When I read this article about Dr. Kathryn Treehuba at the Morgentaler clinic in Ottawa, I wondered like I often do, what it must be like to be an abortion doctor.
Why do they do it? It's a question I can't answer and I wonder if they can answer it. Are they just ordinary people with kids and a family of their own? Do they do it because they think they are helping the women they provide the abortions to? Do they do it for the money? Do they take pride in their work?
Putting aside what they do for a moment, it must be a very difficult job to do. To go to work every day and know that your job isn't exactly something you can easily broadcast to the world. Or to your neighbours. Maybe not even your families.
These are all questions any average person will ask themselves of the job they do each day. But for an abortion doctor, what they do seems so in-congruent with our usual notion of medicine where doctors heal the sick and offer patients hope for the future, that it must be quite difficult for them to reconcile their work to themselves. Or not. Perhaps I'm just naive.
I know that pro-choicers will tell us that a woman feels relief after an abortion, but I think the doctors see a lot of pain and suffering from the women they treat. And a lot of grief. Both before the abortion and after. How does the abortion doctor deal with that? How does she go home at night and feel at peace with what she does for a living? Does she ever regret her job? Does she wish she had made other choices?
I would love to be able to talk to one of them and ask them these questions. But I've never met an abortion doctor. At least I've never met a doctor who has told me that she or he performs abortions. Some do not hide the fact that they perform abortions, but what about the rest of them?
Maybe if we could take the time to listen to their stories maybe we could learn something. Maybe we could ask them if they've ever thought of giving it up. Maybe if we could put aside our judgement of what they do, just for a moment, maybe they would stop seeing us as the enemy. Maybe we could help them have a change of heart.
I don't know, but the idea intrigues me.