Cognitive dissonance. That is the only way to describe the bizarre outpouring that was shared by abortion mill worker Amy Beeman on Slate last week. Beeman reveals her contradictory outlook from the get-go with the title of her piece, “Working at an abortion clinic challenged my pro-choice views – and confirmed them.” And the dissonance only becomes more apparent from there.
Before going to work for an abortion mill (because she couldn’t find another job) Beeman was naïve about the realities of abortion. In other words, she didn’t really know that a suctioned fetus looks like a jar full of blood and human appendages. She shares what she experienced after witnessing her first abortion:
I followed my trainer to the lab where products of conception (P.O.C.) were inspected to make sure the doctor removed all the bits that, if left behind, could cause an infection. My trainer made a point to show me the tiny arms and legs floating in the glass baking pan. At 10 weeks and beyond, those appendages are formed and clearly recognizable… It was all so heavy. The loneliness of those little arms and legs.
The point of her article is that, in spite of the obvious fact that abortion is, in her words, “plucking a life from existence” (and what that gorily entails), she came to appreciate the reasons why women would exchange their developing child for an empty womb and a dead baby:
I saw so many different types of women, from teens to mothers of teens soon to leave the nest not wanting to start over with a new baby. Some women were in good relationships, some were not. Some weren’t involved with the father anymore at all. Some wore sweat pants, some seemed overdressed in cute outfits and strappy pumps. Some were in college, some were professionals, some could barely scrape up the money for the procedure. Some already had small children and couldn’t afford or cope with more. Some were using birth control, some were simply careless.
This shift, wherein Beeman accepts the jars full of dead babies as a valid price for the aforementioned reasons women had for “not wanting to carry the pregnancy to term,” may be accurately described as ‘desensitization to human brutality.’ Beeman, on the other hand, calls the adaption ‘supporting women.’ However, she is clearly tormented by the disconnected reality into which she has placed herself.
For example, while Beeman initially acknowledges exactly what occurs in an abortion (“…the doctor began the vacuum aspiration, which pulls the embryo from the uterus”), she can’t seem to face the gruesome reality of her 9-to-5 for the length of time she took to write her piece. After acknowledging the preborn in all of their humanity, she reverts to terms like “removing an unwanted growth,” and “products of conception” to describe abortion and the abortion’s victim.
In another odd flip-flop, Beeman describes the abortionist’s demeanor in contradictory terms. During her first experience witnessing an abortion, Beeman saw the mother undergoing abortion writhing in agony, and the abortionist, “told [the mother]in serious tones that she needed to be still.” There is no mention in Beeman’s account that the doctor showed compassion or empathy for the woman’s ordeal – which was physical and emotional. Several paragraphs later, however, Beeman describes this abortionist as “gentle and kind,” and “really quite amazing.”
Beeman has no medical training. She attends the abortions to achieve one end: removing the jar full of the dead, mutilated baby from the room the instant the abortion is completed to ensure that the mother does not see what her decision looks like. Abortionists are on a tight schedule and have no time for the eruption of hysterics from remorseful mothers. Such outbursts slow business and make other patients uneasy.
Beeman takes the “products of conception” to another room where she sorts through them and pieces together the baby’s fragmented remains. Beeman needs no medical training to recognize whether an entire baby was removed, or if pieces were left behind in the womb (all the parts are the same as yours and mine, just tinier). The abortionist needs to know whether an arm or leg detached and stayed behind during the abortion because the baby’s remains would decay inside of his mother and potentially lead to a fatal case of septicemia. Also bad for business.
For the abortion mill, Beeman performs two important tasks for the smooth operation of their business: She removes the “products of conception” jar, and sorts through the contents of that jar to make sure the procedure was completed. Her jobs keep the abortion business running without the hiccups of malpractice lawsuits and maternal emotional breakdowns during business hours. But in Beeman’s mind, her real job is, “holding a woman’s hand through her abortion,” and she says she finds this “oddly rewarding.” Odd is, indeed, an accurate adjective for the fragmented realities that color Beeman’s daily life.