Abortion Industry is Crumbling
by Angela Michael
abortion is meaningless if no one is able or willing to perform
is more confirmation that here in
’s Heartland the abortion industry is crumbling. This past fall
late-term abortion mill had to shutdown due to a lack of baby
killers and numerous lawsuits that have been filed against this
chop-shop. Read related article: Hope
Clinic is Hemorrhaging
directoress, Ms. Burgess, failed to mention in the accompanying
article the two abortionists she hired from Chicago lasted
briefly, as they were butchering and hurting women, and at least
four lawsuits were filed in 2008 for gross negligence, battery,
and malpractice against these female abortionists featured on our
website. Legalized abortion was supposed to put an end to “back
alley” abortions and the mutilations of women. Just part of
the fable. “Where there
is ‘choice’ there is Hope.”
Burgess recently commented to a reporter when asked “What
about the Michaels?” she said, “They
are relentless,” referring to our daily ministry outside the
Hope abortion Clinic.
The following article posted in the New York Times
reiterates what we have been reporting.
It’s not a question if legalized abortion will come to an
end; it's a matter of time.
opponents will achieve their goal without ever having to overturn
Roe vs Wade.” ~Kate
Michelman, former director NARAL
I look back on the Roe v Wade decision I thought these words had
been written in granite. But I’ve learned it was not granite. It
was more like sandstone. The immediate problem is: where will the
doctors come from?”~
Sarah Weddington, pro-abortion attorney who successfully argued
the Roe v Wade case.
to Pass the Torch?
WHEN Anne Baker graduated from Southern Illinois
University in 1975, she was pleased to be hired as a birth
control counselor for a Planned
Parenthood clinic, though it was not her dream job.
“I wanted to be an abortion
counselor,” she recalled. “I wanted it so bad.”
Ms. Baker was thrilled when the Supreme
Court legalized abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade
decision. “I remember going to rallies, and this was so long
ago, instead of calling opponents pro-life, we called them
‘fetus supremacists.’ ” She had been raised by her
Catholic divorced mother and her great-aunt. They had little
money, and to put herself through college, she worked a year,
saved, went to school for a year, then worked the next year. “I
was so convinced that to stay independent, women needed abortion
for a backup,” she said. “It was like a calling for me.”
And so, the following year, in 1976, when a
counseling job opened at the abortion clinic here, a 30-minute
drive across the Mississippi River from her home in St. Louis, Ms.
Baker grabbed it and never left, becoming the head of counseling
at the Hope Clinic for Women.
In that time, she estimates she has done abortion
counseling for 25,000 women and a few girls, some as young as 11,
others as old as 53. “It’s been my dream job,” she said.
“I wanted to be standing by the side of someone who was making a
decision that others would condemn her for, and support her and
link arms and say, You’re a good person making a hard decision,
and that’s what I’ve done for 33 years.”
But here is the question: As Ms. Baker’s
generation approaches retirement — women whose commitment to
abortion was forged in the pre-Roe v. Wade days — will younger
women take their places at the clinics?
“We worry about that a lot,” said Sally
Burgess, executive director of the Hope clinic, who is also
chairwoman of the National Abortion Federation, the main
professional support group for abortion providers. “Younger
women have always had access to abortion care, they don’t fully
appreciate the battle that was fought to have it available to
them. And more important, I don’t think they know how precarious
the option is at this point, even with Obama’s election.”
“What I observe for women in their 20s and 30s
— there are fewer who really have the fire in the belly for
this,” she said.
At 50, Ms. Burgess is the youngest member of the
Hope clinic’s leadership team, which includes Ms. Baker; Debbie
Wiehardt, 57, the office supervisor; and the two doctors
performing abortions (the only men on the 30-person staff), who
are both in their 60s.
A recent survey of 273 abortion clinics published
in the journal Contraception found that 64 percent of their
doctors were at least 50 years old, and 62 percent were men.
Abortion advocates like Kelli M. Conlin, president of Naral
Pro-Choice New York, say that while it’s not a problem finding
younger doctors and support staff to work in clinics in large
urban areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, it is an
issue in more conservative places, like upstate New York; smaller
Midwestern cities; Southern states, including Texas; and rural
For eight years, Ms. Burgess said, she has been
trying to add a doctor who was not only younger but a woman.
“Many women prefer females, and it’s particularly important if
there’s been abuse,” she said. She has participated in a
program with the University
of Chicago aimed at teaching young physicians to do
abortions, and though two women came here to train, neither
stayed. “I take every opportunity to put feelers out for
doctors,” she said. “We’re aging, we’re looking for
leaders to take over for us.”
The staff at abortion clinics typically earn less
than their counterparts in other medical disciplines. “We were
able to pay about half what a doctor’s office or hospital
paid,” said Tina Welsh, 67, who in 1981 helped found the
, a nonprofit abortion clinic in
She was ready to retire as director in 2005, but couldn’t find a
Ms. Welsh said that when she finally did retire in
2008, she was making under $60,000 a year. After a two-year search
that yielded little, she replaced herself with her associate
director, who is in her 50s.
Most of the women hired at the
clinic from 1981 to the present — nurses, counselors, lab
technicians — came of age in the pre-Roe v. Wade era, Ms. Welsh
said. When her nurse practitioner retired several years ago, she
could not find a replacement and instead hired two registered
nurses. Finally, last month, the clinic hired a nurse
practitioner — a woman in her early 60s who had retired and
decided to work again part time.
The lower pay at the nation’s 816 clinics —
which provide about 94 percent of abortions according to a 2008
study in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive
Health — reflects a modest revenue stream. The average cost for
a first-trimester abortion — surgery that typically involves a
four-hour stay — was $413 in 2006, said Rachel Jones, a senior
researcher at the Guttmacher Institute. Ruth Arick, an abortion
care consultant, said: “At many clinics, fees have not changed
much since the mid-1970s. The cost was $175 then and I can still
find you an abortion for that price in
While doctors like the two at the privately owned
for-profit Hope clinic can supplement their incomes with a private
gynecological practice, that’s rarely true of the other workers.
“People running these clinics,” Ms. Arick
said, “have brains wired for social work and social justice even
though they’re in the medical business.” Studies show the
typical woman having an abortion is a poor, single parent in her
20s. Many don’t have insurance, or the insurance won’t cover
abortion. Ms. Burgess said half who come to her clinic need
financial help, and she employs a staff member to search for
Working at an abortion clinic intrudes into a
person’s private life. “I never wanted to be political,” Ms.
Welsh said, “but for the clinic to survive, I had to know all
the legislators from our area. They can make or break you.”
“You work in abortion,” Ms. Burgess said,
“it will affect who you will date, the parties you will be
invited to.” Every day when she comes to work, she’s picketed.
On the weekday I visited, 15 protestors carried signs comparing
abortion to Hitler’s
A decade ago, after an
clinic was bombed, Ms. Welsh had to take terrorism prevention
classes. “I’m a director of a nonprofit, and I’m sitting
there thinking, Why am I learning about letter bombs?” she
recalled. “My board decided after that, only I could open the
clinic mail — I was the only one they insured, to save money on
On July 11, 2008, protestors picketed Ms.
Welsh’s retirement party.
It’s been years since there was violence at the
Hope clinic. In 1982, the clinic was firebombed, and eight months
later, the owner and his wife were kidnapped for a week, before
being released. When Ms. Burgess arrived as director in 1990, all
the windows were still boarded.
But in 1999, she opened a new clinic building that
is twice as big and tastefully decorated with paintings, dried
flowers, framed letters of commendation from former President Bill
Clinton and former Vice President Al
Gore. The building was designed like a fortress —
walls are three cinder blocks thick, windows are bullet-resistant
and out front is a concrete booth where an armed guard is
After 33 years, Ms. Baker doesn’t worry, but she
is still cautious, having the guard escort her to her car during
periods when anti-abortion protest historically flares up —
Christmas and Easter; the Jan. 22 Roe v. Wade anniversary;
Mother’s Day. Her greatest joy is when a woman tells her, “You
make me feel like I’m not a bad person.” Her biggest
disappointment is how little has changed since the 1970s. “I
used to hope some day, instead of people being so scared and
ashamed, that the taint, the stigma, would stop. It has not.”