Sunday, June 03, 2007

A doctor on why he does abortions

In Daily Kos, William F. Harrison tells "Why I provide abortions."
I provide abortions for my patients and for any other girl or woman who feels this her best option...

By 1967 I was a third year medical student... and I was ending my rotation in the Ob-Gyn Service clinic. I was assigned a 40-plus-year-old, poverty-stricken mother of several children... This care-worn mother-of-several had a large abdominal mass that I rapidly determined to be a well advanced pregnancy. I asked my resident to come and break the news to this woman; it was very obvious to me that she was not going to be happy about the news of another pregnancy. When told that she - already unable to adequately feed and clothe her family - was again pregnant, she looked up at me and the resident. There we stood, two white males, well clothed, well fed young men with superior educations. We were, in her eyes, stunningly blessed and obviously going places in the world. She began to weep silently. She must have assumed, for good reason, that there was no way that we would understand her problems; she knew also that there was nothing that we could or would do to relieve her lacerating misery.

"Oh God, doctor," she said quietly, "I was hoping it was cancer."

That mother's anguished whisper eventually became a shriek of despair and hopelessness that has reverberated in my heart and mind and soul for over thirty years.

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