An Awful Truth

Robert Duncan-Enzmann

This is an experience one might rather forget. But there is much that must be learned about the horrible truth of Partial Birth Abortion. 

A swimmer is a child being born with one arm beside its head. The arm’s poked way out, being born before the rest. In these cases, we are very happy when the arm’s beside the head without the head being bent to one side. When that happens, we almost always have to perform a cesarean.

I finish my residence and, unfortunately, am contracted to work in the same group. Oh, yes, the pay’s excellent; but there’s more, much more to life, than being a well-paid doctor. The place is an abortion mill; but not an ordinary, somewhat understandable institute of that sort- not at all; In joining them, I didn’t realize they specialized in partial-birth abortions.

Clackseed: “A soul-searing incident burdens me; its weight will continue for my lifetime.” It happened some two decades ago. I’m an Intern; all exams passed, credentials in place, done with those rotations, and now a resident. And all examinations completed. But unfortunately, under contract. Why, for goodness sake, am I legally entangled, and I wonder, how can I be that kind of a medical doctor?

Again, I don’t express a stand on abortion, either yes or no. Sometimes it’s correct and/or necessary. I do, however, state that: Partial-birth Abortion isn’t abortion at all, It’s infanticide, and that’s murder.

I decide, realizing that with this group, I must quickly conclude ‘I WON’T’.

Why?’ For me, protein folding is not just interesting but fascinating. Now amidst the researchers were many medical doctors. A self-anointed aristocracy. Trouble is most people believe them. It creates an attitude:

If you’re a Ph.D., so what!!!

But then, occasionally, one of those rare PhD-MDs appears. And here is indicated a Ph.D. in hard science, not Medical Sociology or Medical Forensics– but in something like electrical engineering, nuclear physics, and such. If you’re one of them, wow!!! So, being able to pass almost any course in anything, I became an M.D. adding to my mixed feelings at entry.

Med. School’s two years of theory, then all clinicals. It used to be that one went directly from high school into Medical School, which to this day accepts C and even some Ds as passing, whereas the hard science grad student gets at least a B or he’s out.

I loved biochemistry, the foundation of homeostasis, protein folding, and all other bodily processes and microanatomy.

This just-beginning resident, unlike the overwhelming majority, behaves on occasion as it pleases him.

Note: American Pre-Med students have been said to have ethical attitudes an order of magnitude below that of the “low-life” strata of Street Boy, PLO, Hitler Youth, and Taliban types. Much, but not all of it tends to wear off if they make it into and through medical school.

And then, why not say so; this medical thing is physically exhausting, and the pay is absurd.

My Attitude

War with the chief surgeon begins: when exuding genius, he sails into the doctor’s lounge, enthrones himself right beside me, jiggles my coffee cup reaching across me for a newspaper. I whack his arm with a ruler.

Such carrying on has no recourse. No complaints can be lodged. It’s similar to an exceedingly rude FBI man who, all of a moment, was caught in a commando hold; and a moment later released with his right wrist handcuffed to his right ankle. How now, can that be brought up to the FBI man’s boss? We note the intern has already and most fortunately, finished the surgery rotation. It’s war with no holds barred.

Brought in the early morning in labor, close to delivery, the girl looks dizzily confused; ah ha, she’s drugged. That’s not good for either mother or child. In moments, she’s in the delivery room; and it’s locked and barred to outsiders, including myself. Obviously—it’ll be a partial-birth abortion.

Pathology wats samples. The head physician says, “Use these tools fresh from the autoclave.”

That ain’t going to do nothing to rid them of certain noxious viruses.

“Here’s the best tool of all, a crunch-cutter. Bring back the samples. I’ll have slides made for my lectures.”

A tiny pre-disposal. It’s down in a low basement. The concrete’s cold, damp, and musty. A single, near ground level, window unwashed for decades dimly lights it. Opposite the doors, an iron sink, glazed white but over the years chipped. Rust stains leak downward from the chips. Legally this is wrong, but enormous influence will claim “this is a nothing” Such trails are financial nightmares for governments.

It rests. It was tossed into the sink, then it must have moved a little. Think of an animal, a road-kill carcass, tossed to the side of the road by an impact. The sink is cold, and wet, and reeks of disinfectant. Next door, the disposal furnace intermittently roars, consuming bedding, devices, excrement, tissues, and body parts. The fine ash goes to a special “toxic dump.” I bolt the door. Taking such samples is illegal- but technically, lawyers demonstrate that “this isn’t a human. And Congress agrees; along with that, the pathologist wants fresh samples. It’s lying in the sink. After parts are [quite illegally] cut out it’ll be tossed into the roaring furnace.

Partial birth abortion. It’s all perfectly legal. But only in the United States of America. That’s what it’s legally called; not just called, it’s a legal term. The dignity of justice behind it. You see, if it’s never been born, it never was alive, so that’s neither murder because something that’s never been born can’t legally be said to have been alive. Not only that, it’s neither murder nor infanticide in America where we destroy all manner of technologies as an example to the admiring nation of the world. Legally if someone’s never been born, it never was an infant, so partial birth abortion legally isn’t infanticide.

It has soft hair. Goodness, much of the dark hair’s already gone in utero; the real hair’s almost white. What a pretty blond child this will be. Blonde if it lives.

There are gashes and baby bouncy slashes . Oh my, it’s but two on one side of the face, across one shoulder.

Have you ever seen a baby born? It’s cute; every time I see it, I have to smile and often am close to laughing. It’s a wonderfully bouncy something. The Arms and Legs swoop and fly out; the back straightens, wiggles, the newborn joyfully wiggles, spits, occasionally looks at you before the silver nitrates put in its eyes, and more than a few will pee as the cold air hits em. It’s a happy happening. Not this time.

A frightful moment. With pathetically insufficient resources, even dying, making tiny efforts to heal. At first view, it’s such a pretty little one. On a closer look, the injuries are dreadful. Horrifying. How can that be done to any human being? This is a hospital.

The skull’s slashed open. Parts of the brain lie bare. That’s standard procedure in that horrible, yet legal, procedure called: “Partial Birth Abortion.”

Looking closely, not touching, two more injuries are apparent. A great blow across the side and back and side of the head swelling with a hematoma, another blow across the left shoulder breaking the back and mutilating the brachial plexus. Much of the body’s paralyzed. Yet. It’s been there half of the day, during which this courageous little life tries to heal itself.

I do believe that first: “Do no harm. Cause no unnecessary pain. And a life no matter how miserable is a life; so do one’s best to preserve it. This life is full term, a bit more than six pounds, beautiful pink skin, nice little hands, whispy hair, some dark, some much finer, very fair.

Realizing a presence it opens its eyes. Dark dusky blue. Unlike many new borns who have one eye go one way, the other elsewhere; this little one’s eyes only waver a bit now and then. Pretty little thing. Pink and white like a birthday cake. Except the skull ripped open, exposing your brain. you were horribly beaten. How can you still live?

Oh, no! MOTHER OF MERCY! The placenta is still attached. Wait the umbilical’s kinked, knotted, clotted. I’ll not cut it. A clot would likely release, and that’s immediate death. Death!? No, legally, it was never born, never lived. The furnace waits.

I look carefully, in anguish think it over: ‘Emergency? No, it’s no use. The hematoma will certainly kill.’ Would it cause an uproar? Yes, but the intern doesn’t care. ‘Uproar!’ legally?

 This isn’t even human, it’s biological refuse.

I study further and touch the forehead. It shudders with pain.  Ah yes, it can happen; catastrophic neurological damage, and in some places, a touch can feel like a red-hot poker. He touches the cheek; its mouth moves sort of pleasantly. Ah, yes, about the mandibular nerve, all’s well…Hey, legally, this isn’t a human being- just waste from a partial-birth abortion.

Realizing it imagines it’s being cared for, it’s about to be nursed. I cry. Over and over, medical students are told, admonished, and warned: “Emotionally involve yourself- minimally- with patients.”

Poor battered little body. Only the right hand can move. The frightful beating at birth has paralyzed everything else below the lower neck. It likes to clasp a warm finger. It’s a little happiness. It Imagines it’s cared for, loved. The rest of the body’s both paralyzed and awfully cold. The hematoma continually worsens. “No chance at all.”

Amazingly well-coordinated eyes for a newborn. I muse it would likely be a bright little package growing up. It tremors, sort of shivers all over, sinking even as it tries to heal. The trembling all over, even in the paralyzed lower body, stops. The mouth moves and the tiny tongue reaches. I talk softly to it. It can hear with one ear. It likes it; its eyes and mouth say so. It’s a tiny happiness.

Why, of course: Here now.  I wet a bit of paper towel from a coke bottle in my pocket and sprinkle a few grains of sugar on it from the packets I regularly “acquire” in the doctor’s loungeto take home. I touch the paper with grains of sugar to the tiny tongue.  Oh, my goodness; how it moves. It knows. It’s good. This is another happiness. The eyes really open to look at my face. Then rest.

I regularly pilfer such things. That’s a nice word for stealing.

How fortunate, there’s a little lunch in my “Doctor Bag.”

And here’s one of those little plastic containers of marmalade. Just a little bit on your tongue, little one. How the baby loves it. Its taste buds are much keener than a grownup’s or even a child’s. It can’t swallow, but what a wonderful, sweet taste. Somebody is here who loves it, and brings it something that tastes so good. What happiness.

Again, it trembles all over. Longer this time. Yet, It knows: “I/m cared for, loved, getting better.” I prepare another bit of sugar-soaked paper. It takes it happily but is steadily weakening. I think of it: “it” sitting up, toddling, a tricycle, kindergarten– “IT!” NO, NO, NO.” The hospital’s furnace next door waits once again igniting with a roar.

NO, YOU’RE A PERSON. I take a hair and wet the tip in a drop of water. I say softly, “I bless this water; it’s holy water.” I sign a cross, not touching parts of the skin that would burn like fire. “I Christen you. Your name is Sunny. H.-” Then, in a foreign language, says: “I adopt you. You’re not alone.”

Blasphemy, involving “a patient !!!. Legally, this is biological refuse, isn’t a person, never was human.

Now it takes a priest to create holy water– or does it? I think not. I think God understands and makes these droplets of water and damp hair holy. I think he accepts the Christening.

Again she trembles all over, violently, lengthily; then stops, really tired; still trying to heal. And all of a few moments, the sun shines through the drably dirty, coated-and-etched with sticky dust, basement window, right on the baby’s chest. It’s warm. How good the world is. So nice and warm. Another little happiness. So tired. The baby’s eyes look, focus one last time, then glaze.

Now I wrap S.—- in this Christmas paper; a good idea; it’s waterproof, and put her into this briefcase. The furnace won’t have you.

Rotten judgment, madness, stupidity, imagine how many laws are broken, possible expulsion, and no diploma. If I’m taken to court might my lawyer argue- legally, it wasn’t human? I will get her buried properly.

A letter’s left at the convent with a package.

“Holy Sisters, they called me a Partial Birth Abortion. Sisters, I didn’t die during the process. Sisters, I have a name, I have been Christened, I was and am loved. Sisters, having been called partial-birth abortion, legally, I’m nothing. But I am. Please put me to rest. Here’s money for a stone. My name is Sunny.—H.— my day was 30 October—. Sisters, I lived for some hours that day, and wonderful happy things happened.”

“Here is money. It’s rightly mine – or so I’ve been told and believe. Please, would you put me to rest, to sleep in a nice dress and pretty bonnet to cover the cuts on my head; someone who loved me said: Your face is ever so pretty. With a bonnet, I’ll sleep without anything ugly showing. Sisters, there’s money enough for a stone with my name on it.  I know that sometime my mother is going to come to bring flowers and I know, but can’t tell you why it will make her happy. Thank you.”

The mother, much too young, hysterically protesting, has to be heavily tranquilized to do the “right thing.” She wakes up and has to be tranquilized throughout the next week. Perhaps a year later; she’s informed “The child was stillborn. Terribly deformed. There was no partial birth abortion. The mother visits the little one’s grave; now and again places flowers there. Had a little angel placed by the stone; added another name.

I have graduated now. But I admit I was a gross, coldly calculating liar.  As far as I could tell the little one was perfect and most anyone, had they been able to pick up the child, would have kept it, including me.

Some months later, the Doctor in charge looks tired, suddenly much older, careworn, and exhausted, and realizes, “I’m a biomechanic who knows not why”. That year he retires, soon to die. And somehow, he knows perfectly well who robbed him.

I have taken no position verbally. I have only recounted anguished emotion that scars me mentally for a lifetime. But I do have a very strong position concerning such matters.