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Real life before Roe v Wade - Note the physicians and ministers

Posted: May 18th, 2019 - 7:21 pm


What It Was Like to Perform Abortions Before Roe v. Wade
We saw a lot of the complications in the hospitals. I was a doctor in training. Women came in bleeding, with fever, with incomplete evacuations, with perforations. Some of them were quite ill and occasionally someone died. We thought a lot of these were spontaneous abortions — we didn’t realize all of them were induced. The only reason we know that now is that when abortion was legalized, these cases disappeared. There were probably over a million illegal abortionsbeing provided each year in this country, so when it was legalized, it did not increase the number of abortions. It just had a much higher complication rate [before Roe v. Wade], and today, we’ve made it one of the safest medical procedures that there is.


Howard Moody, who was a Baptist minister from New York, started the Clergy Consultation Service and is probably the reason I ended up in this field of work. I’m an ordained minister. Claude Evans, who was then the university chaplain at Southern Methodist University, started one of those clergy consultation groups in Dallas. When I was in medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern, I joined the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Dallas, and that’s how I came to know Evans.

In the ’60s, there were a lot of young women on campuses like SMU who were asking for help, so I think these clergymen began to see it as their Christian duty to hear their stories. Many university chaplains, like Evans, became sympathetic to the plight of young women who became pregnant when they did not want to be. Evans eventually asked if I would consider providing abortion services.


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