A Texas abortionist who has claimed that he used to perform about 30 abortions a day called abortion his “life’s calling” in a recent interview where he describes his dilemma about whether he should follow Texas’ new “heartbeat bill.”
The abortionist, 35-year-old Joe Nelson, discussed the decline in abortions he has performed at one of the biggest abortion centers in Texas, Whole Women’s Health, in a recent interview with The Lilly. The Lilly, produced by The Washington Post, describes its mission as “a destination for stories central to the everyday lives of millennial women.”
While an Obama-appointed district judge struck down Texas’ pro-life law protecting unborn babies when cardiac activity can be detected on Wednesday, Nelson told The Lilly that he has said he will not resume performing abortions restricted by the law’s provisions until further decisions from courts, saying that the “uncertainty was excruciating.”
The Lilly’s report glowingly profiles the ex-Mormon, which claims that before the Texas law was implemented, the abortionist performed about 30 abortions every day. He reportedly has three children from a prior marriage for whom he pays child support and has about $200,000 in student debt.
“If I can keep doing this for the rest of my career,” Nelson apparently told his mom when asked if he would move away from being an abortionist, “I will be very happy.”
The abortionist, who has now spent four years in the industry, once spent two years in Thailand as a Mormon missionary. He deconverted in 2014, leading to the disintegration of his first marriage.
His wife said that Nelson became so involved in performing abortions that he did not spend much time with their children.
“He was so involved in his career, then residency, then he found his love of abortion care,” she told The Lilly.
Nelson has since remarried, but reportedly he and his new wife are uncomfortable with the labels “husband” and “wife,” so they refer to themselves as partners instead.
“At home, Nelson wears skinny jeans with tight V-neck T-shirts, a tiger tattoo dancing down his right arm. He identifies as queer and is proud to be, as he says, ‘a little femmy,’” the outlet reported.
The article also highlights Nelson’s regrets about not referring an abortion to one of his patients early in his medical career.
The report says, “If Nelson could have offered to perform the abortion himself, he’s always wondered whether things might have been different. After that, Nelson said, he knew he wanted to learn how.”
Nelson said that performing abortions “feels natural” and is what he is “supposed” to be doing. Last November, he also began working for a telehealth company that works with transgender clients to do “gender affirming care.”
“Abortion didn’t feel like an option when I was that age. And, you know, here my kids are, I love them to death,” Nelson said, referencing the time he found out his wife was pregnant with their second child, “But I know how difficult it can be to be that overwhelmed.”
Once he learned about the pro-life law being discussed in the Texas legislature, which effectively bans abortions at six weeks, Nelson described his fear that abortions would be over in Texas.
“I thought, ‘Oh my god. This is going to end abortions, period,’” he said. He told The Lilly that at some point, he might start working with transgender individuals full time.
For now, the Texas law has been stalled by the ruling from district Judge Robert Pitman.
Soon after Pitman’s ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Texas would appeal. “We disagree with the Court’s decision and have already taken steps to immediately appeal it to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The sanctity of human life is, and will always be, a top priority for me,” Paxton tweeted.