Former Planned Parenthood manager Sue Thayer witnessed abortions during her training at Planned Parenthood. Although Thayer worked in a center that did not offer abortions, she was required to spend a day watching doctors commit abortions at another clinic.
She explains how she was warned of the gruesome nature of abortion when she first went to observe them:
I walked into the surgical suite and headed toward the foot of the exam table. I was stopped and told to sit in a chair by the door because, they said, nearly everyone who watches the first time can’t take it and either get sick or faint. Once you make it through one abortion, you are allowed to gradually move closer to the patient, therefore seeing more of the procedure.
Abortion procedures are so terrible to witness that Planned Parenthood actually expected employees who watched their first one to become ill or pass out. They dealt with their employees’ horror by slowly acclimating them to abortion. Only when the workers became hardened were they allowed to move closer and see more details of the procedure.
One can imagine how horrifying it would be to witness an abortion like the one described in this video by former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino:
Former abortionist Dr. David Brewer described the process of desensitization at a conference sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League. He says that though doing abortions bothered him at first, he soon became callous to the plight of the preborn:
The first [abortion] that I did was kind of hard. It was like hurting again like a hot poker. But after a while it got to where it didn’t hurt….
I’m reminded of a summer when I was a 15-year-old boy…and so I wasn’t 16 yet and I wanted to earn some money and I couldn’t get working papers…I couldn’t get a job and work in a place, so I decided to start my own little business. My dad had a lawn mower and I got a sickle and I had some trimmers, and went out and took care of people’s yards and had a little lawn and garden service. I did pretty well financially that summer. But, you know, the first couple of weeks, my hands hurt and I got big blisters. I was using tools that my hands were not used to, all day, every day. That was like my heart when I saw and did abortions. But then you know, after a few weeks, I got calluses on my hands and pretty soon they didn’t look real good, but, boy, my hands could work all day and no blisters and no pain.
That’s what happened to my heart as I saw the abortions and then began doing them. My heart got callused. My heart was callused against the fact that I was a murderer.
You can see this kind of hardening in some pro-abortion activists today. When confronted with pictures of aborted babies, some pro-choicers are horrified. They begin to question their views and may change their minds.
One 16 year-old said the following after seeing pictures of aborted babies on the Priests for Life website:
Hello, I am a 16-year-old female and I just finished looking at the pictures on your site and reading what actually happens during an abortion. Up until five minutes ago I was extremely pro-choice. I thought things like, “let women make their own decisions about their own bodies” and things along those lines. Because of your site, I realize that abortion is not a choice about a woman’s body… It is the LIFE of a BABY. Never before did I realize how truly horrible and careless abortion really is. Maybe it’s because I’d never seen the pictures, or read the actual descriptions of abortion. Maybe I was too afraid to know the truth. I really don’t know. But within three minutes of viewing your website, my face was covered in tears. Those pictures just really hurt to look at. I thank you so, so much for your wonderful website. I cannot express how grateful I am that you have shown me the truth about abortion. God bless you. Thank you once again.
Other pro-abortion people, however, stifle their consciences.
Pro-choice students from a Tennessee university mocked the pictures of aborted babies shown by the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. Calling their abortion presentation “a lame wannabe horror show,” they said, “if you can’t stomach Grade B horror movies, don’t go there. Otherwise, it’s hilarious!” They also claimed the photos were fake. The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, however, has statements from the photographer and a former abortionist, both of whom are willing to testify in court about the origin of the photographs. The group also presents embryology textbooks which verify that the facts of fetal development line up with what is presented.
Perhaps this hardening of the heart explains why the leaders of pro-abortion groups can see pictures of aborted babies again and again and not be moved by them. It takes a very dark and callous mindset to look abortion in the face and still say that it is acceptable — or even good. It’s hard for many pro-lifers to understand how a person could become calloused and desensitized to the horror of abortion, but it happens all too often in our society.