Hey Pro-Choicers, Try Watching Abortion, Then See How You Feel

| by Jill Stanek

I wrote this morning that showing the reality of abortion tosses "pro-choice" platitudes out the window.

reporter Sarah Kliff wrote a nice pro-abort puff piece about late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart but in a related piece reported running into emotional trouble when actually watching him commit the dirty deed:

... But I'd never actually seen an abortion; I'd never watched the procedure that activists vehemently defend or deplore.... I wasn't sure I would. I confess I was hesitant to step into Carhart's operating room....

A 1st-trimester abortion, from my vantage point behind the glass window, looked like an extended, more invasive version of a standard ob-gyn exam. A woman with her heels in stirrups, clothes traded in for a hospital gown, a speculum holding the cervix open. Carhart used a suction tube to empty the contents of the uterus; it took no longer than 3 minutes. The suction machine made a slight rumbling sound, a pinkish fluid flowed through the tube, and, faster than I'd expected, it was over.... I'd anticipated some kind of difficulty watching an abortion; it wasn't there.

At least not physically. But there was a discomfort I hadn't expected, my emotional reaction to watching abortions....

When I returned from Omaha, friends and colleagues wanted to know if I had "done it." When I said I had, their reactions surprised me. Friends who supported legal abortion bristled slightly when I told them where I'd been and what I'd watched. Acquaintances at a party looked a bit regretful to have asked about my most recent assignment. The majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade's protection of abortion, about 68% as of May. But my experience (among an admittedly small, largely pro-choice sample set) found a general discomfort when confronted with abortion as a physical reality, not a political idea. Americans may support abortion rights, but even 40 years after Roe, we don't talk about it like other medical procedures.

And maybe that's appropriate. Abortion may be a simple procedure medically, but it is not cancer surgery. It's an elective procedure that no one - neither its defenders nor its detractors - expects to elect for themselves. I had (and still have) difficulty understanding my own reaction, both relieved to have watched a minimally invasive surgery and distressed by the emotionality of the process. Abortion involves weighty choices that, depending on how you view it, involve a life, or the potential for life....

Not only did her own reaction to abortion surprise Kliff, but also the reactions of her "large pro-choice sample set" - friends and colleagues. They approve of the concept of abortion but don't like being reminded of the reality.

Kliff is having "difficulty understanding" her reaction to the graphic reality of abortion that confronted her pro-abort self.