Tarry for the Nonce

November 29, 2005

Yes, Another Abortion Article

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 2:26 pm

Not to beat the issue to death – ‘cuz y’all pretty much know where I stand – but Dr. William F. Harrison’s chutzpah was irresistible to me. (I’m in a mood today, so some readers will probably want to skip this entry.)

Now 70, Harrison estimates he’s terminated at least 20,000 pregnancies . . .

Harrison warns every patient he sees that abortion may be illegal one day. He wants to stir them to activism, but most women respond mildly . . .

A high school senior says the issue won’t weigh heavily when she evaluates candidates. “There’s other issues I see as more important,” she says, “like whether they’ll raise taxes” . . .

How heartening to see further evidence of burgeoning social conscience in the youth of America. No longer must they concern themselves with the petty ethical dilemmas of “right to privacy” vs. “right to life.”

[Harrison] calls himself an “abortionist” and says, “I am destroying life.”

But he also feels he’s giving life: He calls his patients “born again” . . .

How magnanimous of him. And how indebted these women must be to him for infusing them with a new feeling of life by eliminating the real life that depended on them.

The doctor is wearing a black turtleneck, brown slacks and tennis shoes. He snaps his gum as he checks the monitors displaying the patient’s pulse rate and oxygen count.

“This is not going to be nearly as hard as you anticipate,” he tells her . . .

Harrison glances at an ultrasound screen frozen with an image of the fetus taken moments before. Against the fuzzy black-and-white screen, he sees the curve of a head, the bend of an elbow, the ball of a fist . . .

The abortion takes two minutes. The patient lies still and quiet, her eyes closed, a few tears rolling down her cheeks. The friend who has accompanied her stands at her side, mutely stroking her arm . . .

She is not yet sure, she says, how she is doing emotionally. She feels guilty, sad and relieved, all in a jumble.

“There’s things wrong with abortion,” she says. “But I want to have a good life. And provide a good life for my child.” To keep this baby now, she says, when she’s single, broke and about to start college, “would be unfair.”

Oh, quite. We certainly couldn’t have the “unfair” situation of having a single, financially strapped parent who might have to interrupt her college career for a few months. Better just to avoid the whole “giving life” thing to ensure that her own is “good.”

A high school volleyball player says she doesn’t want to give up her body for nine months. “I realize just from the first three months how it changes everything,” she says . . .

And we certainly shouldn’t tamper with a sleek volleyball physique for the life of another.

Kim, a single mother of three, says she couldn’t bear to give away a child and have to wonder every day if he were loved. Ending the pregnancy seemed easier, she says ó as long as she doesn’t let herself think about “what could have been” . . .

I’m sure her baby would thank her profusely for sparing him the pain of a potentially unloving adoptive home.

For the few women who arrive ambivalent or beset by guilt, Harrison’s nurse has posted statistics on the exam-room mirror: One out of every four pregnant women in the U.S. chooses abortion. A third of all women in this country will have at least one abortion by the time they’re 45.

“You think there’s room in hell for all those women?” the nurse will ask . . .

I confess to being a bit taken aback as to how and why Harrison’s office would make that assessment. And then I remembered his God-complex . . .

The 17-year-old in for a consultation this morning assures the nurse that she does not consider the embryo inside her a baby.

“Not until it’s developed,” she says. “That would be about three months?”

“It’s completely formed about nine weeks,” the nurse tells her. “Yours is more like a chicken yolk.”

The girl, who is five weeks pregnant, looks relieved. “Then no,” she says, “it’s not a baby” . . .

Of course, on the cellular level, it looks the same. I didn’t realize that the criteria for life was that it look “just like me.” Star Trek cured me of that eons ago.

At least 28 states, including Arkansas, require patients to receive counseling before the day of their abortion. Arkansas is also one of 26 states to require underage girls to get parental consent.

Abortion rights activists say such laws burden women unnecessarily, forcing them to miss work, find child care and pay for transportation to make two trips to the clinic, which may be hundreds of miles away . . .

Missing two days of work! Paying for transportation! Heaven forbid!

Amanda, a 20-year-old administrative assistant, says it’s not the obstacles that surprise her ó it’s how normal and unashamed she feels as she prepares to end her first pregnancy.

“It’s an everyday occurrence,” she says as she waits for her 2:30 p.m. abortion. “It’s not like this is a rare thing” . . .

She regrets having to pay $750 for the abortion . . .

A prohibitive cost indeed.

His first patient of the day, Sarah, 23, says it never occurred to her to use birth control, though she has been sexually active for six years. When she became pregnant this fall, Sarah, who works in real estate, was in the midst of planning her wedding. “I don’t think my dress would have fit with a baby in there,” she says.

True. Nothing like a pregnancy to ruin the svelte line of a wedding gown.

The last patient of the day, a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie, has had four abortions in the last 12 years. She keeps forgetting to take her birth control pills. Abortion “is a bummer,” she says, “but no big stress.”

Apparently not.



  1. Oh well, there goes society. Perhaps people who think this way shouldn’t be having children anyway. I think we should offer voluntary sterilization of women. Wonder if women’s rights organizations would support it….

    Comment by Andrew P. — November 29, 2005 @ 2:50 pm

  2. Yeah, there goes society indeed.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t there a group of people who have both a high rate of young, out-of-wedlock births and issues with developing into a permanent underclass?

    Also please correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t this same group’s offspring aren’t over-represented in crime statistics?

    Yep, there goes society indeed. Gosh, what a much better place this would be if people that weren’t ready to have children were to be forced to have them anyway! For example, when I go out to eat or to the movies, I don’t see nearly enough people with kids who have no idea how to raise them.

    I think there are plenty of women who would take an offer of free sterilization. Just so long as it’s a choice.

    Comment by Howard — November 29, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

  3. “Oh, quite. We certainly couldn’t have the “unfair” situation of having a single, financially strapped parent who might have to interrupt her college career for a few months.”

    Ooh! Careful with that remark, Laura. We’re not looking at an interuption of a few months, but more like a few years. Apples and oranges perhaps, and I certainly don’t condone her remarks or abortion at all. However, a girl/woman planning to go to school in a few months who becomes pregnant will likely have to skip college or go part-time should she have the child.

    All that being said though, I have two buddies at work who got their respective girlfriends pregnant, each guy wanted his girlfriend to have an abortion, each girl refused, each guy is now nearly three years later thrilled with the outcome – each has a beautiful, mischievous daughter.

    Abortion is simply another form of genocide. Somehow it’s “ok” for the United States, since Roe v. Wade became law, to abort between 40 to 50 million babies over the past 30 years. Don’t believe the numbers…? Check out the Statistical Abstract of the United States at most libraries, certainly any college library, and simply do the math.

    Hell, we can’t even fathom 6 million Jews, 5 million Poles, or 25 million Russian soldiers and civilians who were killed in World War II. You know what though, maybe it’s fine when you start killing your own people though. Stalin, Pol Pot, and others killed their own and the world can barely raise an eyebrow. We, as the U.S., have wiped out more than an entire generation. Have we aborted gangbangers, drug users, rapists, criminals, and other undesireables? Perhaps. But have we also prevented the birts of doctors, teachers, scientists who would find a cure for cancer, a president that more that half the country could agree on, etc? We don’t know, we never will.

    And as regards the comment about the “permanent underclass,” the majority of those having abortions are middle class white women for whom having a child would be “inconvienient” at their time in life. Instant gratification, ain’t it grand?

    Comment by Mueller — November 29, 2005 @ 8:48 pm

  4. “Abortion is simply another form of genocide.”

    No offense, but genocide my ass. I find myself hard pressed to equate a human being with developing clump of cells. If your belief in the supernatural says that a fertilized egg has a “soul,” fine. That’s your belief and abortion isn’t for you. But to impose your views onto someone else due to your otherworldly beliefs smacks of trying to impose your religion onto someone else.

    Have we missed out on doctors, teachers, and so forth? All of the people Laura critiqued for supposedly making stupid decisions on abortion, you really they’re in a position to raise a child? I mean, if you can’t trust a woman with a reproductive choice, how the heck are you suppose to trust them to raise a child?

    While you may assert white, middle-class women may be the majority of people having abortions (??), abortions would still be available to this group even if it was made illegal. The group most effected would be those I assure you would less likely to turn out people working in learned professions.

    Comment by Howard — November 29, 2005 @ 9:29 pm

  5. Sorry could you explain that last paragraph, I didn’t quite get it. In other words, it didn’t make any sense. and while your at it, explain to me your reasons for the other two.

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 4, 2005 @ 8:57 pm

  6. Sure.

    It was asserted that abortion takes potential professionals out of society.

    It was also asserted that it’s white middle class women having most of the abortions. My thoughts are that if abortions were made illegal, middle and upper class women would still have them.

    The only class that would have abortion restricted for them would be the lower class. The lower class isnít likely to produce these professionals but rather people who are overrepresented in the criminal class.

    Thus, criminalizing of abortion is not likely to increase the ranks of the professional class.

    On another note, wasn’t anything learned from prohibition?

    In any case, I hope this helps to clarify things.

    Comment by Howard R — December 5, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

  7. So what your saying is that we are so elitist that we have to be cut into classes? isn’t that why we had a Revolutionary War? Sorry but your logic doesn’t make sense. it’s true that everytime something is banished in america, people take it upon themselves to prove a point by doing it anyway (drugs, underaged drinking and underaged sex are but a few) but to set us into classes? isn’t that a bit…snobbish of you? not to be rude, but just a bit….snobbish.
    I’ll leave your racist view for another day.

    Comment by Alistair A. — December 6, 2005 @ 11:27 am

  8. Please be so kind re-read my post (or have someone read it to you) as I was responding to someone else’s assertions.

    Also, please spare me your cries of “racism.” I was discussing class representation in various groups. That’s quantifiable, so please STFU. Thank you.

    Comment by Howard R — December 6, 2005 @ 3:34 pm

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