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Pitying the Poor Abortionist

Pity the poor abortionist. He's got a problem of Rodney Dangerfield proportions: he can't get no respect.

Of course he encounters the outrage and cries of "Murderer!" from the gauntlet of picketers each day on the way into the clinic. But the harried abortionist can always seek solace in the company of his fellow doctors, right?

Wrong. According to a recent New York Times article by Gina Kolata, his peers don't think he's such a swell guy either. Apparently abortionists find themselves largely isolated from their colleagues and treated as pariahs by the medical community. This ostracism is acting as a powerful disincentive for doctors to become abortionists or continue as such.

According to Dr. Michael Policar, medical director of Planned Parenthood in San Francisco, the fact that so few physicians are now willing to perform abortions leaves "the impression that abortion is a dirty business and that it is somehow not an appropriate or legitimate medical procedure." Lest he think this impression unfounded, Dr. Policar might peruse an unexpurgated copy of the Hippocratic Oath: "...I will not give to a woman an instrument to produce abortion."

But there was another angle to Kolata's report, at once more subtle and more profound, that was revealed in stories told by two abortionists, which demonstrate the ability of the human heart to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18) and the consequent inability of the heart to find peace and live consistently while suppressing that truth.

The first abortionist told of calling one of his best friends, a fellow abortionist, late one day. When the friend asked where he was calling from, he told him the clinic. "Still killing babies this late in the afternoon?" the friend quipped.

"It was like a knife in my gut," the abortionist told Kolata. "It really upset me. What it conveys is that no matter how supportive people may be, there is still a horror at what I do."

The second physician, who performed abortions out of strong conviction, told a story equally revealing. While admitting she had to prepare herself each time and often had sleepless nights prior to performing abortions, she claimed she only lost control once. After trying herself for seven years to become pregnant, only to have recently suffered a miscarriage, she found herself performing an abortion on another doctor. After the abortion, she said, "I just collapsed on the floor," overcome by her emotions.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, "Murder, though it have no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organ." So often we have approached the abortionist with the belief that, if we could just reason with him, we could convince him to stop his heinous work. But the abortionist's problem isn't syllogisms, it's sin. And perhaps the only indication the abortionist has that there's something wrong with his rationalizations, that makes a lie of his linguistic revisions, is the fact he is viscerally unable to live his life as if they really were true.

Knowing the high value we place upon reasoned debate it sounds strange to say this. But maybe we need to try a new tact with the abortionist: Get in touch with your feelings, doc.


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