While the majority of even late-term abortion campaigners agree that life begins at birth at the latest, that magical moment when a tissue blob suddenly turns into a human being, there are also those who promote the mother’s right to kill her newborn child, especially after a failed abortion attempt. Not everybody phrases it as bluntly asAlberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, who employ the oxymoron “after-birth abortion,” but the euphemisms used by others leave no doubt about their position. Abortion clinics’ staff, such as inDr.Emily Women’s Health Center in the Bronx, refer to children who are born alive as “specimen” or, incorrectly, as “the pregnancy,” tell their clients they’ll be put in a toxic solution and give advice as to how to dispose of a live-born child at home. Planned Parenthood, according to their representativeAlisa LaPolt Snow, “believe[s] that, you know, any decision that’s made [about a child born alive] should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.” (Under public pressure, Planned Parenthood distanced itself from that statement.)
Some go as far as MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry, who believes that the beginning of life “depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science.” By this logic, there is no upper age limit for “aborting” a child after birth, so we all should tread very softly around our parents.
Infanticide has influential advocates such as Bill Clinton, who vetoed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which would have banned “terminations” that take place during birth, in 1995 and 1997 (a similar act was finally signed into law in 2003); and Barack Obama, who voted several times against Illinois’ Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (which, as the title suggests, was designed to protect children who are born alive) in 2001 and 2002, stating: “What we are doing here is to create one more burden on women” and that it “would have taken away from doctors their professional judgment when a fetus is viable.”
In May 2013, serial killer Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder (among other charges). For those who follow the liberal press, Gosnell was an abortion provider who on several occasions “induced labour, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.” Even though he was only convicted of three counts of murder, his employees describe this technique as a standard procedure that was carried out on a regular basis. Given that Gosnell performed abortions from 1972 (before they were legal) until his arrest in 2011, he may well be the most prolific serial killer in history.
In the wake of the Gosnell trial, three former assistants of abortion provider Douglas Karpen in Texas came forward and testified in gruesome detail how every day their employer would kill several live-born children or bin them while they were still alive.
Other facilities just shelve the newborn children until they die, which can take up to several days. This practice was highlighted in 1999 by Jill Stanek, who worked in the Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois as a nurse. Her testimony led to the passage of the federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed into law in 2002.
In her treatise Children: Things We Throw Away? nurse Melanie Green not only describes witnessing the death of a child who survived a saline solution abortion but also points out that this is a common practice:
I’m a housewife and a registered nurse from Jacksonville. I worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, and when we weren’t busy, I’d go out to help with the newborns. One night I saw a bassinet outside the nursery. There was a baby in this bassinet – a crying, perfectly formed baby – but there was a difference in this child. She had been scalded. She was the child of a saline abortion. This little girl looked as if she had been put in a pot of boiling water. No doctor, no nurse, no parent, to comfort this hurt, burned child. She was left alone to die in pain. They wouldn’t let her in the nursery – they didn’t even bother to cover her. I was ashamed of my profession that night! It’s hard to believe this can happen in our modern hospitals, but it does. It happens all the time. I thought a hospital was a place to heal the sick – not a place to kill. I asked a nurse at another hospital what they do with their babies that are aborted by saline. Unlike my hospital, where the baby was left alone struggling for breath, their hospital puts the infant in a bucket and puts the lid on. Suffocation! Death by suffocation!
Abortion rights campaigners continue to claim that Gosnell was an isolated case, but there are multiple indications, such as the mentioned statements of Melanie Green, Jill Stanek, Karpen’s employees, Planned Parenthood and Dr. Emily’s assistant, among many others, that the gosnelling of newborn children is a common method of dealing with failed abortion attempts, in some caseseven against the wishes of the mother.
The liberal media generally ignore these cases, and not just because these stories turn the stomach of every sensible person, be they pro-life or pro-abortion. These stories cast an undesired light on the reality of the abortion industry and may cause the undecided to oppose abortion and the pro-abortionists to waver in their beliefs. A legal procedure and a first-degree murder are in close proximity. A newborn child is no different than the fetus they were just a few minutes prior to birth, and this may raise a very unsettling question: if they are the same, is the newborn child still a tissue blob? Or is the fetus already a human being?
When a Planned Parenthood representative testified against a Florida bill that deals with babies born alive during botched abortions, pro-choice activists claimed that this scenario never happens. However, live births due to botched abortions have been occurring ever since abortion was made legal. A number of clinic workers, doctors, and former abortionists have broken the silence and talked about these children who were denied medical care after being born alive.
According to five abortion clinic employees, Texas abortionist John Roe 109 [pseudonym] was performing an abortion when a 1 foot long infant girl with light brown hair was born. They testified that the baby curled up in Roe’s hand and attempted to breathe as Roe held the placenta over her face. He then dropped her into a bucket of water, and several employees testified that bubbles rose to the surface. They went on to say that Roe then “dropped the fetus into a plastic bag….The bag was tied and placed at the end of the operating room… [The] sides of the bag pulsated as though someone were breathing into it. Then the bag stopped moving.” One witness said he was holding the bag in which Roe placed the infant, and later put the bag in the freezer where aborted fetuses were stored.
In the article “Pro-Choice 1990: Skeletons in the Closet,” former abortionist Dr. David Brewer described participating in his first late-term abortion. The abortion was done by hysterotomy, a type of abortion where the baby is cut from the womb in a procedure similar to a Cesarean section.
I remember seeing the baby move underneath the sack of membranes, as the cesarean incision was made, before the doctor broke the water. The thought came to me, “My God, that’s a person” Then he broke the water. And when he broke the water, it was like I had a pain in my heart, just like when I saw that first suction abortion. And then he delivered the baby, and I couldn’t touch it… I wasn’t much of an assistant. I just stood there, and the reality of what was doing on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart. They took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking, and set it on that table in a cold, stainless steel bowl. Every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in the uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person moving in that bowl. And it kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at the baby when we were done with the surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest was moving and the heart was beating, and the baby would try to take a little breath, and it really hurt inside, and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was.
Later in his career, David Brewer witnessed another baby born alive after a saline abortion:
But one night, a lady delivered and I was called to come and see her because she was uncontrollable. I went in the room and she was going to pieces. She was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The nurses were upset because they couldn’t get any work done and all the other patients were upset because this lady was screaming and I walked in, and here was her little saline abortion baby. It had been born and it was kicking and moving for a little while before it finally died of those terrible burns. Because the salt solution gets into the lungs and burns the lungs too.
Former abortionist Dr. Paul Jarrett told the following story:
Since hypertonic saline was so toxic if it was injected into the uterine wall instead of the amniotic sac; there was a constant search for the ideal drug. Prostaglandin has now become the drug of choice, but one of the early experiments was with hypertonic urea. The major disadvantage in using it, was the problem of live births. I remember using it on a patient that the psychiatric residents brought to us from their clinic from an institutionalized patient who really was crazy. I’ll never forget delivering her nearly two pound baby, and hearing her screams, “My baby’s alive, my baby’s alive.” It lived several days.
Another nurse who found herself in the terrible position of caring for an aborted baby told her story in the newsletter of Friendship Pregnancy Center (now called Women’s First Choice Center) in Morristown, New Jersey. Her story, which can be read in its entirety here, is heartbreaking. On the night the aborted baby came in, three premature babies from a nearby hospital were being taken care of. Two of the three were in danger of dying, and doctors struggled to save their lives. While the doctors were engaged in the struggle to help these two wanted babies, the aborted baby was brought in:
The nurse from Labor and Delivery walked into our unit carrying a blanket and stating “This is a prostaglandin abortion. He has a heartbeat so we brought him over.” The baby was placed under a radiant warmer and I was told the rest of the facts. The gestational age of the baby was given to be 23 weeks by ultrasound. The mother had cancer and had received chemotherapy treatments before discovering that she was pregnant. The parents had been told that their baby would be horribly deformed because of the chemotherapy.
I looked at the baby boy lying before me, and saw that from all appearances he was perfect. He had a good strong heartbeat. I could tell this without using a stethoscope because I could see his chest moving in sync with his heart rate. With a stethoscope I heard a heart pumping strongly. I look at his size and his skin — he definitely looked more mature than 23 weeks. He was weighed and I discovered that he was 900 grams, almost two pounds. This was almost twice the weight of some babies we have been able to save. A doctor was summoned. When she arrived the baby started moving his tiny arms and legs flailing. He started trying to gasp, but was unable to get air into his lungs. His whole body shuddered with his efforts to breathe. We were joined by a neonatalist and I pleaded with both doctors saying, “The baby is viable — look at his size, look at his skin — he looks much older than 23 weeks.”
It was a horrible moment as each of us wrestled with our own ethical standards. I argued that we should make an attempt to resuscitate him, to get him breathing. The resident doctor told me, “This is an abortion. We have no right to interfere.” The specialist, who had the responsibility for the decision, was wringing his hands and quietly saying, “This is so hard. Oh, God, it’s so hard when it’s this close.” In the end, I lost. We were not going to try to resuscitate this baby. So, I did the only thing I could do. Dipping my index finger into sterile water and placing it on his head, I baptized the child. Then I wrapped him in blankets to keep him warm, and held him. These were the only measures I could take comfort the baby under the circumstances, no matter how much I wanted to do more. I held this little boy, who was still gasping for breath, trying to stay alive on his own. As the tears flowed down my face, I pray to God that he would take this child into his care, and that he would forgive me for my own part in his death. After a while, he stopped gasping. His heart continued to be, but the beating became slower and weaker until it finally stopped. He was gone.
Another nurse, Joan S. Smith, told the following story:
It was a night I’ll never forget. It was 11 pm and my colleague Karen and I “scrubbed in” at the beginning of our shift in the Special Care Nursery of a large teaching hospital….Without warning, a harried nurse rushed into the doorway.
Her white uniform seemed out of place in the area of the hospital where only surgical scrubs are worn.
“Here, take this,” she said, thrusting into my hands a small silver specimen pan covered with a paper towel.
“What is it?” I asked, realizing by the look on her face that something was very wrong.
“It’s an abortion at 22 weeks gestation, delivered on our floor. But it’s alive,” she explained, then turned on her heel and was gone. I removed the paper towel to see the perfectly formed body of a baby boy curled up in the cold metal pan….Karen came over to help. “This happens every so often,” she explained sadly. She had trained at the hospital and worked there for over 15 years.
[After a doctor Joan called simply told her to do nothing but fill in the time of death for the baby] Stoking his tiny arm, I tried to sort out my jumble of emotions. I felt powerless, angry, and overwhelmed by sadness. How could our medical system be so full of ironies? Here I was surrounded by medical technology, which was of no avail to this tiny child. I wondered if the parents even were told that their son had been admitted to the hospital as a live birth with footprints taken, and identification number and band given, a physician notified of his birth- yet all of this merely an unpredicted complication of a routine abortion. It took nearly four hours until that tiny heart slowed to a stop. With tears in my eyes, I wrapped his body for the morgue. This was all of a life this child would ever know. He would never know the warmth of a mother’s embrace. No one would ever celebrate his birth. He would never even be given a name.