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1/23/2004

 

live birth abortion



yesterday was the 31st anniversary of roe v. wade. pro-life and pro-choice activists alike took to the streets of our nation's capital, but the pro-life side had a lot more to celebrate. abortion rates are in decline, the national mood is increasingly favorable to the pro-life ethos, and, of course, the recent passing of the ban on partial birth abortion was a landmark victory for those who value the sanctity of human life.

but the ban on partial birth abortions wasn't the only significant legislative victory for pro-life advocates to celebrate. another important ban was recently signed into law by president bush, one that failed to garner the sort of publicity the partial birth abortion debate generated, though in many respects it was far more explosive. i'm talking about the ban on live birth abortions, made the law of the land in the summer of 2002.

if you've had any exposure to the pro-life community at all, you've doubtless heard horror stories of nurses finding live babies left to die on countertops. i never paid them any mind. they reminded me of a PETA activist's version of life inside tyson chicken--the consequence of never-ending escalations in the war for media attention. when my wife told me the story of jill stanek, a nurse who claims to have witnessed and assisted in several of these procedures, i was once more unable to suspend my credulity: this sort of thing does not happen in the united states of america. no doctor could be heartless enough to allow it, and if he was, he'd be arrested for murder.

my skepticism provoked investigation, however, and i'm here to tell you that jill stanek is for real. she's testified before state and national congressional committees, been featured on o'reilly and hannity and colmes, drawn the attention of numerous pro-life publications, as well as articles and editorials in such publications as newsweek, u.s. news and world report, and the new york times, has given numerous speeches on her experiences as a nurse at Christ hospital in oak lawn, illinois, and what's more, the hospital has acknowledged the practice. jill stanek is telling the truth. her story is as authentic as any eyewitness testimony could be.

the following is excerpted from a transcript of her testimony to the congressional hearing on h.r. 4292, the "born alive infant protection act of 2000."

I am a Registered Nurse who has worked in the Labor & Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, for the past five years. Christ Hospital performs abortions on women in their second or even third trimesters of pregnancy. Sometimes the babies being aborted are healthy, and sometimes they are not.

The method of abortion that Christ Hospital uses is called "induced labor abortion," also now known as "live birth abortion." This type of abortion can be performed different ways, but the goal always is to cause a pregnant woman's cervix to open so that she will deliver a premature baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward...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.

In the event that a baby is aborted alive, he or she receives no medical assessments or care but is only given what my hospital calls "comfort care." "Comfort care" is defined as keeping the baby warm in a blanket until he or she dies, although even this minimal compassion is not always provided. It is not required that these babies be held during their short lives.

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking an aborted Down's 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 ½ 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 many upsetting stories about live aborted babies whom they have cared for. I was told about an aborted baby who was supposed to have Spina bifida but was delivered with an intact spine. Another nurse is haunted by the memory of an aborted baby who came out weighing much more than expected ~ almost two pounds. She is haunted because she doesn't know if she made a mistake by not getting that baby medical help. 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.

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.

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. In other words, our laws currently say that babies have no rights to medical oversight until they are dead. We look the other way and pretend that these babies aren't human while they're alive but human only after they are dead. We issue these babies both birth and death certificates, but it is really only the death certificate that matters. No other children in America are medically abandoned like this.


the testimony you just read was corroborated by allison baker, a nurse who worked at Christ hospital during the same period. ms. baker says she witnessed first-hand three instances of live birth abortions. in the first and third of these, she happened upon live baby lying completely exposed on a cold metal counter in the "soiled utilities room," gasping for breath. the second,

involved a couple who had requested a therapeutic abortion for their 20 week fetus with Spina Bifida. My shift started at 11:00 PM, and the patient delivered her fetus about 10 minutes before I took her as a patient. During the time the fetus was alive, the patient kept asking me when the fetus would die. For an hour and 45 minutes the fetus maintained a heartbeat. The parents were frustrated, and obviously not prepared for this long period of time. Since I was the nurse of both the mother and fetus, I held the fetus in my arms until it finally expired.


i don't know what it would have said about the united states of america had we continued to countenance such barbarity. in her closing remarks to congress, ms. stanek said that abortion "is a cancer that is literally killing America. It is killing our children while it is killing our consciences." if our nation's lawmakers had looked the other way on live birth abortion, it's safe to say that the cultural cancer devouring our national spirit would have gone terminal. thank God they didn't.

while no one maintains that live birth abortions were a mainstay of the abortion industry, the procedure is essential to the debate in the same way that partial birth abortion has become. only in the limiting cases of this battle are the true motivations of the opposing side made clear. specifically, we see that no procedure is too heartless, no method of execution too barbaric, no death too needless. and we see that when live birth abortions are revoked, they retreat to the hair-splitting absurdity of partial birth. where will they run to next?

doubtless the supreme court. let us all pray that, when that day comes, basic human decency prevails.

locdog will be




1/21/2004

 

political roundup



where do i begin?

john f who?

this may surprise you people, but i like howard dean. i really do. i like him because he's got that whole michael keaton thing working--you know, the thing where he's tripping the light fantastic on a dental floss tight rope stretched over the pit of madness. i dig that. i dig presidential candidates who look like they could pull out an M-16 and pepper the crowd with hot death at any given moment.

ok. you wanna play rough? say 'allo to mah leetoo frien'!

like his howling concession speech in iowa, where he channeled the spirits of the wolves that raised him.

and then there was the time he told that old fogey to sit down and shut up. yeah! sit down and shut up, all you crabby old coots. it's time for the boomers to have their say. when will america hear from the boomers? oh won't someone PUH-LEEZ think of the boomers!

and then there's the fact that he's single-handedly plunged the democratic party into civil war. moveon.org internet fundraising: umpteen million dollars. telling terry and the clintons to take their money and stick it where the sun don't shine? priceless.

and then...wait a minute, shouldn't we be talking about john f. kerry's stunning upset victory? er, yeah. john f. kerry...boy. what can you say about john f. kerry. he's...a candidate. and...he won.

good for him.

iowa's big loser

the blue-collar unions backed dean and the white-collar unions backed gephardt. ouch.

saddam, social security, steroids

last night's state of the union sucked. bush has given some landmark speeches in his day, but this, to quote fred barnes from foxnews' post-game show, won't be among them. it wasn't a bad speech, really, but it was too long and there wasn't one memorable line in the whole damn thing. or if there was then i must have forgotten it.

i agreed with most of what he had to say, of course, except his immigration policy: "i'm against amnesty." sure you are, george. and while we're on the topic of immigration, let me just say to my fellow republicans that you don't get yourself halfway into a war and then switch commander-in-chiefs over the burning question of who's going to pick your lettuce. the time will come for us grunts to send a message to republican high command, but for now, just suck it up and soldier on. forget immigration: bush's domestic policy in general reads like a litany of compromise. but you either believe that the war on terror is the most important thing facing this nation today, my fellow republicans, or you're all full of crap, just like the democrats say you are.

anyway, the state of the union. the state of the union is pretty darn good, all things considered. the economy is rebounding, iraq has gone from tyranny to near democracy in less than a year, and we haven't had a domestic terror attack in three years.

"well when clinton was in office the economy was great and we didn't have any terror and there was peace in the world."

yes, and we should all thank bill for the wonderful job he did with the economy. gates, that is.

no, we had lots of terror. the first WTC bombing, the uss cole, even the somalian resistance that resulted in the corpses of u.s. soldiers being drug through the street was partially instigated by bin laden. what did clinton do about it? nothing.

clinton's domestic success was luck and his foreign policy was designed to keep attention on his domestic success whenever possible. bush has played the hand he's been dealt, and has played it surprisingly well. the economy had to tank after the 90's boom. that's just the way it is, folks. it was receding before bush even came to office, and 9/11 didn't help. but those evil tax cuts to the rich have worked. (imagine: the rich have a significant impact on our economy. whoda thunk it.) people are doing better.

all in all, locdog would have to agree: the state of the union is strong