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“Live-birth abortion” is an oxymoron if ever there was one, but in
the state of Illinois and elsewhere, it’s an oxymoron that has tied some
of the best legal minds in knots. Back in July, it was an issue that
had some of the most radical abortion supporters on the United States
House of Representatives Judicial Committee running for the tall grass.
This week, when a bill designed to address this sensitive subject comes
up on the House floor, there may be a record number of “no shows” for
the recorded vote.

The complication most feared by late-term abortionists always has
been a living, breathing child. The partial-birth abortion was an
attempt to solve the problem of the premature infants, marked for death,
who just wouldn’t die from lethal injections into the womb or from very
rough rides through the birth canal brought about by the various methods
used to induce labor. In a partial-birth abortion, the abortionist
reaches into the uterus and turns the baby in the breech position in
order to deliver the child feet first. When the head is lodged in the
birth canal, with the baby often kicking her little feet and clinching
and unclenching her fists, the abortionist stabs the child in the back
of the skull with surgical scissors and slowly spreads the blades to
create a hole. Then a catheter hooked to a high-powered suction machine
is inserted and the child’s brains are evacuated. The skull is then
easily crushed and removed from the mother.

This procedure created a legal loophole between abortion and
infanticide and has protected abortionists who are determined that no
child marked for death survives. However, it’s a blind procedure and,
according to the American Medical Association, which backed federal
legislation to ban the practice, it subjected mothers to needless
risks. Also, the attrition rate among the attending staff has been
high. Some former staff members have related their experiences in
congressional hearings, which have proved to be embarrassing, not only
for the abortionists, but for congressmen who had accepted their hefty
campaign donations and felt duty-bound to defend them.

The live-birth abortion is the result of the aversion to this
horrific procedure by medical professionals, members of Congress and the
general public. It is much safer for mothers who don’t wish to be
mothers, and much tidier for all concerned. The abortionist simply
induces labor to interrupt the pregnancy and, if the premature infant
survives, she is wrapped in a towel unceremoniously and transported to
some isolated spot and left, until she does what any unattended child
would do, she dies. With this method, the abortionist takes no direct
action to kill the baby. He and his attending staff simply ignore the
child.

Is a child who survives an abortion not entitled to the treatment
afforded any other infant? If a mother delivers prematurely and then
kills her child she can be prosecuted for murder. If a mother delivers an
infant, prematurely or not, and abandons her baby, she can be prosecuted
for child endangerment. How is it that these abortionists are able to
just walk away? Why are the hospitals, where these children are
delivered and left to die, not culpable?

Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla., who chairs the House Judiciary
Constitutional Subcommittee, introduced the bill that is coming up for a
vote this week in order to spell out the obvious. The “Born-Alive
Infants Protection Act” (H.R. 4292) would establish, for federal law
purposes, that an infant is “born alive” if he or she has undergone
“complete expulsion or extraction from its mother … at any stage of
development,” and displays heartbeat, respiration, or movements of
voluntary muscles. Also, the bill would establish that the legal term
“person,” and all equivalent terms, “shall include every infant member
of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of
development.”

For far too long, late-term abortionists have been using this
out-of-sight-out-of-mind method at respectable hospitals. It works
well, unless you happen to have a conscience. Two courageous nurses, who
obviously have consciences, recently testified at a hearing for H.R.
4292 before Canady’s subcommittee.

On July 20, Allison Baker, a former employee in the Labor and
Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., a suburb of
Chicago, testified that she personally witnessed three babies who had
been born alive during such abortions. On the first occasion, Ms. Baker
said, “I happened to walk into a ‘soiled utility room’ and saw, lying on
a medical counter, a (22-week) fetus, naked, exposed and breathing,
moving its arms and legs. The fetus (she was cautious and used the
medical term for a pre-born child) was visibly alive, and gasping for
breath. … I did wrap the fetus and place him in a warmer and for
two-and-half hours he maintained a heartbeat, and then finally expired.”

Jill Stanek, who is still employed at Christ Hospital, told the
panel, “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.” She said that one night she personally rocked a 21
to 22 week infant to keep him from dying alone in the soiled utility
room.

Ms. Stanek related stories she had been told by other nurses. One
was haunted by the memory of attending one of these procedures where the
baby “came out weighing much more than expected, almost two pounds.”
Another “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 onto the floor.”

Stanek was taken aback when another nurse told her about how this
procedure was done on a patient who was 23-plus weeks pregnant. She
told members of the committee that, according to statistics, this baby
had a 39 percent chance of survival, but since the patient chose to
abort there was no neonatologist, pediatric resident, neonatal nurse or
respiratory therapist present for the delivery. “Instead, the only
personnel present for this delivery were an obstetrical resident and my
co-worker.” The baby, who, according to Ms. Stanek showed early signs
of thriving, was not taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for
specialized care, but was left to die in the Labor and Delivery
Department.

Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan recently asked the Illinois
Department of Public Health to investigate the hospital. However, on
Dec. 6, the IDPH issued a report stating that it found no “violation of
the Hospital Licensing Act or the Vital Records Act.” The IDPH report
asserts that “no other allegations or medical evidence to support any
statutory violation were referred to our office by the Department for
prosecution.” Interestingly, the website of the Illinois Attorney
General contains a place for visitors to report violations of the
“Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.”

The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League attacked
Canady’s reasonable bill. During his hearing on H.R. 4292, NARAL
distributed a press release calling the legislation an “anti-choice”
assault on the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. The release states,
“The Act would effectively grant legal personhood to a pre-viable fetus
– in direct conflict with Roe.”

“Fetus” is a medical term to describe a child in the womb in the
later stages of development. Pro-abortion advocates fed it to the media
in an attempt to keep writers and broadcasters from using the more
commonly understood word, “baby.” The media generally does not use
medical terms when plain, everyday language will suffice. However, it
is important to point out that the term simply does not apply once a
child as been delivered.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who described himself “as pro-choice as
anybody on earth,” broke with some of his Democratic colleagues during
the subcommittee hearing, saying, “If an abortion is performed, or a
natural birth occurred, at any age, (even) three months, and the product
of that was living outside the mother, and somebody came and shot him, I
don’t think there’s any doubt that person would be prosecuted for
murder.”

Six days later, when the full committee met to consider the bill,
Nadler and seven other pro-abortion Democrats joined all the Republicans
who were present in voting to approve the bill. Only Rep. Mel Watt,
D-N.C., voted “no,” saying that there wasn’t enough time to study it.
Seven other pro-abortion Democrats took the cowardly way out and didn’t
show up for the vote.

Mrs. Stanek told those present at the hearing for H.R. 4292,
“Something is very wrong with a legal system that says doctors are
mandated to pronounce babies dead but are not mandated to assess babies
for life and chances of survival.”

Reasonable people must agree. However, it appears that, when it comes
to the issue of whether or not an abortionist has a right to guarantee
every patient a dead baby, many have lost their ability to reason.
Hopefully, this week, there will be more reasonable than unreasonable
members present on the floor of the House of Representatives when this
bill comes up for a vote.

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