‘It was a mass production line:’ Women tell stories of bad abortion facilities

grief, sad, woman, abortion, sexual abuse

Pro-abortion activists claim that those who work at abortion facilities are good medical professionals who want to help women. The pro-abortion narrative is that abortion facilities are well-run. Health regulations, we are told, are unnecessary. However, stories from post-abortive women reveal that many abortion facilities operate more like abortion assembly lines than healthcare providers.

One woman, whose story appears on the Clinicquotes website, compares her abortion to rape:

It was much more painful than I thought it would be…The doctor was just perfunctory. It was kind of depressing because obviously he was doing a series of these; he was clicking right through it…  You’re in the most vulnerable position in the world.… It doesn’t matter what they say, it’s still close to rape in terms of that sort of feeling of being gutted emotionally as well as physically.

Another woman, who had two abortions, each at a different clinic, says:

It was this huge clinic; it was so impersonal. It was just like we were moved through like cattle. It was just like a factory there. It was so efficient, and so sterile, and so big. It was like a mass production line…

The second one, I went right away; it was really early. It was the same kind of big Chicago clinic. I remember it being even more efficient, more factory like the second one, and that bothered me more this time.

Another woman remarks on the “callous” attitude of the staff:

I remember that the doctor who was to actually perform the D&C was an unpleasant person – he seemed to be eaten up with anger… The staff involved seemed callous – callous people, callous in their approach… they strongly impressed me with their indifference to a woman in pain… Inside I screamed protest at their treatment of me – the lack of attention when I awoke with severe pain; the looking through me as if I didn’t really exist; the fact that they weren’t interested in me, as a person, [enough] to hear my story or to help me make sense of it all.

One abortion facility’s website advertises “supportive, compassionate, expert care provided by highly trained professionals.” But a patient of Cesare Santangelo, who is an abortionist at the facility, gave the following review of his facility:

The staff was rude and manipulative and I did not receive counseling prior to being administered dilation medication. I asked for the medicine to be taken out but was told it would cause miscarriage or infection. The doctor’s name includes SATAN, just what he looks like and is.

Santangelo was recorded by Live Action in 2012 telling a woman that if her baby survived an abortion in his clinic, “we would not help it:”

Another abortion patient quoted on Clinicquotes says:

I could swear that there was only one doctor and he just went down the line, giving abortions. I started crying because I could hear that little [suction] machine going on and off. He just kept getting closer and closer. I heard his gloves pop off in the next room and then he came to me. He didn’t say a word.…

I remember some of the women just squalling, just absolutely lost their minds, just crying. And I remember shaking constantly. It was just like you were a herd of cattle… Women were crying before they went in and they were crying after.

Another woman said the clinic was like a “cattle drive:”

The abortion experience was like a cattle drive. The other women and I were herded together from room to room. …. We were then ushered into separate rooms where we waited for the doctor. It was a cold and humiliating experience. The worst part was the “recovery room.” All the women were put together into a large dark room where we were placed on cold vinyl beds to wait for the Valium to wear off. I’ll never forget the sickening feeling of lying in that room, listening to the moaning of other women…

Another former abortion patient left a review for the crisis pregnancy center First Resort. She wishes that a crisis pregnancy center had been there to help her avoid her terrible abortion experience:

I wish there had been a First Resort when I was a teenager. I was pregnant and confused. When I went to planned parenthood, I was not counseled, I was herded in like cattle and asked about when I wanted an abortion. I felt sad and abandoned.

Author Eve Kushner shared the following accounts in her book “Experiencing Abortion: a Weaving of Women’s Words:”

The doctor was an a**hole. While I was on the table, I asked him a question. I was so nervous that I couldn’t even hear his answer. He said, “Hello! Are you listening?” In a very rude tone. I’ll never forget or forgive that jerk as long as I live.(1)

The same book told the story of a woman named Vivian:

The clinic was, as Vivian describes it, “a real assembly line. It had probably 100 women on Saturday and it was really impersonal. I was told that you get some counseling. None at all.” Vivian found the clinic staff quite abrasive. The male doctor used the instruments quickly and “shoved the speculum up really hard,” which made Vivian scared and tense. She adds that one nasty woman barked, “Get up! Put your legs up!”(2)

Pro-life author Melinda Tankard Reist collected many testimonies from women who had terrible experiences at abortion facilities. An excerpt from one of those testimonies reads:

They gave me no options and no information; my rights as a human being were not valid because of who I was, just another stupid teenager who got pregnant. I wanted so much to talk to someone, maybe someone would say, “Don’t do it, I will help you through,” or maybe, “You can keep your baby, there is help available and there are people who care,” but instead I was herded into a room with about 10 other girls like cattle and spoken to like I was a piece of dirt and treated as such.(3)

Author Jane Brennan, in her book “Motherhood Interrupted: Stories of Healing and Hope after Abortion,” published the testimony of one woman who had an abortion at Planned Parenthood:

I remember staff ushering me into a room with other women lined up on tables. I watched as they continued herding other women in like cattle while I awaited my own procedure. When it was my turn in the line of the deceived, I begged them to stop as I heard the sound of the vacuum. I looked over and saw a glass container beside me filling up with the blood and tissue of my baby. Reality set in.

“Please stop,” I said, “I am going to throw up.”

The nurse grabbed my arm, offering no more comfort than, “SHHHHH, BE QUIET!” I knew then it was too late, and I would never be the same…

An amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, contains the stories of 3,348 women who had terrible experiences inside abortion clinics. Here are three:

  • B.: Everything was very rushed, cold and impersonal. It was more a matter of sign here and go sit down and wait until we call your name. Nothing whatsoever was mentioned about any consequences, physical, mental or emotional. . . . It was absolutely the very worst ‘choice’ I have ever made in my 55 years of life.
  • H.: No. They didn’t tell me there were different types of abortions or what was done in the different types. . . . There was no talk of the emotional side effects or possible physical side effects. It felt like being herded through like cattle. They lined us all up, handed us pills, and then herded us through a door one after the other. Then when they started the procedure and I told them to stop. They said it was too late and continued anyway while I passed out. I was placed in a chair, unconscious and left there to wake up alone. They would not allow my husband to come into the back to sit with me while I waited or be with me when I woke up. It was an absolutely horrible experience that left me shaken, hurt, and emotionally damaged.
  • M.: No. It was explained as ending a pregnancy, that the fetus was just a blob of cells, it was minimized for sure. There was never any counseling or mention of the emotional or possible physical harm it could cause. I was rushed and it was obvious they weren’t interested in me but in getting as many abortions done as fast as possible. I ended up hemorrhaging after the abortion and they told me that they “thought” the doctor gave me a blood thinning rather than a blood clotting medication. I have no idea the cause. It was very frightening that is for sure.

These are only a tiny fraction of the thousands of stories from women who were treated badly in abortion facilities. It’s clear that many abortion facilities have one purpose and one purpose alone — to make as much money as possible by pushing as many women as possible through the clinic.

  1. Eve Kushner Experiencing Abortion: a Weaving of Women’s Words (Binghamton, New York: The Haworth Press, 1997) 46
  2. Ibid. 310-311
  3. Melinda Tankard Reist Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief after Abortion (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2007) 31 – 32
  4. Jackie Bullard “Yes, There Is Life after Death…” Will Jane Brennan, ed. Motherhood Interrupted: Stories of Healing and Hope after Abortion (Xlibris Corporation, 2008) 72–73

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