Providing Abortion Before Roe: Part 2
To read Part 1 of this 1962 interview with an underground abortion provider, go here.
Q. Do you find that many patients, after an abortion, have feelings of guilt or regret?
A. Yes, I generally find that the Catholics are the ones who run highest in guilt, because their minds are so brainwashed on a thing like that, they are, you might say, just victims of what they've been taught when they were young. They can't think for themselves.
Q. Have you found that the guilt varies according to how much a person has been brainwashed?
A. Well, I think I whole lot depends on how much religion has been drilled into them. I know I had one woman in here—this was a funny case, some years ago—she was the mother of ten children, and she was going through the menopause; she was about 45.
And she wanted to know whether she was pregnant or not. And I examined her, and I told her, "No, you're not pregnant—but you do have fibroid tumors." And she says, "Can you do anything to help me?" And I said, "Yes, they're of such a size. I think if I put radium in, that'll solve the problem; of course, that'll stop you menstruating, but you're starting to do that right at the present time, so that won't make much difference."
So a year later she came in here—she was passing through; she lived in _________and she said, "Can I just have a word with you?" I said, "Sure, what is it?" She says, "Does radium make you passionate?" I said, "I never heard of it being an article that made a person passionate, but I can see why it made you passionate—because you realized you had ten children; every time you entered the act, you thought, 'Well, there. I'm going to have one more.' And so you had a fear of pregnancy. When that fear was removed, then that mental brake that was on your mind all the time was removed, and that's what made the difference."
The radium treatment had sterilized her so she couldn't have any more children—and it did get rid of the fibroids, too.
Q. So, psychologically, it did make her more passionate—
A. Absolutely. In other words, she didn't have any brakes to be putting on herself all the time. You see, a lot of women just look on themselves as a breeding animal: they don't have any regard for their health, their vitality—they have one child right after the other.
And if the woman doesn't give in to the man all the time—and that happens around here—then the husband beats the devil out of her. That's all there is to it. It makes me think that they're in a phase of slavery, and they can't get away from it.
And I find that some girls—they're brought in here with boys—are in the same predicament, because the boy won't marry them, they won't let them out of their sight, and, by golly, they're in a predicament. And you might say, "Well, why don't you let them have it?"—but I can't see that, even under these conditions, because I realize that no one's giving any thought to the person that's coming into the world. And I think that person ought to be considered.
And the world's overpopulated—I can't see why people want to have the human life at the expense of all others, because every time we keep expanding and building up between town and town, it means other forms of life are being pushed off the planet. And a biologist feels that. I've always been interested in studying wildlife, and things of that kind; it gives you the wonder of the world—not a wonder of God—but a wonder of evolution and how everything goes.
And everything's electricity. Everything that you see or you don't see—because matter is something that occupies space, and when we analyze that matter, we break it down into electrons or some other microelectrical phase of the atom. Then, your radio and your television and all those things in interstellar space are a phase of electricity. And you take sunlight, when you use your photographic light meter—why, you convert that sunlight into electricity. So it's nothing more than a peculiar, evolutionary, electronic phenomenon.