WINSTON SALEM, Ore.
— A Winston Salem, Ore., physician who performed dozens of abortions during his career was pronounced dead Sunday after complications of a procedure he performed during a cancer chemotherapy regimen left him unable to breathe.
Dr. William Woods, 62, died Sunday in Salem, a city of about 3,000 about 100 miles southeast of Portland.
Woods, a gynecologic oncologist, had a long history of controversial decisions and comments about abortion rights, including comments about Roe v.
Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S.
Woodson had been diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in late July.
He was treated at the Salem Hospital and underwent surgery to remove the cancer, which was treated in September.
Woodsonian Institution historian Peter Brimelow wrote in a 2016 book that Woods said he believed the fetus has a right to life before birth, but that he didn’t believe it has a constitutional right to live outside the womb, which he called “an absolute falsehood.”
“I am not a believer in the unborn,” Woods said at a news conference at the hospital.
“I’m a believer that the unborn is the most valuable thing in this world.”
In an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive on Sunday, Woods said his position on abortion has evolved, but he was adamant that he believed Roe v’s legal protections are “not absolute.”
“There’s a lot of arguments that can be made for it, and I’ve had to be more careful than I have in the past,” Woods told the newspaper.
“And I have to be careful in this case.
The truth is, I’ve been a little bit more conservative in the way I’ve treated women.”
In 2014, Woods told a Salem newspaper reporter he believes the unborn has a “right to life.”
He said that while he has changed his position, he still believes “the fetus has rights,” adding, “I have to respect women and children.”