I recently stumbled on an article which interviewed doctors who performed abortions before or around the time it was made legal in the USA. It’s a cracking read, though somewhat graphic at times.
Abortion in the U.S. has become a victim of its own success; an entire generation of Americans have grown up without seeing or understanding what the dark days of before Roe were like. Without understanding that history, you can’t fully appreciate what the right to choice means.
When I was in medical school in North Carolina, I got a page one night to tend to a patient with a 106 degree fever. I assumed that number was made in error. It wasn’t. … Another day, I was paged for a young co-ed in septic shock with barely any blood pressure. … The first had gotten an illegal abortion, the second had tried to do it herself.
One part in particular stood out, though.
“A few years later, I was asked if I would be willing to provide abortions by a multidenominational clergy consultation group in Texas. Pastors and priests from all sorts of denominations would refer women to me for abortions. I had a wife, small kids, and I had to decide whether I was willing to take on the risk. Of course, I said yes. It was a matter of conscience.
“The clergy people said, ‘If you’re ever arrested, we’ll testify on your behalf.’ I knew that wouldn’t do anything. If you’ve done abortions when they’re illegal, it doesn’t matter how many priests, ministers, and rabbis testify for you. If you’re doing something illegal and you get caught, you’re gonna have to face the consequences.
“It was organized like an underground railroad. I didn’t have direct contact with the patients until their appointments. The women would contact a member of the clergy who was one of the referral group. The priests set up the appointments.
One of the greatest victories of the anti-choice movement has been to convince people that religion in general and Christianity in particular is fundamentally opposed to abortion. That’s at best half-true; Judaism, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, and First Nations religions qualify as pro-choice, and as for Christianity
Opinions on the morality of abortion differ widely among religious groups. Fully three-quarters of white evangelical Protestants consider having an abortion morally wrong, as do about two-thirds of Hispanic Catholics (64%). A majority of black Protestants (58%) and about half of white Catholics (53%) say the same. Fewer white mainline Protestants (38%) and religiously unaffiliated adults (25%) hold this view.