Whistleblowers Tell Abortion Horror Stories

In the wake of Christin Gilbert’s death, two women have come forward to tell their stories about horrific abortion experiences at George R. Tiller’s infamous late-term abortion mill Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas. Operation Rescue has changed their names for their protection.

These women were initially supporters of abortion rights. “Janice” still describes herself as “pro-choice” but believes women are not told the unvarnished truth. “Tina” is now pro-life. Both women deeply regret their late-term abortions, one done for “fetal anomaly” and the other because the baby was the product of rape. They wanted to share the truth about their abortion experiences because of the devastation that decision brought into their lives.

Both women have suffered long-term physical complications as well as emotional anguish from their late-term abortions.

Their stories emphasize the need for a Grand Jury investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing at Tiller’s abortion mill in order to prevent more women from suffering a similar fate. [Click here to read more about the Grand Jury effort to investigate Tiller.]

From “Janice”:

I do however agree with you on one thing now, and that is that Dr Tiller’s abortion clinic should be closed. After some deep soul searching and many sleepless nights up thinking about the care I received there, I agree it’s not right. I live in Canada, a country with some of the world’s best health care, and free health care at that. I think I was so grateful to him [abortionist George R. Tiller] because he was able to terminate a pregnancy for me because I couldn’t face the results of that pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some girl off the street who got pregnant and decided in my third trimester that I all of the sudden was not ready to be a parent. I was newly married had a new home and had been helping raise my stepson since he was 6 months old. We were beyond elated to be having this baby we loved her from the minute we found out she was coming. We had the nursery all painted and basically were waiting.

I was due to have her on the 15th of January, 2004. It wasn’t until the 23rd of December that it was noticed that there was something wrong during a routine ultrasound. The next day (Christmas Eve) me and my husband were sent to [a] hospital. They [the hospital] have the best prenatal diagnosis and medical genetics program in the country. It was then, after a bunch of tests, that they were able to tell me that our daughter, whom we were expecting in less then a month, more then likely had Complete Trisomy 22, a condition incompatible with life.

An MRI the day after Christmas confirmed that this was true. I was then faced with two decisions: I could wait and deliver any time and watch my child expire before my eyes while I stood there helplessly and did nothing, or I could go see this doctor in Wichita who would terminate my pregnancy for me so that I would not have to go through that. I was distraught. I didn’t know what to do and I let others sway me into going to see him. Now I don’t know what these procedures normally cost being that we have free health care here but Dr. Tiller charged 19000 Dollars US. OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) paid for it, of course, and then all I had to pay for was my flight and accommodations and to have the body of my daughter sent back to [Canada] for a full autopsy.

Now most of my trip to Kansas is a blur. This is because from the time you arrive at Dr. Tiller’s clinic, you are on some form of drugs. You’re in a daze. Though I remember a lot, there is a lot I don’t remember. I will never however forget the day I was given the digoxin shot through my stomach into the heart of my baby. It took me 45 minutes to calm down enough so that Dr. Tiller and one of his nurses could come in to do this. I was hysterical because after this there was no turning back. By telling them I was ready for them to come in and do it, I was telling them that it was ok to kill my daughter. They sedated me and then did it.

Now I have spoken to many other women who have been to Dr. Tiller’s clinic. NONE of them were sedated for the procedure. I woke up and my baby was dead. After that I was given a perscription for a drug called “Pentazocine,” while all the other women were given a prescription for something similar to TYLENOL #3.

I was then sent to have laminaria packed up into me. While inserting the laminaria they broke my water “accidentally.” I was then shipped off to the La Quinta [ — Ed. Note: This hotel chain has since disassociated themselves with Tiller.] where my labour began.

It’s now 6 pm the clinic is closed for the day and I’m in pretty intense labour. My contractions were less then 5 minutes apart. My mother, who was with me at the time, called down to Edna’s room. [ -Ed. Note: This is Tiller employee Edna Roach.] Edna told my mom to give me 2 pills, then one every hour. After that I didn’t know my left from my right. After a few hours I was to the point where I was begging my mother for no more pills. I was in excruciating pain and I was vomiting from the pills. I had this HORRIBLE pain in my cervix that to this day I can’t explain. (To this day, I still experience that pain from time to time.) My mother called Edna several more times she finally came down to my room and examined me on the hotel bed and said I was fine. She then gave me another shot that sedated me. The pain was so intense that when it would come I would come out of the sedation then pass back out. This persisted for several hours until the sedation wore off.

By this time it was about 1 am and my contractions were one minute apart. My mom called Edna several times screaming at her. She then came again and gave me another shot and sedated me. All the while I was still taking the pills every hour on the hour. By the time the second round of the sedation had worn off, I could no longer stand because of the drugs and because of the extreme pressure on my pelvis.

I remember saying I needed to go to a hospital I didn’t care about Dr. Tiller’s clinic. I needed another doctor. My mom was crying and she ran into the hall. When she opened the door, the man in the next room heard me crying and screaming. He was a doctor. I thought I was saved! Turns out the doctor in the next room was [Tiller abortionist] Dr. [LeRoy] Carhart. He had just arrived and checked into the hotel. He came in and examined me. Immediately he then called Edna and the exchanged some harsh words and he said I needed to go to the clinic NOW.

I had to be carried out to the van. Both me and my mother [were] in the back seat. Dr. Carhart and Edna [were] in the front. My mother and I had to listen to Edna’s rap music the whole way there, which I found highly unprofessional. At this point, [my mother and I] were both, like, what did we get ourselves into? What kind of clinic is this? I left the hotel at 5:15am by the time I got to Dr. Tiller’s clinic (they brought me in through [Tiller’s private] garage) they registered me, undressed me, sedated me, and I delivered my child. It was 6 am, 45 minutes [after I arrived at the clinic.]

I do remember a few minor things about the delivery, but because of the anesthetic, I hardly remember anything at all. I was sent back to the hotel at 9 am. I returned to the clinic around 10 am the next day for a “check-up.” It was at this time I was allowed to hold my daughter and have her baptized. They recommended I did not look at her because of all the disfigurements she had due to the Trisomy 22. They suggested it would be better for me to just think of her as the perfect little baby I had imagined she would be.

Now when you first get to the clinic you get a check list of things you can ask for, [for example] the baby blanket, hand and foot prints, pictures, etc. I asked for these things and they told me they would mail them to me. I was hysterical. I just needed something to hold onto. I threw a fit in a waiting room (a waiting room I had never seen before). It was FULL of people. All of a sudden, they brought me my stuff. It seemed to me as soon as my abortion was over they couldn’t wait to get rid of me.

[Tiller employee] Sarah Phares and [former abortion chaplain] Reverend Gardner [-Ed. Note: Gardner is now deceased.] however were there for me and consoled me to the best of their abilities. I now see that the medical care I received there was the worst kind of medical care one could ever [have] received.

Now my story is almost over, but there is a little more to it. The prescription I was given there had a refill on it, but it cost my 75 dollars US to fill this so I figured I would wait until the next day when I got home to refill this prescription because it would only cost me 35 cents. ( I have a medical plan.) So I had been home for 2 days and had not slept. I was vomiting I had nosebleeds, the shakes, the sweats, and uncontrollable spasms. I thought this was because of stress, so I went to see my doctor and he wanted to run tests. I agreed. On my way out his door I remembered my prescription so I gave it to him and asked for the refill. He looked at me with a very strange look on his face and asked me to sit down. He explained to me that this drug was illegal in Canada and he could not give it to me, and that basically it was synthetic heroine. And he couldn’t believe the amount of milligrams in each pill. I then explained to him that I was told to take 2 and then one every hour. He then did a quick blood test and it confirmed that the levels of pentazocine in my system now — let alone 2 days ago — should have killed me. I was not having all these symptoms from stress. They were my body’s way of trying to detox me.

I am no longer grateful for Dr. Tiller “helping me.” He didn’t help me at all. I wish now I would [have] had the courage to deliver my little girl and let her get even just one breath of air before she passed, to let her see my face just once before she passed. I will never have that chance now and I will always have to live with the decision I made and the nightmares of what happened to me in Kansas. All I have now is my little 6 lb. 2 oz. daughter’s ashes in a tiny silver engraved box in my living room. I have a small box of pictures and footprints and a receiving blanket with green goop on it that I can’t bring myself to wash because I think it will wash her away. I still cry every day and I miss her everyday. Dr. Tiller didn’t help me. He robbed me and I let him. Women need to know what goes on there. People need to be educated on what goes on inside his clinic.

From “Tina”:

My experience at Dr. Tiller’s clinic for the week I was there was it was physically the closest thing to hell on earth I have ever experienced. He gave me no anesthesia at all and the whole experience was so painful, but the day of my “labor & delivery” was the worst thing anyone has ever done to me.

On that day, me and the 7 other girls in my group went into the basement and we were given hospital gowns to change into. Then we were taken to our beds, which were all lined up in a row. Then, the nurses went down the line. They put 2 IV’s into me — one in my hand and the other kind of at the side of my wrist. At that point, they gave me something, (I think pitocin, but I don’t actually remember), to induce my labor and I felt like I was dying. It hurt so much and they told me to try and lay with my knees as close to my chest as possible and that would help with the contractions. It didn’t. After I had laid there like that for awhile, I really felt like I had to pee. I told the nurse and she said that I didn’t have to, that it was just my water. I insisted that she take me to the bathroom and she did…

Then she said that it was time for me to go in see the doctor. I was taken in the operating room, put in the stirrups and the nurse stayed there to hold my hand. He took this curved scissor and broke my water. Somehow my water came back onto me and soaked my gown. He told the nurse to change my gown, I told him that I didn’t care that it was wet, I just really wanted a painkiller. He said that they do care and they were going to change my gown.

So after the nurse did that, he took his entire hand and pushed it inside of me to do something to the baby (to turn him feet first, I presume) and I have NEVER felt anything like that in my life. Then he took a bigger scissors and did something else inside of me. I was crying, he told me not to scream because I would scare the other girls, his 1st trimester patients. Then, he took the forceps and did something to me with them. At that point, I had just given up, I thought I was dying and I was told just to stay quiet. Then, he said that I was not dilated enough and he sent me back to my bed. He told me not to push until he told me to. I laid there for what seem[ed] like forever and my body just started pushing. At that point, the nurse took me into the bathroom and she laid a blue covering over the toilet and she told me to start pushing as hard as I could and on my last push, they gave me something that totally knocked me out.

I woke up in my bed and I remember not being in that awful pain. I looked behind me and I saw a chart. I picked it up and it was the information on my baby. That’s how I found out that he was a boy. The nurse grabbed my chart away from me and told me that I wasn’t allowed to see that. Then, I had to go back in and see the doctor again. I was so sore and he took the speculum, which almost sent me through the roof in pain. He suctioned something out and sent me back to my bed to rest. That was the worst day of my life.

The days preceding that were bad, when he gave me the shot to stop the baby’s heart on the first day. It hurt and I jumped. He told me that I had better stay still or he would miss and then he’d just have to do it again.

The laminaria hurt and I writhed around during all of those insertions and extractions. I was told once again to remain still because if I didn’t, it would hurt more. I was only 16 and I had never even had an exam before.

…Tiller had the nerve to tell me and the other girls in my group that having our late term abortions were 40x safer than actual childbirth. That is a complete lie! I have cervical scarring from his repeated insertions of laminaria to dilate my cervix (unnaturally, for his “safe” procedure) as well as cervical incompetence that required me to have a cerclage (a stitch that keeps your cervix from dilating) put in to carry my current pregnancy to term.

…When I had my abortion at Tiller’s clinic, he made everyone in my group (myself included) sign a paper saying that if we had any complications at all, we were under no circumstance to go to the hospital. We were to call only him. I had my abortion at about 28 weeks and he gave me no anesthesia, but loaded me up on antibiotics.

…I also want to add that my group was all late term elective patients who were 30 or more weeks pregnant and I was the only girl who indicated that a rape had taken place and I was a minor. [Tiller] did nothing to help me prosecute the crime. He just killed my baby, thus destroying the evidence.

…I am ashamed that I have tirelessly defended a man who subjected me to so much pain. I told my friend that story and she said that it was the most inhumane, horrific story of abortion she’s ever heard.

Do I have to go to a church to ask God to forgive me? If I have to, what type of church?

…I cry for my son every day and I have said repeatedly that I would NOT have another abortion.

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