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My Hour with an Abortion Doctor, Part 2: “It looks like a human”

March 5, 2010

“Yes, it does look like that, it looks like a human.”

Dr. Deborah Oyer, MD, took a brief pause to open up her lecture to questions from the audience.

A young woman raised her hand to ask at what point the pregnancy is considered and embryo, and at what point it becomes a fetus:

The exact definition depends on what line of medicine you are in, explained Oyer, “It’s first an embryo, and then somewhere in the 8 to 10 week range… it becomes a fetus, Ok? And then when it’s born, it becomes a baby, and in medicine, not until it’s born, does it becomes a baby. If you’re a woman having a baby you want to have, it’s a baby from the minute you know it’s still an embryo.”

As the questioning continued, it became clear that certain messages from the pro-life movement had left an impression on the students. For the most part, Oyer confirmed the so-called “anti-choice propaganda”. When asked about pro-life billboards, and at what point the embryo has a heartbeat, Oyer replied that somewhere between three and four weeks from when the woman becomes pregnant, “we will start seeing what we call ‘cardiac activity’ on the ultrasound…before you can even see the embryo, you will see this little flicker”.

What about the graphic images used in protests? A student described a photograph she had seen of a fetus that looked like a baby, resting on a quarter. “Is that a fabricated thing?” she asked.

“No,” Oyer answered definitively, “the first trimester is about formation, so at the end of the first trimester you have an alien looking human [fetus]…”  She estimated that in order to fit on the surface of a quarter, the fetus would be approximately 10 weeks old. “Yes, it does look like that, it looks like a human…at the end of the first trimester, and really after about 9 weeks, it looks like an alien and a human”.
 
Oyer prides herself in telling the truth to her patients regarding fetal development, “I will not lie about what I see…if I have a patient who’s 13 weeks [pregnant] and they say ‘it’s just a collection of cells, right?’ No, not actually, it’s not at this point, and I’ll talk to them about what it actually is…but I will not lie.”
 
When asked how many patients decide not to go through with the abortion, Oyer answered, “not many”, pointing to the fact that she is not a primary care physician and by the time patients get to her, they have usually made up their minds. Even so, “probably a few times a week, we have more of a discussion, and a few times a month someone walks out, often they come back, they just need more time…”
 
How many do you do a day?”

“It depends on our scheduling,” said Oyer, then in passing, she added, “lately we haven’t been as full.” I was probably the only one in the room who took joy in that simple statement.  But then the sobering truth was revealed: “We, in the real world, try to schedule 12 in the morning and 12 in the afternoon, but that accounts for a no-show rate and if they all show up, we have to shoot ourselves at the end of the day”. I wondered if other lines of medical care, say dentistry, or ophthalmology, must figure in similar “no-show rates”.

It was my turn to ask a question. Referring back to Oyer’s comments about fetuses being born alive, I asked if this was something she had experienced in her own practice:

“I go to 18 weeks, so no, I don’t see that. Um, And so the injection is one of the reasons for that…and ‘born alive’ and ‘able to live’ are two entirely different things.”  There can be, she explained “fetuses who are breathing when the come out in there early 20’s weeks and if you resucitate them they can live.  And your definition of live and mine might be different…So can it happen? Yes, we certainly try to not have it happen, for everybody’s sake”.

Her confidence was chilling.

I was reminded of Fr. Frank Pavone’s words at the “It’s About Life” conference last year: It is not the children who are most harmed by abortion. It is not even the mothers. It is the abortionists.

Children who die from abortion are immediately entrusted into the hands of loving and just God. Women who suffer through the pain of abortion often make the choice in vulnerability and fear. Frequently they do not fully grasp the ramifications of their decision until years later. And yet all the while, like the rest of us, they have the ever-present offer of grace and healing found in Christ, if they would only turn to Him.  

Abortion doctors are not beyond the reach of God’s grace, but unlike the women who seek their services, they cannot claim ignorance. They know what they are doing, and yet  through a perverse form of exposure therapy, they have immunized themselves against the call of their conscience. “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.” (Eph. 4:18)

There is a common sentiment among some circles, that the primary means to ending abortion is through “enlightenment” (i.e. once people know the facts about fetal development and abortion, they will choose life). In many instances, this is true. Abby Johnson, former clinic director for Planned Parenthood, is proof of this. Last year she made waves across the nation by quitting her job and joining the pro-life movement after witnessing an ultrasound of an abortion for the first time. She saw the truth, and it set her free.

Abortionists, however, are beyond the pale of natural enlightenment. Everday they behold the full horror of their craft, witnessing first hand that the object of their destruction “looks like a human”.  In the case of Oyer, this is not simply a career choice,  but the very thing that defines her life. She went on to explain how working with patients as an abortionist is “really who I am, it’s what I become, and I love it.”

What drives a woman, a mother, into such a career? What inspires her to stay there? We would soon find out.

To be continued…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Monica permalink
    March 5, 2010 7:31 pm

    Wow Terra, what a powerful article. The dual reasoning of “it’s a baby if it’s wanted, a fetus if it’s not wanted” never ceases to astound me. If I had all the money in the world, I would run a TV ad using the same philosophy on blond two 2-year-old girls.

    “Here is Suzy, she’s a beautiful child who is wanted. Here is Jenny, she is a product of an unwanted pregnancy. It’s never ok to abuse or even speak harshly to Suzy in public since she is a wanted child. Because Jenny is an unwanted child, it’s ok to kill her with whatever methods are handy.”

    It would be difficult to make it family-friendly watching, however.

  2. peter permalink
    March 7, 2010 2:35 am

    I do not think I could have sat through that. I am sickened and horrified just reading a partial account. Thank you for “going undercover.”

  3. March 13, 2010 4:20 am

    It’s amazingly brave of you to go to this. It was freaky what he said about it being a baby if it’s wanted.

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