She recounts her early experiences in the clinic:
It took a few weeks before I got the alarm code to our clinic. I guess it takes that long for them to trust you. I remember getting the code and feeling shocked. The code was 2229. That seems innocent…until they told me what it spelled out…BABY. Really. Wow. We were really joking about that…our alarm code was mocking the murder of children.
A few weeks later I was introduced to our freezer in the POC (products of conception) lab. This was the freezer that held the fetal tissue until the biohazard truck came for disposal. I found out the name for that freezer…the nursery. Again, that was a joke. How had that become a joke?
A few days later I learned the password to our phone system…2229…BABY.
A couple years later I remember walking in on my supervisor making jokes with the abortionist and another employee in that same POC lab. They were joking about how the fetal tissue floating in this dish looked like bar-b-que. Did I hear that right? Did they really just say that? Then one of them said, “I actually think this part looks like strawberry jam.” I turned around and walked out without saying a word. I felt sick to my stomach. How did that conversation begin? How could they say that? Was it enough to make me leave? No. I was one of them now. I am drenched in the evil of this place.Later, she joined in their ghoulish humor:
About a year before I left, the Coalition for Life group had moved in next door to our clinic. We joked about sending them a “welcome to the neighborhood” gift. Maybe we should send them cookies in the shape of babies with red icing on them that resembles blood. We laughed. We thought we were so witty. It was not wit.
I could go on and on. I look back now and wonder how I could let my mind become so numb to something so terrible.Abby's post was remarkable to me, because just days earlier I had read an eerily similar account from another former abortion clinic worker, Jewels Green:
Even the macabre became commonplace. The gallows humor I’d seen in movies about medical staff that work around disease and death day in and day out was right at home in an abortion clinic.
I vividly remember the cleaning lady who quit after finding a foot in the drain of the one of the sinks in the autoclave room (where the medical instruments were cleaned and sterilized after abortions) and how we all laughed and joked about it in the staff lounge for days and weeks afterward.
When the power went out one time for hours and we were all explicitly instructed NOT to open the freezer where all of the medical waste was stored (read: dead baby parts in bio-hazard bags) but inevitably, someone did open that freezer and I will never, ever forget the stench of decaying human flesh for as long as I live —but we all laughed as we gagged and joked how at least “they” had it better in that non-functioning freezer because at least they couldn’t smell it.
[I]n my heart I always knew it was wrong. All of it was wrong….Horrifying as their stories are, it makes sense that they joked about what they were doing, to the point of mocking the dead babies themselves. For one to cooperate in an unthinkable evil, one must assuage the avenging conscience in some way or another.
Professor J. Budziszewski discusses the conscience -- and the revenge of conscience -- in his book, What We Can't Not Know (which I reviewed here).
The human conscience operates in three modes:
In the cautionary mode, the conscience acts as teacher: "I shouldn't do that; it's wrong."
In the accusatory mode, the conscience acts as judge: "I should never have done that; it was wrong."
In the avenging mode, the conscience acts as executioner. We shall see how that works in a moment.
The "Five Furies" of conscience that come into play when we transgress the natural law (i.e., the universal moral law) are something we can all grasp:
Professor B describes the rightly ordered way that the guilty conscience responds to the Five Furies (emphases mine):
However, if the guilty party does not respond to the Furies in rightly ordered ways and return to moral goodness, the Furies don't just suddenly go away (emphases mine):The normal outlet of remorse is to flee from wrong; of the need for confession, to admit what one has done; of atonement, to pay the debt; of reconciliation, to restore the bonds one has broken; and of justification, to get back in the right.
But if the furies are denied their payment in wonted coin, they exact it in whatever coin comes nearest, driving the wrongdoer's life yet further out of kilter. We flee not from wrong, but from thinking about it. We compulsively confess every detail of our story, except the moral. We punish ourselves again and again, offering every sacrifice except the one demanded. We simulate the restoration of broken intimacy, by seeking companions as guilty as ourselves. And we seek not to become just, but to justify ourselves.
In the buildings where women's wombs were forcibly opened and their living babies were shredded and dismembered and thrown out with the trash:All the furies collude. Each reinforces the others, not only in the individual, but in the social group. (pp. 150- 151)
"We laughed. We thought we were so witty."
"We all laughed and joked about it for days and weeks afterward."
"We all laughed as we gagged and joked."
"In my heart I always knew it was wrong. All of it was wrong."
"I look back now and wonder how I could let my mind become so numb to something so terrible."
Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down. -- G.K. ChestertonPraise God for the gift of the avenging conscience. For to be pursued by the Five Furies, even to the very edge of the pit of hell itself, is a severe mercy given by a loving God Who will use drastic means to call us back to Himself.