Quoted in Alicia Armstrong, “Updated Abortion Laws Asked,” Milwaukee Journal, May 5, 1961
I don’t like killing. I don’t like to do abortions, but many of you people fought in World War II and killed because you wanted to preserve something more important. I think a mother’s life is more important than a fetus.
Frank Behrend, M.D.
tape-recorded speech November 7, 1977
Reference was made to my agreeing that abortion is taking a human life, which it is. However, let us remember that war is also legalized killing, that the pilot that dropped the atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima killed human life. He got medals for it. We bless our troops when they go into battle to kill human beings, so that the taking of human life, including the death penalty in certain states like Utah, where the man was shot, is not a strange behavior in a society.
Don Sloan, M.D.
From his book Choice: a Doctor's Experience with the Abortion Dilemma
(second edition, 2002), p. 84
Is abortion murder? All killing isn't murder. A cop shoots a teenager who "appeared to be going for a gun," and we call it justifiable homicide – a tragedy for all concerned, but not murder . . . And then there's war. In theory, soldiers shoot only at each other. But in practice, lots and lots of other folks get killed.
We drop bombs where there are non-combatants – women and children and old people – and when they die we call it not murder but “collateral damage.” Our soldiers get killed by “friendly fire” – often by people who aimed directly at them. Is that murder? All killing like that, to me, is morally wrong. But murder?
Neville Sender, M.D.
We know that it’s killing, but the state permits killing under certain circumstances.
LeRoy Carhart, M.D.
CBS Evening News, Dec. 4, 2009
I totally believe in this cause every bit as much as I did believe every morning when I got up in the military that I was doing the right thing.
Suzanne Poppema, M.D.
Why I Am an Abortion Doctor, 1996, pp. 125-126
Sorrow, quite apart from the sense of shame, is exhibited in some way by virtually every woman for whom I’ve performed an abortion, and that’s 20,000 as of 1995. The sorrow is revealed by the fact that most women cry at some point during the experience . . . The grieving process may last from several days to several years . . . Grief is sometimes delayed . . . the grief may lie sublimated and dormant for years.
Warren M. Hern, M.D. and Billie Corrigan, nurse
"What About Us? Staff Reactions to the D & E Procedure," Boulder Abortion Clinic. Advances in Planned Parenthood 15(1):3-8, 1980
We have reached a point in this particular technology where there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one's eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.
Note: From the same paper, this is another example of the human mind’s reaction to doing violence, found across all the different kinds of violence
Two respondents described dreams which they had related to the procedure. Both described dreams of vomiting fetuses along with a sense of horror. Other dreams revolved around a need to protect others from viewing fetal parts, dreaming that she herself was pregnant and needed an abortion or was having a baby. . . . In general, it appears that the more direct the physical and visual involvement (i.e. nurses, doctor), the more stress experienced. This is evident both in conscious stress and in unconscious manifestations such as dreams. At least, both individuals who reported several significant dreams were in these roles.
Sallie Tisdale, nurse
“We Do Abortions Here. Harper's, October, 1987, pp. 66-70.
I have fetus dreams, we all do here: dreams of abortions one after the other; of buckets of blood splashed on the walls; trees full of crawling fetuses. I dreamed that two men grabbed me and began to drag me away. 'Let's do an abortion,' they said with a sickening leer, and I began to scream, plunged into a vision of sucking, scraping pain . . . Abortion is the narrowest edge between kindness and cruelty. Done as well as it can be, it is still violence – merciful violence, like putting a suffering animal to death.
. . .
I describe the procedure to come, using care with my language. I don't say "pain" any more than I would say "baby." . . . It is when I am holding a plastic uterus in one hand, a suction tube in the other, moving them together in imitation of the scrubbing to come, that women ask the most secret question. I am speaking in a matter-of-fact voice about "the tissue" and "the contents" when the woman suddenly catches my eye and asks, "How big is the baby now?" These words suggest a quiet need for a definition of the boundaries being drawn. It isn't so odd, after all, that she feels relief when I describe the growing bud's bulbous shape, its miniature nature. Again I gauge, and sometimes lie a little, weaseling around its infantile features until its clinging power slackens. . . We talk glibly about choice. But the choice for what? . . . Women who have the fewest choices of all exercise their right to abortion the most.
“Between Guilt and Gratification: Abortion Doctors Reveal Their Feelings” by Norma Rosen
New York Times Magazine April 17, 1977 p 73, 74, 78
Dr. William Rashbaum, veteran of thousands of abortions, had for years suffered during each removal a fantasy of the fetus resisting, hanging onto the uterus walls with its tiny fingernails, fighting to stay inside.
How, he was asked, had he managed to perform abortions despite this fantasy?
“Learned to live with it. Like people in concentration camps.”
When asked if he really meant that metaphor:
“I think it’s apt – destruction of life. Look! I’m a person, I’m entitled to my feelings. And my feelings are who gave me or anybody the right to terminate a pregnancy? . . . I don’t get paid for my feelings. . . . I spent a lot of years learning to deliver babies. Sure, it sometimes hurts to end life instead of bringing it into the world.”
"Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts," by Diane M. Gianelli
American Medical News, July 12, 1993.
A nurse who had worked in an abortion clinic for less than a year said her most troubling moments came not in the procedure room but afterwards. Many times, she said, women who had just had abortions would lie in the recovery room and cry, "I've just killed my baby. I've just killed my baby. "I don't know what to say to these women," the nurse told the group. "Part of me thinks, 'Maybe they're right'.” Such self-doubt is not uncommon to the abortion field.
Lisa Harris, M.D.
Second trimester abortion provision: breaking the silence and changing the discourse.
Currently, the violence and, frankly, the gruesomeness of abortion is owned only by those who would like to see abortion (at any time in pregnancy) disappear . . . The pro-choice movement has not owned or owned up to the reality of the fetus, or the reality of fetal parts. Since the common anti-abortion stance is that the fetus has a right to life, those who support abortion access necessarily deny such a right. However, in doing so, the fetus is usually neglected entirely, becomes unimportant, nothing . . .
It is worth considering for a moment the relationship of feminism to violence. In general feminism is a peaceful movement. It does not condone violent problem-solving, and opposes war and capital punishment. But abortion is a version of violence. What do we do with that contradiction?
Faye Wattleton, then President of Planned Parenthood
Donahue, May 15, 1989, Transcript #3288 NBC
Women are not stupid . . . women have always known that there was a life there.
The Sacrament of Abortion, 1992, 25-27
Men have the right to kill and destroy, and when the massacre is called a war they are paid to do it and honored for their actions. War is sanctified, even blessed by our religious leaders. But let a woman decide to abort a fetus . . . and people are shocked. What's really shocking is that a woman has the power to make a moral judgment that involves a choice of life or death. That power has been reserved for men.
Slate Magazine: June 1, 2009
Tiller was the country's bravest or most ruthless abortion provider, depending on how you saw him. . . . To me, Tiller was brave. His work makes me want to puke. But so does combat, the kind where guts are spilled and people choke on their own blood. I like to think I love my country and would fight for it. But I doubt I have the stomach to pull the trigger.
“Feminist politics and abortion in the US,” Psychology and Reproductive Choice
I think abortion belongs in the same context as assisted suicide, euthanasia, even war and domestic self-defense – all situations that require the taking of life with moral, ethical knowledge and acceptance of responsibility.