Who Was Most Guilty in the Bobbitt Tragedy

Who Was Most Guilty?
David C. Reardon, Ph.D.

After John and Lorena were both tried and acquitted, a reporter asked Lorena, “So, Americans want to know, who was the guilty party?” Without any hesitation or guile, Lorena answered, “We both were. We’re both guilty.” (Even in this answer, we may be hearing echoes of Lorena’s guilt over the abortion.)

Few would argue with her answer. Still, what frustrates me most is that there is a third party, one who has never been named, who is more liable for what happened to the Bobbitts than either Lorena or John.

The most guilty party of all was the abortionist who negligently performed an unwanted abortion on a patient who was clearly at high risk of experiencing severe post-abortion maladjustment. The abortionist not only failed to protect Lorena from John’s pressure, he or she also failed to explain to John that a coerced abortion would traumatize Lorena, cause her to develop deep emotional resentments against John, would most likely make her emotionally detached, self-destructive, and sexually frigid toward him.

In short, the abortionist and clinic counselors should have told Lorena and John that if they went through with that abortion, it would very likely destroy their marriage.

The abortionist did not explain these facts to Lorena or John. This proves that either the abortionist was negligently ignorant and incompetent, or the abortionist deliberately concealed relevant information from the couple and carelessly exposed them to known and avoidable risks.

While the abortionist could never have predicted that Lorena would end up cutting off John’s penis on the third anniversary of the abortion, everything else was predictable. Lorena matched at least eight characteristics which reliably predict psychological maladjustments after an abortion. It should have been obvious to anyone who was familiar with the literature, which an abortionist is obligated to be, that abortion would cause emotional harm to Lorena, and consequently cause injury to her marriage and John.

This was unquestionably a contraindicated abortion. There was no medical justification for performing it, and there was every ethical reason for refusing to do so no matter how much John may have insisted upon it. The only proper medical recommendation, in this case, would have been a referral to marital counseling.

The Greatest Guilt and Greatest Tragedy

So, Lorena, if you are ever asked again who the guilty party was, it is proper to say that you and John both share in the guilt. But most of all, the guilt falls upon your abortionist–someone who, in principle, was under a physician’s obligation to protect your physical, mental, and marital health. Instead, he or she was nothing more than a medical prostitute who performed a contraindicated abortion simply because you had the money to pay for it. Neither you nor John could possibly have known all the havoc your unwanted abortion could cause to your lives. It was the abortionist’s job to protect you, but instead he or she deliberately and knowingly exposed both of you to great injury.

The greatest tragedy of all is that hundreds of abortionists, like yours, Lorena, are doing the same thing, to other couples, every hour of every day. And they will continue to do so until they are finally made liable for all the injuries they have inflicted on millions of women, men, and families in our nation.

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 4(2-3) Spring & Summer 1996. Copyright 1996 Elliot Institute

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