(LifeSiteNews) — An ex-abortion assistant shared the story of how the work she initially saw as a golden opportunity became a “day-by-day cultish beatdown” that finally broke her, leading her to sever ties with abortion once and for all.
As recounted in the story of estrangement from the industry, former nurse Noemi Padilla said after her first day working at an abortion clinic, her “head was spinning.”
“‘So let me get this straight,” I said to myself. “I’ll be working a five-minute walk from my house, I’m making way more money, the doctor and I get along like old friends, the work is easy and important, they complimented me all day long, they bought me lunch and will every time we hit 12 procedures, they handed me a check for 500 bucks, and they’re buying me a new phone?’ Is this perfect or what?’”
This honeymoon beginning, however, eventually transformed into a soul-crushing endeavor.
“Cut to four years later,” Padilla wrote. “The security camera had been catching me in recent days driving my car to my parking space, turning off the engine, and then keeping my hands on my steering wheel, looking for all the world like I was unable to bring myself to get out. I would stare forward trying to build up the courage to open the car door and open myself up to what tragedies awaited me inside the clinic. When I did make a move, each step carried the weight of the world.”
Apart from “the affront to the conscience that takes place from all the death going on in the rooms down the hall,” Padilla said, “is the death that occurs to those who work there, like me — death by a thousand cuts.”
“From asking you to step over moral lines that start small, to manipulating sonograms … to the brazen pursuit of money over the health of women, to disallowing employees to lift a finger to help a woman if her needs do not bring revenue (such as finding shelter) … to prohibiting the word ‘baby’ to be spoken … to using your weakness against you (‘You don’t have a driver’s license, Noemi; go ahead — quit. Where are you going to go?’), to telling workers to ‘shut up, know your place and do as you are told’ … Soon, you don’t have the energy to fight anymore,” Padilla said.
She told CBN News that the moral issue of abortion is “always” present as an abortion worker, “which is why we’re the biggest liars to ourselves.”
“I couldn’t face myself in the mirror … We just buried it really, really deeply,” she said.
The “final straw,” she said, came when a woman arrived who did not want an abortion but “was simply eager to monitor the health of the baby inside her.”
Audrey (name changed for anonymity) had first confused the abortion facility with a nearby pregnancy center but continued to come monthly for sonograms.
“I had been feeling an extreme desire to help a pregnant woman who didn’t want an abortion, so we were a perfect match,” Padilla said. “Over five months, I was able to joyfully perform the sonograms and watch as her healthy baby grew steadily and surely.”
Then one day, Padilla said Audrey called her to tell her “she was being rushed in for an abortion” and wanted her “to be in the procedure room to hold her hand.” Padilla also got a call from the hospital sending Audrey over, in which they said her baby had a “fetal anomaly” that could result in the baby’s death.
“I watched the development of her baby for all those months and I knew the baby was as healthy as an ox. Was it all a mistake?” Padilla recalled wondering. She told the abortion facility owner that she “needed to see the medical records from the hospital immediately to verify what the problem was,” but was told the hospital “was not obligated to send the medical records, and that they “were not to push the issue.”
“It meant we had a three-day abortion — at $7,000 — to perform ASAP. My five-month-long experience with that perfectly healthy baby did not matter. I felt like I was being muzzled … again,” Padilla recalled.
“And it was there, in that moment sitting alongside Audrey, holding her hand, that I knew that I had become someone else. My old self would have turned over tables to fight for a woman who was being railroaded into aborting a baby she wanted and had no fetal anomaly… But beaten down as I was, I sat there unable to summon the fight anymore. I let that woman go through the procedure without once raising my voice.”
“I couldn’t lie to myself anymore,” she told CBN News, describing the time after that pivotal incident.
Padilla said she later saw the woman’s medical records, in which “nothing seemed to indicate the need” for an emergency abortion.
“The experience broke me. On Monday morning, I lay in bed unable to move. Then I heard a voice. ‘You don’t have to go in,’ it kept saying. Suddenly I found myself starting to consider it,” Padilla continued.
“All at once, I was done. I got up, went in, quit, and then went to the beach and plopped myself in a chair and stared at the water all day long. I must have managed to say, ‘God, please forgive me,’ at least 100,000 times.”
That day, Padilla said, she called a group she “knew much about from a sidewalk advocate named Tricia”: “And Then There Were None,” an organization founded by Planned Parenthood clinic director-turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson that encourages abortion clinic workers to leave the industry and helps them to do so.
The group was especially valuable to Padilla because, she said, “When you leave the abortion clinic, they shun you. They’ll lie about you. They’ll give you horrible recommendations. They’ll do anything so that you can’t progress because they want you to need them and have to come back.”
Padilla told CBN News she has since helped other abortion workers to leave with the assistance of “Then There Were None.” The group “exhibits uncommon love, the love of Jesus, every day,” Padilla said.