‘My Beliefs About Abortion Turned 180 Degrees’: A Pediatrician Looks At Both Sides Of The Abortion Debate

‘My Beliefs About Abortion Turned 180 Degrees’: A Pediatrician Looks At Both Sides Of The Abortion Debate

Many years ago, a 16-year-old girl came into my office with serious uterine bleeding after an abortion. I called the OB/GYN who performed the abortion to ask for help, but he wouldn’t see her for fear of being sued for abortion complications. So, I called another OB/GYN who didn’t perform abortions and asked him to help, but he wouldn’t. He didn’t want to be liable for complications of a procedure he didn’t perform.

There I sat in my pediatric office with a hemorrhaging girl I couldn’t help. After the abortion, no one was there to help her.

I find this troublesome for girls who have had, or might have, abortions. Pro-choice advocates scream about making sure women and girls have the right to an abortion, but once they have one, the women are left alone. Pro-life advocates, on the other side, work hard to bring a child to birth, but they, too, can be guilty of leaving the girl to fend for herself once the baby is born. Pregnancy care centers are the exception to this. They do an extraordinary job of taking care of women after the child is born, but, sadly, many girls never receive the kind of help these centers provide.

Each group spits venom in the other’s face. Pro-choice folks call pro-lifers anti-women, and pro-lifers call pro-choice folks baby killers. The trouble with each is that their focus is on the pregnancy, not really on the pregnant woman. Pro-choicers claim compassion for women, but this isn’t really true. Once the abortion is over, the woman is left on her own to deal with any physical or emotional complications she may have. 

I understand each side. When I was in medical school, I was ardently pro-choice. I worked in clinics filled with young girls living in dire poverty, who came in pregnant with no plan for caring for their baby once they were born. Many of them lived in abusive situations, and they would be bringing that child into the same environment. The baby potentially faced the same abuse, unless a grandmother or mother of the girl intervened. I cringed at the thought of the baby being abused because I have seen the toll that abuse takes on women and children. What bothered me more was the pressure young girls (usually poor and black) feel to have abortions. Many of these young girls had no idea about the short- and long-term consequences of abortion, and if they were told, they were unable to process them because of cognitive immaturity.

On the other hand, pro-lifers, I have found, care deeply about saving a child’s life. As a pediatrician, I have now devoted my life to keeping babies and children alive. I have held dying babies born at 28 weeks and watched the dying process. I have worked hard to resuscitate premature babies and taken care of them in NICUs. After having these experiences, the idea of aborting a child of the same age makes me sick and confused.

Yet, many in the pro-life group are just as guilty of abandoning mothers post-birth as the pro-choicers are of abandoning mothers post-abortion. I believe the reason is this: neither side wants to see any bad outcome of their position. Pro-choice advocates don’t want to see the PTSD, physical complications (yes — even in the hands of a skilled surgeon), emotional trauma, and infertility that can follow a woman for years.

Ardent supporters of pro-life work diligently to see that the baby is born alive, but where are they when the baby is two?

Clearly, there are problems on each side. My father-in-law was a physician who worked in prisons and passionately defended abortion. I, on the other hand, converted to being pro-life, and we would argue frequently. The difference with our arguments, as opposed to arguments now, was that we didn’t spit, scream, or disrespect one another. We were able to see the other person’s legitimate concerns.

Roe v. Wade represents a complex problem, but in the end, every person must decide to either be for abortion or for life. Though, it is important that, as we grapple with this issue, each of us be willing to do two things before making a decision:

If you are pro-choice, have the guts to watch an abortion. Seeing arms torn, heads crushed, and legs fall from a woman’s uterus is horrifying. Many pro-choicers think of abortion from a philosophical perspective. It is an idea or right, not a real medical procedure.

Also, those who are pro-life must be ready to ask themselves: am I willing to continue to help the child after it is born?

After I witnessed an abortion, my beliefs about abortion turned 180 degrees. What happens to a child during the process is horrifying.

We must be willing to ask ourselves this: is it better to help a child avoid an abusive situation and give them a chance at life — a chance at surviving?  Or, is it better to avoid the abuse altogether, but completely deprive the child of a chance at life?

I, for one, will give a child a chance at life.

Meg Meeker, M.D., is a practicing pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of numerous books, on parenting, teens and children’s health. Learn more at meekerparenting.com.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.