Patty Knap calls herself a “born again” Catholic. She planned to be a wife and mother of four or five kids with several girls, but as life played out, she’s a single mom with two young adult boys. She counsels at a crisis pregnancy center, teaches CCD, takes online classes with the Avila Institute, and loves the beach, dalmatians, and America’s national parks. She also saves recipes in a pile until it gets big and then throws them out.
Talk about a conversion story.
Dr. Anthony Levatino is an OB/GYN who performed roughly 1,200 abortions in the Albany, New York area, including second trimester ones, before a radical pro-life conversion.
For most of us it's simply unfathomable that someone could routinely do abortions—something Levatino describes as far more brutal than most people realize—and lay out the dismembered parts of an unborn child.
For Levatino, the truth is, his journey from abortionist to pro life advocate was a long one.
I used to tell myself a million excuses to justify what I did: ‘We need the money.’ ‘I'm not pro-abortion, I'm pro-woman.’ ‘Abortion is only a small part of what I do as a doctor.’ I believed it was ‘pro-woman’ to provide this option. While abortion was never a major part of my practice, as time went on it caused me more and more conflict. My wife and I were seeking to adopt a child, and all the while I was throwing other people's children in the garbage at the rate of 9 or 10 a week. I began to think, 'If only one of these women could give us her child.'
Eventually, my wife and I were successful in adopting a healthy girl, Heather. On June 23, 1984, Heather was hit by a car and died. When you lose your child, life is very different. Everything changes. That's when things really changed for me regarding abortion. I realized as never before that the child I was killing in each abortion was somebody's precious child. My own loss enabled me to value life even more. I began to feel like a paid assassin…and that's exactly what I was. My self-esteem plummeted, and so did my interest in doing abortions. When I experienced the pain of burying my own child, I was forced to face the ugly truth about the darker side of my job.
One day it was my turn to perform a second trimester abortion. As I started the procedure, I inserted a clamp and ripped out the baby's arm. Then I paused for what seemed like forever, staring at the arm in the clamp. A procedure I had done over a hundred times before suddenly made me ill.
At that moment, the only thing that mattered was the innocent child whose life I had just ended. I lost my child, someone who was very precious to us. And now I am taking somebody's child and I am tearing him right out of their womb. I am killing somebody's child. That day marked the beginning of my journey from abortionist to pro-life advocate. I've been on both sides of this debate, and I know the abortion industry relies on people not wanting to talk about abortion in polite company and not understanding the violent reality of abortion.
Levatino stopped performing abortions in 1985.
He has testified before Congress on the barbaric "procedures" he was numb to, pleading for them to be banned:
If most "pro-choice" people knew that abortionists use . . .
- vacuums 20 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner to rip the limbs off babies' bodies so they can extract them from their mothers;
- forceps to cut and pull apart the torsos of living children and crush their skulls; and
- chemicals that cause babies' little hearts to stop beating;
. . . I am convinced their minds would be changed. If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.
He's also spoken courageously and convincingly against the greatly exaggerated claims of abortion's necessity to "save the life of the mother”—an excuse often used by pro-aborts as if it a major 'reason' for abortion. It is not. The vast majority of abortions are for matters of convenience. Common abortion procedures require 36 hours of preparatory steps. In the very rare cases where a mother’s life is seriously threatened by her pregnancy, a doctor more often than not doesn’t have 36 hours. He described one case he had where the mother's blood pressure was elevated and a serious stroke could have been imminent, and simply stabilizing her blood pressure and performing an emergency Cesarean section resulted in both mother and baby doing well. (For Dr. Levatino's full testimony with sickening details, go to http://www.lifenews.com/2013/05/23/doctor-who-did-1200-abortions-tells-congress-to-ban-them/.)
Dr. Levatino now devotes his life to advocating for the unborn. He's partnered with Live Action to create the new "Abortion Procedures" campaign—online videos that describe and show, using medical animations, the violence committed against preborn children during abortions. In just two weeks, these videos (http://liveaction.org/) have been viewed an incredible 19 million times, and hundreds of comments from people who've changed their minds about abortion have come in.
"I have always been pro choice but after seeing this video I would have to say I am now pro life. Tears are running down my face as I watch this."
"Never again will I ever think about an abortion and never will I get an abortion . . . especially after watching this."
The founder of an organization of former abortionists and other abortion workers, Dr. Philip Ney of The Society of Centurions, has found some commonality among those who leave their job and devote themselves to speaking out on the devastation of abortion:
The factors that changed their opinion on performing abortions, in the following order of frequency, were: evidence of the infant’s humanity, a spiritual experience, personal distress, evidence of the mother’s distress, scientific articles, being accepted as a person, a personal relationship with a pro-lifer, pro-life pickets. For most…there was more than one factor.
Dr. Levatino is now a vocal pro-life activist who refutes the industry's lies and advocates for the humanity of the unborn child.
Like the centurion who, upon taking part in the death of Jesus, repented and declared, “Surely, this was an innocent man,” so the former abortionists of today, having partaken in the deaths of unborn children, have repented and declared, “Surely, these were innocent lives.”
Thank God for the courageous witness of Dr. Levatino. Let's continue to pray that fewer and fewer will be willing to profit from the slaughter of unborn babies.