Catholic Culture Podcasts
Catholic Culture Podcasts

Notes on the Healing Professions

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 15, 2003

The September 1 issue of the never-more-ironically-named Mother Jones magazine carries a profile (not available online) of one of its heroes, the New York abortionist William Rashbaum. In keeping with the pieties of the Leftist catechism, we learn that he's committed...

Where once he did upwards of 25 second- trimester abortions on Saturdays alone, the doctor now performs less than half of that number each week. After 30 years, Rashbaum still doesn't sleep well the nights before his operating days. He frets over the physical welfare of his patients.


Trained in an era when doctors were considered gods, Rashbaum is gruff, confrontational, and downright abrasive. He flaunts [sic] medical conventions at will, rankling nurses and orderlies, if it serves his needs. When the orderlies take too long in preparing his operating room between procedures, he goes in and embarrasses them into efficiency by helping to clean up. He boasts, "They turn my room over much faster than any other room."

respectful of the needs of others...

During the procedure, in which both vacuum and surgical instruments are used, the fetus is either removed in pieces or delivered more or less intact. In the operating room, Rashbaum readily yells at the top of his lungs at residents working with forceps inside a woman's uterus, where he can't see what they're doing, to make sure they are as nervous as he is. "It's not the best way to teach," he admits. "Calm, cool, collected is better, but a tough screaming is not ineffective."


The procedure, as anyone who has seen it, including Rashbaum, will attest, is gruesome. One of his former interns remembers watching Rashbaum do a D&E on well-developed twins one hot summer day. He intently leaned in closely and methodically pulled piece after piece of the fetuses out of the mother's uterus, ignoring the attending staff's whispers of horror -- "It's twins. It's twins" -- to each other. The intern reacted violently, running home, throwing up, and asking herself, "Is this right?"

and fearless in pursuit of social justice ...

When New York became the first state to legalize abortion in 1970, it coincided with Rashbaum's split from his first wife, with whom he had two children, a son, now 43, and a daughter, now 45. With the mounting divorce costs, including many therapy bills, Rashbaum began performing abortions in New York City, which had quickly become the abortion capital of the country. The clinic where he worked was open round the clock, with three sets of doctors and nurses each taking eight-hour shifts. He says, "You would go home with a goddamn barrel of money."

A prince of a guy, clearly, and a role model for all young progressives. Pro-lifers are the ones, remember, who over-react on the issue. We're the folks that can't get a hearing at the conventions of the major political parties. Like Dr. Rashbaum (and Senators Kennedy, Biden, Specter, Mikulski...) we just need to lighten up.

"As long as I can make a contribution," Rashbaum says, "I enjoy what I do."

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