Dr. Roxana Chapman was an OB/GYN practicing in England right before abortion was legalized in that country. She had no personal experience with abortion. However, she listened to pro-abortion propaganda and decided she supported legalizing abortion. In a book published in 2007, she explains her mindset. First, she explains how, even though she had studied fetal development briefly in medical school, she did not have a strong grasp of how developed preborn babies were:
We had, of course, studied embryology at medical school, but pictures in a textbook meant little when compared with the real-life drama of working in a dissecting room in the anatomy department, and I really had little idea of the incidence of criminal abortion, nor of the appearance of an early foetus.
Listening to what pro-abortion activists within the medical community were saying at the time, Chapman felt that abortion should be legalized:
I did not believe that the government should be allowed to trample on the individual’s personal rights of freedom, since at that time abortion was illegal.
She had some misconceptions about abortion:
In those days, I thought that women only had terminations in cases of rape, incest, chronic and serious health conditions, or if made to have abortions by vicious and uncaring husbands. I thought the decision was a private matter between the woman and her doctor and the doctor always knew best…. I believed in a woman’s right to choose, and to have reproductive freedom.
In reality, after abortion was legalized in England, only a very small number of abortions were committed due to health problems, and even fewer were done for rape or incest. In the first 20 years of legalized abortion in England, only .005 percent of abortions were done because of a life-threatening problem with the mother. The vast majority of abortions in England, as well as in the United States, are still today done on healthy women with healthy babies who have not been raped but do not want the child.
Chapman’s views on abortion, then, were partly based on misinformation. But her opinion on abortion would go through a radical change after she witnessed the reality of abortion firsthand. Chapman was asked to examine a woman who had just had a D&C procedure. In a D&C, the lining of the uterus is scraped and removed. If a pregnant woman is given a D&C, this aborts the baby. But D&Cs are also done for valid medical reasons, such as diagnosing medical conditions or following a miscarriage.
A woman had been admitted and operated on by another doctor, who claimed the D&C was needed for diagnostic purposes. But a day later the woman was still bleeding and the original doctor was unavailable, so Chapman was asked to examine the woman and stop the bleeding. But she was in for a shock: Chapman discovered that the woman had been pregnant and part of the baby was still inside her. The other doctor had scheduled and committed an illegal abortion, and had failed to remove the whole baby. That was the cause of the bleeding.
At the time, before abortion was made legal in England, pro-abortion doctors would sometimes schedule pregnant women for “diagnostic” D&Cs, claiming that the woman was not pregnant but needed the procedure for a medical reason. In reality, their goal was to terminate the pregnancy and kill the preborn baby. But the procedure was committed under false pretenses, and the real purpose of the D&C was covered up. This was against the law, but was still done in some hospitals. According to other doctors practicing at the time, this was also done in the United States. American doctor Don Sloan, who later became a legal abortionist who committed over 20,000 abortions, described similar incidents in his book, Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, A Woman’s Dilemma.
Chapman describes what happened:
I carried out an internal examination and was shocked, indeed horrified, to feel a tiny baby’s hand in the vagina. “You were pregnant!” I screamed. “No, I wasn’t,” she replied. Her denial, and the duplicity of the doctor who admitted her for a “D&C” stunned me. The scales fell from my eyes and I realized, for the first time, that abortion consisted of the dismembering of a living human being, and was not, as the media was pleased to say, the scraping out of a few cells and some blood.
This was the moment Dr. Chapman became pro-life. In her future career, she would refuse to commit abortions, even when threatened with the loss of her job, and would talk many women out of having abortions. In her book, she describes her experiences as a pro-life OB/GYN.
Source: Dr. Roxana Chapman Abortion: The Patient’s and the Doctor’s Dilemma (Barham Press, 2007) 7 – 8