Before she became pro-life, Joan Appleton, a former head nurse at an abortion clinic, assisted in more than 10,000 abortions over a five-year period. Recently, she spoke to Rich Rinaldi of Register Radio News about how deception had led her to assist in the killing of unborn babies.
Rich Rinaldi: Could you tell us about the clinic you worked at?
Joan Appleton: I was head nurse of Commonwealth Woman's Clinic in Falls Church, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. We were a full-service abortion clinic. We were owned by two people, an accountant and a physician. I was in charge of all the abortion procedures … of counseling and the recovery room.
I was also in charge of the medical aspects — we did a lot of birth control, counseling … etc. … We were a very busy clinic. The primary income was abortion and we did anywhere from 20 to 30 abortions a day.
You give numbers of about 10,000 babies that you personally assisted in killing.
Over the five-year period, yes.
Women come in disturbed, not able to continue in their pregnancy. Could you speak a little about that?
They [women] came in for a multitude of reasons. They were also from a [wide range] of ages. We saw a great number of minorities. A lot of the women that we saw were young. Again, for economic reasons, they came to have an abortion and … for convenience as well. This is the No. 1 reason for anyone to have an abortion in the United States.
You didn't try to talk them out of it?
Absolutely not. I firmly believed that I was helping to free women — emotionally, psychologically, intellectually.
How did you get involved in this career? You were involved in the anti-war movement first.
I think it was a natural evolvement into the woman's movement, into the feminist movement and then into the abortion issue. We were really convinced that we had to have something that men couldn't take away from us. After losing the equal rights amendment, the logical choice was our reproductive rights. At that time, ultrasound was just coming into use [and] we did not have the window to the womb that we [have] today.
The mind-set among us feminists was not that we were taking a life, it was that we were taking control of our bodies.
As the window opened up more and more [and] medical technology became more advanced, it became clear that this was indeed a human life. This was a child in various stages of development.
At that point a lot of us started to drop out. Those who did not drop out of the field, those who stayed with the pro-choice movement, with the feminist movement and the National Organization for Women, eventually lost their prespective of what they set out to do and what their initial goals were. The pro-choice movement, today, is basically an empty cause. It's certainly empty of femininity and, really, humanity.
What are Planned Parenthood's motives? What keeps them going and causes them to be so relentless in there pursuits?
It's population control but it's also eugenics, creating the perfect society. They want to erase minorities. Erasing the poor, it's a phenomenon of scapegoating. You remember at one time in history, in Germany, they decided that all the social ills of the world would be solved as long as we got rid of the Jews.
Hitler went about dehumanizing the Jews so he could kill them. Margaret Sanger started Planned Parenthood because she firmly believed the world would be a far better place without minorities, without the poor, and she set out dehumanizing them.
Then we talked them into aborting their children and thereby eliminating them. Again, a dehumanization process and scapegoating.
Today, women have decided that the world would be a far better place to live if women had control over their reproductive rights. They feel that if we have legalized abortion, just look at the wonderful things we could solve.
We could solve teen pregnancy; there would be no more child abuse; there would be no more spouse abuse; women would be fulfilling their wants and dreams and desires without the burden of motherhood.
All these fantasies are what we, as feminists, firmly believed when we began. We know now of course, certainly now, that these numbers have not decreased at all. If anything, they have quadrupled.
So it wasn't until after the new technology that you started to see the destruction of human life?
The destruction of human life, yes, but also what was happening was that the women who had an abortion weren't going on and pursuing their wants and their dreams. They were getting pregnant again and, each time they came back to me, they felt worse. They had a low self esteem, certainly lower than it was before the abortion. I came to realize that I was hurting them and that's not what I went into the business to do.
Care for the unborn baby was not part of the picture in your early days?
It wasn't part of the formula. It wasn't part of the thought process that went into this. We could easily deny it because we didn't have the window to the womb that we have today. Now, it's impossible.
The only way someone could stay staunchly pro-choice and kill that child, and stay in the business of killing, is to dehumanize the unborn to a tremendous extent and block out their conscience.
Has it gone beyond their conscience at that point? Is that what we are talking about?
You find more and more clinic employees that are doing drugs and alcohol. They are having emotional problems of their own. You see a lot of that.
You see more and more clinics hiring homosexuals, lesbians primarily, because they cannot or they do not connect with a heterosexual woman in a pregnant state. The burnout is certainly less, and they are very loyal.
Rich Rinaldi is director of Register Radio News.