Their numbers aren’t what they used to be. The downward trend of dwindling abortionists is a problem that’s plagued the abortion industry for decades. Following Roe v. Wade, the number of abortionists in America rose, ultimately peaking at an all-time high of 2,908 in 1982. The most recent statistics from the Guttmacher Institute (originally founded as the research arm of Planned Parenthood) show that the number of abortionists has since dropped by over 40% to just 1,720 in 2011. Fewer abortionists means more lives spared. In fact, the abortion rate was recently reported to be at its lowest level since 1973.
As it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to locate someone willing to commit abortions, pro-abortion activists are scrambling. “We need young doctors, and we need them badly. The situation is pretty grave, pretty dire,” stated Susan Hill, president of the pro-abortion National Women’s Health Foundation.
It’s been called, “the graying of the abortion provider.” Abortionists who were trained during the peak of abortion rights in the seventies are now retiring. And their younger successors are few. One reason is those who’re willing to train are scarce. In a 2011 paper published by Debra Stulberg, a researcher at the University of Chicago, it was found that only 14% of OB-GYNs are performing abortions. Abortion training is mostly conducted in freestanding facilities, such as Planned Parenthood (the largest chain of abortion mills in the nation). Only 40% of OB-GYN programs in the country offer comprehensive abortion training.
In an attempt to increase student interest and participation, pro-abortion groups like Medical Students for Choice were launched. However, the group’s efforts were met with underwhelming enthusiasm. The Washington Post reported a low turnout of only 25 students at a Maryland chapter conference.
In some cases, abortion training backfires. As students come face-to-face with the gruesome reality that abortion brutally kills tiny babies, many decide this isn’t for them. Lesley Wojick was adamantly pro-abortion. So much so, she intended to become an abortionist. But her training brought doubts. She was appalled at the roughness of the instruments. She stated, “I don’t know, (it’s) insensitive. You’d think there’d be something else besides digging into the cervix with a tooth-like instrument.” She called watching her first abortion “jarring.” The patient was in pain and her screams gave Lesley the chills. She thought she might throw up. In the end, although Lesley still professes to support abortion, she found the process disturbingly brutal. She admits that she couldn’t harden herself emotionally to perform abortions. Her decision is telling in that it truly portrays the inhumanity required to be an abortionist.
Sometimes the experience of an abortion is so profound it changes hearts and minds for life. An anonymous student recounts being a strongly “pro-choice” pre-med student. Given the opportunity, he didn’t hesitate to witness an abortion procedure. What he experienced he called “crude.” He graphically described the sound of the vacuum machine as it filled with blood, tissue and tiny organs. Then the machine’s motor came to a sudden stop. The tube was removed and the baby’s body and head followed. His admission was powerful, “I’ve not been able to think of anything besides what that baby boy might have been. I have been tortured by these images… and I was just a spectator. Never again will I be pro-choice, and never again will I support the murder of any human being, no matter what their stage in life.”
The abortion industry is also plagued with a problem among current abortionists who prematurely retire due to going to jail, having their medical license revoked or fleeing the country to prevent prosecution. Lately they’ve been dropping like flies. But that’s another story.
Because recruitment of these hired killers is such a daunting task, pro-abortion activists have resorted to other tactics at the expense of women’s health. They champion “telemed” abortions. This is when a pregnant woman has a Skype-styled teleconference with a physician who can remotely trigger a drawer in front of the woman to open. The woman then takes one pill at the office and a second dose at home to cause the abortion. Abortionists like this method because it allows them to “perform” more abortions; they can serve a wider geographic area; and there’s no requirement to physically examine the patient. This leaves the woman’s health at significant risk. Because of this, telemed abortions have been banned in Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
California’s response to the shortage of abortionists was to pass a bill that allows non-physicians to perform first-trimester abortions. It’s already having a tragic impact on women, as one patient suffered massive hemorrhaging during a botched chemical abortion performed by a nurse. This “collateral damage” is considered minor when compared with their effort to maintain abortion-on-demand.
In a case out of New Jersey, one hospital attempted to mandate that all nursing staff participate in care for abortion patients. Thankfully, 12 brave nurses chose to take a stand for life. They feared for their jobs, but knew this was a policy they couldn’t accept. As they continued to be aggressively pressured by the hospital administration, they sought legal counsel and made a discovery. Because of conscience laws, they couldn’t be legally forced to take part in abortions. I had the opportunity to meet five of the nurses and the attorney who defended them. The ladies courageously advocated for their rights and did so to help protect unborn life. These twelve serve as an encouragement to others in the medical field that their pro-life beliefs are protected.
Today’s medical students represent the future of the healthcare profession. And I believe the trend of a shrinking number of abortionists will continue. Groups like, Medical Students for Life, will help equip the next generation of doctors to be life-affirming in their practice. Remember, these are the individuals who’ll be on the front lines when a woman is abortion-minded. Cover these physicians in prayer so they may help to establish a culture of life.
Life Issues Institute