The abortion industry’s got problems
And we don’t think they can solve ’em.
As we discuss in this week’s episode of the Pro-Life America podcast, there is often bitter animosity between what we call the “doers” and the “talkers” of the abortion industry.
While there is some overlap, generally speaking, talkers are the people who work in the public and political arena to keep abortion legal; doers are the ones who work in the abortion clinics. It was during our survey Project Choice that we first discovered this interesting phenomenon, and we found that talkers tend to view doers as the ghouls of the movement who perform the disgusting, but necessary, dirty-work. Meanwhile, the doers think the talkers are a bunch of prima-donnas who live to go on national television and talk about what a terrific thing abortion is, but couldn’t stomach watching one if their lives depended on it.
Over 78% of the abortionists who responded to the Project Choice survey said they don’t get enough support from pro-choice activists, and some were down right hostile about it. Diane Derzis, an administrator for an abortion clinic in Birmingham, confided to an Atlanta newspaper, “There’s still the shame thing, even among people who are pro-choice … We are still seen as dirty, even among our own people.”
We found the hostility between the abortion industry’s “talkers” and “doers” to be similar to that which often exists during wartime. To the frontline soldier, who lives in constant terror while killing other mother’s sons whom he doesn’t know or hate, the war is not some abstract political philosophy, it’s real and horrible. And while he might crawl through hell on his knees for his buddies in the trench, he is profoundly resentful of the bloated politician who talks about how noble the war is over a $50 lunch in Washington, D.C.
Someone once said, “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.” In a way, that defines the conflict between abortionists and political activists. While the activists sit in their ivory towers and coldly discuss the statistics of abortion, the abortionists pull those statistics out of women’s bodies one tragedy at a time.
The talkers comfort themselves with rhetoric about how legal abortions empower and liberate women, while the doers know the real-world desperation and despair of the women who actually have them. They know what pro-life feminist, Frederica Matthews-Green, recognized when she wrote: “For the question remains, do women want abortion? Not like she wants a Porsche or an ice cream cone. Like an animal caught in a trap, trying to gnaw off its own leg, a woman who seeks abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss. Abortion is not a sign that women are free, but a sign that they are desperate.”
There are some talkers who acknowledge this problem. One abortion advocate wrote, “… we who are pro-abortion-rights leave the doctors in the front lines, with blood on their hands … This is blood that the doctors and clinic workers often see clearly … And we who are pro-choice compound their isolation by declaring that that blood is not there.”
Doer’s Written Off
However, this person is almost alone in her warnings to fellow talkers, with most seeming completely disinterested in the real problems faced by front-line abortionists. When asked about the issues facing the abortion-rights movement, activists inevitably talk about how all their problems are brought on by the pro-life community. They suggest that if those religious fanatics would mind their own business, everything would be all right. But when a writer for the American Medical Association interviewed abortion clinic personnel about the problems they face, not one word was printed about anti-abortion activity. Instead, the entire discussion centered around issues related to the abortion procedure itself.
This is just example of a lack of camaraderie within the abortion industry.
While both talkers and doers agree that they are under siege, during Project Choice we noticed that there is not the “drawing together” normally experienced by people who perceive they are under attack from a common enemy. At best, there is sometimes a false unity within the clinics, based in fear of dissent.
Judith Fetrow, a former Planned Parenthood worker, summed up this problem at a pro-life conference, “It is extremely difficult to watch doctors lie, clinic workers cover up, and hear terrifying stories of women dragged out of clinics to die in cars on the way to the hospital without beginning to question the party line. I began to wonder if we were really caring of these women, or if we were just working for another corporation whose only interest was the bottom line. But these are questions that one does not voice at Planned Parenthood.”