In an article for the journal Social Science & Medicine, abortionists and abortion workers discuss disturbing parts of their jobs in the abortion industry. The article, entitled “Dangertalk: Voices of abortion providers,” is about all the unpleasant details of abortion that abortion workers don’t want the public to know. The article bemoans the idea that there are few spaces for abortion industry workers to be honest about their jobs without threat of their stories being leaked and used against their livelihoods.
One issue “Dangertalk” addresses is the physical pain abortion procedures cause women. The article says, “Providers worried that patients’ experience of pain could color their perceptions of providers and the work.” One abortionist is quoted saying:
Doing the work [i.e., doing abortions] may cause people pain; they are screaming in agony, but we just do what we do. In any other situation [it] would be considered torture but we do it, and you know all of us just kind of pack it away.
The article goes on to state, “Participants acknowledged that sometimes they must ignore a patient’s physical discomfort in order to complete the procedure.” It then quotes another abortionist:
It’s sort of basically that I have to get the procedure done, I can’t stop and say oh, I’m sorry I’m hurting you, and do you need a minute? You know, you just have to get it done.
One wonders why the abortionist can’t stop and give a woman a minute to collect herself. Is the abortionist rushing through abortion procedures so the facility can do more abortions and increase their profits? According to former abortion workers, this is quite common.
Alarmingly, the article doesn’t express concern about the women feeling this pain. It doesn’t address ways to make abortion less painful. Rather, the authors comment on the “problem” of women later saying bad things about their abortions. If their abortions are too painful, the article laments, women may tell others how awful their abortion experience was — and this might lead to more people viewing abortion in a negative light and give ammunition to pro-lifers to help them enact more restrictions against abortion.
As another abortionist puts it:
[I’m] aware that any bad experience could set us back so much… if … people talk about it and … tell people how bad it is, and how you can get hurt from it … I feel like it’s part of my responsibility in some f-cked up way to make sure that I help keep abortions going.
The main concern of abortionists, at least as framed in this article, is not the suffering of the women, but the way their suffering might affect access to abortion. Which, of course, would threaten their livelihood. This is a selfish way to look at women’s suffering and shows the abortion industry’s concern for its bottom line over the safety of women.
With a provider’s description of an abortion as “torture” for the woman, we see that for at least some women, abortion can be very painful. You can read what some post-abortive women have said about the physical pain they experienced here.
Source: Lisa A. Martin, PhD, Jane A. Hassinger, MSW, Michelle Debbink, MD, PhD, Lisa H. Harris, MD, PhD “Dangertalk: Voices of abortion providers” Social Science & Medicine 184 (2017) 75-83
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