By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge
Associate Director, Respect Life Office
Let’s be honest. Abortionists are paid to take the life of a pre-born baby. And while they hope to avoid any complications for the mother, some in the abortion business will admit that in late term abortions, the dreaded complication is a “live abortion.” As one abortionist stated, this is “contrary to what the mother wanted.”
If All Else Fails
So what does the abortionist do when the dreaded complication occurs? He has failed in his attempt to produce the desired result and now he has a live baby in his hands. One such abortionist, Kenneth Edelin of Boston City Hospital, reportedly smothered a 22 week-old baby boy who was born alive after a hysterotomy (a late term abortion procedure often called a “mini-cesarean”).
Edelin was convicted of manslaughter in 1975. At the time he was a member of the National Abortion Federation Standards Committee. Unfortunately, for future victims, his conviction was overturned on a technicality and he continued his grisly “work.”
A few years later Edelin was appointed Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University Medical School. He was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (the largest single committer of abortions in this country) in the early 90s.
This Conviction Stands
Another “dreaded complication” case that became public is that of Philadelphia abortionist, Joseph Melnick who in 1990 was convicted of allowing a thirty-two week baby girl to die after she was aborted alive. She weighed three pounds, nine ounces.
Rarely reported, there are many other cases of babies being born alive after “botched” abortions.
No one knows how many abortion survivors there are. Some survive, most do not. Some of the more well-known known abortion survivors include Gianna Jessen who survived a saline abortion; Sara Smith who survived but whose twin brother did not; and Ana Rosa Rodriguez whose right arm was torn off during a failed abortion attempt at thirty-two weeks.
Cases of “live abortions” become public knowledge only when the victims or courageous medical professionals come forward. It is only in rare cases as with Edelin and Melnick, that charges have been filed against the abortionists.
Jill Stanek worked for a number of years as a labor and delivery nurse at “Christ” Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. At this hospital, as well as at three other known Chicago hospitals—Lutheran General, Rush Presbyterian, and St. Luke’s—second and third term abortions (called “induced labor abortions”) are committed which may result in “live abortions.”
These abortions are not the previously described “botched” abortions. Instead, a method in which labor is induced prematurely with the intent of delivering a dead baby is utilized.
Stanek testified before Congress that in the year 2000, sixteen abortions were performed at Christ Hospital and she had knowledge of five of those babies being aborted alive. Some of these babies were given what Christ Hospital calls “comfort care”—they were wrapped in a blanket and held until they died. Others were left on scales or metal counters in the Soiled Utility Room. One baby lived for almost eight hours.
Brings Tears to Your Eyes
What follows is a portion of Jill Stanek’s sworn testimony on July 12, 2001 before U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution:
One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down's [sic] syndrome baby who was born 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 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about 1⁄2 pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe.
Toward the end he was so quiet that I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.
Other co-workers have told me about incidences of live aborted babies whom they have cared for. A Support Associate told me about an 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.
A nurse coworker [sic] told me about an abortion she was involved in where the baby was supposed
to have spina bifida but was born with an intact spine. She said that what actually happened was that there was an incompletely formed twin who appeared as a mass on his brother's back during an ultrasound. The nurse told me that the father came into the Soiled Utility Room to see his son, took one look and saw that he had been involved in aborting his completely healthy baby, and turned and left the room without saying a word.
Jill Stanek decided to stand for the truth and expose these atrocities. Not surprisingly, she was eventually fired from “Christ” Hospital while the abortionists remain on staff. There is no doubt, however, that Stanek would do it all over again even knowing that she would lose her job. Sometimes, you just have to stand up for the truth without regard for the potential personal consequences.
Persistence Pays Off
As a result of the whistle-blowing of Jill Stanek and Allison Baker, the hard work of a few congressmen, the brilliant strategizing of Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College, and the efforts of pro-life individuals across this country, President Bush signed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (HR 2175) into law on August 6, 2002. In addition to Stanek and Arkes, Gianna Jessen— the 25-year-old who survived an attempted saline abortion at 71/2 months and who also testified before Congress in support of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act—was present for the signing of the bill.
In his remarks, Bush stated, “[t]his important legislation ensures that every infant born alive—including an infant who survives an abortion procedure— is considered a person under federal law.” Any infant who survives an abortion must be afforded full legal rights under federal law. Hopefully, the law will be obeyed so that all born alive babies will no longer be treated as non-persons. It’s a sad commentary that this bill was even necessary. Let’s pray that the law will not be broken!