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 appreciate that introduction. My wife always gets introduced before I do, so I'm accustomed to that these days.
Jeannie and I have been looking forward to this meeting, though we won't be able to spend much time in Chicago. I'm very happy to see that the wind wasn't blowing when we came in. We were expecting the wind to blow, but I see that you have the same problem that we have and it's called a "brown cloud." We call it a brown cloud, but it looks a little gray in your part of the country.
As I begin this morning's presentation, I want to really tell you who I am because I personally always feel better when I listen to somebody give an opinion on a subject if I know something about the background of the speaker. We have a lot of people from Mississippi here today, which you will come to understand. Joe's wife was from Mississippi, and Dr. McMillan is from Mississippi, and I was born in Bolivar County, Mississippi in April 1942. The Brewers had just moved here from Mississippi.
Most people think that I was named after General Douglas McArthur. My name is McArthur Hill, but McArthur really means "Son of Arthur," and my father's name is Arthur, so that's where I really got my name. My parents were sharecroppers in the State of Mississippi, and I grew up in rural Mississippi. Through junior high school I attended school in Mississippi. After a disastrous crop failure in 1955, we moved to Arizona where I attended high school and college. I entered the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1965, and I graduated from the University of Tennessee in December 1968. During my senior year in medical school I enlisted in the Air Force. I interned in the Air Force in Texas, and then went to Vietnam in 1970 where I served as a flight surgeon. Upon coming back from Vietnam I went to the State of California where I began my training in obstetrics and gynecology at David Grant U.S. Air Force Medical Center. After I completed that training, I went to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, and it was there that I met my wife Jeannie. She had worked as a nurse at a hospital in Wheat Ridge, Colorado called Lutheran Hospital on labor and delivery before joining the Air Force, and we were making a decision about where to go after we got out of the Air Force. We decided to move to Colorado. I practice in Wheat Ridge today in a private practice of obstetrics and gynecology. We have two sons, ages 6 and 11, and a daughter who is 8 years of age. My 11-year-old son really wanted to come and take this trip with us, but fortunately we were able to leave him at home.
This tells you who I am in the secular world. Now I want to tell you a little bit about who I am in the Christian world. I realize that today there are many different religious viewpoints represented here. We're not here to discuss abortion from a religious viewpoint. However, I can truly say to you that I would not be standing here today to publicly speak against abortion if Christ had not changed my life. Therefore, my testimony before you today will, of necessity, reflect my religious convictions.
I did not grow up in a Christian home. But I was invited to attend Vacation Bible School at Morzen Chapel Baptist Church, just outside of Cleveland, Mississippi, on a number of occasions. Each year, after Vacation Bible School was over, I would attend church for a short period of time and then drift away. I became aware during that time of what it meant to accept Christ, but I chose not to. Jeannie was a Christian, having accepted Christ as a teenager. When we moved to Colorado she occasionally went to Applewood Baptist Church, which is near our home in Wheat Ridge, and she took our son to Vacation Bible School there. I did not go to church; I didn't have any desire to. I was a successful physician with a nice home and a family. I had worked hard and I'd achieved a lot. My medical school classmates had chosen me to receive the "Verstanding" Award given the students who had overcome the most hardships to become a physician. Some of you will understand, though, that when I tell you that, in spite of all those achievements which I had, there was something missing in my life and there was a corner of my life which was empty.
In 1983 1 noticed an increasing number of patients coming into my practice who attended Applewood Baptist Church. Each one seemed to refer another and another and another. Then, finally, the pastor's wife came in with a minor illness. It was a very minor thing but it required some testing, and the following week she came back and she came back with her husband. After we had reviewed the test results he did take the time to present the plan of salvation to me in my office during office hours. He invited me to accept Christ at that point as we sat in the office and I knew then, as I knew as an 11-year-old, what it meant to accept Christ, and I regained my composure rather quickly and I said to them that I would have to think about it.
Well, I went home and I talked to Jeannie about it and Jeannie was very excited about that, as a matter of fact. She saw that I was quite excited about it also. We went to church the following Sunday and at that time the Lord called me, and I responded, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and I'm able to stand here today and to tell you that.
Now that I've painted such a nice picture, and that was a nice warm response, I've told you who I am. Now I'm going to stand here and tell you that I am a murderer. I have taken the lives of innocent babies and I have ripped them from their mothers' wombs with a powerful vacuum instrument. And when they were too big to do it in that way, I've injected a concentrated salt solution into the bag of waters to slowly and painfully poison them, and then to cause labor to follow.
This is how I got involved--and I want you to listen to this because this is how many people get involved. I began my residency in July 1971, and on July 7, 1971, one and one-half years before Roe v. Wade, I went into the operating room where my chief resident sat down on a stool, he performed an abortion, and then he said that I could do the next one--there were several lined up for that day. In medical circles that's called "see one, do one, and teach one." Simply stated, I'd seen one, I did one, and then I taught others to do them later.
After I performed the abortion, here are the words which I dictated, and this is what I want you to listen carefully to:
"The patient was prepped and draped in a sterile fashion in the dorsal lithotomy position with an IV with 15 units of pitocin and 1,000 ccs of dehydrogenase lactate running. Under satisfactory general anesthesia, the cervix was grasped with a thyroid clamp and dilated to a #10 hanks dilator. After sounding to a depth of 4 inches, a #10 curved curette was introduced into the uterine cavity and utilized to empty the uterine contents. Five units of pitocin were given IV at this time. A large, sharp curette was then introduced into the uterine cavity and the small amount of remaining tissue was curetted from the anterior uterine wall. The total fluid and tissue obtained was 125 ccs. Estimated blood loss for the procedure was 50 ccs with 200 ccs of dehydrogenase replacement. After insuring that there was adequate hemostasis on the cervix at the site of the thyroid clamp application, the anesthesia was terminated and the patient taken to the recovery room in satisfactory condition." (End of Dictation)
In about as little time as it took to read this operative report to you, I had become a murderer, and as I read years later, cursed. For Deuteronomy 27:25 applied as clearly to me as to the tribes of Israel who listened as the Levites shouted from the top of Mount Ebal: Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person. I did not consciously select the words I used in dictating the operative report, but my subconscious mind was obviously at work trying to protect my conscience mind through denial.
As you were listening to what I said, you heard me say the words "uterine contents," you heard me say the word "tissue," "fluid and tissue," and "procedure." They are all words which denied what really happened that day.
The pathology specimen that we sent down was labeled, "Products, of Conception." The operation performed was called a vacuum curettage. But on the operation request and report, under special circumstances, were found the words "living fetus." The gymnastics which my mind performed that day in dictating that report could not totally erase the fact that something living was killed that day.
When I was in medical school, abortion was illegal; it was criminal; it was regarded as murder. I graduated from medical school in 1968, and we already had in 1968, however, the beginnings of the erosion of that Pro-Life ethic. In 1967, the State of Colorado passed a law which made it legal to perform an abortion under some circumstances. New York and California followed, and since I was in California during my training, abortion was legal under conditions which threatened the mother's health, mental health and her life. In our institution there was actually some confusion about what steps we should take to justify the abortions, since we clearly had not come to the point of legally, at least, abortion on demand. So we sent some patients to the psychiatrist before they were aborted; some we did not. But we finally settled on a terminology which we put in the chart, and it went something like this: "Continuation of this pregnancy would be detrimental to the physical and emotional well being of this patient."
In spite of these words, it was clear that most, if not all, of the abortions which we performed were done so that the patient's life would not be interrupted by the pregnancy and delivery of a baby.
Early in my training I also had an experience in which I became acutely aware of the fact that there were a lot of patients who came in holding stuffed animals. I began to refer to this as the "teddy bear sign." As these active-duty officers and active-duty enlisted, and dependent wives and dependent daughters would arrive at our hospital, not just a few of them, but many of them would be carrying some stuffed animal with them. It was not difficult for me to associate this with insecurity and immaturity on the part of these patients. This was in sharp contrast to the patients who were coming to the hospital for other types of surgery.
Another observation was that many of them came back for their second and their third abortions. I can stand here and tell you that during my time in training I never did encounter a true therapeutic abortion situation. One patient who had a therapeutic abortion for kidney disease was aborted at about 32 weeks. The baby weighed over 3 lbs. and even in that day would have had about a 70% chance for survival if the labor had simply been induced and abortion not performed.
In my training program we really made no attempt to counsel the patients concerning their abortions. Most of them had spent many hours and, in some cases, days being transported to the hospital. We limited our discussion with them to the medical aspects of the abortion procedure itself in order to obtain their consent. I recall one patient, however, who decided against having her abortion after she came. Somebody had talked her into having the abortion, and as we got her into surgery and the pentothal was injected, I was standing at the end of the table, and she raised her arm as she was going to sleep and waved it several times, and stated, I protest! At that point I ripped my gloves off, walked out of the room, and told them to wake her up.
I wish I could stand here today and tell you that I decided to stop doing abortions in a single instant. But it didn't happen that way. As you will see, my decision was, and perhaps still is, an evolving one, and we can get into a discussion about that. I did not feel right about doing abortions, but I made no effort to distinguish legal from moral at that time. My justification was that it was legal, the patients wanted it done, and they came from all over the world to Travis Air Force Base in California to have it done.
It was easy for us to do the first trimester abortions because we were using the same procedure that you use if you remove the placental tissue after a woman has a miscarriage. The vacuum machine is used, and the vacuum tubing empties into a tidy little cheesecloth sack. That little cheesecloth sack is about this big and in it are the products of conception. That's what we called it. We sent those down to pathology.
In my second year of residency I spent two months on a pathology rotation, which is an interesting thing, and I had to come face-to-face with the contents of those sacks. We were studying the embryology of the ovary. I was in an obstetrical gynecology residency and we were obviously interested in the embryology of the ovary. I, personally, then had to search through the jumbled-up mass of tissue to find the fetal gonads, to be sure to include them on the slide so that we could study them. The jumbled-up mass of tissue was easily identifiable as the torn and shredded body of a tiny human being. It was very obvious when we viewed the slides that we were also studying the embryology of the testes, because half of the aborted fetuses were males. Males! The NOW organization doesn't like to hear that.
Even though these discoveries made me uncomfortable, I continued to do abortions. There were times when I personally sat there and opened up containers, five, six, seven containers at a time, and would open them up and stand and look at the [contents].
Many of them [abortionists] had nightmares about their participation in the abortions. In my nightmares I would deliver a healthy newborn baby and I would take that healthy newborn baby and I would hold it up, and I would face a jury of faceless people and ask them to tell me what to do with this baby. They would go thumbs-up or thumbs-down and if they made a thumbs-down indication then I was to drop the baby into a bucket of water which was present. I never did reach the point of dropping the baby into the bucket because I'd always wake up at that point. But it was clear to me then that there was something going on in my mind, subconsciously.
I actually stopped doing the second trimester abortions at that time. There was no great clamor about my refusing to do the abortions, but it was interesting to me that there was a subtle understanding that my actions were causing the other residents to do more than their share.
The number of abortions which I performed was sharply reduced by two circumstances which arose at this time in my training. The first was the twin Supreme Court rulings which we now know as Roe v. Wade, and Doe v. Bolton. The United States Supreme Court in one bold stroke made abortion on demand a reality.
Recently I heard Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who ran one of the largest abortion clinics in the country, and he was one of the original founders of the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws, tell how they had planned each step to legalize abortion. Things were going along as planned until the Court handed them so sudden a victory that they found themselves with an outdated name and they had to change their name to the National Abortion Rights Action League.
For those of you sitting here in the audience today, I would like to have you take a moment and just think about this: Can you recall what your reactions were to Roe v. Wade? Do you know what the headlines were the day that the Court ruled on Roe v. Wade? How many of you can tell me what you were doing when John F. Kennedy died? Almost everybody in this room. Well, the headlines in the Rocky Mountain News on January 22, 1973 said: "LBJ Dead at 64." That was the day that Lyndon Baines Johnson died.
For those of you who were fighting against legalization of abortion at that time, I can imagine your horror when you discovered that Roe v. Wade had occurred. But I can stand here and tell you that, for me, the news brought relief. I can remember thinking as I was sitting in California at that time that finally the airplanes could land somewhere else on their way to California and there were other places then where the abortions could be performed.
The other circumstance accounting for my doing fewer abortions was a temporal one. By that time I was far enough along in my training that the vacuum abortions were done by the junior residents. I had already taught them how to do them, so they could do them. However, after I completed my residency and moved to Arizona, there were no junior residents around to do them, and so I began doing first trimester abortions. As a feeble protest (and I say feeble), I started coding them out as voluntary abortions which upset the medical record people because there was no such code. There were codes for spontaneous abortion or miscarriage, and for therapeutic abortion, but none for voluntary abortion.
Jeannie was uncomfortable with my doing abortions, so I eventually stopped doing them in the Air Force, but I did refer them to regional Air Force Training Centers, like Travis. When I began practice in Colorado I would not do what I considered to be elective abortions, but I did refer the patients to those who did. I did do two abortions on patients who were over the age of 35 who had Downs Syndrome fetuses. Both of them were done with injections of prostaglandin into the uterus and then induction of labor. Even though it was a second trimester abortion, I justified this in my mind because of the genetic defect. I have since learned that God said, Who made the deaf, the dumb and the blind, was it not I? saith the Lord.[See Exodus 4:11]
After my salvation, I began to examine my attitude about abortion. I suppose, for lack of a better term, I was a Christian but still pro-choice. Like many physicians I know, I didn't want to do them, but it was still legal and it was a woman's right, and I encountered many patients in my practice who had unplanned pregnancies and who requested them. I also began to notice that about a third of my patients had had abortions and many of them expressed regret about having had them.
I discovered an interesting thing, too, at that time because I would ask them for the year of their abortion, and I discovered that when they gave me the date that many of them did not give me the year, they gave me the exact date of their abortions as easily as most women recall the birthdates of their babies.
Though I had performed many abortions, I really didn't know much about the issue of abortion. One of my patients suggested that I contact Christian Research Associates in Denver, which had been presenting seminars on the topic of abortion at several local churches. CRA's executive director, Tom Trento, gave me some very valuable advice that day and I'll give that to anybody here who is new in the Movement. He told me to take several months to learn as much as I could and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me to a place of service. So off I went to our church library where I was going to read about the issue of abortion. Does that seem funny to anybody here? Well, there wasn't a single book in the church library on the issue of abortion. So I went out and I bought about 30 of them and found that many of the books repeated the same information over and over again. I did spend a lot of time reading and gathering information before an actual opportunity was presented for me to share these views with others.
Our pastor had a Sunday night talk show on KWBI-Radio in Denver and he invited me to come on that show on several occasions to share my experiences. There were several young women listening to the first program who were actually considering abortions, and they came later and told the pastor that. One of them actually attended our church and was scheduled for an abortion on the Wednesday following the Sunday night show. About six months later I had the personal privilege of delivering that baby and watching her grow as an individual as she placed the baby for adoption in a Christian home. God allowed me at that point to personally see the good that can come from speaking out against evil.
We were attending a Southern Baptist Church and in June 1984 the Southern Baptist Convention met in Kansas City and they passed a very strongly worded resolution against abortion, and I was really happy about that. I was happy to see that my denomination was willing to take a stand against abortion, but I was astounded when I found out that the vote was 51 to 49 percent. I just couldn't understand how 49% of the messengers at that convention could vote against the resolution if they knew what abortion really was.
In many conversations with members of my own church, however, I sadly concluded that they didn't know what abortion was. This gave me an immediate goal to educate the people within my own church and other Southern Baptist churches in Colorado. Our pastor suggested we develop an educational program for the church. So we organized a group which became known as LAMP - Life Awareness Ministry Project. LAMP'S goal was and is to provide educational programs to heighten the Christian awareness on the life issues and to encourage active participation by the Christian community in the movement to protect human life. We believe that every human life is a gift from God and that individual human life begins with fertilization. We believe that God has an appointed time for each of us to be born and for each of us to die.
When I looked to the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention for materials to use for our Life Awareness Sunday, I discovered that their pamphlet dealing with abortion reflected more of a pro-choice view than a Pro-Life one. There was not one single Biblical quotation and the references included the research arm of Planned Parenthood (The Alan Gutmacher Institute), and the general counsel for Planned Parenthood was also listed. One of the pamphlets which the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention was distributing was even entitled, "Planned Parenthood." I was crushed to find out that the Christian Life Commission executive director and several ethicists from Southern Baptist seminaries had signed a letter of concern for the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights in 1977.
About the same time I also discovered a quotation in the February 1973 issue of Christianity Today which said: "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always therefore seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed." This statement was made by none other than Dr. W. A. Crisswell of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention. This pro-choice statement crushed me.
Have you ever turned onto a highway, pushed down on the accelerator, reached a cruising speed, and then saw something just a little unfamiliar and thought you were going in the wrong direction? Well, suddenly I thought just that. I had to be going in the wrong direction. If the executive director of the Christian Life Commission, several Southern Baptist ethics professors and Dr. Crisswell, who is known throughout the Southern Baptist Convention as the pastor, felt that abortion was okay with God, who was I, as a newborn in Christ, to challenge that? Could it be that they were right and I was wrong?
So what I did at that time was pull off the highway and survey the surroundings. I reread many of the books that I had read earlier. I read in Dr. Paul Brown's book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, "Our brains can be so occupied sorting through the blizzard of information that our response is helpless inactivity." Well, I felt that helpless inactivity. But Dr. Brown then goes on to say: "For this reason, I think the Bible encourages us to ground ourselves in contact with God and His Word so thoroughly that our Christian actions become like reflexes to us."
I'd been reading my Bible and I turned to it again for guidance. I looked for something like: I am the Lord God and I detest the shedding of innocent blood. Thou shalt not kill unborn children within their mothers, wombs. The punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah will fall upon any nation which allows abortion, but if you choose life I will bless you.
That's what I wanted to find. But I could never find it in one place in that way. In seeking God's prohibition of abortion in the Scriptures, I made an amazing discovery, and that is the word "abortion" is never mentioned in the Bible. But then again, neither is nuclear war, AIDS, pornography, and a whole host of other evils which befall modern man. I was drawn to the Sixth Commandment in Exodus 20:13, Thou Shalt Not Kill, which in the new international version reads: Thou Shalt Not Murder.
What evidence do we have that this applies to the unborn? I returned to the Scriptures and I read in Psalm 139:13-16: As David sings before the Lord, for you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
What a beautiful description of fetal development! Your eyes saw my unformed body and you knit me together in my mother's womb.
In the Crisswell Study Bible, published in 1978, five years after Dr. Crisswell had made that quotation in Christianity Today, I found these words referring to Psalm 139. The Bible thus avows that personhood exists from the very moment of conception. This is a very important matter in the question of abortion. Abortion to cover up sin or to escape responsibility is nothing less than murder.
I read on in the Scriptures and found in Jeremiah 1:4, God calling Jeremiah with these words: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sat you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Once again God refers to life before birth.
But the greatest evidence contained within the Bible for how God views the unborn is found in His method of sending His Son to live among us. Our omnipotent God could have sent His Son as a babe in a manger, as a 12-year-old who walked into a temple to discuss matters with his elders, or as a 30-year-old man who wandered in from the wilderness. But instead He chose to send His Son as a single-cell individual to grow within Mary's body, to communicate with His cousin, John the Baptist, while both were within their mother's wombs, and to experience birth, life, and death as each of us has and will experience. In addition to these normal events in the human life cycle, He overcame death in His glorious resurrection, leading the way for those who trust in Him to also experience a glorious resurrection upon His return.
I believe that life is a gift from God, and I believe that God has directed me to lead Christians to an awareness of the sanctity of human life and to encourage active participation by the Christian community to protect all life.
Proverbs 24:11-12, very familiar to most of you, and influences me greatly. When we are told to rescue those being led away to death and to hold back those staggering towards slaughter. But there is an admonition in that too. If you say, but we knew nothing about it, does not he who tests the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
There are some who would say that that's Old Testament, and we ought to disregard it since we're now under grace. But I remind you that Jesus said in Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law of the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. He essentially restated Proverbs 24:11-12 in Matthew 25:40 and 45, when he said: I tell you the truth. Whatever you did for one of the least for these brothers of mine, you did for me, and I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
All of my reading confirmed to me that I should continue along the path which I had started. I began to contact Southern Baptist Churches in Colorado and I offered to assist the pastors in putting together programs for their churches. In searching for materials to use in the presentation, I discovered that there were many Right-to-Life organizations affiliated with the religious groups, but I was unable to find out anything about a Southern Baptist group. Several months after I had begun doing this work, I was reading a book by Carl Landwehr, entitled, Involving your Church in the Right-to-Life Issue when I found the address for Southern Baptists for Life. I contacted them and I discovered that the people involved in that were doing the same thing in their parts of the country that I was doing in Colorado. I began to attend their meetings and eventually was elected to the Board of Directors where I now serve as their Vice President. Without support from any Southern Baptist Convention agency, Southern Baptists for Life has worked to educate the messengers at each of the past conventions by passing out literature outside the convention halls and by introducing resolutions on the floor of the convention. Sometimes the odds were so overwhelming to us, but not nearly as bad as they were in the 1970s….
At our annual meeting in June in San Antonio, Dr. Holbrook shared the heartache which he felt when he couldn't find other Baptists to join him in the fight for life. He became one of four major national speakers who toured the Right-to-Life meetings around the country during the early days, and rarely was given a chance to speak to a Baptist group. He jokingly told us at this meeting that he had been made an honorary member of the Knights of Columbus because he spoke at so many of their meetings. Eventually, seemingly without much success, he stopped speaking and he returned to his pastorate, dejected. Though it seemed to him that he had had little effect on Baptists, it was his efforts that provided the initial awakening for many Southern Baptists and actually was the beginning of Southern Baptists for Life. At that meeting we were able to share with him how the Lord had blessed the efforts that he had made, and also our efforts, as we have seen several Pro-Life men elected to positions of influence within the Southern Baptist Convention now. Dr. Richard Land is the new executive director of the Christian Life Commission. Dr. Larry Lewis, who served with me on the Executive Board of Southern Baptists for Life, and who was one of those influenced by Dr. Holbrook's early work is now serving as president of the Home Mission Board. The Home Mission Board is the group which runs the Cellar's Home in New Orleans for unwed mothers and is developing a program to help Southern Baptist churches establish ministries to women with crisis pregnancies.
The third Sunday of January has been established officially as the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. The Sunday School Board, which produces about 150,000,000 pieces of literature each year, and which has made it a policy to avoid the subject of abortion in their literature, will actually begin to produce Sunday School lessons for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, and will appear at our Quarterlies in 1991.
During the time that I have been involved in an educational Pro-Life ministry, I have been blessed to have the support and the encouragement of my wife, Jeannie. At first I feared that her reaction would be a negative one. I need not have feared. In fact, in Colorado Pro-Life circles, I am known as Jeannie Hill's husband.
While the Lord was preparing me for a ministry of education, He was preparing her for the role of an activist. About three years ago, Jeannie formed a group called Sidewalk Counselors for Life, which counsels in front of Denver's Planned Parenthood abortion facility. She has written a sidewalk counseling workbook which has been widely distributed.
Shortly after she began Sidewalk Counselors for Life, an ethics complaint was registered against me with the Colorado Medical Society by Sherrie Tepper, the executive director of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. It was interesting for me to have an avid feminist suggest that I should somehow control my wife's activities. I would much rather have the Holy Spirit in charge of Jeannie's activities.
Although there have been a few times, as I was writing out checks to Jeannie's lawyers, that I wished that I had taken Ms. Tepper's advice.
At the time that Jeannie was forming Sidewalk Counselors for Life, I purchased an ultrasound machine for my office. When they are able to talk the girls going into the abortuary out of it, they offer them an ultrasound so that they can actually see the baby that was inside the uterus. This did cause some inconvenience for me at the office. But as we all know from The Silent Scream, 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 the 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 of 1986. She recommended that it be used in all abortions performed after 12 weeks to accurately assess fetal age, as a teaching tool, and as a means of enhancing safety. It is interesting that they are doing all of these things to enhance safety when it's such a safe procedure before they started using it. It is interesting also that she has warned against letting the patients 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." She stressed that the screen should be turned away from the patient. She also addressed its effect on staff members and stated they may need opportunities for venting their feelings and for reconfirming their priorities. What they really need to do is to look at the moving image on the screen and realize that they are about to take the life of a living human being.
As I close my presentation today, it should be obvious to you that my participation in abortion was not as an avid abortion proponent, but as a reluctant puppet in a world gone berserk. Unfortunately, there are many such puppets today without the courage to admit that what they are doing is wrong, and every year there are more puppet physicians and nurses who are added to this number.
I have had the opportunity to speak to groups of medical students and nurses in training, and my advice to them has always been when they are asked to provide abortion services and to get involved, they should simply say no from the beginning.
My advice to you, Pro-Lifers in this audience, is 1) to keep up the work that you are doing; and 2) to step up your activities. As Joe said, Roe v. Wade is going down this year. I will also state to you that never at any time when I was performing abortion at a facility was anybody outside protesting that. The presence of picketers outside a hospital or a doctor's office can have a profound effect on encouraging someone to say no.
I spoke to a group called Lutherans for Life in Denver. They asked me to come and speak to them and I didn't realize what effect that was going to have. After I had finished my presentation the pastor got up and he said: We have been talking for two years. On Saturday morning join me at Luther Hospital where we will begin picketing. That's my hospital. Lutherans for Life have been picketing my hospital now for about two years. Last year I got a call from one of the doctors on staff who performed abortions in his office. He was calling to find out how he could get his name off the picket signs. I told him the answer was simple. Stop doing abortions. He did, and his name came off the signs.
Jeannie and I have a presentation for Joe today. There is a very long story behind this so we won't tell it all, but the sign we are about to present to Joe was designed after a Denver Judge told Jeannie that she had to be more creative in her activities. On one side is a picture of a 10-week preborn child and on the other side are the innocuous words, "The Killing Place." Now, believe it or not, this sign got Jeannie and a friend of hers arrested and later got Bishop Moat from Denver arrested--for carrying that sign. It's quite innocuous. It just simply states the truth, and I'd be willing to stand in any court room in this country to testify that at any place performing abortions that that sign is displayed in, is stating the truth. It is The Killing Place. Now we understand that Joe also has a couple of favorite abortionists, so we made provision for them with these placards which can be placed over the word, "The." If those abortionists are in this audience today, I would encourage them to stop their activities. We have another change which can take place with these. That is: The Killing Must Stop. So there are a number of different things that you can use.
I was very, very pleased to see today that there were bumper stickers around here which are black with gold coloring on them and I'm just really thrilled about that. You've all got to get some of those and put them on your cars.
Jeannie wants me to remind you that you can put a yardstick inside there and use it to hold it up quite nicely. It works very well, Joe, when you use it in that way. She has another sign which she has used which is extremely effective. This sign is visible from a very long way away. This is Baby Choice. Most of you involved in the Pro-Life Movement have seen Baby Choice. On the reverse side is a tiny hand on Jeannie's palm, a 17-week baby that was aborted, and, of course, the gold on black background, the word, "Victim." This sign is very, very visible. I would certainly encourage any of you to utilize the same techniques. We have a few of these signs for sale if you are interested in using them.
In closing, I would like to thank Joe for giving me this opportunity to come and to share my experiences with you.
Remarks by Joe Scheidler:
I want to thank this young man for his excellent talk today, giving us some insights which I think are absolutely crucial. McArthur Hill may not remember this, but I started his Pro-Life speaking campaign on a radio show in Denver. The host of the show said, wouldn't it be wonderful to have somebody who had actually done abortions to come on this show. And I said, there's a guy out there listening right now, he'll be glad to come on in two weeks, McArthur Hill. This guy didn't want to go public, but he has, and isn't he doing a great job?
Questions Addressed to Dr. Hill
Q. Do you have much knowledge of back-alley abortions before it was legal and whether or not the abortionists became the front-alley abortionists afterwards.
A. I really do not have any experience with that. I can tell you that when I was in my training before I went into the Air Force that it was quite common to have patients come into the Emergency Room at 5:00 in the afternoon bleeding. On a couple of occasions I elicited responses that they had been to the doctor's office and started bleeding after they had seen the doctor, that some procedure had been performed in the office. They did not want their pregnancies. But I had no evidence like you are asking about.
Q. Did the Air Force provide the transportation from around the world? What is the volume? Does the government pay for the abortions?
A. They paid for everything. If you were a dependent daughter or active-duty if you are in the Air Force, they would fly you from anywhere in the world to Travis Air Force Base to have the abortion. The total number of abortions performed there, I'm not familiar with those total numbers, but we used to dread seeing the airplanes coming in, because whenever the airplanes landed, they always had somebody with an advanced pregnancy to have an abortion.
Q. Were there other branches of the service involved?
A. Yes, these were not just Air Force dependents. These were dependents from all branches of the service.
Q. What sort of post-op problems do you have with the traveling abortionist who comes in and does the abortion and leaves? What danger do you put the woman in at the abortion?
A. There are considerable dangers. As a matter of fact, just in this most recent issue of National Right-to-Life News is an article about an abortionist who performed an abortion, walked out of the clinic while the patient was still bleeding. He was traveling, and if you put miles between you and cities between you and the patient immediately after the abortions are performed, then frequently there are complications like this where the patient's life is at risk. Many of these patients show up in the local Emergency Rooms and are treated then for their complications after the clinic hours are over. I have personally been called to the Emergency Room to take care of women who have had abortions, young girls whose parents had no knowledge of the abortion, and I've discovered that they have had the abortion after I have examined them. This happens all the time.
Q.I am pregnant with our seventh baby. Over the last fourteen years we have seen such a change in OB practices and when we went in for our first visit this time, we were handed many more brochures that talked about many more tests that should be done in utero. When we questioned the doctor, he said, we have to do this because of the laws. Even though we challenged that, he said it is the OB doctors themselves that are coming up with these tests in the laws. How do the OB doctors police themselves?
A. Basically, this issue revolves around how we, as obstetricians and gynecologists have to approach the patient in obstetrics today with all these forms. The issue is not mostly legal in the sense that there are not laws that say, in many states anyway, that you have to provide this information. We are specifically talking about, I am sure, alpha-feta protein testing, testing for Downs Syndrome, and that sort of thing with amniocentesis. It is a medical/legal matter, and that's the issue that we face today as obstetricians when we have pregnant women come in. The State of California, and I believe Arizona, now requires that alpha-feta protein be offered to the patient. Alphafeta protein is a test with the mother's blood to test for the presence of alpha-feta protein which can sometimes indicate if it is high, a baby with spina bifida, meningoencephalocele and encephalocele; if it is low, with Downs Syndrome. It is a standard of care in our community, and therefore, I, as a physician have to offer that test to the patient. I also have to offer every woman over the age of 35 an amniocentesis and tell her that the incidence of Downs Syndrome is such-and-such at her age. I can also, at the same time, tell them that I won't do either of those things, but there are facilities that are available. Now I have to tell them that because if I don't, it's called abandonment if we do not tell them that information. In many instances now the physicians are requiring the patients to refuse the test. In other words, you have to sign a statement which says I understand what alpha-feta protein is all about and I do not want the test.
Q. I have become a participant in Rescue. I have noticed that most of the abortion clinics where there are Rescues where people put their bodies between the abortionist and the victim say that abortions go on as usual. These people are creating an inconvenience, but the abortions are going on. What do you believe would be the reaction of a so-called doctor who was performing abortions under those circumstances?
A. I do know that it puts you under an unusual amount of stress. I've heard doctors who have made that comment when they are operating under those conditions--that it does make a stressful situation. Unless every clinic has someone outside every day doing this, I don't think that it cuts down on the total number of abortions unless you can reach those girls during that time and tell them that they shouldn't have the abortion, and actually do something about it at that point in time. Because they simply double-up their schedule whenever you go away. Most of the abortions performed in this country today, by the way, are not performed in hospitals; they're not performed in the abortion clinics that you see that have a name like Reproductive Health Services splattered all over them. They are done in doctors' offices. Within a briefcase as small as that case right there, I could have brought in the equipment necessary to do an abortion to this room right now. It is very easy and it is being done in doctors, offices.