I was having a conversation with a friend who borders on being anti-choice. She might be better described as personally pro-life. She has some misconceptions about abortion that I’ve had a hard time refuting. Generally because she is one of my most important friends, we don’t discuss it. That might seem a little strange but some things are just more important.
The last time we were discussing abortion she was criticizing Dr. Morgentaler because he has all these clinics and he is making money from them (she said). I had been discussing his lawsuit against the New Brunswick government, which is an attempt to force the provincial government to follow the law and pay for abortions at his clinic. She said that the only reason he was doing it was for the money. Somehow making money by providing abortions is wrong. At the time I found myself defending Dr. M saying that he didn’t make money from his clinics. Looking back, I realize that was a stupid argument. Not only did I discredit myself by talking about something I don’t know about, but I perpetuated the problem.
Abortion doctors make money. At anywhere from $500-$1000+ per procedure, they are making money. It is doubtful many of them do it just for the money since many risk, at minimum, harassment, and at worst, their lives. Even if they don’t do it just for the money, they aren’t doing it for free. Some make a living off performing the procedure. In most parts of Canada where the doctors charge the provincial healthcare system for the procedure, they are probably making pretty good money. After all, they are doctors. I think that the pro-choice movement needs to own this. If we in any way concede that it is wrong for abortion doctors to make money for performing abortions, we are implicitly admitting there is something wrong with abortions. We must support the rights of doctors to make a living performing abortions. There is nothing wrong with this fact. We must own it.
The reality is, whether you disagree with what a doctor does, you don’t have the right to demonize them for making a living off of it (unless it is illegal like Gosnell’s clinic). I find plastic surgery for pure vanity reasons to be disgusting. That doesn’t mean that the doctors don’t have a right to make a living doing it. When an anti cries out that abortion doctors make money “killing babies,” we have to stand up for their right to practice medicine. They are doctors. They spent many years in school learning their trade. They are just as entitled to charge for their services as any other doctor. This goes to making sure abortion doctors are in the mainstream. The more they are alienated in the medical world, the more danger they are in. We have to normalize what they do.
I’ve learned my lesson. I’m glad it was with a friend who won’t hold my mistake against me. I am pro-choice and I support the right of abortion doctors to make a living helping women. There is no shame in that.