Newsweek journalist reports, "Watching my first abortion"

1st trimester abortion.jpgI wrote this morning that showing the reality of abortion tosses "pro-choice" platitudes out the window.

Newsweek reporter Sarah Kliff wrote a nice pro-abort puff piece about late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart but in a related piece reported running into emotional trouble when actually watching him commit the dirty deed:

... But I'd never actually seen an abortion; I'd never watched the procedure that activists vehemently defend or deplore.... I wasn't sure I would. I confess I was hesitant to step into Carhart's operating room....

A 1st-trimester abortion, from my vantage point behind the glass window, looked like an extended, more invasive version of a standard ob-gyn exam. A woman with her heels in stirrups, clothes traded in for a hospital gown, a speculum holding the cervix open. Carhart used a suction tube to empty the contents of the uterus; it took no longer than 3 minutes. The suction machine made a slight rumbling sound, a pinkish fluid flowed through the tube, and, faster than I'd expected, it was over.... I'd anticipated some kind of difficulty watching an abortion; it wasn't there.

At least not physically. But there was a discomfort I hadn't expected, my emotional reaction to watching abortions....

8 week abortion.jpg

When I returned from Omaha, friends and colleagues wanted to know if I had "done it." When I said I had, their reactions surprised me. Friends who supported legal abortion bristled slightly when I told them where I'd been and what I'd watched. Acquaintances at a party looked a bit regretful to have asked about my most recent assignment. The majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade's protection of abortion, about 68% as of May. But my experience (among an admittedly small, largely pro-choice sample set) found a general discomfort when confronted with abortion as a physical reality, not a political idea. Americans may support abortion rights, but even 40 years after Roe, we don't talk about it like other medical procedures.

And maybe that's appropriate. Abortion may be a simple procedure medically, but it is not cancer surgery. It's an elective procedure that no one - neither its defenders nor its detractors - expects to elect for themselves. I had (and still have) difficulty understanding my own reaction, both relieved to have watched a minimally invasive surgery and distressed by the emotionality of the process. Abortion involves weighty choices that, depending on how you view it, involve a life, or the potential for life....

Not only did her own reaction to abortion surprise Kliff, but also the reactions of her "large pro-choice sample set" - friends and colleagues. They approve of the concept of abortion but don't like being reminded of the reality.

Kliff is having "difficulty understanding" her reaction to the graphic reality of abortion that confronted her pro-abort self.

[Bottom photo of 8-week-old aborted baby attribution: Center for Bio-Ethical Reform via]


People who didn't face the horror and brutality of slavery in the American south could simply view it as a political issue as well.

Those that didn't live or witness discrimination, lynchings, and the daily humiliation of black citizens in the Old South could easily view segregation as just a political issue.

Not viewing the death camps made the Final Solution sound so sanitary.

Detaching human beings from the injustice inflicted upon them just somehow makes it more tolerable.

Posted by: Mary at August 17, 2009 7:17 PM

"Minimally invasive procedure" -- but not for the baby.

My experience as a Viet Nam vet and as (unfortunately) an eye-witness to a mass murder (Charles Whitman in the Tower at UT) and to two accidental deaths (balloonists, one burned to death and one who fell to his death) is that no normal person who sees a killing or horrible things happening to human beings is ever the same again. Being present at the death of a loved one (I was there when each of my parents passed away) is terribly hard, but even that is not the same as seeing someone die at another person's hands.

We don't understand violent death by knowing it only as a theoretical concept. We only understand it in our visceral reaction when we see it. People know this instinctively, which, I believe, is why they don't talk about abortion, and when they do, they don't talk about it the same way they talk about having their wisdom teeth out.

The reporter in this story now understands violent death in a new way, and she will never be the same.

Posted by: Bill at August 17, 2009 7:23 PM

Those pictures always make me so sad. I would have taken in any of those babies, and loved them. How can anyone do something so cruel. I have seen these kinds of images for years but they never stop having that effect. It's the reality of the gruesome killing that will never go away.

Posted by: bethany Author Profile Page at August 17, 2009 7:31 PM

Sarah Kliff obviously did not assemble the remains of the child, but only looked at the aspiration technique. That's not the whole story Sarah.

You need to go back, assemble the complete child, then take a small sample to look at the DNA. Then ask the question how a potential life could actually grow with that unique DNA from the zygotic stage, with the DNA always and completely identifying that unique individual.

Because the remains aren't potential - they're real, and the life that grew was eliminated right before her eyes.

The only differences - Size, Level of Development, Environment and Degree of Dependency didn't change the humanity of the
child, whose execution you witnessed.

Come now Sarah - what was it really like?

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 17, 2009 7:33 PM


Thank you for your service to our country.

Posted by: Mary at August 17, 2009 7:43 PM

My thoughts were similar to Chris A.'s comments above when I read this article. What's the matter, she was OK with watching the abortion but too chicken to watch the reassembling the child afterward? After all, making sure they "got it all" is an important part of abortion, and it would have shown her the TRUE reality. Not the "safe and sanitary" (not!) half. And since when is forcibly dilating a woman's cervix and shoving an instrument into an internal organ (the uterus) to forcibly rip apart and vacuum out a child "minimally invasive"? Has she got rocks in her head? Would she be willing to have someone "probe" her internal organs with a suction machine or any other instrument? Has she actually interviewed a REAL OB/GYN to see what the risks of such a procedure ARE?

This is just typical pro-abortion chicanery. Just tell half the story, we'll keep the rest of the truth hush-hush because it's not pretty and politically-correct. Someone might actually GET why abortion is morally wrong if we let them see the rest of the story. And you know, that's bad for business.

Posted by: army_wife at August 17, 2009 7:55 PM

Posted by: Bill at August 17, 2009 7:23 PM

Bill - thanks for your service.

I understand most combat veterans know who has seen serious combat, and who hasn't, simply by looking into the other person's eyes.

The big problem with our stand-off video enhanced targeted weapons systems - they so remove the combatant from the reality of the violence unleashed, there's no visceral reaction. Obviously the same is true when it comes to "choice".

I've never seen combat, but during my tour of service in the US Army I witnessed a divisional TOT (time on target). 96 rounds of high explosive artillery hitting the area the size of a football field within 6 seconds. It was fascinating/horrible.

It's quite scary where man can go...I imagine some abortionists have fascination/horror when they perform the procedure.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 17, 2009 8:02 PM

Posted by: army_wife at August 17, 2009 7:55 PM

The number of ectopic pregnancies have increased due to abortions, which can scar and sometimes destroy the fallopian tubes, blocking embryonic travel.

You're right, the real risks are generally skimmed over, or included on a signed disclaimer.

Common? Yes. Trivial? No.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 17, 2009 8:12 PM

"Abortion involves weighty choices that, depending on how you view it, involve a life, or the potential for life...."

The ignorance and/or intellectual dishonesty has clouded the abortion debate. It blows my mind that people still speak as if a human life's existence is determined merely by one's view point. There is so much time being (sometimes intentionally, perhaps?) wasted debating something that is settled scientific fact: human life begins at conception.

Posted by: Janette at August 17, 2009 8:56 PM

I have quite a few friends who have had abortions. They talked of how they found out they were pregnant, made the decision to abort and were stoic about it. Then when the day came they broke down in torrents of tears and vomit. Snot ran out of their noses as they sobbed and wailed at the horror of their choice. Abortion can be politicized and wrapped up as a pretty package but those who see it, do it and experience it cannot deny its horror and the despair and grief that accompanies it.

Even years later my friends (some who even remain "pro-choice") talk with lumps in their throats about the babies they once carried but will never know. It fills me with grief too. I wish society would wake up and stop this insanity!

Posted by: Sydney M at August 17, 2009 9:19 PM

Bill, thank you so much for your service. I have family members who have served in a variety of wars and a variety of capacities; it is not an easy thing.

And I agree with you, that seeing violent death -- or even just violence -- whether intentional or accidental can affect and alter a person forever.

I have been lucky in my life; experienced violence personally, but not a violent death (though it feels risky to say that, not knowing what the future holds). There are some things that change you. I used to view it as "I had been changed into someone else," but now I try to view it as, "I have changed into myself." The only trick is making myself into a triumph of hope over horror, rather than another example of the exponentially hopeless effects that horrific events can have.

Posted by: Alexandra at August 17, 2009 9:28 PM

And since when is forcibly dilating a woman's cervix and shoving an instrument into an internal organ (the uterus) to forcibly rip apart and vacuum out a child "minimally invasive"?

My thoughts exactly.

And I still cannot comprehend how people can claim to be unaffected by these pictures.

Posted by: Louise at August 17, 2009 10:10 PM

You see, whether or not one beleives in God is irrelevent.

What Sarah Kliff probably does not realize, is that God, who is all righteous, is speaking to her in her conscience.

What Sarah is feeling that she doesn't understand, or can't explain, is God trying her heart and mind. What she sees (the abortion) she understands. What she doesn't see, but feels, (her emotional reaction) she doesn't understand.

So, whether or not she believes that there is a God is irrelevent, because He is there, and working in her.

Psalm 7:9 (New American Standard Bible)

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;

For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.

Posted by: Marie at August 17, 2009 10:10 PM

"I had (and still have) difficulty understanding my own reaction, both relieved to have watched a minimally invasive surgery and distressed by the emotionality of the process."

Someone should remind her that she's human; it's natural to be distressed by someone's death. She has been brainwashed by pro-aborts and might want to get counseling.

Posted by: Janet at August 17, 2009 10:10 PM

Perhaps Sarah is a budding convert. We will lift her up in prayer.

One thing very striking about the story was the reaction of her colleagues. Whereas Sarah did talk to the women undergoing abortions and seemed to connect with them, at least briefly on an emotional level, the colleagues did not have question one about them.

Their reaction reflects the coldness and dispassionate distance that "choicers" often keep between intellectual acquiesence of the "right" to abortion on the one hand, and acknowledging the full consequences of abortion on the other hand. They cannot allow themselves to be taken in with concern for the latter because it gets into things that sound an awful lot like what pro-lifers have been saying.

One senses that they do not allow themselves to have much pity for the struggle these women are enduring. It is like they are thinking: Hey, it is their choice, they made it, it can be tough sledding, but get over it. Be a big girl and get on with your life.

Posted by: Jerry at August 17, 2009 10:40 PM

She just witnessed the death of a child, no wonder her writing seems a bit confused. Although she did not actually SEE the tiny child torn to pieces, she is happy enough to hide behind her words.

The rest of the story.....follow the post-abortive women around for a couple of years and see how they are "getting on with their lives."

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at August 18, 2009 7:05 AM

The rest of the story.....follow the post-abortive women around for a couple of years and see how they are "getting on with their lives."

Posted by: carla at August 18, 2009 7:05 AM

Carla - you're right! That's exactly what's missing when it comes to these abortion stories.

So Sarah, it looks like you have more homework:

- Follow through with the whole assembly of the fetal remains, which is vital for avoiding infections. Don't hide these details - you're doing your readers a grave disservice. (visit to get a better understanding of the procedures.)
- go through an embryological study to learn scientifically that the fetus was undeniably an existing, living human child, with a unique identity, fingerprints and had a heartbeat. (at 3-1/2 weeks), just like you. (visit to get started.)
- follow through with the mother, so after a few years, you can find out the emotional toll this has had on her, and that includes hardening of emotions, as well as softening. (Contact to learn just how many are stepping forward to express their pain.)

Or Sarah, just have a good deep conversation with Carla.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 18, 2009 7:41 AM

Sorry, I had to scroll down, I can't look at that pic.

Here in Philadelphia there's a big controversy over Michael Vick signing with the Eagles. I'm a football over AND an animal lover (ask my spoiled kitty) and I hate what Vick did, but the guy's paid his debt to society -- he lost all his money, spent two years in the federal pen at Leavenworth,etc. Yet people still won't forgive him, he's even gotten death threats! Yet Abortionists are lauded as heroes by the media, our president, and many others. Is this sick, or what???

Posted by: Phillymiss at August 18, 2009 8:28 AM

I agree that this is only half the story. She witnessed the suctioning, but evidently not the reassembly. Readers who aren't "in the know" may assume that all that was removed was a clump of tissue, rather than an actual tiny person with arms, legs, hands, feet, and a face.

Posted by: Bekah Ferguson at August 18, 2009 9:27 AM

I've held the hand of a friend getting an abortion back when I was pro-choice. I was 13 and I HAD no idea what I was watching.
I think back to it now and I just cannot wrap my brain around the fact that in 5 minutes this doctor had just killed a 12 week little baby.
That friend now has three more children but will forever be emontionally scarred by that day, every once in a while she'll bring it up....and we both tear up.
At the time it was a justified killing, we were both 13 years old, what 13 year old could take care of a baby? Certainly not my friend and her parents would KILL her, or so we thought. Before I moved up to Alaska my friend and I had another little heart to heart talk, this time her soon to be husband was tragiclly killed in the midst of their relocation efforts, and we were talking about death, life,
Her mom was in the room and my friend decided it was time to tell her mom of another death in their family, that abortion. Her mom was taken back, horrified & deeply hurt when we told her what we had done. At that point I felt I had something to do with the abortion, like I was the one who allowed this to happen. As we look back now we both know my friend could have confided in her mom, the baby would have either been raised by their family or an adoptive family. But at the time the abortion clinic had it in our heads that if my friend told her parents they would be disappointed in her, which every child will say they'd rather have a spanking on the rear then their mom give them the disappointed,slient treatment to them right?!

Anyhow, abortion is a life changing/altering event in a womans life no matter how old they are. Abortion is marketed like a cure all pill that has no caution labels.

For any of those who have witnessed an abortion/murder it is a hard picture to get out of your head; its distrubing and sad. All you can do is pray about that baby who was murdered and ask for forgiveness yourself.

The author of this article needs to go back and really see what 'the contents of the uterus' is, she just might think twice on abortion.

Posted by: Ak Krystal at August 18, 2009 9:44 AM

Ak Krystal: What a horrible, horrific event to happen in your friend's life and your life, especially at such a young age. It continues to shock me that people who are considered reputable doctors would perform an abortion on a barely-teenage girl without her parents having any knowledge of the event. I don't have children yet, but the thought of being a parent and having someone invade the vagina and uterus of my daughter for the purposes of killing my grandchild makes my blood boil.

People need to stop spreading the dangerous misinformation that giving birth as a teenager ruins the rest of your life. Does it make it difficult? Yes. Will your life be ten times more hellish if you have an abortion? At least.

Posted by: Marauder at August 18, 2009 11:35 AM

Phillymiss, that IS sick and I've noticed that sort of attitude in our society before. People care more about giving human rights to chimps, saving the rainforest, etc. than they care about giving human rights to... humans! It's a terrible crime to kill a whale, but human fetuses are completely disposable. Blech.

I'm all for humane treatment of animals but there is an extreme you go to. And killing a human fetus is infinitely worse than mistreatment of an animal. It's a shame people are so blind that they can't see it.

AK Krystal, I was sad when I read your story. I'm sorry you and your friend went through that and I'm glad you see the truth now but please try not to beat yourself up too much over it because you really didn't know the truth of the matter - all you knew was your friend's fear and the lies the abortion clinic told you. If nobody shows or tells you the truth, or if you didn't otherwise stumble upon it yourself, how would you have known, especially at the age of 13? I was pro-choice as a teenager (all the way until I was 18). I bought all the lies fed to me by neo-feminists, NARAL, NOW, and all the rest. And I allowed myself to be selfish enough to believe that it was OK to "terminate" a "pregnancy" for the sake of getting on with my own life (although, thank heavens, I never had an unplanned pregnancy so I never had a chance to make that "choice").

When I was 18, I was on my way to becoming a Christian. I also got married then and we started trying to conceive right away. I had started to feel a vague discomfort with abortion over time. It took us over a year to get pregnant and then we lost our first through miscarriage. I started actively questioning the fairness of how there were so many hurting, infertile couples who only want a child to love - and then there were irresponsible teenagers just killing their babies because they didn't "want" them. It seemed very unfair - why were loving, stable couples unable to have a child while others, perhaps single and perhaps not, able to get pregnant but didn't even care about their babies to the extent of killing them?

I finally did get pregnant again when I was 20, and the experience of pregnancy dispelled most of the bunk that I had believed before about abortion ("it's just tissue early on", etc.). When I saw that (very) early ultrasound, I knew then that it was all a lie. This was not "just tissue". It was a baby. Arms, legs, a beating heart. It was moving. It was MY BABY. A tiny person. I followed my pregnancy in three different books (what to expect, week-by-week, and one other book on pregnancy). These books confirmed what I found during the ultrasound.

The last few myths I believed about abortion (back-alley coathanger, safe-and-legal, mother's health) were dispelled when I uncovered the truth about these subjects at the age of 24, as I held my newborn second child in my arms. Abortion hurts women. The vast majority of "illegal" abortions were performed by regular physicians on the sly. Legal doesn't mean "safe". Abortion has never saved even one woman's life but has taken many. And now I see it all for what it is. It's intolerable and unjust.

So you see, it took me all the way until I was 24 to really discover the full, complete truth about abortion. God helped me peel away all the layers of lies and minsinformation and propaganda until the truth was finally laid bare.

It's an ugly truth but one I want people to KNOW. This is what abortion IS. These are our precious children. They're poisoned, brutalized, murdered in any and all ways terrible, inhumane, wrong, painful. People wouldn't tolerate an animal or a convicted mass murderer being executed in this fashion but somehow they make the huge moral jump that it's "OK" to treat our infants this way.

I'm angry that the truth is covered up and withheld from teenagers and even women who don't know any better. Covered over with a warm, fuzzy lie. When I found out what abortion really is, I was shocked. I felt angry, deceived, cheated, and lied to (by the pro-choice organizations I had believed before). And most of all, I was angry with myself for believing the lies.

Posted by: army_wife at August 18, 2009 11:46 AM

Maybe a late term abortion might open Sarah's eyes as well.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at August 18, 2009 3:02 PM

To those of you who have shared your stories here I thank you! It is not an easy thing to do, so I am very grateful that you did. I read every word.

There is going to be an abortion case that makes it all the way to the Supreme Court someday. Your abortion story can be used to further prolife legislation and be used in the case that overturns Roe V Wade.
Please go to and fill out a declaration online. Share how abortion hurt you.

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at August 18, 2009 3:05 PM

I agree with Carla. It is just as much of a life at 8 weeks as a late term abortion, but she should have stuck around a little longer to witness a late term abortion.

Posted by: Sandy at August 18, 2009 7:49 PM

Thanks for all of you who shared your stories there is so much here. The lies that have been told to teens, women and men in our world today. "The enemy ,Satan, comes to lie, kill, steal and destroy." The lies that PP tells teens that they can have "safe, or safer or protected sex". There is no such thing, to take your clothes off and share your body with another human being will never be "safe", not physically, emotionally and spritually. The lie that human babies are a "blob of tissue", every baby is unique, special and a gift from God. The lie that "you can always have another baby when you want it", the many post-abortive women who have been scarred when they realize that they can never replace another human being with another. I have a friend who refused to abort her first child, even when her ex-husband threw her out in the streets becauswe she carried their child to term. She knew, even though she was not a believer at the time, that abortion was wrong. She did not know it at the time of course but this was the ONLY child she was ever able to have.

I become angry thinking about how people are unable to forgive Michael Vick for killing dogs but they believe that mutilating unborn babies is "a woman's constitutional right". We are so schizophrenic in this nation, dogs are precious and deserve to be protected, people who mistreat animals are monsters, cannot be forgiven but abortionist are heros and unborn babies deserve NO protection even if born alive from a botched abortion (Obama voted three times to make sure that if woman wants a dead baby she deserves to get one). God help our nation and this world.

Posted by: Prolifer L at August 19, 2009 12:37 PM

What are the names of the children in the two pictures above?

I think that whenever you show pictures of aborted children, you should include their names. As a tribute to their humanity.

I am reminded of the time I saw a child die on the local news. It was a canned set of images to introduce a science segment. One of the images had a small cluster of cells which was poked by a needle and the contents sucked out. I turned to my husband and said, "Was that what I think it was?" He was pretty sure it was too.

Things like that do stick with you.

Posted by: YCW at August 19, 2009 1:18 PM

I saw a car bumper in a grocery store parking lot in Redding, CA about four years ago that pretty much summed up the schizophrenia:

On one side of the bumper was a sticker that said "abolish the death penalty".

On the other side of the same bumper was a sticker that said "keep abortion legal".

'Nuff said.

Posted by: Hooves at August 19, 2009 11:11 PM

Hooves, how funny... but sad because you know the owner of that car is too blind to even see the appalling irony of those two viewpoints, together.

Posted by: army_wife at August 20, 2009 10:22 AM

Thanks Hooves for sharing that. It is truly schizophrenic to give innocent, unborn babies a death sentence because their mother has the "right to choose" abortion on demand for any reason but the murderer on death row has a "right to life" no matter how horrific his or her crime, no matter how many victims lives they have taken.

Posted by: Prolifer L at August 20, 2009 11:40 AM