“Never again will I be pro-choice, and never again will I support the murder of any human being, no matter their stage in life.”
By Sarah Terzo
National Right to Life
Abortion becomes very real when it is seen instead of viewed as an abstract moral and political debate.
Some time ago, I was sent this testimony from a medical student who preferred not to leave a name. He had just witnessed an abortion as part of his training. Deeply troubled, he wanted to tell someone. He was haunted by what he had seen.
The student starts out by saying that he was firmly in the pro-choice camp before witnessing the abortion:
“To begin, I must say that until yesterday, Friday, July 2, 2004, I was strongly pro-choice. I am a pre-medical student, and being very scientific, I understood that the mass of cells that forms the fetal body is not often capable of survival before 24 weeks in the womb. I am also somewhat liberal, and I believed that every woman should have the right to choose what she did with her body and one that could potentially be growing inside of her.”
He then describes exactly what he witnessed in the operating room:
“This summer, I was accepted into a pre-medical program in NYC in which we are allowed to shadow doctors and see all sorts of medical procedures. When given the opportunity to see an abortion, I did not hesitate to accept the offer. It was something new, edgy, and exciting that I had never seen.”
The student had heard the pro-choice movement’s slogans. He took them at face value, believing that the unborn baby was “a mass of cells” and not an individual human being. He felt that a woman “had the right to control her body” and did not sympathize with the tiny baby inside her. He did not believe in the child’s humanity or right to life.
Then he took the opportunity to see an abortion performed. Because of his pro-choice beliefs, he did not expect to be disturbed by anything he would see:
“When I entered the operating room, it felt like any other I had ever been in. On the table in front of me, I saw a woman, legs up as if delivering a child although she was asleep. Next to her was a tray of instruments for the abortion and a vacuum machine for suctioning the fetal tissues from the uterus. The doctors put on their gowns and masks and the procedure began. The cervix was held open with a crude metal instrument and a large transparent tube was stuck inside of the woman. Within a matter of seconds, the machine’s motor was engaged and blood, tissue, and tiny organs were pulled out of their environment into a filter. A minute later, the vacuum choked to a halt. The tube was removed, and stuck to the end was a small body and a head attached haphazardly to it, what was formed of the neck snapped. The ribs had formed with a thin skin covering them, the eyes had formed, and the inner organs had begun to function. The tiny heart of the fetus, obviously a little boy, had just stopped — forever. The vacuum filter was opened, and the tiny arms and legs that had been torn off of the fetus were accounted for. The fingers and toes had the beginnings of their nails on them. The doctors, proud of their work, reassembled the body to show me. Tears welled up in my eyes as they removed the baby boy from the table and shoved his body into a container for disposal.”
Since this abortion was done by suction, the baby must have been less than 13 to 14 weeks, but still far enough along that his humanity was evident. The student was haunted by what he saw: Abortions in the second trimester are usually done through dilation and evacuation, a procedure in which forceps are used to tear apart the baby, rather than through suction.
“I have not been able to think of anything since yesterday at 10:30 besides what that baby boy might have been. I don’t think that people realize what an abortion actually is until they see it happen. I have been tortured by these images – so real and so vivid – for two days now…and I was just a spectator.