In his second letter, abortionist Finkel became more mocking; he even seemed somewhat divorced from reality, frankly. By now, Kim and I were tired of being insulted. Here's how we responded:
October 2, 1995
Dear Dr. Finkel:
Well, it really is difficult to maintain a civilized dialogue with someone who openly and personally mocks others' deepest beliefs. Telling us that you laughed out loud at our letter says a lot about the kind of man that you are. One with no manners to be sure, but never mind that.
We read over the letter that we sent you, and we can only conclude that you skipped over most of it. We have read your letters over numerous times to make sure we understand exactly what you're trying to explain. You might have extended us the same courtesy. But if it's more comfortable for you to dismiss pro-lifers as radical nut cases instead of reasoned, concerned, and intelligent people who don't fit your ridiculous stereotype, then so be it. But if you want to be intellectually honest, why don't you try reading over our letter again. the pro-life stereotype obviously means a lot to you, and by hearing our words, you'd have to let it go. That's never easy.
You seem incredulous that we would view your generous offer of an abortion as comparable to euthanizing our toddlers. Apparently, it is hard for you to understand or believe that women might love the children they carry as much as the children they give birth to. How sad for you.
But we are glad that you care so much about your patients that you counsel them about adoption. Can we assume, then, that you support the enactment of informed consent laws? (And on what points exactly are you willing to "negotiate" regarding abortion?) Strange, though, that you see nothing illogical or troubling about these women who love their unborn children so much that they can't bear to give them up through adoption, so they have them "terminated" instead. If this was supposed to be your example of a mother's love, then again we say, how sad. [Note to Bubble readers: In the years since this letter was written, I have learned that most women who procure an abortion do so under serious pressure from others (usually a boyfriend or their own mother). Also, I am absolutely certain that Finkel did not engage these women in long, anguished discussions of the very real adoption option.]
A couple of things need addressing. First, you must've skipped over the entire section of our letter where we carefully explained that we already know about the desperation and suffering of some women who seek abortions (and really, this is no great mystery that would somehow be "revealed" at your clinic). We explained that Kim worked daily with battered, drug-addicted, poverty-stricken, emotionally damaged women. She is a social worker and a Gestalt therapist and has worked with many, many women in crisis. You also must have skipped the part where we said she put her own life on the line for them. You also must have skipped the part where we said that they deserve help, support and empowerment, but that their tragic circumstances cannot justify or excuse the taking of a life.
You didn't address the question of when, medically, human life begins. You didn't explain how the embryo or fetus is genetically any different from the newborn, or you, or us. Just when did you begin to exist as a human being, and if it's at any time other than conception, how is such a conclusion anything other than utterly arbitrary? If you believe that there are degrees of humanity, then just say it. Be honest at least.
And apparently, you're no hero in the largely "pro-choice" medical community.You've seen the 1993 survey of 285 abortionists, which reports that (among other things): 69% of the nation's abortion providers say they aren't respected in the medical community; 65% feel ostracized because they perform abortions.
And we wonder if you are beloved by all of your patients as you claim. An abortionist writing in John Pekkanen's M.D. -- Doctors Talk About Themselves (Delacorte Press, 1988) says: "Some patients turn on you. They say, 'Let's get out of here,' after the abortion, as if you're some dirty person. It's vicious." Among his other insights: "Nobody wants to perform abortions after ten weeks because by then you see the features of the baby, hands, feet. It's really barbaric." Do you agree? He's honest enough to admit that doing abortions "turned into a significant financial boon," and that the only way he can do them is to "block out the baby." Is that what you do, as well? He claims that he doesn't want to do abortions anymore "because you can do them to a certain point, and then you get overloaded. I'm at that point." Yet, despite the contradiction in his own words, he says he does abortions "with a clear conscience." Amazing. People can justify and rationalize just about anything.
Let's be honest here. You destroy human lives for a living. You may not believe unborn lives have value, and yes, what you do is definitely legal. But give us all a break and don't try to pass it off as something noble or heroic.
We anticipate that you will skip right through the parts of this letter that don't fit your comfort zone, and we are sorry that you chose to continue your hostile and mocking tone in your second letter, even when our letter to you was polite and civilized. It answers a lot of questions for us though.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Leila Miller Kim Manning
P.S. We are disappointed that you didn't answer our very pointed and sincere questions to you at the end of our last letter. And as far as being in an ivory tower, we've been to the Republic's building exactly ONCE, over a year ago, to get our picture taken. We are not employees of the paper, and we don't know anything about the newspaper business; we are moms. And be sure to watch for another abortion article before year's end.
Coming next: Finkel's final response to us, and a poetic, explosive conclusion.
To be continued....