Profs urge abortionists to embrace 'gruesomeness' of their jobs

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • A group of pro-abortion University of Michigan professors recently suggested that abortion providers should be more open about the “gruesomeness” of their jobs.
  • Despite the risk of pushback from pro-life groups, the professors believe that speaking more openly about the most disturbing aspects of their will give abortion providers validation and "pride in their work."
  • A group of University of Michigan professors recently suggested that abortion providers should be more open about the “gruesomeness” of their jobs.

    Professor Lisa A. Martin, et al. published an article in the most recent issue of Social Science and Medicine, where they explain that abortion providers “self-censor” in order to avoid discussing sensitive issues such as “multiple abortions, grief after abortion, [and] the economics of abortion.”

    "It's like a slaughterhouse—it's like—line ‘em up and kill ‘em and then go on to the next one."   

    Martin and her colleagues go on to note that many abortion providers face severe backlash for speaking up about these issues, but argue that failing to do so “results in costs to the movement itself.”

    [RELATED: VIDEO: Women’s marchers say pro-lifers can’t be feminists]

    “One consequence is that nuanced public depictions of abortion workers are rare,” Martin explains, adding that “the absence of providers' voices has created a vacuum in which stereotypical caricatures may dominate the public discourse.”

    Indeed, the four authors claims that neglecting to talk about the “difficult aspects of abortion work [could] ultimately weaken the abortion rights movement,” referencing an argument initially made by the late Norma Leah McCorvey Nelson (the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, who eventually became an anti-abortion activist.)

    The professors reviewed the testimony of 96 abortion providers collected during a 2007 research study, and found that abortion providers tend to stay silent because of fear of “affirming anti-abortion stereotypes, challenging pro-choice movement messaging, and acknowledging moral ambiguities in abortion work.”

    The paper elaborates that “while participants often commented about their pride in their work, many also identified moral uncertainties about whether or not providing abortions was always a good thing.”

    [RELATED: ‘Abortion Positive’ tour takes extremist message to campuses]

    “I still to this day say to myself I hope I'm doing the right thing. That never goes away,” said one abortion provider. “There's part of this where you need some validation [that] what you're doing is right.”

    Another abortion provider expressed concern that she worked in an “abortion mill,” as anti-abortion activists call it. “It's like a slaughterhouse—it's like—line ‘em up and kill ‘em and then go on to the next one—I feel like that sometimes.”

    Worry over whether abortion is murder also caused abortion providers distress, with one admitting that “I thought I was going to go to Hell and God was going to punish me if abortion was murder—I was like ‘Is abortion murder, maybe it is murder?’ I just sat there and used to think about that constantly.”

    [RELATED: University celebrates ‘abortion heroes,’ commends illegal abortions]

    Others, however, expressed disappointment with the pro-choice movement's perpetual defensive stance, exemplified by messaging focusing on the issue of choice rather than explicitly advocating abortion.

    “Why can't we have a pro-abortion stance?” one asked, while another wondered, “… can you say that on a bumper sticker?”

    Regardless of the potential backlash that the practice could incur, Martin argues that abortion providers should nonetheless talk more about abortion because it “could strengthen the pro-choice movement” by offering “opportunities to grow, mature, and strengthen by developing new discursive messaging.”

    [RELATED: Masked, club-wielding assailant attacks OU pro-life display]

    “What kind of radical shift might we see in the nation's polarization around abortion if some abortion providers routinely said, ‘Yes, abortion stops a beating heart and sometimes I do think of my work as killing—and yet I find it the most fulfilling work I could do’?” the authors ask near the end of the paper

    Campus Reform reached out to Martin for more information, but did not receive a response.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen



    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent

    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on college campuses for Campus Reform. She is a junior at Barnard College, and also contributes regularly to The College Fix, USA Today College, Red Alert Politics, and Quillette Magazine. She formerly held a post with the Columbia Spectator and has been featured on Fox News and on the Drudge Report.

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