Many mental-health providers where I live, in Westchester County, New York, censor speech about abortion in day programs, outpatient or inpatient therapy, group therapy, one-on-one therapy, social clubs and half-way houses.
I have a mental illness. I also believe strongly that abortion is a form of genocide (broadly defined). Discussion of this view is simply not tolerated in the mental-health field. When I tried to express my feelings on abortion on many occasions, I was told by the mental-health field to shut up.
I find prebirth infanticide to be intolerable, akin to Nazi crimes but on a larger scale. I first heard the word “abortion” in the 1970s, when I was in elementary school. I accompanied my mother on a feminist march in New York City. She refused to participate in all the chants and I asked why. My mother explained she did not want to defend everything the feminists were advocating, saying that, when a pregnant woman did not want to remain pregnant, she could go to a doctor to make the child “go away.” Sometime later, I learned what she meant. I came across a magazine photograph of the severed hand and tiny feet of an unborn child. Part of my innocence was lost.
Years later, after I came to oppose abortion, my view was strongly reinforced by the documentary, Eclipse of Reason, narrated by one-time abortionist-turned-pro-life advocate, Dr. Bernard Nathanson. A laparoscopic camera inserted through a pregnant woman’s naval depicted a beautiful unborn boy in the fourth month of pregnancy. Another camera fixed on the woman’s groin graphically depicted the boy being ripped apart and removed from the mother’s vagina in bloody pieces. Something inside of me broke. I watched Eclipse repeatedly to make up for those in denial. I often woke up thinking about mangled, broken, unborn children and went to bed thinking of the same. I felt like I lived in a village outside Auschwitz during World War II. I had to speak out.
When I told my therapist about my anguish over prenatal homicide, she silenced me. She was a young, female therapist at a psychiatric hospital and she said she did not want to “get political.” She threatened to throw me out if I mentioned abortion again. I asked how she would respond if a patient wanted help dealing with the 9/11 attack or wars in the Middle East. She would not tolerate such questions and kicked me out of her office. My therapist’s superior said I had yelled at her, which was absurd (and he took it back), but then he permanently banned me from the outpatient clinic. (Part of the reason for this was a coincidental false accusation my psychiatrist made against me.) Ironically, I had chosen treatment at a Catholic hospital because it did not perform abortions and I had assumed they would be more sympathetic to pro-lifers.
Another incident occurred when I lived in a half-way house. I posted photos of unborn children on my bedroom wall, but a staff member tore them down. My roommates had not objected to the pictures. Frustrated, I wrote to the administrators explaining that the pictures were not graphic and disturbing; I had discovered the award-winning photos in Life magazine, which originally published them in 1965 before the abortion war had gotten underway. I was allowed to put them up again, and the woman who tore them down apologized. I later learned the staff had been instructed not to discuss abortion with me, which seems to me to be very unprofessional: I needed to communicate about prebirth infanticide. Years later, I lived at an apartment run by the same agency. I put an antiabortion poster in my window and was ordered to take it down. I put a pro-life sticker on my door, and my case manager ripped it down, saying it was not allowed.
In 2009, I attended a group therapy program at a hospital in White Plains. The group focused on current events from the local newspaper. I spoke about three articles, providing insight as to how they could pertain to abortion. The group leader forbade me from talking about the topic again. When I got a letter published in the paper, I was not allowed to read it aloud because it addressed the matter of cutting up babies.
When I was an inpatient, and then a couple of times when I attended an outpatient program, I participated in a role-playing game that I found objectionable. We were given a scenario where we had to pretend to save some people and let others die. The game told us the fictitious persons’ race, religion, handicaps, etcetera. I tried to explain that the game was immoral under pro-life theory because some people were seen as having more right to live than others. Staff never seemed to try to understand what I was objecting to, and they did not defend me when my peers got annoyed. I was told I should simply not participate, but I wanted to ruin the game, which I did each time I played it.
I’ve even been censured for speech that did not occur in an area under the purview of psychiatrists. I spoke to a woman about abortion in the cafeteria of a mental hospital. She was from the former Soviet Union and she told me her mother had had ten abortions, and that she herself had had two. I told her, perhaps too bluntly, that she had had no right to kill her babies. She reported me to staff and I was called into my therapist’s office. My therapist had already made clear that she disapproved of my vocal protests. Shortly after this event, I was ejected from the program and I have no doubt my speech was a reason.
At a social club for the mentally ill, I expressed my concerns about prebirth infanticide in a group therapy session. I was told not to bring it up again. At another such club, a woman friend and I read aloud to each other essays I had written about prenatal homicide. After a while, a woman member of the club asked us to go into another room. I told her I did not want to, but that I would have no objections if she moved into another room. A few minutes later, a staff member asked my friend and me to stop talking about abortion. We refused. Later, another staffer and then a third asked us to be silent. We refused. The senior staff member made a phone call to the woman who ran the social club. I was asked to come to the phone but I wanted to keep reading and refused. I was then told by the senior staff member that her superior on the phone had said that if I did not stop discussing abortion, she would call the police. For talking about abortion. I left.
Censorship regarding unborn human rights is not unbiased; it helps the dominant side (which is pro-choice-to-kill) and the side that would suffer under fair debate (again the pro-choice-to-kill side). This phenomenon of avoiding discussion of abortion hurts the thousands of post-abortive women who regret their abortions and may search the field of psychologists in vain for someone willing to discuss their pain. Men whose children have been killed need help too. Psychiatric censorship also leads to more abortions because people fail to learn how bad prebirth infanticide is. Another area where abortion and mental health overlap involves the possibility of future eugenic abortion of mentally ill unborn. Many children with Down syndrome are killed before birth, and if the genes leading to mental illness are discovered, thousands of such children could be chopped up in the womb.
This dishonest attitude in the psychiatric community should be taken in context. We live in a society where few individuals or institutions want to deal candidly about the evisceration of unborn children. When pro-choice-to-kill activists do speak, they use code language with terms like “choice issue” or “reproductive rights.” I have been censored by pro-choicers in two college campuses. Many members of my family and friends have let me know they will not tolerate my attempts to talk to them about abortion. Two cousins and numerous former friends have “unfriended” me on Facebook because they object to my frank language about the child killings they support and collude in. The problem is that prebirth infanticide is tolerated, not because it is acceptable, but because it is so dreadful people cannot easily wrap their minds around it. Abortion is insane. Thinking it is not insane is insane. Not thinking about it is insane. When I consider the people in the mental healthcare system who wanted to silence me, I think, Who is the crazy one here?
Chris Rostenberg writes from Westchester, New York.