Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My correspondence with an abortionist, Part IV

Okay, you all have been very patient! Just one more post after this one. For the first three posts, go here, here and here.

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....


  1. Thanks for posting these! Good for you for taking him head on. I still can't believe he talks about adoption too painful to consider and doesn't acknowledge how women feel AFTER abortions!

  2. Sigh. Good response! In the last post, I found it very very interesting how he seemed desperate to prove to you his value as a "physician". It seemed to me that it sprang from shades of doubt deep down. So interesting!

  3. I'm with Megan. It seems to me, in your last post that he was a bit too desperate to defend himself. I'm my experiences, when peoe are that desperate they have some doubt or guilt deep down somewhere. It's like they are trying to convince themselves.

    Thanks again for posting these! I can't wait to read the last one.

  4. Finkel is a predator who used the vulnerability of women in a particular situation in order to abuse them. He's despicable because he knew these (often) young, powerless women would not likely to report the abuse. Other than that I won't ruin your "surprise" ending to this sordid tale.

    But this is a testament to our society-wide need to avoid unwanted pregnancies across the board, and pro-life and pro-choice camps often disagree on the efficacies of various approaches. One side proposes abstinence as the only way, and the other side says to reduce unwanted pregnancies, all guns should be used in the battle: abstinence, birth control, education.

    Predators like Finkel will always find avenues into the poorly guarded realms of our society, just as similar predators found their way into the priesthood. Finkel's case is also a testament to the need to reduce the stigma of abortion in order to promote the reporting of such abuse.

  5. Oh but Tony, many women reported the abuse, for years before. This is not about the "stigma" of abortion.

    As for priests.... I agree what any molester does is despicable. It's even more despicable when a priest harms a child, since priests are called to holiness and virtue, leading others to the same. When an abortionist harms (kills) a child (20,000+ abortions committed by Finkel), it's considered a job well done. But the fact that an abortionist may also harbor an intense hatred for women? Well, that's not such a stretch in my mind.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Tony, I know that I am putting my opinion out there, and talking about different things. You brought up the priests. I brought up some of my feelings. This is the comment section, not a post on a particular topic (priests vs. abortionist, or misogyny in the abortion industry), so none of it is meant to be debated here. That will be for another post, someday in the future, God willing.

    Meantime, yes, the authorities eventually did prosecute... after Finkel had been protected for years and years by pro-abortion medical cronies who decided that since Finkel was so "resectable" as an abortionist, the women must be lying.

    By the way, surely you are aware that Roe v. Wade became law not because of the "majority opinion in the country" but because of a handful of activist judges. Most Americans want serious limits on abortion in this nation, plus consent laws, and the blocks to those always come from the abortion lobby and the liberal courts. So much for "will of the people."

  8. Tony, in response to "I know abortion providers who do not "harbor hatred for women", just as I know priests who are molesters. Your generalization based on one person are painful... but not unexpected given the title of your blog."
    Please note that Leila said "AN" abortionist "MAY."

  9. [Previous comment deleted because it contained a typo that changed the meaning of a sentence. Corrected version below... I have fat fingers and type too fast.]

    You are arguing two issues: the sex crimes perpetrated by Finkel and the failure of civil authorities to discover and prosecute... which they eventually did.

    The second issue is your opinion on abortion, which is irrelevant to the first issue. Predators will find vulnerable victims in some dark avenue of our culture.

    Abortion is legal. Period. You need to change the law, but to do this, you'll need to change the majority opinion in this country.

    I know abortion providers who do not "harbor hatred for women", just as I know priests who are not molesters. Your generalization based on one person is painful... but not unexpected given the title of your blog.

  10. Mary, yes, then I guess we could say: I can see that AN airline pilot MAY be a vegetarian. It's irrelevant.

  11. "Meantime, yes, the authorities eventually did prosecute... after Finkel had been protected for years and years by pro-abortion medical cronies who decided that since Finkel was so "resectable" as an abortionist, the women must be lying."

    This might be true, but I'll need a reference. The only stories I could find in a quick Google search said that the first accuser came froward in Sept 2001, a story was out in the newspaper and then several other accusers came forward. By October 24th, Finkel was charged and the state medical board yanked his license.

    This is much different than the way the RCC handled it's scandal. There will always be abusers and criminals, but we should ask how our authorities and watchdogs handle the situations and how can we mitigate the actions of criminals. Outlawing abortion could just push these activities even further into the dark alleys.

    Every society on record has had abortion because there has always been unwanted pregnancy; only now do we have extremely effective ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies. These methods should be made universally available and affordable, if not free. This would go a long way in decreasing the number of women put in this terrible situation, but that number will never be zero, unfortunately.

    Making up narratives about "cronies protecting" their own sounds like projection coming from the Catholic Bubble.

  12. Oh, goodness, Tony. You did not do your homework very well about Finkel and the accusations. And those who protected him. I don't mind, since this is just something you learned about, and since you only googled it, but still... don't talk about my "projection" until you actually know the facts.

    As for abortion always being around.... yes, of course. So has adultery, murder, theft, etc. And it always will be around as long as sin is around. But whether or not a society sanctions it is another matter entirely. By the way, contraception is free in many, many places, and practically free just about everywhere else. More and copious contraception has not brought down the abortion rate. Where contraception is rampant, so is abortion, since contraception is a "contract" that there will be no babies from sex. And abortion is the back-up to that contract.

  13. Tony, you will have to wait for Part V like everybody else. ;)

  14. Tony, for thoughts on the priest scandal, please go here:


    And be sure to read the second part as well.


  15. Yeah, I have to take issue with this statement from Leila:

    But the fact that an abortionist may also harbor an intense hatred for women? Well, that's not such a stretch in my mind.

    I think that's a stretch. Just because someone provides abortion does not mean that they are more likely to hate women. That is a HUGE generalization.

    I know you hate the New York Times, and think that things reported there are biased, but I'm afraid that is where I get most of my news. There was an article from this summer about the "new" abortion providers (many of whom are women, who presumably do not hate women):


    I'll be interested to see what your point of this whole series is. It is looking suspiciously like you are taking the actions of a single megalomaniac and projecting them onto all abortion providers. I'll wait patiently, though.

  16. Leila: "By the way, contraception is free in many, many places, and practically free just about everywhere else. More and copious contraception has not brought down the abortion rate."

    I'd like to know where all the free contraception is located. I can only think of Planned Parenthood, the occasional student health pharmacy on college campuses and once a year gay pride parades where condoms are tossed out to the cheering crowds.

  17. Mai, I remember reading that NYTimes article last summer. So, so sad.

    I think the woman abortionists think they are empowering women (many of the male abortionists think so, too, no doubt). I think that gender feminists feel they have to be at war with their own biology and even their own offspring, just to have a shot at "equality" (mostly economic). It's sad, but you are certainly right that not all abortionists hate women. I do think there is a subset who do. Finkel happened to hate both his parents. He is one sick puppy, and I don't think he's the only abortionist who not only hates women but also enjoys the violence of abortion.

    Anyway, I'm not out to make the case here about that being the norm, so don't worry. I really have no "point" to this series of posts, at least no sweeping conclusion. Abortion is a dirty, ugly, violent, deadly business, and I thought this exchange with a proud abortionist was compelling. We didn't know at the time how it would all "end," so to speak.

  18. Anonymous, do you have a name?

    Let me ask (because this seems to be your supposition): Do you contend that contraceptives are expensive and hard to obtain?

  19. Leila,

    That was a great response, probably mostly skipped over again though. I waited for you to say this, "And be sure to watch for another abortion article before year's end."

    And it was great to save it for the very end. Clearly this man liked to push people around, and you didn't let him!

  20. Tony said: "You are arguing two issues: the sex crimes perpetrated by Finkel and the failure of civil authorities to discover and prosecute... which they eventually did."

    Part of the very legitimate outrage regarding the priest scandal involved how long it took for justice. I actually do see a similarity here between the priest abuse cases and Finkel given how long this justice took and how cases were dismissed. I am sure you didn't intend this, but your comment almost comes off dismissive of the pain Finkel's patients endured as a result of the way justice played out (so slowly and trusting of Finkel). Like, "Oh well, they eventually figured it out. Why are we all talking about this?" I wouldn't be thrilled with a Catholic who said this regarding the priest scandals and would assume Catholic bias so... anyway, again, that message doesn't seem to be your intention it just really hit a nerve for me when reading it.

  21. Nope, Sarah. I was hardly being dismissive and at the risk of seeming hypersensitive I take issue with the use of quotation marks in characterizing my statement: "Oh well..."

    We can all disagree that Finkel is bad, but he is not representative of all abortion providers, and that is the clear implication on this site. Don't insult me by denying it.

    The further implication (as is done in the final post of this series)that a medical board would ignore complaints because it is pro-choice does not make intuitive sense and is not supported by the facts. Pro-choice medical professionals are often the most outspoken about any appearance of impropriety within that sensitive area.

    A more likely scenario is that despite the efforts to confront Finkel, the medical board was unable because the patients were not willing to come forward or pursue the charges. Medical boards cannot launch invasive criminal investigations and the report even stated that the civil authorities halted their investigation because of lack of personnel.

    Stories like Finkel's need to be told, but let's remember he's a case study in sociopathology and is not representative of abortion care.

  22. Tony, you said: "Pro-choice medical professionals are often the most outspoken about any appearance of impropriety within that sensitive area."

    I am not so sure about that. Some may be, but certainly not all. Jakubczyk has dealt with these folks for years, and I think his experience and intuition cannot be discounted out of hand. Yes, many women did back out, which is to be expected considering the nature of the cases, but shouldn't the Board have understood that and pursued the many, many complaints?

    Did you read that is was not just one member of the Board (the former head of Arizona Right to Choose) but also another member, who said that despite the many complaints, she chalked it up to pro-life fabrications? Here is the quote from second lady, from a 1999 article (long before he was arrested):

    "I listened to this man speak very passionately about what he did for a living, and the concerns he had and the pressures placed on him. But what I remembered mostly . . . was that you could tell this man cared about his patients."

    McElfresh, who has served on the board for six years and is its immediate past president, says she reviewed Finkel's file after hearing of the large number of complaints against him. She won't discuss particulars, but says she believes many were fabricated by pro-lifers.

    "I reviewed his file, and I made sure I knew who this person was, compared with the persona," she says, concluding, "This is a good physician who does something that a segment of society does not approve."

    (Emphasis mine.) Are you sure there is no bias there, Tony?

    (Check out the fourth comment under the Part V: Conclusion post.)

  23. Are you sure there is bias?

    We don't know, and likely will never know. Abortion is an explosive issue and everyone comes into it with an opinion one way or the other.

    Fabrications by pro-lifers do occur as does malpractice. For a medical board to restrict someone's license, they have to have evidence and for you to imply that they ignored facts is not supportable. These were not malpractice charges, but criminal charges, which is out of the purview of a medical board.

    Medical boards do not claim to be infallible, yet there is no evidence that "cronies" looked the other way in this instance. They weighed the evidence and made a decision. If the case was so clear-cut, then why did the police halt their criminal investigation?

    But with your push-back you corroborate that you indeed are making implications about cronyism.

    {I'm behind a firewall and cannot access comments from the other post at this time.}

  24. Tony, I think I made it pretty clear that my quotes were what I was envisioning in my head. My goal isn't to insult you. I stated clearly that I don't think your intentions were to come off dismissive, but that's how it felt when reading the comment.

    And again, I really don't think anyone here sees Finkel as a typical case.


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