Wed Feb 6, 2013 - 3:59 pm EST
A debate with a late-term abortionist: the banality of evil
February 6, 2013 (Unmaskingchoice.ca) - I suppose that it is a bit strange that I have been in the pro-life movement for close to five years and until the other week I never actually laid eyes on an abortionist. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures documenting their work, read plenty of chilling tell-all memoirs, and watched enough sleep-destroying abortion footage to last me two lifetimes. I’ve also spoken with hundreds of post-abortive women, and have come to recognize that often, the abortion procedure produces victims: the duped and the discarded.
But while many women (and men) have stared agape at pictures of the abortion procedure and come to the sickening realization that the “clump of cells” had a head and limbs that this “medical procedure” violently removed—what of the technicians that perform the invasion with suction aspirators and forceps? They, of course, are perfectly aware of what they’re doing—after all, they or their assistants have to piece the little corpse back together afterwards to ensure that a stray arm or leg is not left behind in the now-vacant uterus to malevolently cause an infection. As I drove to Brock University to watch my colleague Stephanie Gray debate Dr. Fraser Fellows, a long-term practicing late-term abortionist, I couldn’t help but wonder how a man who came face to face with the victims of Canada’s abortion regime every day justified—and coped—with the daily carnage that makes up his profession.
When Dr. Fellows arrived in the lecture hall (packed to standing-room-only with nearly 200 people), I couldn’t help but stare at him a bit searchingly. Was he nervous to debate? Eager to defend? Neither, I decided. A tall, elderly, somewhat aristocratic looking fellow with his last remaining silver hair swept back over his head, he looked, if anything, a bit nonchalant. I tried to peer at his hands as he walked to the front. He uses those to literally clamp metal tools onto the arms and legs of babies a day away from entering the third trimester and twist them off, I thought. Dr. Fellows has gained a bit of infamy for his willingness to do abortions even later than famed feticide pioneer Dr. Henry Morgentaler—Fellows will perform abortions up to 23 weeks and six days. While most abortionists can simply use a suction aspirator to reduce the developing fetus to bloody slurry, and thus avoid the actual step-by-step conscious process of dismembering and skull-crushing—these activities are Dr. Fellows’ specific specialty.
The debate began with Stephanie giving a twenty minute opening statement, defending the idea that abortion is a human rights violation based on a very simple formula—human beings have human rights, the first and most intrinsic of which is the predicate right to life. Pre-born children are human beings, and thus abortion violates, in a brutal fashion, their most existential right. Stephanie pushed play on an embryoscopy video from the Endowment for Human Development, and I tried to watch the abortionist for any sort of reaction as a stereotypically British narrator explained the development of the tiny, almost translucent human beings on the screen. I briefly wondered how the stubborn looking pro-choicers in the audience would react if a curette was suddenly thrust into one of the babies on the screen and suctioned him into scraps. Probably not well. They’d be shocked-- at least, until they attempted to recover their semi-literate ideological ramblings and drape them over the victim like a discount body bag.
Fellows didn’t even blink. Perhaps it was naïve to think he would, I thought--it’s probably not new information to him. Still, Dr. Fellows is a father. A glimmer of a human response to seeing more vulnerable humans wouldn’t be abnormal, surely.
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Then, Stephanie played the video I had been waiting for—a series of video clips from in-progress, late-term abortions—a video put together to specifically highlight his work. How would Dr. Fellows respond to seeing the work he did behind closed doors, hidden from the public eye, on display to a lecture hall full of university students? The footage was viscerally disturbing—one shot showed a baby almost completely exited from the birth canal, dangling limply, with blood pulsing from his neck. Again—Fellows was impassive. Not a twitch. Only the detachment I imagine butchers have as they go about their work.
Some of you reading this may be thinking, Ah, here goes one of those over-dramatic pro-lifers again. A medical professional shows up to explain his profession and you call him a butcher. If you are one of those, I urge you to watch a video of the procedure he specializes in, and then attempt an alternate description. The “procedure” seems sanitized until you see it.
Cross-examination was the most shocking part of the debate. Stephanie asked him question after question, assuming she’d have to pry the information out of him. A few examples:
SG: Would you say that the imagery that I had is an accurate reflection of what you see and what you do?
SG: What about Down’s Syndrome?
FF: If the woman decides she does not want to have a child with Down’s Syndrome, so be it.
SG: Have you seen women hemorrhage from legal abortions?
FF: I have seen women hemorrhage from legal abortion, yes.
I guess the reason the debate shocked me may have been a bit naïve. Did Dr. Fellows admit to anything that I wasn’t aware of? No, not really. I knew that the legal abortion procedure frequently results in the death or severe injury of the woman. I knew that abortionists often target disabled pre-born children at the request of the parent(s). I knew that late-term abortion was even more gruesome than early term abortion, especially from the perspective of the abortionist, who has to more physically rip the fetus’ limbs off. And the entire pro-life movement has known for some time, even while our nation’s media and governing bodies completely ignore it, that there is a complication to the abortion procedure known as “live birth,” in which the child is accidentally born alive before the attending technician can snuff it out.
Perhaps what I was hoping for was a little glimmer of humanity, a little empathy towards the victims that would signal that the chasm between Dr. Fellows and us was not unbridgeable. I was hoping that he would have a human reaction to the sight of the severed limbs of younger human beings, to signal that in some way, he had not totally desensitized himself to something that even stunned the predominantly pro-choice university audience. Not a gasp, of course—but maybe a flinch or at least an expression of discomfort. Dr. Fellows didn’t even make an attempt to defend what he did for a living, something that almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, thinks that at minimum needs to be ethically defined and defended one way or another. I wanted, at least, a passionate defence on his part. All we got was a bored look, an attitude that reminded me of the phrase “the banality of evil”. Unrepentant I expected. Apathetic I did not.
Dr. Fellows has a job because the majority of Canadians are apathetic to the work he does. The attitude out of sight, out of mind is not one that only applies to international injustices. It also applies to Canadian children being brutalized and eliminated in clinics across our country. Author Bodie Thoene once noted that “apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.” Dr. Fellow’s debate testimony delivers us a question which demands an answer: Is Dr. Fellows working harder to kill pre-born children then we are to save them?
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