Why An Abortionist?
by Fr. Frank Pavone
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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 someone becomes an abortionist, 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/her children an
affectionate good-bye in the morning, take his/her briefcase and drive to an
abortuary where his/her only intent is to kill and maim” (The Centurion’s
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 the person was young, then as an adult,
that 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
mind works. 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
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
Priests for Life announces a "Day of Invitation" to abortion providers.
Columns from 2006