"Doing second trimester abortion is clinical care at the boundary between life and death and in the context of political and social controversy, and, likewise, commitment."
-- Abortionist Lisa Harris
As a woman who dismembered huge unborn babies at the very same time she was pregnant, Lisa Harris' account offers tragic insights into the human mind, heart, and soul....
No dummy, Harris understands that sawing off hands and arms–especially later in pregnancy–is tough sledding for anyone whose conscience has not been amputated. So Harris' gambit is to first frankly deal with such issues as "personal and psychological considerations" as well as the undeniable violence of abortion (and its seeming incompatibility with what she sees as an essentially non-violent feminist movement). Then she offers "answers" that are not only morally incoherent and circular but also evade the very gut-wrenching red-flags Harris told the reader she would confront.
She accomplishes the latter by trying to create group solidarity by offering to transport them to a kind of Land of Oz for death peddlers, otherwise known as the "middle ground." Needless to say that middle ground is not to distinguish "acceptable" from "unacceptable" abortions, but to explain how "owning" the violence, and the discomfort, and the nightmares makes killing kids at any stage of development not only acceptable but "rewarding."
Let me offer two long quotes. Harris begins with a category she calls "Visual and visceral differences" between first and second trimester abortions."When I was a little over 18 weeks pregnant with my now pre-school child, I did a second trimester abortion for a patient who was also a little over 18 weeks pregnant. As I reviewed her chart I realized that I was more interested than usual in seeing the fetal parts when I was done, since they would so closely resemble those of my own fetus. I went about doing the procedure as usual.... I used electrical suction to remove the amniotic fluid, picked up my forceps and began to remove the fetus in parts, as I always did. I felt lucky that this one was already in the breech position – it would make grasping small parts (legs and arms) a little easier. With my first pass of the forceps, I grasped an extremity and began to pull it down. I could see a small foot hanging from the teeth of my forceps. With a quick tug, I separated the leg. Precisely at that moment, I felt a kick – a fluttery "thump, thump" in my own uterus. It was one of the first times I felt fetal movement. There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a "thump, thump" in my abdomen. Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes – without me – meaning my conscious brain - even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling – a brutally visceral response – heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life."
Raw, indeed, and as eloquent a passage as you could imagine. I felt like I was there in the room with her. Then there is this, which fell under the category "Violence.""The last patient I saw one day was 23 weeks pregnant. I performed an uncomplicated D&E procedure. Dutifully, I went through the task of reassembling the fetal parts in the metal tray. It is an odd ritual that abortion providers perform - required as a clinical safety measure to ensure that nothing is left behind in the uterus to cause a complication - but it also permits us in an odd way to pay respect to the fetus (feelings of awe are not uncommon when looking at miniature fingers and fingernails, heart, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands), even as we simultaneously have complete disregard for it. Then I rushed upstairs to take overnight call on labour and delivery. The first patient that came in was prematurely delivering at 23-24 weeks. As her exact gestational age was in question, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team resuscitated the premature newborn and brought it to the NICU. Later, along with the distraught parents, I watched the neonate on the ventilator. I thought to myself how bizarre it was that I could have legally dismembered this fetus-now-newborn if it were inside its mother's uterus - but that the same kind of violence against it now would be illegal, and unspeakable."
....How someone--anyone--could go from writing that "tears were streaming from my eyes" when her own unborn baby kicked at the same time she was snuffing out the life of another unborn baby to bragging about lobbying her own abortion clinic to move the outer edge of their "practice" from 14 weeks to "inching up to 22 weeks"?
A Letter to the Editor
6 years ago