Human Rights

Book reveals the grisly reality many prochoicers don’t know

preborn baby, babies, Illinois, aborted, abortion, abortionist, Planned Parenthood

Author Sue Hertz spent a year researching abortion. Her research included interviewing both clinic workers and protestors. She also witnessed abortion procedures.

In one passage, she describes the aborted remains of what the clinic workers referred to as “products of conception” i.e. the aborted babies.

It was easy to shrug off an aborted pregnancy as nothing more than a sack of blood and globs of tissue – as many pro-choice activists did- if one never saw fetal remains, or products of conception (POC) as they were known in medical circles. But the nurses, medical assistants, and doctors who worked inside procedure rooms …knew that an eleven-week-old POC harbored tiny arms and legs and feet with toes. At twelve weeks, those tiny hands had tiny nails. Although the fetal head was too small at this stage to withstand the evacuation machine’s suction, pieces of face- a nose and mouth, or a black eye…were sometimes found in the aftermath…Later abortions spawned even more gruesome fetal remains…the head did not come out whole during the evacuation, but the legs and arms and rib cage made it through intact. The hand of a second trimester fetus, as a Preterm doctor described it, seemed big enough to shake.

In this and other passages, Hertz describes pro-choice activists as ignorant of the reality of what they are supporting. Seeing the horror of abortion, the bodies of the torn apart babies, gives a perspective that most pro-choice activists, in her opinion, don’t have. Later in the book, a clinic worker expresses frustration after a meeting with pro-choice activists who wanted the clinic to perform abortions up all the way up until birth, instead of just through the second trimester.

Hertz summarizes the clinic worker’s feelings:

These people are political activists, Fran thought. Their work was critical to protecting abortion rights, but how many of them knew the reality of abortion, had seen the reality of what it destroyed? Fran felt like standing up and saying to those arguing for unrestricted abortions,

“You haven’t seen the little feet. They look just like the little feet pushpins that the antis wear.” As a provider at Repro once said, if half the pro-choice people saw the fetal remains of a second trimester abortion, they would jump the fence into the antis’ arms.

The term “antis” is often used by clinic workers to refer to pro-lifers. It stands for “anti-choice.”

Clinic worker Fran knows the true nature of abortion, and does not take it lightly. She has qualms about performing abortions late in pregnancy because she has seen the bodies of second trimester babies. The second trimester abortions at the clinic were done by the dismemberment procedure, which has recently been banned in Kansas. In this type of abortion, pictured below, the baby is torn apart with forceps. Its medical name is a D&E,


Fran actually goes so far as to suggest that many pro-choice people, even dedicated activists, would convert to the pro-life side if only they saw the body of a baby dismembered by a D&E. Whether or not this is true, it’s clear that there is a disparity between the way this clinic worker sees abortion and the way the activists do. It leads one to wonder how many pro-choice activists have ever set foot in an abortion clinic- the back of an abortion clinic, where they pour over the remains and examine them to make sure no parts were left behind. How many of them have ever looked at pictures of what abortion does to babies? The pictures, of course, do not truly convey the horrible sight of a torn apart child. They are a window into a pro-abortionists world, but do not really convey the true horror.

Sue Hertz does not take a pro-life stand in the book. She maintains a balanced tone throughout it. But she is honest about what she saw at the clinic, and the way the clinic workers reacted to their jobs. Despite her attempt to be unbiased, the descriptions in her book validate the pro-life position.

Source: Sue Hertz Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion’s Front Line (New York: Prentice Hill Press, 1991) 104, 122

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