In a column published in The New York Times late last month, a medical doctor defended her career as an abortionist even though she’s a mother.
Despite admitting at the end of the op-ed that having a child revealed to writer Christine Henneberg “there are no boundaries, really” — even acknowledging the heartbeat inside her — she still stands by her career choice.
“The moment you become a mother, the moment another heartbeat flickers inside of you, all boundaries fall away,” she wrote.
Henneberg argued there is “a connection” between her work as an abortion doctor and as a mother, writing, “It’s just not what most people imagine. It’s not a tension or a contradiction to be reconciled. It’s a symbiosis, a harmony.”
The doctor said she started feeling some cognitive dissonance about her career path after she and her husband struggled to get pregnant, even thinking she was experiencing “bad karma” because of her work.
“At the time, the fact that I would even consider such an idea — as though I deserved some type of punishment for the work I do — should have told me that my boundaries weren’t as neat and tidy as I thought,” she wrote.
There have been a few instances that have nearly pushed Henneberg over the edge, potentially leading her to change her opinion about performing abortion.
While performing an abortion on a woman 17 weeks pregnant, Henneberg, who was in the second trimester of her own pregnancy, pulled out a fully intact child.
“The fetus, which is normally extracted in parts, came through the cervix intact. I dropped it into the metal dish and I saw it move, or thought I did,” the doctor wrote. “It was all I could do not to run from the procedure room crying.”
Henneberg was also shaken when an anti-abortion protester rebuked her when he saw a stroller — for her own baby — in the trunk of her car.
The man yelled at Henneberg about her “hypocrisy” and demanded she “repent” for her choice of career.
“I do not mean it’s an easy job. Of course it’s not,” the doctor wrote. “There is the protester on the sidewalk. There is the fetus in the dish, the perfect curl of its fingers and toes. Sometimes it reminds me of my daughter — how could it not? But that is precisely the point.”
“Somebody,” she concluded, “has to do the work.”