The New York Times recently ran a column by doctor and writer Dr. Christine Henneberg titled “When an Abortion Doctor Becomes a Mother.” As she explains in the piece, “We routinely perform procedures well into our patients’ second trimester, when the fetus is well-formed and easily recognizable as humanlike, even ‘life’-like. Baby-like.”
Throughout the column, Dr. Henneberg not only wrestles with the irony of being pregnant while performing abortions but also admits that the basic line that many pro-choice advocates maintain—between a “fetus” and a living, human baby—began to dissolve. She writes, “As a doctor, I can draw a distinction, a boundary, between a fetus and a baby. When I became a mother, I learned that there are no boundaries, really. The moment you become a mother, the moment another heartbeat flickers inside of you, all boundaries fall away.”
Dr. Henneberg describes performing an abortion and seeing the baby move afterward. (She does not indicate that anything was done at that point to save the now living baby.)
She writes, “I was in my second trimester, performing a 17-week procedure on a patient. The fetus, which is normally extracted in parts, came through the cervix intact. I dropped it in the metal dish and I saw it move, or thought I did. It was all I could do not to run from the procedure room crying.”
Later she describes becoming a mother, and how it changed her perspective: “There is the fetus in the dish, the perfect curl of its fingers and toes. Sometimes it reminds me of my daughter — how could it not?”
However, despite the shift in perspective, Henneberg ultimately stayed in her career. She writes that “there is a connection between my work as an abortion doctor and my work as a mother” calling that connection “not a tension or a contradiction to be reconciled” but “a symbiosis, a harmony.”
You can read the full thing here.