A British doctor who commits late term abortions explains how nurses who work in abortion facilities are often ashamed of what they do. In the book Abortion: The Whole Story by Mary Kenny, he says:
Nurses who work in abortion clinics often don’t have a high sense of professional self-esteem. It’s not the sort of thing you brag about. “What do you do?” “Oh, I work at an abortion clinic.” Sometimes I have to give them a little pep talk. You’ll often find that after doing, say, 20 abortions, nurses can feel quite dejected. You have to help them along, tell them that they have made 20 women very happy that day. (1)
Working in an abortion facility is not something many abortion workers are proud of. Even though they may be committed to their work, they often feel compelled to keep it a secret from others. Pro-lifers have done a very good job of reminding the public that abortion is a bad thing. Even some people who call themselves “pro-choice” are uncomfortable with it.
Abortionist David Zbaraz noted this stigma when he said, “I’ve become one hell of an abortionist. But it’s not something I tell my kids about.”
Another abortion facility worker said:
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel our work can be incredibly isolating… for me and my co-workers, it can sometimes feel like we’re alone. No one wants to hear about where you work or what you do. Often family and friends don’t even want to know about your day. Maybe it’s a sign I’ve been doing abortion work a long time because I just simply don’t talk about my day anymore. And I hardly notice that I don’t. Who’s going to understand, anyway?
We frequently discuss how to talk to friends/acquaintances/family who are not [abortion workers] about being an [abortion worker]. … Though I’ve been doing this work a long time, I find I go through stages. Sometimes it’s easier to discuss abortion and other times, it just isn’t easy at all. Probably some of it depends on how much is going on at work (if it’s stressful or we’re having a lot of protesters, I tend not to want to discuss work outside work as much. Especially with people who just won’t get it anyway).
Abortion work is not only isolating, it is emotionally draining. Another nurse in Abortion: The Whole Story talks about how she struggles with feelings of guilt:
Nobody likes doing abortions. The later abortions can be especially distressing. I was brought up as a Christian, and of course it’s upsetting to me. But in medicine you learn to do what is necessary in the best way, and Mr. Paintin [the abortionist] is wonderful and has explained to us that we are doing the best in difficult circumstances. (2)
The two quotes from Kenny are from people in two different abortion facilities. In the first facility, abortions are done by induction – the mother goes through induced labor and the baby is born stillborn. In the second, the baby is dismembered. I wrote about this facility and the way abortions were done by D&E:
In both cases, abortionists have to justify abortion work to employees who feel uneasy about what they are doing. The graphic nature of abortion, especially late-term abortion, takes an emotional toll on abortion workers and sometimes causes them to question their principles.
One abortion worker’s dream illustrates the kind of emotional struggle some abortion workers go through:
Another writer told of a nurse who dreamed that she “was stuffing a baby into the mouth of [an antique] vase. The baby was looking at her with a pleading expression. Around the vase was a white ring. She interpreted this as representing the other nurses looking upon her act with condemnation.
He drew the conclusion that her dream “shows that unconsciously the act of abortion was experienced as an act of murder.” It should be noted that this nurse was strongly committed intellectually to the new abortion law. Her reaction was typical. Regardless of one’s religious or philosophic orientation, the unconscious view of abortion remains the same. This was the most significant thing that was learned as a result of these sessions.
Abortion work is socially isolating and emotionally draining. Between the stigma attached to abortion and the gruesomeness of abortion procedures, abortion workers must harden themselves and struggle with their consciences.
- Mary Kenny Abortion: The Whole Story (London: Quartet Books, 1986) 166
- Mary Kenny Abortion 154