Why An Abortionist?

On March 10, some abortion supporters observe the “National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers.” They recommend that people affirm the men and women who make their living — or at least part of it — by killing babies.

Those who promote this Day of Appreciation recommend activities like sending cards and letters, fruit baskets and flowers to the abortionists and their staff, or taking out ads of support. All very nice, except that few of those who do these things understand that it doesn't help. Not all the flowers in the world can change the fact that most abortionists resent the work they do.

This may be surprising to people on both sides of the abortion controversy, but studies of abortionists, as well as the pastoral experience we have at Priests for Life in working with those in the industry — and those who have come out of it — confirm that abortionists tend to hate what they are doing, and feel that they are doing society's dirty work.

Among those doing groundbreaking research in this area is Dr. Phillip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist who has been studying for decades how and why people become abortionists, and how and why they stop. These are critical questions. How and why would someone endure the rigors and expenses of medical school in order to be known as an abortionist, with all the stigma and shame that brings? Why would one dedicate his or her healing skills to a procedure that has not been demonstrated to treat or heal any ailment, either physical, psychological, or social? As Dr. Ney says, “It does not seem to make sense how a good-looking man or woman can kiss his or her children an affectionate good-bye in the morning, take his or her briefcase and drive to an abortuary where his or her only intent is to kill and maim” (The Centurion's Pathway, p.7).

No, it does not make sense — until we begin to see the pattern that research on abortionists has revealed, namely, a pattern of abuse and neglect when they themselves were children. Now this does not mean they are not responsible for what they are doing. But if the child within oneself was killed psychologically when one was young, then as an adult, a person will sometimes re-enact the trauma by killing the child within another person, physically. Psychologists call this “traumatic re-enactment.” We don't understand what happened to us, so we try to repeat it, relive it, re-create the circumstances surrounding it so that we can master it. This is a scary and powerful side to how our minds work. It explains why a person may wander from one abusive relationship to another and never seem to learn. The reason is precisely that the person is trying to learn about what he/she is suffering. And they hate it all the while.

Abortionist David Zbaraz said, “It's a nasty, dirty, yucky thing and I always come home angry” Washington Post, March 3, 1980). As we will see in next week's column, many others feel the same today.

Fr. Pavone is the Founding Director of Priests for Life. You may contact Priests for Life at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448 or 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; Email: mail@priestsforlife.org; Website: www.priestsforlife.org.

Fr. Frank Pavone


Father Frank A. Pavone is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard.

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