I've recently discovered Noah Gordon, and while his books are, at best, superficially researched historical fiction with often obvious glitches, he tells a darned good story. I'm reading the last book of his trilogy of the Cole family (The Physician, Shaman, Matters of choice) , and it came as a shock to realize that this was real. David Gunn, a physician who performed abortions, was shot to death by anti-abortion activists in 1993, in Florida.
I grew up in a religion that has its core in non-violence. Life, in all its forms, is sacred. I have never eaten or used products derived from killing an animal. I could not kill another human being, even in self defense. Yet when I saw the depressed 18 year old who was pregnant for the third time with a baby whose father she did not know, had no way to support (and a declared lack of intent to try), her plan to get an abortion did not seem so sinful.
The residency has been an eye opener…there have been too many young women with no way to support themselves, let alone a baby, either physically, emotionally, mentally or financially. In moments of frustration I have told my colleagues we need parental screening laws, that only those with a declared intent and means to raise a child should be allowed to get pregnant. That a child should not be born just to suffer, to be shuffled from foster home to foster home, abused, neglected, and grow up with all odds stacked against him/her, if at all.
Right now, I am just glad to be a psychiatry resident, and not a gynecologist.