The story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, an abortionist who became pro-life because of advances in ultrasound technology that showed the humanity of preborn babies, has been widely spread. Another abortionist, practicing around the same time as Nathanson, also left the abortion business for different reasons. Dr. W. A Bowes committed abortions on women whose babies were likely to be disabled. Most of these women had rubella (also known as German measles), a disease that affects the baby in the womb and can cause blindness, deafness, and other health problems. The turning point for Bowes was when he became involved in fetal surgery, treating preborn babies with health problems while they were still in the womb.
Called upon to perform a number of abortions on women suspected of having rubella in early pregnancy, I was faced with the realization that as a physician, I was treating a disease by killing the patient with that disease… At precisely the same time we were called upon to perform abortions, we were also performing the first intrauterine fetal transfusions for Rhesus disease. How was I to rationalize vigorous efforts to treat and save one human fetus with a congenital disorder on one day and on the next kill the fetus with a congenital disorder that I could not correct?
Bowes made this statement while testifying in favor of a proposed pro-life amendment before a Senate subcommittee.
The hypocrisy of fighting to save some preborn children while destroying others at their mother’s request troubled Bowes, and he became pro-life.
Bowes is not the only abortionist made uncomfortable about saving some preborn babies while aborting others. Abortionist Don Sloan, who committed over 20,000 abortions and who remains pro-abortion, makes a similar statement in his book, “Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, A Woman’s Dilemma“:
On some mornings, I leave my office, and if I turn right I go down the hallway to the [abortion facility] and terminate. I am a destroyer of pregnancies. If I turn left down the same hallway, I go toward the nursery and the labor and delivery unit and take care of the myriad of complications in women who are in the throes of problem pregnancies – and I do things to help them hold on. It’s all so schizophrenic. I have a kind of split personality.
Unlike Bowes, Sloan continued to commit abortions, despite seeing the hypocrisy.
Abortionist Richard Hausknech agreed with Bowes’ and Sloan’s conflicted feelings on abortion, in light of modern medical advances that can save preborn children:
It makes us all schizophrenic. Nowadays we are asked to terminate a pregnancy that in two weeks doctors on the same floor are fighting to save.
And a fourth abortionist, quoted by pro-choice author Magda Denes, says:
You have to become a bit schizophrenic. In one room you encourage the patient that the slight irregularity of the fetal heart is not important – that she is going to have a fine, healthy baby. Then in the next room you assure another woman on whom you just did a saline abortion, that it’s good that the heart is already irregular… She has nothing to worry about, she is not going to have a live baby.
Obviously, some abortionists manage to stifle their uncomfortable feelings and continue to kill some babies while fighting to save others. Bowes, however, could not reconcile the conflict in his own mind. He realized that the babies he was fighting to save and the babies he was killing were essentially the same – the only difference was whether they were wanted by their mothers. This realization led him to abandon the abortion business and become pro-life.
Source: Ann Saltenberger, “Every Woman Has a Right to Know the Dangers of Legal Abortion” (Glassboro, New Jersey: Air – Plus Enterprises, 1983)