On Friday, March 28 in Brinser Lecture Hall, Dr. Grant Clark and Karen Shablin told their personal stories about abortion and why they support a pro-life movement at Elizabethtown College.
Clark had been the only physician at his hospital in California performing abortions. “I hated abortions from the first,” he said. Clark explained that children who he delivered or who were his patients would hug him. This greeting was different than what he received from his abortion patients. The women would often turn away and walk in the other direction if they saw Clark; they did everything they could to avoid him.
“There were two cases that finally sunk the boat for me,” Clark said. The first case occurred when Clark performed an abortion on a woman in her second trimester. The woman told Clark she was about six months pregnant. “She gave birth to a nearly full-term baby, and it was alive when it was delivered,” Clark said. The baby’s skin was burned and it was blind from the serum Clark had injected in it. The nurses looked at Clark. He said that he did not know what to do because he could not strangle the baby while it was alive. The baby died within hours, during which time period Clark was ridden with guilt and indecision. After that, Clark never performed abortions after the first trimester.
The final case that would stop Clark from performing abortions was when a woman came into the clinic to have an abortion; however, when Clark checked, the woman had already had a miscarriage. He received confirmation from her lab results that she was no longer pregnant. Later, the woman gave birth to a baby boy whom she put up for adoption. After giving up the baby, the woman sued Clark for 18 years of child support. Clark went to his lawyer, who then paid the woman 2,000 dollars; the woman took the money and left town. After that Clark believed, “Abortion doesn’t make people better. It just burdens them down.”
The second presenter, Shablin, shared her experience growing up as an African American woman who supported abortion. “I was a card-carrying member of NARAL,” Shablin said. Later she learned that the founders of the National Abortions Rights Action League (NARAL) were two men who did not want to pay women extra money, so they advocated for legalizing abortion. The abortion rate rose when New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman decided that welfare would not rise with a woman having another child. Shablin, who worked in the health care industry, saw a list of the number of women who had had abortions starting with four abortions in a 12-month period, then three, two and one. “This paper unfolded and unfolded and unfolded,” Shablin said. “These were women who were voluntarily destroying their medical health and their mental health.”
Shablin also shared that she had an abortion. “I can’t come up with one good reason looking back,” she said. Shablin added that, at the time, she had not wanted to become a stereotype or statistic of a single mother, but she said that by having the abortion, she had made herself a statistic. Shablin said that 47 percent of African American babies conceived in America are aborted. In Shablin’s experience when she was younger, every woman either had an abortion or knew someone who had had an abortion.
Shablin quoted others involved in the pro-life movement, as well. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King once said, “When we said we would no longer sit on the back of the bus, a place was being reserved for us down at the abortion clinic.” Shablin said that abortion turns human life into a commodity rather than something precious. Abortion does what the original suffragists and abolitionists fought against. “We practice the expendableness of human beings on those who cannot vote, cannot protest,” Shablin said.