Abortion activists have been worrying for a while now about a growing shortage of doctors who are willing to do abortions. Polls show that young people are strongly pro-life. Government statistics show ever-decreasing abortion numbers, and abortion clinics are closing at a rapid pace as they continue to lose business.
Still, the abortion industry has managed to recruit a couple young doctors-in-training to its deadly business. The liberal website Vox recently published the story of a Chicago medical student named Susan Brinckerhoff (pictured) who plans to do abortions after she graduates this spring.
Brinckerhoff said she never thought about abortion when she started medical school four years ago, but emails trying to recruit her to the pro-abortion student group Medical Students for Choice kept popping up in her inbox.
Her feelings began to change when she listened to a lecture by a practicing doctor who opposed abortion. Brinckerhoff said she felt “bothered” by the way the doctor handled patients who approached him wanting an abortion. He would tell them that he “could not take this path with them” and then refer them to another doctor who would, she remembered.
“He seemed like a nice enough man who was entitled to his personal beliefs and expressed them respectfully, but the more I pondered his prioritization of those beliefs over what I felt was his professional obligation to his patients, the more certain I became that this choice could harm patients,” she continued.
When she witnessed an abortion for the first time, Brinckerhoff felt disturbed. She wrote:
In my third year of medical school I spent six weeks immersed in the world of obstetrics and gynecology. I had a patient who underwent a surgical abortion — the first I had ever seen. My patient was a mother of two healthy children, pregnant with her third child, but this pregnancy had gone horribly awry. Her fetus had a severe anomaly diagnosed in the second trimester of pregnancy. This anomaly was so severe that her fetus was likely to die in the womb or very soon after birth. After learning about this prognosis, she made the decision to end her pregnancy.
The procedure was not a gentle introduction to the practice of abortion. In a way I’m glad it wasn’t, because it challenged my ideology for the first time, pitting my immediate emotional reaction to the procedure itself against my deeply felt duty to the patient before me.
To understand and support a patient in her decision is one thing. To be faced firsthand with the physical implications of that decision is another. There is a reason that opponents of abortion often use images of second-trimester procedures like the one I observed to advance their cause. The fetus has, at this point in pregnancy, developed into something with discrete and recognizable human features.
I felt for the first time the gravity of what had previously been only theoretical. I was forced, in those minutes in the operating room and for many days thereafter, to reconcile my grief with something quite the opposite. It was a strong and enduring sense that we had done something therapeutic and right, that we had lifted a small part of her burden of suffering and, with time, set the patient on the path to healing from a terrible situation.
Watching an abortion has been a turning point for many medical students, some of whom became pro-life because of the experience. But rather than realize that her emotions meant the procedure was horribly wrong, Brinckerhoff justified the abortion in her mind as something that women need to lead full, successful lives. She brought up back-alley abortions and the debatable claim that abortion is safer than childbirth. She further justified the negative emotions she felt during the late-term abortion by reminding herself that most abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy.
“The right to choose is no longer a matter of personal ideology for me. It feels like a matter of professional and ethical responsibility,” she wrote. “As a doctor, when faced with an ethical or clinical dilemma, one simple question often provides amazing clarity: Is what I am doing in service of my patient? The answer to this question is always ‘yes’ when I support my patient’s right to choose. Forced childbirth is never in the best interests or in service of a woman.”
But Brinckerhoff failed to consider that there always are two patients involved in a pregnancy – a woman and her unborn child. That is the key problem of the pro-abortion movement. Its followers focus so much on women that they ignore how their beliefs allow another human being, the unborn child, to be tortured and killed for the supposed good of another. Unborn babies deserve better than that because women deserve better than that. Both are human beings, and both deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect.