Abortion staff disturbed by dismemberment method
When reporting about The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, the mainstream media typically refuses to include the law’s definition of what is banned--“the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments [that], slice, crush or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body in order to cut or rip it off.” Without those details, the reader is more susceptible to the abortion industry claim that the law bans a ‘routine’ procedure that only pro-lifers believe is inhumane.
However, 37 years ago, one of the abortion industry’s own celebrated practitioners– Warren Hern of Boulder, Colorado– told colleagues about people who were disturbed by this particular method of abortion which (in his words) they “view as destructive and violent.” Who were they? His own staff!
To unpack what Hern was acknowledging, it is first essential to establish that in a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist uses sharp metal tools to tear apart a living unborn child, piece by piece, while she is still inside her mother’s womb. If just reading that sentence makes you squirm, imagine actually being in the room next to the surgical table and watching the abortionist repeatedly reach in and yank off baby parts and disrespectfully drop them onto a tray. Or imagine being the employee whose job it is to visually examine each bloody piece and keep track until the entire baby has been reassembled on that tray. And multiply that, several times a day, every day. Week after week. Year after year.
ABORTION STAFF SURVEYED
In the early years following Roe, Hern did a limited survey and interview of his own staff about their feelings and reactions to participating in dismemberment abortions. He published his findings after presenting them to a 1978 gathering of Planned Parenthood practitioners. Hern was, in effect, giving insider tips to the abortion industry of how to understand and overcome the trauma and “personal misgivings” exhibited by abortion personnel who witness and participate in dismemberment abortions
The revelations about stress and revulsion were based on surveys Hern had given to 23 past and current staffers. Ordinarily, the validity of answers from paid employees to a survey written by their boss would be in question. And in fact, some resistance was shown: only 15 returned the surveys, and only six participated in a follow up one year later. Why the others didn’t respond is something we can only speculate about. But deeply disturbing reactions were nonetheless uncovered.
According to Hern, unlike the staff response to first-trimester suction abortions, dismemberment abortions cause “significant emotional reactions of medical and counseling staff” including “physiological symptoms, sleep disturbances, effects on interpersonal relationships, and moral anguish.” Two employees reported being preoccupied with the gruesome procedure outside of work and having disturbing dreams.
Of note, Hern volunteered that a lab assistant– not part of the survey– had asked to be relieved from the task of reassembling and weighing bloody dismembered baby parts, “because of the size and intactness of the fetus.” She “found herself becoming nauseated during the tissue examination and having disturbing dreams at night.” Surely, she has not been the only individual who found the reassembly task so intolerable. When it came to the issue of actually looking at a dismembered child, staffers admitted they averted their gaze or otherwise exhibited, “shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear, and sadness.”
Hern also reported a rather strange and self-serving response: some staff expressed “a “sympathy [and] wonder at how he could perform a [dismemberment abortion] at all, and a desire to protect him from the trauma.” Protect the abortionist—really? However, Hern also admitted that two staffers believed performing the dismemberment method, “must damage the physician psychologically.” Maybe they were the same two who couldn’t get those horrific images out of their own heads outside of work.
Almost as counterpoint, Hern asserted that his stress, as the abortionist, is reduced by doing more and more dismemberment abortions and growing in confidence. But that really doesn’t answer the stress of the staff. They were not reportedly anxious about whether the abortion would be ‘successfully’ performed. Rather it was the issue of demolishing a human baby limb by limb before their eyes that disturbed them.
Hern did not disagree that direct involvement in the dismemberment method adds stress for the medical staff most closely involved. But he quickly pushed past that difficulty and refocused on a key marketing angle still touted today– that in this abortion method, “the emotional trauma of the experience is reduced for the patient.”
A little reminder is needed here. Abortionists do not clearly describe to the mother what a dismemberment abortion will do to her unborn child. Instead (as admitted in court) they define the method with vague language like, “removal of the pregnancy.” Thus, a mother who has not been accurately informed, and undergoes the procedure while anesthetized, is going to be ignorant of the abuse to her child and, logically, less traumatized than the staff who stand by while the baby’s body is shredded.
Hern suggested to his Planned Parenthood attendees in 1978 that since dismemberment abortion “is rapidly becoming recognized as the procedure of choice in late abortion,” they will want to offer generous vacations, flex time, and staff ‘team-building’ to prevent staff stress from erupting in the form of shouting at, or withholding care from, their clients. After all, Hern declared, some employees have “strong personal reservations about participating in an operation they view as destructive and violent.” His concluding remarks are disturbing:
“The most important challenge [of dismemberment abortion] is how we feel about it. …Some part of our cultural and perhaps even biological heritage recoils at a destructive operation on a form that is similar to our own…[yet] there is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like electric current.”
This final admission is actually quite candid: abortions are destructive, not only to unborn children, but to the medical profession itself.
Today, abortionist Hern is still in business and probably concocting better employee perks to quell the morale problem. Kansas and Oklahoma, on the other hand, have acted more wisely for all involved. In banning dismemberment abortions, living unborn children, and the integrity of the medical profession are better protected.