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A highly sympathetic profile of an abortionist who performed over 20,000 abortions

by | Nov 18, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

The late abortionist William Harrison

The late abortionist William Harrison

We’ve reposted a number of Sarah Terzo’s terrific pieces. Most recently there was “Abortion doctors and admitting privileges – are clinics being treated unfairly?.”

Most of these first appeared at LiveAction.org, but you can also find some incredibly revealing statements, especially from abortionists and those who watched them perform abortions, at her site clinicquotes.com.  You’ll find jaw-dropping statements that go back decades.

In her most recent piece for Live Action, Terzo commented on a 2005 story Stephanie Simon wrote when Simon was working for the Los Angeles Times. The title of Simon’s article was “Offering Abortion, Rebirth.”

The title of Terzo’s commentary on that  story is ,”Inside an abortion clinic with the Los Angeles Times.” Since I am encouraging you to read Terzo’s story in its entirety, I will  focus most of my attention on Simon’s article.

Simon usually wrote more balanced pieces on abortion.  This one, however, was a mini love fest to Arkansas abortionist William F. Harrison. (As Terzo notes, “Harrison died in 2010, after closing down his clinic because of health reasons.” )

Simon actually observed abortions at his clinic in 2005. She obviously won his confidence, or Harrison didn’t care. Whatever the reason, Harrison always received more than the benefit of the doubt.

For example, “I am destroying life.” But, so much for that. In the next sentence, Simon wrote

“But he also feels he’s giving life: He calls his patients ‘born again.’

“’When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back,’ he says.”

Simon does not challenge that comforting, self-affirming, and what many people would consider blasphemous statement. It’s just there, a kind of badge of honor, a way of showing you pro-lifers that Harrison is the real life-affirming guy.

You could easily conclude that the one who came off the worst was a nurse.

“The 17-year-old in for a consultation this morning assures the nurse that she does not consider the embryo inside her a baby.

“’Not until it’s developed,’ she says. ‘That would be about three months?’

“’It’s completely formed about nine weeks,’ the nurse tells her. ‘Yours is more like a chicken yolk.’

“The girl, who is five weeks pregnant, looks relieved. ‘Then no,’ she says, ‘it’s not a baby.’ Her mother sits in the corner wiping her tears.”

Why do I say that? Simon portrays Harrison as a kind of a hero—fearless, combative, and concerned enough to lecture the women after their abortions to be sure they won’t be coming back again (even though he knows they will). On top of that Harrison has limits, sort of.

“Harrison draws his own moral line at the end of the second trimester, or 26 weeks since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. Until that point, he will abort for any reason.

“’It’s not a baby to me until the mother tells me it’s a baby,’ he says.

“But Harrison refuses to end third-trimester pregnancies, even if the fetus is severely disabled. Some premature infants born at that stage, or even a few weeks earlier, can survive. Harrison believes they may be developed enough to feel pain in utero. Just a handful of doctors around the nation will abort a fetus at this stage.”

So, if a mother tells Harrison that her 26 week old unborn baby is not a baby, he goes ahead. But if she says the same thing one week, later his conscience kicks in and suddenly it’s like “infanticide”?

At the end of Simon’s story, Harrison is recovering from a hand injury (remember this is 2005), back at work aborting three women before lunch and three after.

Why didn’t he take his wife’s advice and retire? “There’s no one to take my place.”

Simon’s last sentence is  “The appointment book is always full.” In his career Harrison performed well over 20,000 abortions.

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Categories: Abortionist