by Reid Fitzsimons
Somewhere in the early 1980’ I switched from being pro-abortion to pro-life. I wasn’t any kind of firebrand pro-abortion activist, just one of the tens of millions of Americans who didn’t want to be troubled by thinking too hard. It took no great empathetic powers to comprehend an unexpected pregnancy can put a severe damper on life’s plans and, as Americans, we didn’t and don’t suffer interruptions to our ambitions or life-styles easily. Additionally, the feminists and social justice people of the early 80s, personified especially by Planned Parenthood, assured us we weren’t talking about ending a life but that abortion was more akin to picking boogers out of our noses. I recall three terms The Great Progressive Minds used when describing that troublesome entity residing in the uterus- a blob of tissue, a clump of cells, and, for the more intellectual among the mindless masses, the products of conception. What person in their right mind could possibly be opposed to sucking out a blob of tissue? It would be like being against hacking up a big loogie.
At this time I was a PA (Physician Assistant) student in Cleveland and I certainly possessed a cursory knowledge of embryology, so academically I knew the blob of tissue paradigm wasn’t entirely accurate, but everyone wants symbols and terminology to comport with their worldview; it allows us to not be troubled in our beliefs. During the clinical year I did a month-long inpatient gynecology rotation at hospital downtown, one that frequently did abortions. No problem for me, and I was perfectly fine with observing and assisting. Assuming most people can’t really envision the procedure, it is not one that requires high-level surgical skill. In other words, abortionists may be wealthy but are unlikely to be world-class physicians. Essentially a hollow plastic tube (curette) is passed through the cervix while attached to a suction machine and, with a little scraping and vacuuming of the uterus, viola’! problem solved. The thing is the suction tubing is transparent, and I happened to notice the promised blob being sucked into oblivion looked quite a bit like little arms and legs, with feet and fingers and things. Was it possible the progressives and good people at Planned Parenthood had engaged in a bit of deception?