Christ captures an abortion provider, physician, and feminist – story of Dr. Beverly McMillan

1 Oct

From Pro-Life MS:

Proverbs 16:25 says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.

Unlike the two other physicians you heard from this morning who were kind of reluctant participants in abortion, I was not. I was one of those radical feminists who was all in favor of it. It’s a little odd that I turned out that way, I guess, because I grew up in a very conservative home in East Tennessee, a Christian home, and I went to Christian schools for the first eight years of my schooling, and I certainly knew all about Thou Shalt Not Kill along with the other Commandments, so it wasn’t that I was ignorant about it.

I knew pretty early that I wanted to be a physician, and my father is to be commended. He didn’t put me down at all about it. He encouraged me along the way. I guess he thought that I had what it took, the right stuff. I remember my Uncle Tom, my dad’s brother, who taught school and had a real way with children. He would come to visit us in the summer and he would line the six of us children up and he’d say, Arthur’s going to be a teacher, and so-and-so would be this. He’d tell me that I was going to be a physician, and that my sister was going to be a nurse. He said that the reason for that was if someone came in with blood streaming down their face or whatever, my sister would hold their hand and say, oh, you poor thing and she’d cry with them and she’d be a real good nurse, a sympathy giver. And that I’d sit there and say, now let me look, let me look, and I’d be real cool about it. That’s important for later on as to how I was able to handle doing abortions.

I left this little town in East Tennessee to go off to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I’d started my pre-medical training when I was 18, and I was ready to take on the world. I found out, however, that the world I was in was a lot different than what I’d grown up in. It was a very anti-Christian atmosphere and I was immediately confronted by a bunch of people who were living by a different set of rules than what I had grown up with. I basically came to a point where I knew I was going to have to make decision about what I was going to do with my life. Was I going to live by the rules I was brought up with, or was I going to live with the NOW generation.

I’m afraid, like a lot of young college people, I looked around and the world around me seemed a lot more real and a lot more fun than what was going on back home. I made a decision as a 19-year-old sophomore that I was going to live the way of the world. I remember going to church one last time and my parting prayer was, “God, if you’re real, I hope you come back and get me some day. So long.” And I didn’t step foot inside a church for another 14 years.

I was able to go off to Memphis, Tennessee where the medical school was, and start studying about the human body of ours, so fearfully and wonderfully made, and I really believed all the trash those secular humanists were telling me. That we were not a special creation of God; that instead we had evolved up out of the mud ala Darwin, and this was just all accidentally put together.

I remember when I started studying kidney physiology that seemed like it was just absolutely too intricate to be real, but I just put that out of my mind and decided I’d go into something else besides kidney physiology.

What I decided to do was to go into obstetrics and gynecology. This was in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and I really had not encountered abortion at all in my medical school training or my internship. It wasn’t until I went off to do my residency training that I came face-to-face with it. I went to the Mayo Clinic up in Rochester, Minnesota to do my training. For those of you who know the place, it’s a very small town and they really did not do enough obstetrics to train 8 or 12 residents there, so they would ship us off two at a time to Cook County Hospital in Chicago where we got plenty of training.

I’m afraid that I made my decision to be an abortionist right here in this city (Chicago) back in 1969. What happened was I had to spend six weeks of my six months on a ward called the Infected OB Ward and, as usual, they didn’t give us very much orientation before we were sent to work. I was told to show up on the ward at 7:00, meet my intern and get to work. So I showed up at 7:00, met my intern, and we kind of walked around the wards. And I had this idea in my mind that we would probably be taking care of women coming from the surgery wards where my fellow residents had maybe done C-Sections and they had messed them up and maybe gotten infected, and that would be Infected OB. I did take care of some of those. But that first night on call, I found out where my patients were really going to be coming from. It seemed as though as soon as the sun went down that night, the elevator started coming up from the Emergency Room and they started depositing women on our doorstep. All these women had very similar situations. They were all bleeding, a lot of them were running a fever, on physical exam they had a tender enlarged uterus, and trying to get any history out of them was like pulling teeth. Nobody wanted to talk to us at all. I was a little puzzled, but we went to work and did the obvious things. We wrote out their histories, did physicals, we started IVs on everybody, we gave blood to the ones who needed blood, we gave antibiotics to everybody. We just basically tried to shuffle through to get them in bed and stabilized and keep up with the elevator. About halfway through that evening it finally hit me what was going on. These women were coming from the back alley abortion mills in Chicago. And they weren’t talking because they were afraid they were going to get into trouble with the law.

The year, as I said, was 1969, four years before Roe v. Wade was legalized. Well, that was astounding news to me. But we got everybody admitted. Every night I was on call it was the same situation. Some 15 to 25 women every night would come in that way. We were lucky in that as we got everybody admitted, my intern and I would catch a couple of hours of sleep, and then at 7:00 in the morning a wonderful thing happens in a hospital. A fresh shift of nurses comes on. We were then able to take these women back, one at a time, to a little treatment room where, without any anesthesia at all (they didn’t waste their precious anesthesia on the Infected OB Ward at County, they were too busy with the gunshots and the car wrecks, etc.), we would have to do another D&C and we would have to scrape out whatever infected tissue the abortionist had left in. It was really a pretty brutal situation to deal with.

I remember that at the end of that six weeks, I was very angry at what I had seen. It occurred to me that if women were so desperate about an unwanted pregnancy that they were willing to go to some back alley plant and put their life on the line, I was ready for the medical profession to start offering a little real help to these women and show a little social responsibility.

So in 1973, when the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, like much of the country, I was shocked that the court had gone so far, but I was delighted. I thought, finally, here comes a little sanity into this area of abortion.

At that time, I had finished my residency training and my first husband and I were living in Lexington, Kentucky and I was on the teaching staff of the University there, and I had been already doing abortions prior to 1973. We had a system set up in the hospital where, if a woman came in and wanted an abortion, if we could arrange it so that she met two psychiatrists who would agree that this was deleterious to her mental health, we could get it through a committee and we could do an abortion. And I really felt like these women ought to have a safe abortion and I would provide it.

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