"How do you feel?"
"Not good." I said.
"You look green," he said.
"I feel nauseated."
"That's good," he said. "You're a doctor and you took an oath to do no harm. If you felt good doing this you wouldn't be the man I thought you were when I offered to teach you how to do abortions."
He'd only had three women slated for the morning. In the surgeons lounge we got coffee and sat down to talk.
Later the mentor said:
When you hear about doctors doing abortion it's mostly a factory setting. Doing abortions is one of the simplest and most lucrative procedures a doctor can do. Abortion doctors are among the richest in our profession. The money is what is so attractive."
In medicine and surgery senior doctors rarely talked like this. I hung on his every word, knowing that I was being given a rare priviledge.
"Can you tell me what you felt and thought doing those procedures?" he asked me.
I paused and said, "It wasn't what I thought I'd feel. I thought it would be like doing just another dilatation and curettage. But this time I felt this pain in my gut and I felt nauseated as I started the suction. I guess...." here I was searching for words to describe the experience, " I felt like I was killing something......it was the same experience I felt when I kill a fish with a fish bonger when I'm fishing or the feeling I get when I shoot a partridge. I didn't expect to feel I was taking a life but that's what it felt like and that shocked me. I was surprised. I'm pro abortion and believe in women's rights but I didn't feel like I'd feel like I was killing something. I felt nauseous. I still have a headache." I looked down at my coffee cup feeling I'd blurted out too much, run on about feelings ,talked about things doctors aren't supposed to talk about. My face was probably red at the time. I know I felt shame."
If you'd not been with me I'd have gone through those three women in less than half an hour. On a good day I can do dozen or more abortions in a morning and be ready for the golf course in the afternoon. I don't have to do rounds either. Mostly abortions are done in specialized offices too so there's hardly any follow up. Just money money money. Ker ching, ker ching" he laughed, making the sound of a cash machine drawer .It's a very long post from 2010, but very informative, so I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.
"But by the end of the first year we'd all stopped except a very few. The reason was it didn't feel good. We all felt like you did today. It's presented like you're just taking off a wart but none of us doctors felt that way about taking off warts or cutting out cancer. It literally makes you feel sick like you do. The ones who kept doing it had something wrong with themselves. Something that hardened them to those feelings. Maybe they liked the money more too. I just wanted you to know you're not alone. If you choose to do abortions again that feeling you gets is part of what makes you a good doctor. As gynecologists we've talked about this together. I only do them now when I agree with the cause but I assure you I understand better those that don't do them at all more than those who do them all the time, the so called abortion factory docs. I couldn't do that."
Notwithstanding his experience, Dr. Hay writes:
I'm pro life today. Not a very good pro life person, wishy washy and middle of the road, and rather liberal in my conservative old age. But I can't personally bring myself to do an abortion unless perhaps to save the life of a mother. I still will refer a patient to an abortion doctor.