Earlier this week, the pro-life group Live Action released a series of videos in which an obstetrician-gynecologist who used to perform abortions explains why he stopped, how the procedures are performed, and what's at stake, both for the unborn and their mothers.
Live Action President Lila Rose sat down with the former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, and discussed his conversion from abortionist to pro-life advocate. The process began, like many stories involving changes of the heart, with deep tragedy.
"I was doing abortions on a regular basis in my practice and everything was just—you know, the kids are growing, and I'm starting to make some money finally, and everything was just wonderful as far as I was concerned until June 23 of 1984," he said. "June 23, 1984 was an absolutely beautiful day in Albany, Heather was exactly two months away from her sixth birthday. We took the kids to an amusement park that day, came home, we had dinner together. And the kids were playing in the backyard when we had friends arrive for cake and coffee.
"We were talking with those friends, when, at 7:25 that night we heard the screech of brakes out in front of our house. The kids had wandered into the road, and Heather had been hit by a car. She was a mess. Um, you know, I'm a doctor. I'm supposed to be able to save people's lives. My wife was an intensive care nurse at the time. This is what we did for a living. This was routine to us. But it made absolutely no difference and she literally died in our arms in the back of an ambulance that night.
"You know, people who are listening who have children may think they have some idea of what that feels like. I guarantee you if you haven't been through that yourself, you have no idea what it feels like. And I pray you never find out. But what do you do after a disaster? You know, you bury your child and take some time off and then you try to get back into your life."
A short time after his daughter's funeral and he returned to work, Levatino performed what was for him a routine procedure called a "D & E abortion." But for the abortionist, this time, the procedure was anything but routine.
"I started that abortion and put in what's called a Sopher Clamp and literally ripped out a baby's arm or leg—that big—and I just stared at it in the clamp," he said. "I got sick. I mean, I literally got sick. But when you start an abortion, you can't stop. When you do a D & E abortion, you have to keep inventory. You have to make sure you get two arms and two legs and all the pieces, because if you don't, your patient's gonna come back infected, bleeding or dead."
He finished the abortion, but then he says he looked, really, for the first time in his career, at what he had done. He looked at the pile of baby parts sitting on a table, and no longer saw all the things that had sustained him for all those years.
"I didn't see what a wonderful doctor I was helping her with a problem, and I didn't see her wonderful right to choose, and I didn't even see the $800 cash I just made in 15 minutes," he said. "All I could see was somebody's son or daughter, and suddenly this was looking really different to me.
"For the first time in my life, it hit me very powerfully that this woman had come to me—figuratively, not literally, no woman ever literally says this—but figuratively, she came to me and said, 'Here's $800. Kill my baby.' And I was the kind of person that would look right back at her perfectly calmly and say, 'Why sure, I'll do that.'"
Levatino said he didn't immediately stop performing abortions, but it didn't take long after that for his heart to be completely changed with regard to the procedures he had been performing. He now says he will no longer participate in abortions, and with Live Action's help, has filmed additional videos in which he describes with clinical precision what is done in each abortive procedure, how they each end human lives, and how those procedures endanger the health and lives of the pregnant women involved.
The first video describes how abortion pills are used to end the life of an unborn child.
The second describes the "D & C" abortion "suction" abortion procedure.
The third describes the second-trimester "D & E" abortion procedure.
The final video describes the third-trimester "partial birth" abortion procedure.
While the videos aren't as graphic as those released by The Center for Medical Progress, and don't involve hidden cameras, some believe they are just as damning against the abortion industry. So, could these be the videos that result in defunding Planned Parenthood once and for all?
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