Editor’s Note: Valerie (a pseudonym) worked as a “medical assistant” in an abortion clinic for six years. Then, one day, she found herself looking into the face of an aborted child. Her heart was touched, and she found her way to freedom from the morbid confines of the abortuary and deliverance from its lies and profiteering. She also found personal redemption from her past deeds through confession and prayer.
Here she recounts for us her journey in her own words.
I remember assisting, once in particular, in the operating room at the clinic where I had been a medical assistant for six years. I was standing behind the doctor and could see everything as he was performing an abortion on a woman who was 20–22 weeks pregnant.
Late term abortions were usually a two-day process. On the first day, the doctor inserted laminaria to dilate the cervix. On the second day the actual abortion was performed. The doctor first removed the laminaria and was then able to reach in with forceps to pull the baby out piece by piece. This procedure is very hard to do and requires a good deal of strength on the part of the doctor.
On that particular day, from my position I was able to see him extracting perfectly formed little arms, legs, toes, fingers, spine and finally the head. I could see the baby’s face. I don’t know how to describe what I felt at that moment. I felt death. I was ashamed and confused as I was staring at the bloody parts of the baby. I can even say I felt the presence of the devil. It was very disturbing. My mind was so blinded by the darkness in it I was unable to do anything.
Sometimes I think about that day and feel that I should have run away, or tried to stop this madness. What were we doing, as medical professionals, as human beings? What happened to out hearts? Where was our compassion?
If this baby had been born prematurely at 20–22 weeks it would have had a chance to live. I thought, “People, think about what are you doing. Think about the consequences of this abortion. Imagine this is you, Imagine you are in the most secure place you could be, in your mother’s womb. You have no idea how cruelly your life will end, how you will be torn to pieces. We betray our children. We interrupt their precious lives so abruptly, so unexpectedly. You think abortion brings relief but instead it brings emptiness, shame, pain, regret, feelings of death.” For six years abortion was the way I put bread on my table. For six years it was my life.
Not a Dream Job
I came to the USA as an adult. When I came here, I lived with my mother who was already here. The only work I could find was at Kmart. One day in 1998, she found a newspaper ad for medical assistant training. We both thought that suited me. I was eligible for the training and on completion, the school agreed to help me find a position. I did an internship at the end of the training, but I was not offered a position there. I needed a job, but was unable to find a position because I could not speak Spanish.
I was on my way to a local hospital with my résumé when I noticed the abortion clinic where I had had an abortion. I left my resume there and was contacted a few days later. I was hired as a registered medical assistant at a salary of only 75 cents more than I was making at Kmart.
Why did I take the job? Because the clinic offered it. I did not come to America to work at an abortion clinic. That is not a goal anyone has. But the work put food on the table.
Staff members at the clinic encouraged me to get more training, which I was able to do while working there. I became a registered nurse. I was lucky in that I could move ahead.
Money Drives the Clinic
On some days, usually Saturdays, clients were rushed through the counseling process to guarantee a good number of abortions for the day. The doctor left early on those days, as he did not live in the city where the clinic was located, but flew in and out. The manager’s responsibility was to get as many clients through the procedure and into the hands of the abortionist as possible. She in turn pressed the counselor to complete counseling as fast as possible. I challenged this system over the years to no avail. It remained soulless because dollars drive it.
When I first came to the clinic as a patient and had counseling before the abortion, no one explained the truth. Counselors are supposed to assist the client make a decision concerning their child, but in practice they made certain the conveyor belt worked without delays.
From the business side of abortion, the counselors understood they were to get through this part of the process quickly. There was no format for what a counselor was to say to the patient Information about the baby’s development was not mentioned. Unless the patient insisted on seeing a chart of fetal development, she would never see this information. For the majority of patients, counseling consisted of an explanation of the procedure, what medication to take afterward, side effects of anesthesia, finding out if someone accompanied the patient, determining medication to be used, follow up care and birth control options. Little mention was made of the long-term emotional side effects and other possible consequences. It was like a salesman trying to sell something and only giving positive information, or a doctor prescribing medication without information on the side effects.
Women coming in for abortion usually had already made their decision. Many did not want counseling, even refusing it. Sometimes a patient would feel anger or shame at the required counseling. Little did they know no one would try to stop them from having an abortion. It seemed there was a fear that the woman might change her mind if too much time was spent waiting, so they were rushed.
I was a medical assistant and my place was the laboratory, but when necessary I became a counselor. I spent many hours counseling and often felt uncomfortable in this role. Few felt comfortable in the position. My supervisor did not test my knowledge of abortions or give me any criteria on which to counsel. Unqualified staff often provided counseling; those without a degree in psychology or medical background were “qualified” to counsel.
I personally always felt pressured that somehow it was not acceptable if someone changed their mind and did not have an abortion. When clients chose not to abort, staff members would discuss the incident, asking, “How did that happen?” I felt as though I lost income for the clinic when a client changed her mind. It was actually quite rare, although it did happen. Patients who came with the father of the child or a mother who had other children might change her mind. But this happened rarely. Generally a patient who came this far was not turning back.
If It’s Not a Baby Then You Are Not Having an Abortion
Working at the clinic, I had to lie. All of us did and, I assume, abortion clinic workers still do. For example, if someone asked “Is that a baby?” The answer would be, “It is tissue, it feels no pain.”
I remember once when a client asked me, “Is it a baby yet” and if the procedure would hurt the baby? She was six or seven weeks pregnant. Of course, my answer was, “No, it’s not a baby yet, it’s nothing, it is just tissue, cells. And, it will not hurt the baby.” At that moment, l asked myself whether I was telling her the truth. l was not. It is not just tissue or a bunch of cells, and it might feel pain. Most clients did not ask questions; they were either young teens brought in by their moms or older women who had already had abortions and knew the routine. The ones who asked questions were often accompanied by the baby’s father.
Before the abortion procedure, ultrasound is a must to be certain of the baby’s age. It was an unwritten policy that you should minimize the importance of ultrasound and avoid showing the sonogram to the mother. Even when the patient became insistent, attending personnel were told to avoid showing the sonogram. We were even instructed to fold the sonogram in a particular way so the client could not see the image. But some would insist on seeing it, and they would cry. I knew I was lying, but my thoughts were on keeping my job, paying my bills. l was able to put those lies out of my conscious mind, and go on working.
My Heart Ached
My heart still aches when I think about those days. How many more girls are being lied to? How many of them are making a choice to have an abortion without knowing the whole truth? After working at an abortion clinic for awhile, you lose your sense of reality. Work becomes your reality, your job, like any other job at any other doctor’s office. Decency becomes a casualty. The more you give up to the devil the more he tells you it is all right. And after awhile you are so trapped in his net that you don’t know how to get out. Or your conscience is so muted that even if it screams, you do not hear it because you have been blocking its voice for so long. It is painful for me to look back. It is painful to know that there are many people still trapped in the devil’s net and that their hearts are so hardened. I thank the Lord that He opened my heart to this truth.
Staff and Their Duties
The head abortionist, who encouraged me to attend nursing school, was a well known and highly recommended gynecologist licensed to perform abortions. He received so many referrals he no longer did anything but abortions, What little gynecology was done in the clinic was done by a nurse practitioner who came to the clinic weekly to do pap smears, pre-cancer therapy (cryotherapy), treatment of warts, sexually transmitted disease testing and biopsies.
Abortions were the main practice. Although there was a standard medical history form that clients filled out, examinations alone were rare. Abortions are done four days a week. Some were referred to another abortionist, Dr. George Tiller, because they were too far along.
One of the clinic owners was also a registered-nurse anesthetist. She, too, was well qualified with broad experience. Rarely there were emergencies where it was necessary to transfer the client to a hospital. At least once, the woman had not disclosed a prior medical condition.
The clinic where I worked was a member of the National Abortion Federation, an organization designed to protect what is called “abortion rights.” Occasionally representatives of the organization would meet with the professionals at the clinic, The clinic management staff always attended the national meetings, The quality of care at the clinic was high because it was clean and safe, The Federation respected the professional staff of the clinic, and at one point the head abortionist was a director of Planned Parenthood of the metropolitan area.
As a medical assistant I worked primarily in the laboratory doing pregnancy tests from urine samples, vital signs, blood hemoglobin, etc. But I also would sometimes schedule appointments. The first thing the client did on entering the clinic was to pay; either by cash, credit card or check. The clinic did not accept insurance. The basic fee was $400, based on the assumption that the pregnancy was 12 weeks or less. The fee increased gradually every week from this base.
A New Memory
I remember one day specifically. The head abortionist came into the laboratory with a six-week-old fetus he had just aborted. I remember thinking I was looking at something in a museum. My heart was blocked from seeing the truth. Shortly before, I had seen a calendar that showed a very similar baby. It was positioned just the way the head abortionist held the one in the laboratory. My eyes were opened, and I saw the humanity of the baby. This was a revelation.
Valerie left the abortion industry after becoming a nurse. This permitted her to find work wherever she wanted and was her deliverance, not only from the tyranny of the abortion industry but also from the constant need to hide the shame of her former occupation. As for the stains of the past, these are still too painful to contemplate in detail. She let me know, ever so gently, that she is unable yet to talk about her ongoing healing. The experiences are still too vivid.
There are many women and men who like Valerie, shattered by what they have done and seen, but, unlike her, they are still unable or unwilling to speak about it. But the truth will one day be revealed. The evil consequences of 40 million abortionists in the U.S. are just beginning to manifest themselves. In destroying life we play with fire. For abortion corrupts everything it touches.