focusing solely on the woman and blocking out her baby, Doris could cope with her job and continue to provide abortions. The abortionist had no such luxury, but, like most, he seems to have come to terms with his job.
Intel with the baby’s death by focusing only on the suffering woman.
Pro-lifers, on the other hand, focus both on the woman and on the preborn child. The pro-life movement is diverse and different groups naturally direct their efforts towards different goals, but neither the baby nor the woman is ignored by pro-lifers. Crisis pregnancy centers such as Birthright and CareNet work with abortion vulnerable women as well as any women who need help finding the resources to have her baby. Silent No More, Project Rachel, and other postabortion groups help women heal. Other organizations, like The Center for Bioethical Reform (Warning; Graphic link) focus exclusively on the baby. Even clinic workers are not ignored by the pro-life movement. And Then There Were None is an outreach dedicated completely to them. And, of course, many pro-life organizations focus on educating the public so that abortion becomes a thing of the past.
In contrast, pro-choice groups focus exclusively on the woman involved and forget the preborn child. Their movement dedicates all its resources toward only one player in the abortion debate – the woman who cannot or will not give birth to her baby. Rather than supporting her with whatever choice she makes, these groups offer her only one choice – abortion. Once clinics take a woman’s money and perform the abortion, they are finished with her. She leaves, and is forced to cope with her abortion alone.
The dismemberment of the preborn baby in the above passage is horrific to the point where even the clinic worker herself cannot bear to look. But pro-lifers must look – at the child, at the mother, at the clinic worker, and at everyone else involved in the abortion debate.
Source: Sue Hertz Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion’s Front Line (New York: Prentice Hill Press, 1991) 109