This week I’ll discuss what Abigail saw inside the mill where her mother worked. I have always been intrigued with the psyche of abortion workers and asked Abigail extensively about this.
Recall when Abigail was 13 years old her mother began pulling her from school every Friday to volunteer as what pro-lifers call a “deathscort,” someone who escorts mothers planning to abort from the parking lot, shielding them from pro-life sidewalk counselors attempting to engage them in conversation or provide written information.
So Abigail saw a lot as a semi-insider. I can only imagine how traumatized she must have been not only because she experienced all this as an adolescent and teenager but also as a closet pro-lifer.
Let me begin by saying this was 15 years ago. Since then the Toledo, Ohio, abortion clinic where Abigail’s mother worked has moved to a new location, although it is still owned by the same woman, a Wiccan when Abigail knew her. Abigail’s mother has also moved on, so I don’t know if the nefarious practices and conditions Abigail observed are ongoing.
I asked Abigail if the clinic aborted women who weren’t pregnant. Yes, she said, adding the clinic owner often joked “anyone who wants an abortion can have one, whether she’s pregnant or not!”
I asked Abigail if due dates were ever adjusted. I recall the hospital where I worked admitted a mother for an abortion for fetal anomalies at 27 and sixth-sevenths weeks’ gestation, according to her last menstrual period (LMP). But the attending physician charted that according to ultrasound she was only 23 weeks along, coincidentally the upper age limit allowed for abortions. The baby was born (alive) weighing two-and-a-half pounds, clearly as old as the LMP indicated.
Abigail witnessed similar scenarios. Since her clinic was only allowed to abort up to 16 weeks, due dates were either dialed down with the help of the mother, encouraged to “re-imagine” the date of her LMP. Or dates were manipulated by staff, who told the mother LMP dating was unreliable because women can skip periods or have spotting they don’t realize is a period.
“I don’t remember a woman ever being turned away because she was too advanced in her pregnancy,” Abigail wrote me. “The latest date I ever heard was 28 weeks, although women were always told their date was 16 weeks or less.”
What did staff think of aborting mothers? “They called them ‘stupid sluts’ if it wasn’t their first abortion, or ‘brood mares’ if they chose life and left before aborting,” wrote Abigail.
There was one particular scandal Abigail recalled of a clinic worker who accidentally got pregnant but decided against abortion.
“There was first the ideological issue,” Abby explained. “The accepted belief was that all unplanned pregnancies were ‘unwanted’ by default and should be aborted. So the clinic owner insisted the philosophically correct thing to do was abort the ‘unwanted’ baby and then get pregnant again intentionally to have a ‘planned, wanted’ baby.”
The pregnant staffer reminded the owner that included in the word “pro-choice” was “choice.” The issue then became what effect would a visibly pregnant worker have on patients? Would more of them choose life, causing the clinic to lose money? The owner ultimately had no legal “choice” but to keep the pregnant worker, who refused to take a leave of absence.
When I was lobbying for pro-life bills at the Illinois capital in the early 2000s, the ACLU lobbyist became pregnant. I couldn’t understand how she could testify for the culture of death while at the same time feeling preborn life inside her.
Pregnant pro-aborts obviously develop a mental schism. Abigail observed this with the pregnant clinic worker. “She appeared not to mind upsetting patients,” Abigail wrote me, “and she also appeared to delight in tormenting pro-lifers.”
The latter she would do by daily flashing her pregnant belly at sidewalk counselors, crowing, “Today’s the day! I’m having an abortion!”
She didn’t, of course, but continued to facilitate abortions after her daughter was born, bringing her to work so she could breast-feed. “I was charged with babysitting, upstairs in the clinic library,” Abigail wrote, “a job I relished, since it kept me away from the drama out on the sidewalk and also meant I got to cuddle and play with a baby, which I loved, even though my mother disapproved!”
It was during this time Abigail’s pro-life views were cemented not only by caring for the baby but also by reading “hostile” pro-life books in the library.
“There was a sort of delicious irony in reading pro-life books and caring for a baby in an abortion mill,” Abigail wrote me. “I remember thinking, ‘This is what I want my life to be someday.’ Praise God, that wish has come true!”
Abigail and her husband are parents to two beautiful boys.