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A Day in the Life of an Abortionist

Content Warning: Graphic Images

You and I have the same name. I’m a doctor by trade and would like to tell you a little bit about my life. Every day I wake up around 6:00 am. The sun shines through the window. My spouse is stirring by my side. I throw off the sheets and, like many of you, go to the kitchen and down a cup of coffee. I eat breakfast, freshen up, and get in the car to head to work at 7:45 am sharp. If I’m lucky, I might see my toddler son come out to say goodbye.

I arrive at the clinic around 8:00 am and get started with the day. “Now,” you might say, “what kind of a doctor are you? Do you work in an ER room? Are you a dentist, perhaps?” The answer is no. I’m an obstetrician-gynecologist, which is to say that I take care of women’s health. Sometimes this means I perform abortions, which look different depending on the stage of the pregnancy.

In the first trimester of the pregnancy, I give the woman a pill called mifepristone, or RU-486 for short. This pill will block the flow of progesterone, a hormone that stabilizes the mother’s uterus. When progesterone stops flowing, the uterus wall breaks down and nutrients can no longer reach the embryo inside.

I allow enough time for the embryo to die—generally around two days later, and then give the woman another pill called misoprostol. This works with the RU-486 to cause cramping and bleeding, which forces the dead embryo out of the womb. The bleeding has a chance of lasting a while, which could be very dangerous to the woman’s health, but hey! I’m just doing my job.

If the baby has matured to the second trimester, another approach is needed. I’ll give the woman some anesthesia and then use a tool called a weighted speculum to open the vagina. After I have the room I need, I use another tool called a suction catheter to remove the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. Once it is all removed, I properly begin the abortion.

I grab a Sopher clamp. Using this clamp, which is shaped like salad tongs, with jagged teeth for gripping, I grab the fetuses’ limbs and slowly dismember it. The head is too big, so after pulling the legs, arms, and chest off, I crush the head. I scrape the uterus wall to make sure that I have all the pieces, and then, just to be safe everything is gone, a nurse reassembles the embryo.

If the baby is in its third trimester, things can get a little more complicated. It could now survive outside the womb with medical assistance, but since it is not wanted, my job is to kill it.  The process usually takes a few days to complete. I start by injecting a drug called digoxin, which will cause cardiac arrest for the baby. I insert it into the baby’s head, torso, or heart—and yes, the baby does feel the pain. The infant has a heart attack and dies.

The woman has to wait a few days for her cervix to enlarge enough to deliver the now-dead child. I have to insert a kind of seaweed called Laminaria to help enlarge the cervix. 

The woman has to carry her dead child.

Two days after the lethal injection, I replace the Laminaria and, if necessary, administer a second lethal dose to the child. A few days later, the woman goes into labor and delivers a dead son or daughter. I hope she’s able to make it to the clinic to deliver, but if not, she can do it on the toilet at home.

After a long day, I’m ready to go home, kiss my spouse, play with my son, and enjoy the evening. I am a normal person. I am like you. I have a life, emotions, feelings, and needs. I laugh, cry, and think. 

I kill for a living. 

I just thought you needed to know that.

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