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Dr. Smith's Story
I don't think I ever believed I would become an abortion provider. In the early 1960's I was a Dr. in the last stages of my hospital training when I first encountered the horrible and unspeakable aftermath of illegal abortion. Day in and day out, I saw women in the emergency room of my hospital that had gone to unbelievable lengths to terminate their unintended and unwanted pregnancies. They were the very young, the women nearing menopause, the married, the unmarried, the wealthy, and the poor all unique, all scared & all desperate.
Whatever their reasons, whatever their circumstances, they were determined. The most difficult were the women who did very dangerous things to themselves to terminate a pregnancy. The women who attempted self-abortion were scared, very scared. But they were more afraid of not terminating their pregnancies - whatever ended up happening - and no matter if their actions were illegal.
No doctor of conscience could witness on a daily basis what I did and not conclude
that illegal abortion is wrong and immoral.
Many people, my own peers even, have asked me what was the final straw, what pushed me into becoming and abortion provider and taking on all the personal risk and risk to my family. If only they had been there on October 19, 1961. I was 26. It was my first 24-hour day in the emergency room and one I will never forget.

I had been there for about 3 hours when a woman was brought into the ER - it was a very busy day. Everyone running here and was a hot day. I helplessly watched in disbelief. A woman had tried to abort her pregnancy at home. She had gotten some hollow tubing into her cervix and - and she had put turpentine down the tube into her uterus. It - It had literally cooked the lining of her uterus. She was in and out of consciousness, in and out of screaming in horrible pain. Screams I still hear. They took her to surgery right away and they removed her uterus. I had never seen anything like that - had never heard of anything so brutal.
My shift was nearly over and I had convinced myself that I wouldn't see another woman that day suffer from an illegal abortion, but I was sadly mistaken. I was only 10 minutes away from finishing my shift that day, when a doctor visited Dr. Buckley, my supervising doctor.
They talked quickly & called me. We went outside with this other doctor to deal with a trauma case. Nothing I had ever seen, even under the most adverse conditions prepared me for what I was about to see. It was beyond my experience. In this doctor's car was a woman, almost unconscious and bleeding profusely. When Dr. Buckley and I lifted her onto the gurney, her dress pushed up above her hips. I'll never forget what I saw. She had a loop of bowel hanging out of her vagina. It was wrapped in newspaper.
Another victim of illegal abortion
The doctor who had brought her in had perforated her uterus while he was doing the abortion; he had pulled out the bowel with his instrument. She had over 30 inches of bowel hanging out of her vagina. To this day I don't know how I helped Dr. Buckley get her into surgery. Dr. Buckley did a bowel resection; he pulled the dirty bowel out of the uterus and vagina. We worked to save her but our efforts were unsuccessful. I stayed with her body for an hour afterward, unable to comprehend so much tragedy in one night.
After abortion was made legal, I experienced the hypocrisy with anti-abortion protesters. Over the years since the legalization of abortion, both my house and my clinic have been under siege by anti-abortion extremists. They harass me, my family, my medical staff, and my patients.

Three years ago I had a woman who had been harassing me at my clinic as well as my home for years, come into my clinic, disguised, because she needed an abortion. She was 48 and thought she was in menopause. Despite what she yelled outside my clinic and home about me, she new she would receive safe medical care - a safe termination of her pregnancy and she knew we would keep her secret.
She told me she could not go through a 7th pregnancy. She cried when she told me her youngest child was in college. She cried when she said she could not carry the baby to term and give it up for adoption. She said she'd always encouraged, even begged other women to consider adoption, but now, this was her and her child and even if her child were to be placed with a loving family, she was terrified that her child would never understand or forgive her for giving him or her away and might even suffer irreparable emotional scars over being given away. She admitted those were consequences of adoption that she had never before thought about.
She cried when she said she could not tell her husband because he would force her to have the baby. She had thought long and hard over this choice, which is why, she was about 18 weeks when she came to see me. I felt for her,
as I would have for any woman. How could I not?? Reality clashed with her idealism and she realized that for her to follow her anti-abortion beliefs in this situation would not have been in her best interest and in the best interest of the potential life she carried. I did her abortion.
After that she came out to protest me only when her husband insisted & she appeared to be less vocal than before. We both understood her situation.
We are again in a tenuous situation. If abortion becomes illegal again, there will be many consequences. Realize that women of influence and means, even those who claim to be anti-abortion - will - as they did in the days before Roe vs. Wade - get safe - albeit illegal abortions.
The young teenage girls and poor women will be left to self-abort, or secure unsafe, illegal abortions. That inequality isn't right or moral.
As a Doctor of Conscience, I cannot go back. I cannot face those women dying, one after another. I think of all the women's lives I saved.but all the women who senselessly lost their lives to illegal abortion haunt me. We are moving ever so close to losing the few rights we have.

We cannot be silent anymore.
We must take to the streets and be heard.
I cannot do this alone.   your donations are greatly appreciated