2009.08.07: August 7, 2009: Headlines: COS - Brazil: Abortion Rights: Family Planning: Medicine: Public Health: Speaking Out: Esquire: Warren Hern is the last doctor in America to specialize in late abortions

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Brazil: Peace Corps Brazil: Peace Corps Brazil: Newest Stories: 2009.08.07: August 7, 2009: Headlines: COS - Brazil: Abortion Rights: Family Planning: Medicine: Public Health: Speaking Out: Esquire: Warren Hern is the last doctor in America to specialize in late abortions

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Sunday, August 09, 2009 - 9:03 pm: Edit Post

Warren Hern is the last doctor in America to specialize in late abortions

Warren Hern is the last doctor in America to specialize in late abortions

"In medical school, he saw his first botched abortions. Then he spent two years as a doctor for the Peace Corps in a Brazilian town so desperately poor, it wasn't unusual to see a dead baby on a trash heap. After that, he worked as a family-planning chief for the Nixon administration and spent some time in Appalachia, where he saw unintended pregnancies dragging families deeper and deeper into poverty. In an article for The New Republic, he quoted one exhausted mother: Each one makes it harder on the ones we already got."

Warren Hern is the last doctor in America to specialize in late abortions

The Last Abortion Doctor

For thirty-six years, Warren Hern has been one of the few doctors in America to specialize in late abortions. George Tiller was another. And when Dr. Tiller was murdered that Sunday in church, Warren Hern became the only one left.

By: John H. Richardson
For thirty-six years, Warren Hern has been one of the few doctors in America to specialize in late abortions. George Tiller was another. And when Dr. Tiller was murdered that Sunday in church, Warren Hern became the only one left.

The young couple flew into Wichita bearing, in the lovely swell of the wife's belly, a burden of grief. They came from a religious tradition where large families are celebrated, and they wanted this baby, and it was very late in her pregnancy. But the doctors recommended abortion. They said that with her complications, there were only two men skilled enough to pull it off. One was George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who specialized in late abortions.

They arrived in Wichita on Sunday, May 31. As they drove to their hotel, a Holiday Inn just two blocks from the Reformation Lutheran Church, they saw television cameras. They wondered what was going on, a passing curiosity quickly forgotten.

But when they got to their room, the phone was ringing. Her father was on the line. "There was some doctor who was shot who does abortions," he said.

They turned on CNN. Dr. Tiller had just been killed, shot in the head as he passed out church leaflets. In their shock, they mixed up the clinic and the church: We were supposed to be there. What if it had happened while we were there? What if he couldn't complete the procedure?

Now there is only one doctor left.

After the first two doors of bulletproof glass, a sign warns that cell phones, cameras, and PDAs will be confiscated. You put your ID into a turning wheel that spins it to the receptionist. She studies it and hits the buzzer that opens the third bulletproof door. In the waiting room, a sad woman with a tight perm waits for her daughter. The receptionist lets you through a fourth bulletproof door and leads you down a green hall decorated with lovely pictures of nature, leaving you in a small room stocked with tissues and free condoms.

Twenty minutes later, the abortionist enters. He's a tall man in green surgical scrubs, remarkably vigorous at seventy, emphatic in speech and impatient in manner. He has a long face and no lips, which gives him a severe look. He apologizes for having very little time. This is the day he sees patients for the first of three visits, giving them the seaweed laminaria, which slowly dilates the cervix, and his normal caseload has been doubled by Dr. Tiller's patients - including two with catastrophic fetal abnormalities and a fifteen-year-old who was raped, all in the second trimester, all traumatized by the assassin who calls himself pro-life, a phrase he cannot utter without air quotes and contempt. They hate freedom, he says. He says it again. He warns you not to use anyone's name or you will put them at risk.

Walking out, he leaves the door open. You hear voices drifting down the hall: The worst picture of an abortion doctor ever. Is that Fox? Yes, Bill O'Reilly. Supposedly they were there to protect us. You see a nurse you cannot name leading a middle-aged Indian woman to an examining room. You'll need to undress completely from the waist down. You hear one of the receptionists you cannot name speaking in the carefully modulated voice the abortionist prescribed in his first book, Abortion Practice, a classic in the field: "Truax and Carkhuff have described empathy as the counselor's ability to be sufficiently involved to make full use of his/her own emotional experience and sufficiently detached to differentiate his/her own emotional experience from those of the other."

Steps come down the hall. I'm Dr. Hern. Where are you from? Lie down now. Put your hand on your chest.

The phone rings. Did you have an ultrasound? And they referred you here?

Yesterday, the man arrested for Tiller's murder warned that more killings were on the way. All last week, the antiabortion groups put out statements denouncing the murder and praising the result. One called the killer a hero. As a result, a squad of U. S. marshals rushed out here last week on orders from the attorney general. One of them paces the hall. The second receptionist you cannot name asks him, Did you see that guy out there smoking a cigarette?

Yeah, I saw him.

The first receptionist keeps talking. If you can fax us the amnio. We don't know, we'll have to wait to see what your body tells us. Do you want us to run your Amex now?

Another phone rings and the second receptionist answers. It's basically a three-day process. We require that you stay here in Colorado.

The voices begin to overlap. Are you on any medication? Have you had surgery in the last year? No, we don't have any genetics counselors to interpret that for you. We don't get a lot of protestors. It's a liberal and tolerant community. If that changes, we will contact you. No, you'll get up and get in your car and drive home. And Lisa, if you have a change of heart, please call us - our schedule is completely full and you'll be taking someone else's place.

After another silence, a soft voice gets softer: I also want you to know, we don't care what your reasons are. We're not going to judge you.

In the kitchen of the Boulder Abortion Clinic, the abortionist bolts down two microwave tamales. He talks fast and doesn't smile. It is my view that we are dealing with a fascist movement. It's a terrorist, violent terrorist movement, and they have a fascist ideology...

He goes on like that for some time. Long before the first doctor got shot back in 1993, he was warning that it would happen. He was getting hate mail and death threats way back in 1970, just for working in family planning. They started up again in 1973, two weeks after he helped start the first nonprofit abortion clinic in Boulder. I started sleeping with a rifle by my bed. I expected to get shot. In 1985, someone threw a brick through his window during a protest by the quote unquote Pro-Life Action League. He put up a sign that said THIS WINDOW WAS BROKEN BY THOSE WHO HATE FREEDOM. In 1988, somebody fired five bullets through his window. In 1995, the American Coalition of quote unquote Life Activists put out a hit list with his name (and Tiller's name) on it. The feds gave them protection for about six months, then left them on their own.


People don't get it, he says. After eight murders, seventeen attempted murders, 406 death threats, 179 assaults, and four kidnappings, people are still in denial. They say, Well, this was just some wingnut guy who just decided to go blow up somebody. Wrong. This was a cold-blooded, brutal, political assassination that is the logical consequence of thirty-five years of hate speech and incitement to violence by people from the highest levels of American society, including but in no way limited to George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, Bill O'Reilly, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson. Reagan may not have been a fascist, but he was a tool of the fascists. George W. Bush was most certainly a tool of the fascists. They use this issue to get power. They seem civilized but underneath you have this seething mass of angry, rabid anger and hatred of freedom that is really frightening, and they support people like the guy who shot George - they're all pretending to be upset, issuing statements about how much they deplore violence, but it's just bullshit. This is exactly what they wanted to happen.

He goes on about Bill O'Reilly for a while. Over the course of twenty-nine separate shows, O'Reilly accused "Tiller the Baby Killer" of performing a late abortion for any reason at all, even so a girl could attend a rock concert - a charge that is blatantly untrue. O'Reilly is a disgrace to American society, he says.

But O'Reilly says he's just exercising his right to engage in vigorous debate, you point out.

He's full of shit. This is not a debate, it's a civil war. And the other people are using bullets and bombs. I think O'Reilly is a fascist, and he would fit right in in Nazi Germany as far as I'm concerned.

It's odd, you say, trying to be agreeable. They always go after the doctors. They never go after the moms.

His eyes snap up. What moms? The patients?

Yeah, the patients.

They're not moms until they have a baby.

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: August, 2009; Peace Corps Brazil; Directory of Brazil RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Brazil RPCVs; Family Planning; Medicine; Public Health; Speaking Out

When this story was posted in August 2009, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed

 Site Index Search PCOL with Google Contact PCOL Recent Posts Bulletin Board Open Discussion RPCV Directory Register

Join Us Mr. President! Date: June 26 2009 No: 1380 Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign. Returned Volunteers rally and and march to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age. Latest: Senator Dodd introduces Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act of 2009 .

Meet Aaron Williams - Our Next Director Date: July 30 2009 No: 1411 Meet Aaron Williams - Our Next Director
Senator Dodd's Senate Subcommittee held confirmation hearings for Aaron Williams to become the 18th Peace Corps Director. "It's exciting to have a nominee who served in the Peace Corps and also has experience in international development and management," said Dodd as he put Williams on the fast track to be confirmed by the full Senate before the August recess. Read our exclusive coverage of the hearings and our biography of Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams.

July 11, 2009: House says Yes, Senate No Date: July 11 2009 No: 1390 July 11, 2009: House says Yes, Senate No
Senate Funding for Peace Corps Falls Short of Goal 10 Jul
House supports $450M Peace Corps Budget 17 Jun
Senator Kit Bond says PC is Smart Power 29 Jun
Parents Keep Dream Alive for Fallen Zambia PCV 3 Jul
PCVs Safe in Honduras after Coup 28 Jun
Jahanshah Javid recalls Peace Corps Volunteers in Iran 22 Jun
Peace Corps to return to Sierra Leone in 2010 18 Jun
Ryan Van Duzer rode bike from Honduras to Boulder 17 Jun
Monica Mills Named a Top Grassroots Lobbyist 12 Jun
Tiffany Nelson teaches - and learns in China 12 Jun
Dr. Roger Brooks spent 35 years with Concord Schools 9 Jun
Dr. Catherine Taylor Foster administered Polio vaccine in Nepal 8 Jun
Bill Lorah Runs Pre-Collegiate Program in Colorado 7 Jun
Brian Carroll writes: An African village adapts 7 Jun
Rebekah Martin finds love is not enough 6 Jun
Peter Bartholomew helps preserve Korean traditional culture 5 Jun
Obama speaks to Islamic World at Cairo University 4 Jun
Matt Hepp combines humanitarian and climbing objectives 4 Jun
Juana Bordas named 2009 Unique Woman of Colorado 2 Jun
Phil Hardberger left his mark on San Antonio 31 May
Philip Nix retires as headmaster of Day School 31 May

New: More Stories from June and July 2009

May 30, 2009: Peace Corps' Roadmap Date: May 29 2009 No: 1369 May 30, 2009: Peace Corps' Roadmap
Peace Corps' Roadmap for the Future 26 May
Who are the Candidates for Peace Corps Director? 24 May
Have French Atomic Tests put PCVs at Risk? 1 May
Obama asks Congress for 10% increase in PC Budget 7 May
Guy Consolmagno debunks "Angels & Demons" 22 May
Obama praises Dodd at credit card signing 22 May
John Garamendi front runner in California primary 22 May
Al Kamen writes: New management structure at PC HQ? 22 May
Damian Wampler's play Twin Towers opens in NYC 21 May
Michael Volpe learns that DC is networking capital 21 May
Dr. Mike Metke returns to Costa Rica 10 May
Jesse Fleisher Lives well on less 14 May
Al Kamen writes: PCVs peak at 11,000 under Obama Budget 11 May
James W. Kostenblatt is making a difference in Mozambique 10 May
Karen and Warren Master host Kyrgyzstan teen 9 May
Alberto Ibargüen writes: The Future of Newspapers 9 May
PC Monitor 2009 H1N1 Flu Virus in Mexico 1 May
Paul Theroux writes: Obama and the Peace Corps 1 May
Johnnie Carson to head State Department African Affairs 29 Apr
Michael O'Hanlon writes: Grading Obama's First 100 Days 29 Apr
Amy Potthast writes: The Peace Corps Lottery 23 Apr
Read more stories from April and May 2009.

Director Ron Tschetter:  The PCOL Interview Date: December 9 2008 No: 1296 Director Ron Tschetter: The PCOL Interview
Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter sat down for an in-depth interview to discuss the evacuation from Bolivia, political appointees at Peace Corps headquarters, the five year rule, the Peace Corps Foundation, the internet and the Peace Corps, how the transition is going, and what the prospects are for doubling the size of the Peace Corps by 2011. Read the interview and you are sure to learn something new about the Peace Corps. PCOL previously did an interview with Director Gaddi Vasquez.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Esquire

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Brazil; Abortion Rights; Family Planning; Medicine; Public Health; Speaking Out


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.