League protests the Medical Students for Choice conference, December 4 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
When we first heard that the group Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) would be hosting their annual conference in the Chicago area on December 4, 2010, we immediately knew two things: first, the League needed to be there to protest; and second, we had to get someone on the inside to see what our pro-abortion foes were up to. Unfortunately, MSFC knew that they would face League opposition, so they kept the specific location of the conference as secret as they could, providing it only to registered attendees. This made it all the more imperative that we get someone on the inside.
Pro-Life Whistleblower Recruited
It took some looking to find a medical student with the guts to take on the abortion industry, but eventually a brave young man stepped up to the plate. I’ll call him Mark to protect his identity, since it is suspected officials at his school are hostile to his pro-life activities. Once Mark registered, he passed us the location: MSFC would meet at the Westin hotel in Lombard, Illinois.
By the time we acquired this critical information, we had less than a week to plan the protest and notify local activists. It was hard to imagine many would be able to attend on such short notice. With snowfall the night and morning before the protest, the odds of a good turnout looked even dimmer.
But by the time the protest started at 1 o’clock, we had fifty activists on the street, and soon every sign on hand was deployed. Graphic second trimester abortion signs were interspersed with the usual picket signs and some specially made signs reading Med Students Should Heal, Not Kill. Hundreds of drivers were alerted to the presence of the abortionists’ recruiting conference. At its conclusion, I let all the protestors know about our pro-life whistleblower on the inside.
Getting Christian Women to Abort
Mark returned from the MSFC conference with some fascinating insights on how our pro-abortion opposition talks about us when they think we’re not listening. For one, they have a very low view of the intelligence of the average pro-lifer. One speaker said we pro-lifers are stuck in adolescence, only seeing black and white, not the nuanced shades of gray that they see.
The abortion providers also hold our religious faith in contempt, as well. They held several sessions dealing with religion, plus a “Values Clarification Workshop” the day before the conference hosted by Catholics for Choice, an infamous voice of dissent against Church teaching on sexuality and abortion. The message of the sessions on religion was clear: abortion providers must pit the woman’s desire for an abortion against the teachings of her church, sowing seeds of doubt that will undermine her resistance to abortion. Students were encouraged to ask questions like, “You’ve said what your church’s beliefs are, but could you tell me a little more about what you yourself believe at this time in your life?”
A list of talking points for Catholic women included, “Catholic faith is not an issue in abortion,” and “Papal infallibility is not yet a doctrine accepted by the people even though it is endorsed by the bishops,” and “If a Catholic believes she has sinned she may confess and receive absolution,” encouraging women to do something they know is wrong.
Abortionists Surprisingly Candid
Perhaps more surprising were the candid admissions made by abortion workers about what they do and how they think about it. At a panel discussion three abortionists discussed their initial discomfort with later term abortions, especially around 16-24 weeks. They said that it’s common for abortionists to have their own personal limit on how far along they will perform abortions.
The panel of abortionists recommended the students perform at least 1,000 first trimester abortions before moving on to second trimester procedures. As our whistleblower Mark noted, no medical procedure requires 1,000 repetitions to attain proficiency. Instead, that’s what it takes to overcome the moral discomfort of killing such well-developed children in their mother’s womb.
They also lamented the lack of training for new abortionists and even laughed as they called their training “sub-optimal” and “minimally supervised.” This admission puts the lie to the old “safe, legal and rare” trope, and explains why we continue to see so much malpractice and incompetence in the abortion industry.
Abortion Providers Dwindling
The most significant admission came in the keynote address delivered by former pediatrician Dr. Rachel Phelps. Dr. Phelps said that only 2% of obstetricians perform over 50% of all abortions. The number of abortionists in the nation has fallen by over 30% since 1992, with only 1,800 practicing today.
Her frustration was palpable as she saw her profession dying out, especially since few medical students are pursuing abortion training, and fewer medical facilities offer that training. “The younger doctors are apathetic and the old doctors are retiring,” she said. She put her audience on the spot, asking, “If not you, then who?” Without providers, she declared, “abortion may as well be illegal.”
Pitting Children against Their Parents
There was also a great frustration at the MSFC conference with laws that require minor girls to inform or seek consent from their parents before obtaining abortions, which one abortionist called “the most clever approach to undermining abortion care.” This is a great encouragement to the pro-life community which has fought for years to pass these measures. The strategy is working and the abortionists are feeling it.
In addition to separating parents and their children by resisting parental involvement laws, the abortion industry tries to inculcate a mindset in which one’s sexual choices are entirely separated from parental concern. Doctors are taught to ask parents to leave the room when discussing sexual health with adolescent patients, subtly enforcing a mindset of mistrust.
A panel of teenagers was brought in from New York to share their experiences talking about sex with doctors. One teen said that talking to one’s parents about issues of sexual health, “can lead to ignorance generation after generation.” At 16 years old, the girl saw her parents as ignorant and unworthy of consultation.
Liberal Bias Worn on Sleeve
Our whistleblower found that conference attendees and presenters wore their liberal bias plainly on their sleeves. At times, it seemed that the inherently competitive medical students were falling over themselves to see who could be the most progressive. For example, in the seminar on teens and sexual health, a student prefaced his question about whether it might actually increase risky sexual behavior to have doctors speaking so frankly to adolescents with the disclaimer that he didn’t want to sound “not-liberal.”
Conference attendees expressed many extreme opinions, including the idea that an abortion performed because the woman wants to look good for bikini season is morally equivalent to an abortion to save a woman’s life. Likewise, no one disagreed with the idea that personhood is a “value bestowed upon the child by its mother,” or that it’s acceptable to circumvent parental consent laws as long as it could be done without getting caught.
A Revealing Slip of the Tongue
One of the most telling stories Mark came away with involved a slip of the tongue by a pro-abortion lawyer. In her seminar on parental involvement laws, she was asked if any laws require the consent of the father. To clarify which “father” was meant, she asked, “Do you mean the father of the baby?” She quickly corrected herself saying, “I mean, the father of the fetus?”
This slip reveals that the abortionists know full well that abortion kills a human being, a baby. The pro-abortion forces call pro-lifers “adolescent” and “stuck in the realm of black and white,” but, to quote our pro-life whistleblower, “The truth is this issue is black and white. The only gray area is one that is imagined by abortionists to justify what they do.”
But it’s clear from what we learned from this investigation that fewer and fewer of their fellow medical practitioners are willing to accept those justifications. Even with abortionist recruiting conferences like this, the abortion industry is facing a very grim future.