Late-term abortions are horrific, and they take their toll on those who witness and perform them. Some facility workers come to terms with the gruesome nature of these abortions, others leave the abortion business. In this quote, a clinic worker describes witnessing her first late term abortion at 21 weeks:
You’re looking between the woman’s legs; you’re seeing, you know, what the doctor’s doing. And it’s what a lot of people would call kind of, I guess, gruesome – that’s not really the word because – it’s identifiable.
I mean, when he… takes the forceps and pulls out a foot, you can see the foot, and my reaction – because I feel so strongly that women who want to have a 21 week abortion should be able to have that – but I mean when I looked and was just like, you know my first reaction was you know, I was pretty horrified.
And I immediately denied that, and I said, you know, “no, they can’t be my reaction. I’m here for the woman,” and just really sort of squashed that down, that what I saw really freaked me out.
And it stayed with me, you know, and really upset me. I mean, I’d be in the shower, you know, washing my feet, you know, and… the picture would come to me… I got to the point where… I just really needed to sit down and cry, and, like, deal with it.
Wendy Simonds Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996) 82