Our Laws Must Protect Babies Who Survive Their AbortionsBy Arina Grossu Director, Center for Human Dignity
Arina Grossu is Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council. This article appeared in Townhall.com on May 19, 2016.
Abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder just three years ago in the deaths of three infants born alive after a failed abortion. He often snipped the necks of babies born alive as part of his abortion process. Although the Grand Jury Report detailed that there were “hundreds of snippings” most of them could not be prosecuted because Gosnell destroyed the files. The Grand Jury Report described Gosnell’s process:
“Babies that big are hard to get out. Gosnell’s approach, whenever possible, was to force full labor and delivery of premature infants on ill-informed women… Many of them gave birth before he even got there. When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it ‘ensuring fetal demise.’ The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord.”
While Gosnell’s case was particularly gruesome, he is not an outlier. For example, three former employees of Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen came out as witnesses of his gruesome practices. Deborah Edge, one of the witnesses described how Karpen regularly killed babies born alive by either snipping their spinal cords, fatally injuring them with blows to the soft spot on their heads, twisting off their necks, or other horrid, unimaginable methods:
“When he did an abortion, especially in an over twenty week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he either cut the spinal cord or introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot [of the head] of the fetus in order to kill the fetus…I think every morning I saw several, on several occasions, if we had, maybe twenty patients of course, maybe ten or twelve or fifteen patients would be large procedures, and out of those large procedures, I’m pretty sure I was seeing at least three or four that were completely delivered in some way or another.”
Jill Stanek, a former nurse, unfortunately had to witness what she called “live birth abortions” at a Chicago hospital where babies were left to die in a soiled utility room. She recounted, “In this particular abortion procedure doctors do not attempt to kill the baby in the uterus. The goal is simply to prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward.” She stated that it is not uncommon for one of these live aborted babies to linger for an hour or two or even longer. One of them once lived for almost eight hours. The babies were not given help to survive.
She described one of those instances: “One night, a nursing co-worker was taking a Down syndrome baby who was aborted alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was between 21 and 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about 10 inches long.”
She continued: “Another nurse from Christ Hospital also testified with me in Washington. Allison described walking into the Soiled Utility Room on two separate occasions to find live aborted babies left naked on a scale and the metal counter.”
In another testimony she added that a baby was literally thrown into the trash: “A Support Associate told me about a live aborted baby who was left to die on the counter of the Soiled Utility Room wrapped in a disposable towel. This baby was accidentally thrown into the garbage, and when they later were going through the trash to find the baby, the baby fell out of the towel and on to the floor.”
Stanek also pointed out the ironic juxtaposition between the amount of medical care available to a premature baby who is “wanted” and a live premature baby who is the result of an attempted abortion and deemed “unwanted”:
“I was recently told about a situation by a nurse who said, ‘I can’t stop thinking about it.’ She had a patient who was 23+ weeks pregnant, and it did not look as if her baby would be able to continue to live inside of her. The baby was healthy and had up to a 39% chance of survival, according to national statistics. But the patient chose to abort. The baby was born alive. If the mother had wanted everything done for her baby, there would have been a neonatologist, pediatric resident, neonatal nurse, and respiratory therapist present for the delivery, and the baby would have been taken to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for specialized care. Instead, the only personnel present for this delivery were an obstetrical resident and my co-worker. After delivery the baby, who showed early signs of thriving, was merely wrapped in a blanket and kept in the Labor & Delivery Department until she died 2-1/2 hours later.”
What of the abortion industry itself? The videos and transcripts released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) last summer (which have been confirmed authentic in an in-depth forensic analysis), revealed this is a much more common practice than the industry lets on.
Top Planned Parenthood directors and abortionists in the videos are shown time and again discussing harvesting “intact” babies. Intact babies are highly likely born alive. First, Planned Parenthood’s Deborah Nucatola described an abortion procedure that sounded very similar to the illegal partial-birth abortion which involved switching the baby to breech position to get the baby's body parts intact. Second, Planned Parenthood’s Jennefer Russo also mentioned changing the baby’s position and said that having babies born alive “happens sometimes but it’s pretty rare” and that “we try” not to have it. I shudder to think of what happens in those “rare” cases when they “try” to kill the baby but the baby is born alive.
Third, Melissa Farrell, advertised the Texas Planned Parenthood branch’s track record of its ability to deliver fully intact babies. She also said, “If we alter our process… we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers.”
Fourth, Planned Parenthood’s Savita Ginde admitted, “Sometimes… if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.” She admitted that about 10 percent of their second trimester babies are born “intact” before the abortion procedure is finished.
Fifth, a procurement manager from Advanced Bioscience Resources, Perrin Larton, admitted that sometimes babies are born alive: “The whole point is not to have a live birth’’ but when women who have had “six pregnancies and six vaginal deliveries” come in for an abortion, they have quick deliveries. Larton wondered, “I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the O.R. and they’re back out in three minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s going on?’ Oh yeah, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups. It just fell out.”
Sixth, another video shows StemExpress, which has been the subject of the Select Panel on Infant Lives investigation have a meeting with their top leadership where they admitted to sometimes getting fully intact babies shipped to their laboratory from the abortion centers with which they work.
Just last week, the Select Panel subpoenaed notorious late-term Maryland abortionist LeRoy Carhart (LC). Some of the documents that he is required to present relate to “policy and procedures for infants born alive during an abortion, including any training provided to staff on how to care for an infant born alive”… “the presence of any equipment that serves infants born alive or persons trained to provide neonatal care for an infant born alive”… “the dates on which any child was born alive at LC entities, the person(s) who assisted with the care of that child, and the disposition of the child, including any death certificates prepared for that child and any related referrals to a funeral home.”
We have evidence this is happening all across the country, as these accounts describe, yet not one case has been brought to justice. Why not? Although the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act was passed in 2002, the current law lacks concrete ways to stop abortionists from killing, harvesting organs, or denying medical care to babies born alive. This is where the Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act (S. 2066) comes in. This commonsense bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) requires that babies born alive after an attempted abortion be given immediate care at a hospital and it requires that any violations be reported to state and federal law enforcement agencies. This bill gives teeth to the federal law so that abortionists are held accountable for killing babies born alive and/or harvesting their organs. The mother of the child is excluded from prosecution and given a private right of action to seek relief in the case where an abortionist kills her born-alive baby. Born-alive Americans after an attempted abortion are already recognized as persons under the law. This bill will ensure that they will be offered the full protection of our laws and the best of medical care.