Human Rights

Abortionist: “when I start to see little hands come out, it bothers me”

human-fetus-20-weeks, pro-life, abortion restrictions

Abortionist Lawrence Scott was interviewed in 1994 by a pro-choice author. He said:

When I start to see little hands come out, it bothers me, even though I know the fetus is not completely developed and cannot feel any pain. It just bothers me. In the early 70s, when I first started doing abortions, we didn’t have ultrasound. I was doing an abortion on a woman whom I thought was 16 weeks pregnant, but during the procedure, I discovered that she was in fact 22-23 weeks pregnant. That shocked me….I totally adore and love children, so when I see these little body parts, I start seeing kids, and it bothers me.

Scott may have started practice in the 1970s, but he was still doing abortions as of 1995, when this interview took place. Obviously, he was able to come to terms with seeing the arms and legs of the babies he aborted. It was not enough to make him stop.

Scott did say in the interview that he had confined his abortion work to earlier in pregnancy, but as arms and legs are formed as early as 7-8 weeks after conception, it is doubtful that in his career he never witnessed torn-off body parts again.


Dr. Scott seems to have had a situation similar to that of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who also began performing abortions in the 1970s. Both abortionists began their careers before ultrasound became widely available. Ultrasound, of course, allows for real-time visualization of the preborn baby. You can see the child moving and kicking in the womb before an abortion and even witness the baby struggling against the abortion instruments  during it.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson had a change of heart due to that new technology. He became a lifelong pro-lifer and created the movie The Silent Scream (see it here), a video of the abortion of an 11-week-old preborn baby by ultrasound. The ultrasound picture is fuzzy and indistinct, but you can see violent movement as the suction cannula approaches the baby, and a frenzy of frantic activity as the baby is torn apart.

Both Abby Johnson and Joan Appleton were former clinic workers who converted to the pro-life side after seeing a preborn baby fighting for his or her life on an ultrasound screen.

The arrival of ultrasound converted Dr. Nathanson, but Dr. Scott, sadly, seems to have been able to come to terms with performing abortions.

His belief that preborn babies don’t feel pain may be a rationalization- while opinions vary, there is ample evidence that preborn babies feel pain in the womb at 20 weeks. 

Source: Miriam Claire. The Abortion Dilemma: Personal Views on a Public Issue (New York: Insight Books 1995) 130

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