Abortion Worker ‘Proud’ of Job Where ‘Tiny Arms and Legs’ Float in ‘Baking Pans’

Salon provides a platform for abortion worker’s story.

If you want to learn how horrendous abortion is, go straight to the source: abortion clinic workers with a media platform.

In a May 24 story for Salon, Florida-based writer Amy Beeman wrote that “Working at an abortion clinic challenged my pro-choice views — and confirmed them.” In her piece, she wrote about her former job at a “women’s clinic” where she first saw “tiny arms and legs floating in the glass baking pan.” As time passed, she embraced her work’s mission of “removing unwanted growth” to learn the “bonds between all women” and discover that “grace can be found in the unlikeliest of places.”

Druing the first abortion Beeman witnessed, on a “young, petite blond,” Beeman’s trainer, an assistant, and the doctor “chatted” about “weekend plans, “The girl was quiet and kept her wide eyes fixed on the ceiling,” Beeman observed. “Before long the girl began crying out in pain as he did his work between her legs.”

Unabashed, Beeman continued her account of the “procedure” that “pulls the embryo from the uterus.”

“She was moving around a bit as if her body was rejecting the pain and discomfort and the doctor and assistant told her in serious tones that she needed to be still,” she said of the woman. With the vacuum turned on, “[t]he sucking noises during the aspiration sounded much like when they suck your spit at the dentist.”

“The girl lay still, sobbing softly,” she finished.

Afterwards, the assistant, Beeman said, “made a point to show me the tiny arms and legs floating in the glass baking pan.”

“At 10 weeks and beyond, those appendages are formed and clearly recognizable,” Beeman admitted. That experience, she said, made her question her “black and white” pro-choice stance (whatever that means).

It was all so heavy. The loneliness of those little arms and legs,” she wrote. “That girl, so clearly suffering during the procedure.”

But her doubt didn’t linger. A self-proclaimed feminist, she grew “proud” of her job as an assistant at a “well-known women’s clinic,” where she provided women with emotional support.

She outlined a generic example of that “support” during abortion to her readers.

When it was really starting to happen, she would usually take my hand. As the procedure continued, she would squeeze tighter and tighter until sweat formed under my polyurethane glove.

“It’ll be over soon,” I’d say. “You’re doing fine.”

Then came the low hum of the aspiration machine and the sucking noises. Sometimes she would moan in pain or emotional release, or she would just squeeze her eyes shut and turn her head to the side, tears running over the bridge of her nose and toward her ear.

“This is the last part,” I’d say. “He’s almost done.”

“I felt like I was helping people get through one of the most scary and awful experiences of their lives,” she said. “Holding a woman’s hand through her abortion became oddly rewarding.” 

Because of the “rewards,” Beeman graduated from assistant and “trained to counsel” at the clinic and “really started to understand the bonds between all women.” (Forget, you know, bonds between unborn baby girls and their mothers.)

“I came out more pro-choice than ever,” she insisted. “I started to see it from a purely biological standpoint. We were removing an unwanted growth to preserve the woman’s chosen course.”

Abortion isn’t black and white, but “every shade of gray,” she argued. “[A]bortion is plucking a life from existence that has yet to have the opportunity to thrive,” according to Beeman’s definition. “[F]or us pro-choicers, the woman’s life trumps the embryo or fetus.”

While, at the start, “all I saw was the individual moment of pain,” Beeman learned to later “see a much richer portrait” or “women coming out the other side, relieved” because “[t]hey could go back to their lives.”

Because that’s what abortion is all about: the “me.”

As she explained to one doubting Catholic who came in, Beeman said, “I do it because I believe that women should have a clean and safe place to go if they have an unplanned pregnancy and it’s not a good time for them to have a baby.”

“My time working as an abortion assistant and counselor taught me that grace can be found in the unlikeliest of places,” she concluded. “I saw the deep thread that binds us.”

Like her fellow media comrades, women who regret abortion don’t exist in Beeman’s eyes.

And, Ms. Beeman, if seeing baby arms and legs “floating” around is what feminism is all about, your argument is dying, too.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.