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Testimony of former abortion provider
Joseph Randall, MD
 
     

This testimony was originally given at a "Meet the Abortion Providers" workshop sponsored by the Pro-life Action League of Chicago, directed by Joe Scheidler. For more information see http://prolifeaction.org/providers.  Priests for Life offers their video, "Inside the Abortion Industry," containing excerpts of the testimonies of many former providers.   Order the DVD, "Meet the Abortion Providers" at http://prolifeaction.org/store

Thank you, Joe. I am very glad to be here, and I think the person that I am most glad about that got me here is God. I praise him every day for the miracle that I am here. I think it is a miracle of forgiveness. I think if I have used one term in my life that has meant more to me, it's that a man can do 32,000 killings and still stand up here and tell about it and change his whole life to now support babies, and support their lives instead of taking them. I think it just shows that true love never fails and always forgives. Really, it is a question of commitment; that God was committed to me long before I was certainly committed to Him.

To start with, and I am going to apologize ahead of time, am going to tell you a joke--about commitment. I am from the South now, so this is going to be kind of a rural joke. This is about two farmyard animals--a chicken and a pig. The chicken and pig were very happy. It was a beautiful day like today, and they were walking along a country road, trying to figure out what they could do to give back something to their master who was very good to them. They were just simple animals, and it was hard for them to think up something, but finally the chicken came up with something. Above the chicken's head, there was this sort of a bubble-like egg idea and he turned to the pig and said, I know what we are going for our master tomorrow. We are going to give him bacon and eggs. Well, the pig turned to that chicken--a very pale pig--and he said, That's all right for you to say, but for me, it's a major commitment!

As we have heard from other people here, we have to put it where the bacon is sometimes. We have to put our lives on the line, our conveniences, our money, things like that. We really have to be committed to be successful. Also, gathering together like this, I think, is a tremendous thing, bringing people that are like-minded together. It is actually scriptural--it's the Old Testament and the New Testament all gathered together

I would like to tell you about my life--how it began, how I got into the abortions, how I got out of doing the abortions, what I am doing now, and a few notes on a few of the problems that I feel the Pro-Life Movement needs to attend to and some solutions to them.

First of all, I was born. It doesn't sound like much--does it? No major feat, but actually it is, isn't it? I guess you might call me a victorious fetus. I was born a while ago--43 years to be exact--and I was not wanted. I was given up for adoption. So you see, really, in a way, I was victorious because abortions were not common then--they were illegal--and I was not aborted. Today, I would have, no doubt, been aborted, I am sure. My mother gave me up. I was around two years old and I was in about three or four foster homes at that time, until I was adopted at age six. During that time, I think the Lord was in my life then also, and he showed me what I was going to do for my life, I believe. I had some friends who were on a farm and I witnessed a calf being born. It was more than that really. The calf came out in this sac, sort of like a bubble. Well, I was into bubbles then. The Lord knew that. At that time, we had the Wizard of Oz, and fairies came in bubbles. Really, nice things came in bubbles. So I was very interested in this, and this baby calf came in a bubble. You couldn't see what was in there, but my farmer boy friend said he was sure there was something in there. He let the mama cow out of her stall and she turned around and bit open this sac and inside was a beautiful, fresh, clean little baby calf, and I was deeply impressed. I liked that very much. So I am sure the Lord was leading me, even then, to deliver human-type people.

I was raised in a religious home. A very nice couple--my parents--adopted me, and they raised me up religiously. In fact, I was very proud of that. I think some of you would remember the going to Sunday School every week very faithfully and reading the Bible--you got pins for that; you got plaques for that. These pins would sometimes come way on down almost to your knees. It was exciting, but it didn't have much substance. It didn't have much meaning to me--it was just something that made me feel good.

I got interested in medicine quite early in high school. I knew, basically, that I was going to be a doctor from high school level and I worked my way through the academic ladders up through college, and so forth, to become a doctor. I really became quite prideful about that. After all, it was a lot of competition getting in--you had to pass a lot of tests and a lot of one-upmanship--I think we are all aware of that. So, I got really prideful of that. When I was a teenager, I used to talk to God, sort of informally chatter back and forth, sort of like "Skyway to Heaven" or "Highway to heaven." I would just talk back and forth, especially, if I had problems, sort of like crisis prayer, you know. But that gradually faded as I got more and more into my thing--medicine--and as I got into college, I guess you might say I put God on the shelf. I kind of put Him up there and I would take Him down when I had a problem or crisis. He was just gathering dust on the shelf for me--He didn't have much meaning to me. I never was committed to Him at all.

Then I got into my medical training. As part of the medical training, abortions became a necessary procedure, according to my chief of my department. This was in 1971. This was a few years before the law changed in the country, but it changed in New York a few years before, and the abortion law changed, and we were going to do abortions. After all, we needed to serve women. We needed to do it in a complete way. We needed to know all the procedures that we needed to do for women. We needed to know how to do them well; otherwise we weren't considered effectively trained. Our chief said that if we didn't do the abortions, we might as well get out of obstetrics and gynecology because we just wouldn't be a complete physician. He was a very influential man. I remember that he would be up with us at night, very frequently, with patients. He wasn't an "ivory tower" sort of guy--distant from the other residents in my training program. He was there with us, so we respected this man. He was brilliant, but right there on the frontlines with us, so when we started doing the abortions, we had panels. I don't know if any of you remember that, but there were panels that the women had to pass by before they had the abortion. They were made up of nurses, social workers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and the like, to very carefully see if the women really were rather ill, medically or emotionally, before they had the abortion.

The abortions, when we started, were done by the D&C method--there was no suction then. This is where you dilate and curette--you actually scrape the lining. This took, sometimes, 15 to 20 minutes, even for an eight- or ten-week-size uterus, so it was kind of a bloody sort of thing. We didn't really like it, doing it, when we started, really. one doctor was Catholic, so he was allowed by his beliefs not to do that, but the others of us went along with peer pressure. We thought about it, though, and we felt uncomfortable about it, but we sort of did it. We knew we were going about it quite carefully, and we only did about five or six a week, so amongst 12 or so residents, that meant we only did one about every two weeks.

But things gradually changed--new technology came along; we developed the suction procedure, and things went much quicker. It wasn't as bloody and it was quicker and it was a little bit easier to take. I can't really say that any of us had nightmares about this thing at that time. We just felt kind of uncomfortable doing them. But when the suction came along, we did them quicker, and then we did five or six in a day. Then gradually, those panels dropped by the wayside. We were doing too many to really have them go through this arduous, long process of evaluation, and then the reasons, of course, for abortion--the severity of the reasons, medically, became less and less, and then emotional problems needed to be less and less severe. It was a gradual desensitization, so to speak, or toleration of doing them, more and more and in larger numbers. Then we advanced up along in pregnancy a little bit further. It used to be we didn't go beyond about ten weeks. Then we want up to 12 and we kind of stayed there for a while.

The media was very active early on. It really probably was one of the major influences to us. It told us that abortion was number one, legal, that it was to serve women, it was to give women a choice, more or less give them a freedom to grow and to take their rightful place in society where they had been kind of pushed down prior to that. We believed the lie that there were tens of thousands of women being maimed and killed from illegal abortions prior to the legalization of abortion law. It kind of made things feel a little bit better. By this time, since we were doing five or six a day, it didn't bother us as much.

In my life at this time, too, I had become married and I had moved, back in 1973, from Albany down to Atlanta, Georgia, with the Army--Uncle Sam got me. I spent two years there at Fort McPherson in Atlanta Georgia. During that time, I had one baby; then I had another baby, and I have two boys. I also began working in abortion clinics. That was the newest thing. There were like seven or eight of them at that time in Atlanta. I had been moonlighting at other times to make money to save to go into practice, because going into practice is expensive for a young doctor, and you needed to save your money in order to do that, so the clinics offered an easy way to make money. Prior to that, I had to do insurance physicals, and I had to travel all over the countryside to do them, so that didn't really pay off too well. I had to go down and work in Emergency Rooms a hundred miles away for 36, 48 hours at a time; up all that time working. And they didn't pay me, maybe a few hundred dollars for doing that, so that wasn't going to amount to much. In the clinic, I could make $25.00 for each abortion case, but we did 20 or 30 of those some days, and I remember one day, when they really got going, we did 62. That was my high point, or, you might say, low point. So you could make a great deal of money doing the abortions, it became quite evident. Through my industriousness and my skill, I was sort of appointed by the medical director of the clinic to more or less take over the running of the clinic from the medical perspective and I, myself, became the medical director of a clinic there.

Something was happening to me also at that time, emotionally, though. As it has been spoken about, I could do an abortion--rather, I could do several hours of abortions--and feel nothing. I was just a good technician. I think at the most, I would get a little bit of a charge out of the fact that women occasionally would thank me for doing the abortion. They were really relieved of the pressure that that would have brought on to their lives. But, for the most part, I didn't think much of it at all at that time. It wasn't until I became divorced and began really searching for something more. It was sort of like, here I was a doctor; I was making a lot of money; but what did I have? There must be more to life than this. I sort of had this searching feeling from inside of me. Something was not there. Something was missing. I thought at first it might be love, you know. So you take that to its natural extreme--I had a relationship with a woman outside the marriage--and the marriage broke up, and I became divorced. The sad part, of course, was that two little boys lost a father in the case. But still, I was determined. I felt that this time, I finally had it made--here I was, a bachelor doctor in Atlanta, Georgia, with just everything before me. I got all the women I wanted, and all the good times, life in the fast lane, so to speak. I really felt that I had it made, but I still had this gnawing sort of emptiness inside.

What happened then was a Christian girl came into my life and influenced me, basically. The reason she came into my life to start with is because the only prerequisite that I had for dating somebody was that they looked good. She happened to look good. So with that great motivation, the Lord twisted that around. She broke up with me, but on doing so, she gave me two Scriptures. Now that should have, under this influence, had absolutely no influence on this guy at all. You have to picture me now. I was a bachelor doctor; I had an Afro and a beard that made my face look rather round all the way; I had a leather jacket from K-Mart--it wasn't really leather, but it looked good, and I looked tough and I took Karate to prove it. I had a motorcycle, too, of course. You have to have a motorcycle with a jacket.

So this is this person here. Why this Christian ever dated me, I have no idea, but God did. She gave me two Scriptures--Jeremiah 15 and Psalm 139:13-18, well known to a lot of people. I had not read the Bible for years--you know that--and I hadn't. But for some reason, these Scriptures meant something to me. Now, she knew I had done abortions and felt terrible about them and this was to hopefully change my mind, and I kind of laughed.

But when I read them, I didn't laugh because it was just as if there was a knife that went right through my middle and it made me realize that instead of serving women, I was killing babies. This slowed this super-macho guy down real quick. But, it didn't stop me from doing the abortions. What those Scriptures say, briefly, and meant to me, is that God knew us before we were conceived (me, before I was conceived--all the babies I ever killed, before they were conceived), He had plans for their lives and they became human beings to me, in the truest sense of the word--they became babies, they became children, really, in a deeper sense than ever before. So, what they did to me was they made me feel uncomfortable doing the abortions. I just plain felt uncomfortable doing them. The Lord knew this.

At the same time, He knew that I was going to be starting to do these D&E procedures, because just at that time the D&E procedures were starting up in the clinic. Now, as you have heard about these, the babies are bigger. They are visible, they are fully-formed babies, and you are tearing them apart from below. I was experienced--I had done many, many thousands by then--so I was sent to Chicago to learn this procedure, and I did, because no one else knew how to do them safely. So, I did them and I started doing them, and then I really started feeling uncomfortable.

The other thing that was shocking to this science of fetology that may have been talked about today was well-developed now. Interestingly enough, almost parallel with the abortion movement, this (I am sure God set this up, of course) was to show everyone that at the same time we are killing babies to tell us that they really were babies. I think the greatest thing there is-- there are all sorts of details on babies feeling things and having brain waves and being so well-developed and almost indistinguishable really from us and our own sensitivities--but I think the greatest thing that got to us was the ultrasound. At that time, the ultrasound was a sound wave picture which was moving, called real-time ultrasound, to show 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. Women get those pictures even if they are still pictures, and boy, it's their baby and they put it up on walls, they bring it in to show it to me, and they don't even know what's there, but they see head, arm, leg all typed out for them so they know what it is, but they know it's a baby.

Anyway, the nurses had to help with this, had to look at this to stage how far along the D&E was, because you got paid more if it was 14, 16, more if it was 18 weeks and so on. In other words, the larger the pregnancy, the more you got paid, and the more the clinic got also. So it was very important for us to do that and to make sure they weren't too large for us to do.

When we started, we lost two nurses. They couldn't take looking at it. Some other staff was lost. The turnover got greater when we started doing the D&Es and mostly, as I said, the ultrasounds. So I think the ultrasound was one of the keys there. The other thing, too, is because the women who are having the abortions are never allowed to look at the ultrasound, because we know even if they heard the heart beat that many times they wouldn't have the abortion, and you wouldn't want that. No money in that.

So that science, my intellectual development and my heart development, were kind of running parallel at that time. Well, I was undaunted. I was going to still search for the "truth" and so I decided to start giving a little bit more. I had kind of been a taker all my life--at this time of my life, I was quite a taker--so I was going to give back to people, so I joined the Lion's Club, and I roared with the best of them. And I got plaques for doing good stuff, for myself, really--it made me feel good. But it didn't--it still came up empty, so that didn't work too well so I decided to become active in the medical community. I got active in the hospitals and got all sorts of boring committees and things.

Back in my earlier life, even in college, I was in the campus religious council, and we went out and painted churches and did all sorts of good stuff. It made me feel good. When I was in high school, we did some of those things, so I kind of went back to that. I thought maybe that would help this empty feeling. So I did that, and that came up empty. I was Vice President of the Medical Society--so what? It just didn't come up getting me what I needed.

I even went out and got into searching for the truth in the occult. This was actually quite interesting. I got into astroprojection--this is where you lie in your bed with candles on, humming this funny stuff and vibrating one toe, and then the next and pretty soon your whole body and then-- poof! You pop out. But beware, because getting back isn't always as easy as going out, you know. So that was kind of cool. But what that really did was leave me with this dreadful fear, such that this macho man with a leather jacket and a motorcycle had to sleep with his light on at night--a nightlight for macho man, you know.

That didn't work, so I said I will try one more thing (I was getting desperate, by this time). I decided to try psychic surgery--this has got to be it! Psychic surgery is it! What I had to do was read a lot of this stuff--Mexico seemed to be a hot bed for this--so I was even going to go down there, but anyway, I started reading about this, and getting into this. At the same time I was doing this searching which didn't get me anywhere, obviously, God put in my life an activist…a Christian activist who worked for me part-time, but for God, full-time. He put her right in my office, I'll call her Becky (that was her name). Becky was married and she did something very interesting. She became a friend of mine partly because she took in foster children--hundreds of foster children. She adopted a couple a little later on, but see I appreciated that because I was in foster homes before I was adopted and I liked that, and God knew that. So, he put her in there and we became friends.

Now the key about Becky was that Becky, I knew, didn't like abortions. Everyone knew Christians were those picket-line freakos, you know. They didn't like abortions. She never judged me; she never put me down; she became my friend. She loved me. Despite the fact that every week, a couple of times a week, I would go down to the clinic and do my abortions in great numbers. But she stuck with it. She also took me to church, a large church that believes in spreading the truth about the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everybody, every week, embarrassingly calling you up front to make a decision for Christ. Now, I knew about that, really. I knew about all that stuff I read in the Bible. I have plaques for reading the Bible. I knew about that stuff and I even agree that it probably was true--a lot of that stuff. But I had chosen not to do that when I was around 19, just before I went off to college years ago. So I kind of listened for about a year and a-half.

Now I am coming back to my occult experience that I dropped off at before, and I was just about ready to get into psychic surgery. I had a course all lined up at the Foundation of Truth, I kid you not, that was their name--Foundation of Truth. I knew I had come down to the point where I knew I was looking for truth, and so I was all set to take this course down at this institution which was right around the corner from the abortion clinic. How convenient. After I finished the abortion Saturday, I could go down there and take my course. The course was cancelled; I missed out!

But at that same time, I became gradually convinced that what they said in church was truth--that God did come down here, in the form of Jesus Christ; that He did die for our sins; and that I wanted to have a relationship through God that would guarantee me getting into heaven--not upon what I could do, because I couldn't do enough. I tried, but I couldn't do it. So, I wanted to become a Christian, but I knew I couldn't be a good Christian abortionist. It just didn't make sense. It's sort of like being a good Christian gangster, as alluded to in Chuck Colson's book--you can't be a good bad guy. So I was on the fence.

Now, what kept me on the fence for a year and a half was money. I had become trapped by the money; not that I wouldn't give up money, necessarily, for certain things, but not my whole life. And now I was getting divorced. By the way, a divorced doctor is known as a poor doctor in Atlanta. The reason for that is that your ex-wife gets a whole lot of money. In my case, she got two-thirds of my income. Now half of my income was tied up in doing the abortions, and the other half in a gynecology practice. I mention a gynecology practice because I didn't do obstetrics. I couldn't deliver babies. I just didn't do that.

I said I was giving up delivering because my abortions were my deliveries. Kind of a hard-hearted sort of a guy. You know, it was good not having to get up at night and so forth. It just worked out that way. So, here I was with two-thirds of my income having to go to support my ex-wife and fifty percent of my income, though, being involved with abortion. Therefore I assumed that I would go immediately bankrupt. Now the reason I assumed that even more was my ex-wife was not friendly. It took nine hearings just to get divorced. I just knew it was going to be a terrible thing to do, so I had to come to grips with a little bit of an honesty within me that said, Yes, you can wait till you finish up paying your wife off--it was only like a year or so later that I would be finished making these enormous payments. But the voice said, Do it now. Do it now. It said, Trust Me. A lot of voices were also saying you're going bankrupt; you're going to have all sorts of problems.

So, on October 23rd of 1983 (it was a Saturday), I went and did my last abortions on just a few patients. That wasn't my weekend to work so it was just a few patients. And I knew it would be the last day. And that evening, I said No to money and Yes to God, and I called up Becky. Now, Becky has a voice about 50 decibels when she gets excited. So she was excited and the next day I went down to church and opened my mouth and confessed with my mouth that Jesus was Lord and went right up to the altar and cried there with the best of them at the altar.

Then, on the way out of church, I saw this blue brochure for a crisis pregnancy center. I just looked at it and kind of felt that this was what I should be involved with. So I picked that up, and the next day I called up the center and said I needed to speak to the head of it. I told them I was a doctor in Atlanta and had done many, many thousands of abortions, and that I came to Christ the day before and now wanted to do everything to save babies instead of take their lives. Well, there was this silence on the phone. You could hear a pin drop, but what I did hear was his Adam's apple going up and down. Is this guy for real? Anyway, he kind of squeaked out, we've gotta talk, and so we went down by the lovely Chatahootchie River--a lovely river in Atlanta--and we talked. And he said, people are going to need to hear this. I am the world's worst speaker--very fearful of speaking-- and now I know exactly what he meant.

So that is what I have been doing since then. I think the centers were, at that time, parallel in my heart to what Becky did. They were one of a new wave of love that's going on throughout this country, where they are loving the women who have abortions. They are presenting the Gospel to them; they are giving, sacrificially, in many cases, of their time, of their money, of their willingness to take them into their homes, regardless of whether they keep the baby or give it up for adoption or even abort the babies. They will talk to them after the abortion, if they have problems--they just never give up on these women. And that non-judgmental, fully-accepting love I think is what really attracted me most to continue with those crisis pregnancy centers, and I think it is really what is going on here today and throughout the country.

Now, since then, what happened? Well, not only did God give me a new life, everything was completely different after that, and here is this guy who did all the abortions now talking to people about saving babies. What a twist, right? He also gave me gifts, and one of the greatest gifts He gave me was my wife, Patty, a lovely woman whom I met at church, and who had a ministry of her own with alcoholics, and who takes wonderful care of me.

What happened about my money? Well, things got a little pinched for a while, as you might expect. My ex-wife has never been known to accept any agreement for payback. We had to come up with an agreement to try to change the financial arrangements. She has never been known to accept anything, not only from me but from any of my attorneys or her six attorneys. Attorneys love me in Atlanta. My attorney uses my case as an example of what not to do.

Anyway, I had to come to grips with saying that I needed to pay back all my debts, even though I said it's not fair. I am only making half of my income. How can I pay all of this out? So I had to come to grips with saying that, No, the Bible says that if someone asks for your cloak, you give them your tunic, too. And when I came to that position and that feeling in my heart, the Lord just gave me a plan, and guess what she did? She accepted it. And I am paid up. It's been a few years now.

On top of that, it took me about ten years, and perhaps more than that when you consider that rest of my life before that, too, to gain a certain estate amount--a certain amount of net worth and all.

Since I have changed my life, my net value or worth has increased by two times what I had before, and, as you notice, in one-third of the time. You have to remember that I lost everything that I had made before--well over a million dollars worth of real estate and everything. And that from basically nothing--I used to have to eat in the hospital because it was free--my wife gives a story of my inviting her over for dinner and having two slabs of cheese and water. I was poor. And from that position, in just a short period of time, the Lord has done this. Also, I have a medical building--the land and the whole thing is mine--that's another whole story I won't get into, but the Lord set that whole thing up. I also have a new partner--a new partner who had to leave the hospital she was taking her life's training at because she refused to have anything to do with abortion. The Lord has put that kind of person around me and that kind of person to be my partner. I never advertised for a partner--I didn't have to.

I think there are two things that I'll just briefly mention in the end. There are two things that are problems in any movement: apathy and disunity. Basically, apathy is saying something like: I am sick and tired of it all and I just don't care about it anyway. It's the type of thing that can be fought very easily. All you have to do is be available and be involved. If you are involved, you are influenced by others and the point of the whole thing is that if you don't do something, the Lord is going to hold you responsible. Proverbs 24 was mentioned and it states quite clearly that if you know people are being led to slaughter, and if you don't do anything about it, you are guilty of murder. And the other thing is, time is running out. Martin Luther said, "If I knew the Lord was coming tomorrow, I would plant a tree today." And I think that's just a stimulus to you all. I know you are all active, but take that sense of urgency--we are running out of time.

Number two is disunity. The Surgeon General had talked to me a while back, and he had come over to Emory for a conference, and he had said that really, if we had gotten it all together and got united, we would have licked this thing a long time ago. The key to all that is we have to put down ourselves. We have to put down our own denominations that might tend to separate us. We need to put down our traditions, put down our particular ministries, our maternity homes, our crisis pregnancy centers--whatever--that we all consider our own, really. They are not ours--they are God's. And basically they make us interested in ourselves, and all this tends to really separate us. But we need to be united in the humility of the servant, serving these women, and what they need most is love…the love that was shown to me by God, for forgiving me so that I can stand up here and talk to you all, and let you know what's going on and what happened to my life. We need to love the pregnant women for sure, their little babies within them, their husbands, their boyfriends, their families. Love the abortionists; love their staff; love those that hate you. In the words of Mother Teresa also, "Give till it hurts, and then give some more" for life itself is at stake.

I would like to end with Scripture, Ecclesiastes 11:5:

Now our hope is in God. And even when we don't know the way, He does. And the Bible says that God's ways are as mysterious as the pathway of the wind. And as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the body of a little baby inside its mother.

So keep on sowing your seed for you never know which will grow. Perhaps it all will. And the silent least of our society are blessed by youth.

God bless you.

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