By Mark Ellis –
Warren Hern is one of only a few doctors performing late-term abortions in the United States – sometimes into the fifth, sixth, and seventh months of pregnancy.
The 84-year-old, long past the age when many physicians retire, seems determined to keep killing the unborn at the Boulder, Colorado clinic he started 50 years ago.
In a recent profile in The Atlantic magazine, he confessed to once being on the receiving end of hellish night terrors.
Hern told The Atlantic that for many years visions of an abortion he performed in the 1970s would awaken him at night. In that particular abortion, he used forceps to pull the child out from his mother, and was shocked to find the child’s heart still beating.
His nightmare centered on the baby’s visibly beating heart, which, to a person of conscience, would be profound proof of the humanity of the living being he was in the process of killing.
“He could see it in his mind, the inches-long body and its heart: beating, beating, beating,” the article noted.
Hern could not recall how many babies were born alive over the decades of his practice, but admitted it could have been once or twice.
He confessed to a subsequent nightmare, in which he used his body as a screen to prevent his staff from seeing a baby who was born alive and also had a beating heart.
In a 1978 paper he noted the psychological toll of performing these destructive procedures, especially as he used his forceps to pull out a dismembered baby. “The sensations of dismemberment,” he said, “flow through the forceps like an electric current.”
“[T]here is no possibility of denying an act of destruction. It is before one’s eyes,” he admitted.
In The Atlantic article, Hern said that in the early years of performing abortions, he needed to retreat to his office after performing abortions in order to “process how the dead fetus looked, how removing it felt.”
“Sometimes he’d sit in his office and think, What am I doing?” according to the article.
But after performing thousands of abortions, his conscience was seared. He didn’t need to go to his office to “compose himself,” and the nightmares finally ceased.
God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness…full of envy, murder…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
Since Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Hern has seen a 50% increase in demand for his services.