In her article “Abortion, a Love Story” Gila Lyons describes an abortion she had.
Lyons seems to have been aware that she was carrying a baby. She says:
Our baby was the size of a lentil, with a poppy-seed heart that beat 167 times per minute, twice the rate of mine. It had veins, brainwaves, arm and leg buds.
She has done her research on how developed her child is. Sadly, her knowledge is not enough to convince her not to abort. She goes to the clinic and is prepped for the operation.
As she is drifting off into an anesthesia-induced sleep, the abortionist tells Lyons that what she is aborting is “not anything like a baby.”
“It’s just a mass of tissue,” the doctor had said before she put me to sleep. “Not anything like a baby.”
“But it had a heart,” I thought, or said aloud.
Because Lyons did her research, she knew her baby was more than a mass of tissue. Other women having abortions may not know the facts about fetal development.
Since Lyons had already been prepped for the abortion, the doctor’s words may not have been calculated to encourage her to agree to the procedure. (Of course, we don’t know what the abortion facility workers said to Lyons earlier that day.) Pro-lifers have long stated that clinic workers lie to women about fetal development in order to convince them to have abortions. In Lyons’ case, the abortionist might have believed that thinking of her-soon-to-be dead preborn baby as a “mass of tissue” would make it easier for her to cope.
Whatever the motive, other accounts from post-abortion women also reveal dishonesty among clinic workers and staff.
In Melinda Tankard Reist’s book Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief after Abortion, a woman identified as “Sue” said that her doctor also lied to her about the development of her baby:
The doctor said: “Don’t worry, it’s not formed till after 12 weeks.” Then I saw the “Human Body” program [on ABC]. I would not have gone ahead if I’d been told the truth about the formation of the baby.
A preborn baby has developed arms, legs, fingers, and toes by seven-and-a-half weeks after conception.
These are facts some abortionists do not want women to know.
Sue suffered from regret and guilt after her abortion, as well as anger at the abortionist who misled her.
Gila Lyons conveyed no sense of regret in her article. But it is still bad practice to lie to women about their preborn babies. Women have the right to know exactly what is going on in their bodies.
One abortionist, Alberto Hodari, who has finally stopped performing abortions after being named in fifty lawsuits, said that abortionists have a right to lie to women. In a 2007 speech at Wayne State University, Hodari said:
[M]y wife says we doctors have a license to lie and it’s true. It’s absolutely true. Sometimes you need to lie to a patient about things that they want to do or know, much less now than in the past because they’re more educated between CNN and the internet, the patients are more educated about what we do.
Do abortionists have “a license to lie?” Even many pro-abortion activists would say no. Yet women who have had abortions continue to say that their doctors either lied to them about their babies’ development, or withheld crucial information. This is why informed consent laws are needed to ensure that clinics present the truth to women.
In an ideal world, the right of a mother to be fully informed about her pregnancy would be an area of common ground between pro-life and pro-choice forces. The fact that abortion providers fight against such laws and mobilize their followers to do so, too, shows that they are really pro-abortion, not pro-choice.