Former Abortionists Testify/Program 2

By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1990
When a woman is considering an abortion, what information is available to help her make an informed decision? Is she told the truth about what she carries in her womb, or what will actually happen to that baby during the procedure? Is she counseled about alternatives to abortion?

With Dr. John Ankerberg, Judie Brown, Carol Everett, Debbie Henry, Dr. McArthur Hill, Dr. Carolyn Gerster, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. Anthony Levatino, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, Mrs. Adele Nathanson, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Dr. Joseph Randall, Joe Scheidler, Susan Smith, Kathy Sparks, Bishop Austin Vaughan, Nita Whitten, and Dr. John C. Willke

Editor’s note: Reader caution is advised. The transcript contains graphic medical descriptions.

Are Women Who Seek Abortions Given the Facts?

Dr. John Ankerberg: Have you ever wondered how people feel, in the abortion clinics, who are killing innocent babies? Well, in this program you are going to hear former abortion assistants, clinic owners, and doctors tell what it was like to kill babies, and why they stopped. I want to thank Joe Scheidler, the Executive Director of the Pro-Life Action League, for permission to use some of the material from his excellent program entitled Meet the Abortion Providers. I’d highly recommend it to you.
The people you will now hear testify of what went on in the abortion clinics are: First, Nita Whitten, a lady who worked as a chief secretary in an abortion clinic in Dallas, TX. She eventually came to realize she was involved in the business of killing babies.
Second, Kathy Sparks worked in an abortion clinic in Granite City, IL. She was trained in all areas of the abortuary business, and had a clear view of the questionable and appalling practices of the clinic.
Third, Debbie Henry worked as an assistant and a counselor for six months in an OB/Gyn office in Lavonia, MI. She loved children, but saw abortion as an elimination of a problem, rather than the killing of babies.
Fourth, Dr. Anthony Levatino, who is an obstetrician and gynecologist. He provided abortions for his patients in his office for 8 years.
Fifth, Dr. Joseph Randall directed an abortion clinic in Atlanta for 10 years, and estimates that he killed 32,000 babies by abortion during that time. Upon his conversion to Christianity, he realized that, instead of serving women, he was killing their children.
Sixth, Carol Everett. She had an abortion, and then became involved in the abortion industry itself. She set up referral clinics in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and worked in two clinics in which 800 abortions were performed each month. It was not until she witnessed the effects of abortion on women that she became convinced of the brutality of her profession.
Now, the first question we want to examine in this program is, “How are women counseled at abortion clinics?” Are they given all the facts? Are they presented with all the options that are open to them? Let’s begin by listening to Carol Everett.
Carol Everett: Let’s talk about those kids when they find out that they are pregnant. They may not want an abortion. They may want information. But when they call that number that’s paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think they’re going to get? Let’s remember, they sell abortions. They don’t sell keeping your baby; they don’t sell giving a baby up for adoption; they don’t sell delivering that baby in any form. They only sell abortions.
Nita Whitten: It’s a lie when they tell that they’re doing it to help women, because they’re not. They’re doing it for the money.
Everett: So this girl calls this number and says, “I’m pregnant.” “Well, how far along are you?” “What was the first day of your last normal period?” They’ve got their wheel there, and they figure it out. Now, this counselor is paid to be this girl’s friend. She is paid to be the authority for this girl. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion.
Whitten: I was trained by a professional marketing director how to sell abortions over the telephone. This man came into our clinic and he took every one of our receptionists, all of the nurses, anyone that would be on the phone, and he took us through an extensive training period where we learned how to sell abortions over the telephone, so that when the girl called we hooked the sale: so she wouldn’t go down the street and get her an abortion somewhere else, and so that she wouldn’t adopt out her baby, or so that she wouldn’t change her mind. We were doing it to get her money. It was for the money.
Debbie Henry: After the basic questions, they were told briefly about what was to happen to them after the procedure. All they were told about the procedure itself was that they would experience slight cramping, similar to menstrual cramps, and that was it. They were not told about the development of the baby; they were not told about the pain that the baby would be experiencing; or the physical effects that it would have on them themselves; or the emotional effects. They had no idea who was going to be there to help them when they fell apart afterwards. The women were never given any type of alternatives to abortions. It was just automatically assumed that they knew what they wanted. They were never told about adoption agencies. They were never told about people who were out there willing to help them, to give them homes to live in, to provide them with care, and even financial support.
Everett: And then they’d say, “Is it a baby?” “No, it’s a product of conception.” “It’s a blood clot.” “It’s a piece of tissue.” They don’t even really tell them it’s a fetus. Because, you see, that almost humanizes it too much. But it’s never a baby. They can’t admit it themselves. When they go in the back and have little six-week fetuses, babies, that they put down Disposalls.
Dr. Anthony Levatino: I want the general public to know what the doctors know: that this is a person; that this is a baby; that this is not some kind of blob of tissues; [or] that it doesn’t make any difference.
Everett: So they go through this whole gamut of reselling abortion, encouraging suppressing, and, “Hey, call us if you have a problem.” And the girls leave, and they do have problems.
Henry: One of the famous lines that the doctor’s wife used to use after the procedure, she’d come in when the women were crying, and she’d pat them on their shoulder, and say, “It’s okay, honey. Everybody makes mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers.” How can you erase that thought from your mind? Where is she going to be when that woman is threatening suicide because she realizes she killed her child, and there’s no bringing that baby back? Where is she going to be then? She’s off counting her money and buying new cars, or whatever. She doesn’t care.
Ankerberg: After the woman has been counseled at the abortion clinic that her abortion will be quick and painless, what is her reaction? Also, what is the range of complications that can happen to a woman from legal abortion?
Everett: And then there are two reactions in the recovery room: the first one is, “I’ve killed my baby.” And even then, it amazed me that that was the first time they called it a baby, and the first time they called it murder.
But second reaction is, “I am hungry. You’ve kept me in here for four hours, and you told me I’d only be here for two. Let me out of here.” Now, that woman is doing what I did. She’s running from her abortion. She’s not dealing with it. She’s choosing to deny it. And she’s the woman that we read all the statistics about: post abortion syndrome. They say now it’s an average of five years before people actually deal with the fact that, yes, they did kill their baby. And yes, they do have to deal with that.
Levatino: I’ve perforated uteruses as before. I’ve had all kinds of problems: bleeding; infection; Lord knows how many of those women are sterile now. I remember getting called down to my chairman’s office because a young lady that I’d done an abortion on showed up, interestingly enough in Troy, NY, where I now work. And the abortion had been incomplete; I hadn’t done my job right. And she passed an arm or a leg and she freaked out, because she didn’t realize what had happened.
Everett: We saw complications in the second and third trimester, but we were seeing one per 500 abortions. For over a year. A death—and yes, we had a death, a 32-year-old with a 17-year-old son and 2-year-old son. Never made the papers. Her boyfriend felt guilty for his part in the abortion and he didn’t want to deal with it. Her family thought, yes, she’d probably had an abortion, but they didn’t want to deal with it. It never came out. No lawsuit. The 21-year-old that danced in, and I’ll never forget her as long as I live. She was my son’s age. Danced in to get her “problem” taken care of. Had the extra money to be put to sleep. And you see, my job with two of those doctors was to put my right hand on the baby and hold it while he did the abortion so I could tell him where the head was, and where the legs were, and all of that.
And I had my hand on that woman’s stomach, and that baby was perfectly inside her uterus. She had been examined by the doctor, and he said, yes, the baby was inside her uterus, and everything was fine, and she was 24 weeks. And he went in one time and he pulled out placenta. And he went in the second time, and he went through the back of her uterus and pulled her bowel out through her vagina.
We put her in the car, because we didn’t want an ambulance in front of the abortion clinic, and we took her to the hospital. And seven doctors worked on her. And they did a colostomy on her. And when the reports came back, they said that it was an abdominal pregnancy, that it had not been in the uterus, and seven doctors and a pathologist concurred with that. And then the hospital wrote off her bill. And there was no lawsuit. Ever. She was told that that would have been a normal complication; it was just amazing that she had made it that long. And she didn’t know any better.
Then the girl that the doctors decided had a fibroid tumor at the back of her uterus. That’s a highly common tumor that’s very rarely malignant. And the two doctors decided they were just going to pull this out after she had her abortion. And they didn’t know they were pulling on the back of her uterus. And they pulled her uterus out wrong side out—of a 21-year-old. She had a hysterectomy.
Those are the ones that I remember. Those are the ones that bother me. Those are the ones that I have to go through and deal with and be healed of constantly. Because, you see, it was like the mothers were presenting their babies to be killed. And it was okay to kill 500 babies a month; but when we started killing or maiming a mother for each 500 babies, even I couldn’t handle that.
Ankerberg: Now, ultrasound, or the new medical technology, has done three things. First, it has greatly aided all doctors in examining the unborn child. But second, ironically, ultrasound is now used by abortionists to allow them to see where the baby is positioned in the womb in order to carry out their procedure. And third, the very pictures on the ultrasound screen are now bothering doctors performing abortions, and causing some of them to stop.
Dr. McArthur Hill: The technology of ultrasound has the ability to open a window into the womb. When a woman sees her own baby moving on the screen, it has a profound influence on her. And I believe this is the technology which should be utilized as much as is possible.
The abortionists also know that ultrasound can be a valuable tool in performance of an abortion for another reason: Dr. Sally Dorfman reported on the use of ultrasound during abortion at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in 1986. It is interesting also that she has warned against letting the patient see the image on the screen as, “seeing a blown-up moving image of the embryo she is carrying can be distressing to a woman who is about to undergo an abortion.”
Randall: The ultrasound, or the sound wave picture which was moving, called real-time ultrasound, showed the baby really on TV. The baby really came alive on TV and was moving. And that picture, that picture of the baby on the ultrasound bothered me more than anything else because, as I didn’t know then, really, you bond with that picture. We lost two nurses; they couldn’t take looking at it. Some other staff lost. The turnover got greater, you know, when we started doing the D & E’s [“dilation and evacuation”: This is the abortion procedure Dr. Nathanson described in Program 1], and mostly, as I said, the ultrasounds. So I think the ultrasound was one of the keys there. The other thing too, was, of course, the women who were having the abortions are never allowed to look at the ultrasound, because we knew, even if they heard the heartbeat, that many times they wouldn’t have the abortion. I mean, we didn’t even want that, you know. There’s no money in that.
Ankerberg: I think that you know that the abortion industry is a highly profitable business. Are doctors killing babies because of their lust for money? And is all of their abortion money reported to the Internal Revenue Service?
Levatino: Along the way you find out you make a lot of money doing abortions. I could work in an abortion clinic. I work 9-5. I’m never bothered at night. I never have to go out on weekends. I make more money than my obstetrician brethren. And I don’t have to face the liability. That’s a big factor. That’s a huge perk. As I said, in my practice, we were averaging between $250 and $500 for an abortion. And it was cash. It’s the one time, as a doctor, you can say, “Either pay me up front or I’m not going to take care of you.” It’s totally elective. If somebody comes to me and is pregnant, and their husband has lost a job, and maybe their insurance isn’t in effect, we don’t turn people away. But when somebody is going to have an abortion, it’s an elective procedure. You either have the money or you don’t. And they get it. Nobody’s going to call me at night. And I almost never, never, have to worry about her lawyer ever bothering me.
Everett: Here I was seeing doctors walk out after three hours work, and split $4,500 between them on a Saturday morning. More if you go longer into the day, of course. If abortion is such a good thing, why don’t they give them away? They don’t collect the doctor’s money with the clinic money. They collect it separately, and do not show it on any of the record in those clinics. The four clinics that I’ve been in and worked in never showed that they collected the doctor’s money at any place. That way, they’re independent contractors; you don’t have to be concerned with their malpractice insurance; and you do not have to report it to IRS.
Whitten: Every single transaction that we did was in cash money. We wouldn’t take a check; we wouldn’t take a credit card. Now, there were times when we tried doing checks, but we kept losing money. And there were times when they did the Medicare and, you know, those kinds of abortions. But after I got to work there, we eliminated all that, and it was a cash-only deal. And I mean, it was cash only; if you didn’t have the money, forget it. It wasn’t unusual at all for me to take $10,000, $15,000 a day to the bank, in cash.
Ankerberg: Next, I’d like you to listen to what really happens to both the baby and the mother during an abortion.
Levatino: There’s a lot of people don’t know what abortion is about. They don’t know what is being aborted, and they don’t know how it’s being done.
Henry: I used to think of abortion as “eliminating a problem” instead of killing a baby. The euphemisms that are used: clusters of cells; products of conceptions; or just plain “tissue;” are all lies. I have been there, and I have seen these totally formed babies, as early as 10 weeks, a couple inches long, with the leg missing, or with their head off.
Everett: I killed my baby, and I’m still not through that. And how difficult it is for these women! Because, you see, I believe every woman, even if she’s not physically harmed, is harmed by abortion.
Henry: I was told that one of our—prolife—problems is that we talk too much about the babies being ripped apart; we show terrible pictures; we dwell on these too much. Well, what are we supposed to do? This is the reality of abortion. Are we supposed to say, “Oh, well, don’t go and do that abortion. Your ‘fetus’ or ‘tissue’ will become deceased?” It doesn’t make sense! You tell them the truth, the facts! We’re not there to lie to them. I’m there to tell them the truth. Babies are being ripped up. Yes, these babies do look like this after an abortion. And, yes, it does hurt your baby. And most of all, it does affect that woman.
Everett: There are no words to describe how bad it really is. It kills the baby. And yes, I’ve seen sonograms with the baby pulling away from the instruments as they’re introduced into the vagina. And I’ve seen D & E’s through 32 weeks done without the mother being put to sleep. And yes, they hurt. And they are very painful to the baby. But yes, they’re very, very painful to the woman. I’ve seen six people hold a woman on the table while they did her abortion.
Henry: My job was to take the baby and to take it into the lab. We would take it out of the little sack, lay it in the pan. The doctor would then come in and examine it. If he thought that it was adequate enough “tissue,” we would take the baby and put it into a jar and send it to the lab if she had insurance. If she had no insurance, the baby was just simply put down the garbage disposal.
Kathy Sparks: Oftentimes, second trimester abortions were performed. And these babies, we would not put in the little jar with the label to send out to the pathology lab. We would put them down a flushing toilet. And that’s where we would put these babies. They knew that they couldn’t turn them in, or they were going to be found out that they were doing abortions which were too big.
Whitten: What did we do for fetal disposal? Well, they basically put them down the garbage disposal if they were small enough, and that was what we did. We hardly ever sent anything to the laboratory for pathology unless there was something weird going on and the doctor wanted to make sure he wouldn’t get sued. That was the only reason he sent it was to keep from getting sued. And then, of course, we started giving them, the larger babies, to the University of Texas Health Science Center.
Levatino: We didn’t do abortions any more with the saline. You trade one kind of brutality for another. I’ll tell you one thing about D & E: you never have to worry about a baby being born alive. And that’s, that’s one “positive” aspect of it, perhaps, if you want to put it that way.
If any of you don’t know what D & E [dilatation and evacuation] is all about, I’m not going to describe it, other than to say, as a doctor, you are sitting there tearing, and I mean, tearing—you need a lot of strength to do it—arms and legs off of babies and putting them in a stack on top of a table.
Everett: Because, you see, when the babies are so big, they don’t come apart like the others. The muscle structure is so strong that heads come off from the body. And you can’t dispose of those in the Disposall. You have to put those in the trash.
Sparks: The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with this curette, and so he had to try to pull the baby out with forceps, which he brought out in about three or four major pieces, and scraped and suctioned, and scraped and suctioned, and… And there this little baby boy was, lying on the tray. But his little face was perfectly formed, just like the sign you saw. The little eyes were closed; and the little ears; and everything was perfect about this little boy.
Henry: There was one incident where a white piece came out, and I asked the doctor later on what it was, and it was the baby’s skull. And I can still, to this very day, hear the crushing noise of that baby’s skull being crushed.
Ankerberg: Now, finally, I’d like you to listen to a doctor who performed abortions tell you why he finally came to change his mind.
Levatino: We were going crazy trying to find a baby to adopt, and here we are. So we started desperately looking for a baby to adopt—and I’m throwing them in the garbage at the rate of 9 or 10 a week! And it even occurred to me then, it’s like, I wish one of these people would just let me have their child. But it doesn’t work that way. We were lucky. Still took four months. We had adopted a healthy little girl. And we were satisfied. We called her Heather.
Why a doctor changes his mind is,… You know, we can talk about why doctors do abortions, and I think that the reasons tend to be or less universal. But why doctors change their mind is, I think is, my guess is at least, that it’s very personal. I think it’s going to be very different from one doctor to the next.
As I said, my reasons for quitting were a lot more personal, but maybe, I hope, that you can draw something from it. Life was good until June 23, 1984. On that date, I was on call, but I was at home at the time, and we had some friends over. And our children were playing in the back of the yard. And at 7:25 that evening we heard the screech of brakes out in front of the house. We ran outside, and Heather was lying in the road. We did everything we could, and she died.
Let me tell you something. When you lose a child, your child, life is very different. Everything changes. And all of a sudden, the idea of a person’s life becomes very real. It’s not an embryology course any more. It’s not just a couple hundred dollars. It’s the real thing. It’s your child you buried. And the old discomforts came back in spades. I couldn’t even think about a D & E abortion any more. No way. Then you start to realize this is somebody’s child. I lost my child, someone who was very precious to us. And now I’m taking somebody’s child, and I’m tearing them right out of their womb. I’m killing somebody’s child. That’s what it took to get me to change. I began to feel like a paid assassin. That’s exactly what it was.
You know, still, old habits die hard. When it got to a point—and Cic and I talked about it together—that it just wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to me any more. The money wasn’t worth it. “Poor women,” my butt! I don’t care. This is coming out of my hide. It’s costing me too much. It’s costing me too much personally. All the money in the world wouldn’t have made any difference. So I quit.

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