Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN
HR 1797, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary
Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice
May 23, 2013
When I testified before this committee in 2000 and 2001, it was to tell of my experience as a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where I discovered babies were being aborted alive and shelved to die in the department’s soiled utility closet.
Among other familiar faces I see today is Congressman Nadler, who was a member of the committee then. He said he was “appalled” by the incidents I described and found them “heart-wrenching.”
Indeed, I was traumatized and changed forever by my experience of holding a little abortion survivor for 45 minutes until he died, a 21/22-week-old baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome.
Since then, other appalling stories of abortion survivors being either abandoned or killed have trickled out.
In 2005, a mother delivered her 23-week-old baby in the toilet at EPOC Clinic in Orlando, Florida, and was shocked to see him move. Abortion staff not only refused to help but turned away paramedics, who her friend had notified by calling 911. Angele could do no more than helplessly sit on the floor rocking and singing to her baby for 11 minutes until he died.
In 2006, Sycloria Williams delivered her 23-week-old baby boy on a recliner at A Gyn Diagnostic Center in Hialeah, Florida. When he began breathing and moving, abortion clinic owner Belkis Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord and zipped him into a biohazard bag, still alive.
The Kermit Gosnell case provides further evidence that the lines between illegal infanticide and legal feticide, both via abortion, have become blurred. This abortionist was convicted only last week of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three born babies whose spinal cords were “snipped.”
Also last week came the revelation and photos from three former employees who allege that abortionist Douglas Karpen in Houston, Texas, routinely kills babies after they are born by puncturing the fontanel (the soft spot at the top of the head), or impaling the stomach with a sharp instrument, twisting the head off, or puncturing the throat with his finger.
It is easy to be horrified by heart-wrenching stories such as these, and to imagine the torture abortion survivors endure as they are being killed.
But it is somehow not so easy for some to envision preborn babies the same age being tortured as they are killed by similar methods.
Today, premature babies are routinely given pain relief who are born at the same age as babies who are torn limb from limb or injected in the heart during abortions. The World Health Organization goes so far as to recommend analgesia for preemies getting simple heel pricks for a couple drops of blood.
Likewise, prenatal surgery is becoming commonplace, and along with it anesthesia for babies being operated on, even in the “middle of pregnancy”. Meanwhile, babies of an identical age are torn apart during abortions with no pain relief.
It must be that some people inexplicably think the uterus provides a firewall against fetal pain, or that babies marked for abortion are somehow numb, while their wanted counterparts aren’t.
This thinking is better suited for the Middle Ages than for modern medicine.
Yet, while NARAL Pro-Choice America eventually expressed neutrality on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which provides legal protection to born babies no matter what their gestational age or circumstance of birth, NARAL opposes legislation protecting babies of the same age from barbaric abortions after the point they are known to feel pain.
Abortion proponents attempt to portray abortionists who commit abortions past 20 weeks as rare. This is a myth. The National Right to Life Committee analyzed data published in 2008 by the Guttmacher Institute, which is an arm of the abortion industry, and found there were “at least 300 abortion providers who will perform abortions after 20 weeks LMP (last menstrual period),” and that of these, “at least 140 abortion providers willing to abort pain-capable unborn children at 22 weeks LMP (20 weeks post-fertilization).”
As for the number of late abortions committed in this country, no one knows. There are no standardized nationwide mandatory abortion-reporting requirements, and some of the most liberal jurisdictions, such as California, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., don’t. Beyond that, it is questionable how many late abortionists comply with these requirements, and how much enforcement there is of these laws.
For instance, when the Elkton, Maryland, office of abortionist Stephen Brigham was raided in 2010, investigators found 35 fetuses in his freezer, but there were no medical records documenting 33 of those abortions, much less state reporting.
The Gosnell Grand Jury Report states that from 2000 to 2010 Gosnell reported a total of one second-trimester abortion to the state. Yet he may have performed thousands during that decade.
No one knows how many abortions are committed after 20 weeks, so it is false for anyone to assert they are “rare.”
It is also a myth that late abortions are mostly committed on babies with handicaps, although being handicapped is certainly no excuse for torture.
Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who commits late abortions at Germantown Reproductive Health Services only 30 miles from here, was just caught on tape by Live Action stating he routinely commits elective abortions at 26 weeks: “Saw four this week,” Carhart quipped to Live Action’s pregnant investigator, also joking that he uses a “pickaxe” and “drill bit” to kill older babies.
Only two blocks from the White House, late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo told a pregnant Live Action investigator he would kill her healthy 24-week-old preborn baby by snipping the umbilical cord, which is akin to cutting the hose of a scuba diver, causing death by slow asphyxiation. The website for his Washington Surgi-Clinic openly advertises dilatation and evacuation abortions up to 26 weeks.
Having actually held a little abortion survivor, I cannot imagine standing there in the soiled utility room and tearing him apart to kill him. I expect the thought horrifies all of you as well.
But this is what is done to others like him on a daily basis, their excruciating fate determined simply by geography.
Our nation makes progress when we put an end to senselessly disparate treatment of anyone, and certainly of the most vulnerable in our midst. It is time we apply this standard to babies on the threshold of life as well.