During congressional testimony on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on Tuesday, registered nurse Jill Stanek testified that she has personally witnessed infants born alive during failed abortions, and that the protocol was to leave them in a “soiled utility room,” and later a “comfort room,” until they perished. Stanek’s testimony directly contradicts claims made by Democrats that born-alive legislation is unnecessary. Republicans are hopeful that enough Democrats are moved by what they heard to finally allow a floor vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
Breitbart News reports House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and his colleagues, Representatives Ann Wagner (Mo.) and caucus chair Chris Smith (N.J.), announced the hearing on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act bill earlier this month in the hopes of obtaining more Democratic support in the House. The legislation has been blocked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders more than 80 times, prompting Republicans to file a discharge petition to bypass Pelosi and force a vote on the bill. The petition currently holds 201 signatures, according to the National Review, with just three Democrats on board. Republicans hope the expert testimony at the hearing is enough to compel more Democrats to sign the petition.
“The way to stand up for these babies who are born alive outside the womb is to ask your member of Congress to sign the discharge petition so we can pass the Born-Alive Act and get it signed into law by President Trump,” Scalise said at the hearing.
Witnesses at the hearing included Dr. Robin Pierucci, M.D., a clinical neonatologist; Dr. Kathi A. Aultman, MD, a retired gynecologist; Tessa Longbons, a research associate at the Charlotte Lozier Institute; and Stanek, whose compelling testimony would be difficult to ignore.
Stanek detailed her time working at Christ Hospital in Illinois, where abortions took place well into second and third trimesters. Stanek said the abortions would sometimes result in the birth of the babies, all of whom would then be placed in a room and left to die. She estimated that between 1995 and 2000, anywhere from 11 to 26 babies were born alive and left to die.
“In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called ‘comfort care,’” Stanek explained.
Stanek detailed a particular experience that troubled her:
One night, a nursing co-worker was transporting a baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome to our Soiled Utility Room to die — because that’s where survivors were taken.
I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, so I rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about the size of my hand. He was too weak to move very much, expending all his energy attempting to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet 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, I folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where we took all our dead patients.
Unfortunately, the majority of babies born alive after a failed abortion do not have someone to hold them until they pass. These babies will struggle to breathe, and, as such, will have difficulty crying despite being cold and shocked. Eventually, the baby’s lungs will collapse on themselves, but the death can be a slow one. Many of these babies are placed in a bucket or on a cold counter while they are enduring these difficult final moments.
Stanek said her hospital later created a “comfort room” for infants left to die, the Daily Caller reports. She said the babies were wrapped in blankets and placed in a room room that had photo machines for parents who wanted photos of their aborted babies, baptismal supplies in case parents wanted their aborted babies baptized, and baby bracelets and a foot printer in case they wanted a keepsake.
Despite claims by pro-abortion lawmakers, babies born alive as a result of botched abortions are not out of the ordinary. A spokesman at Christ Hospital’s parent, Advocate Health Care, told the Chicago Sun Times in 2001 that an estimated 10 to 20 percent of “fetuses” with genetic defects who were aborted indeed survived outside of the womb for short periods of time. Stanek elaborated that she has seen these survivors live for up to eight hours outside of the womb.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already reported that between 2003 and 2014, 143 babies were born after attempted abortions, but admits that figure could be drastically higher, given that the information was derived from requested voluntary information from states. The CDC report states, “It is possible that this number (143) underestimates the total number of deaths involving induced termination.” The American Center for Law and Justice believes the number could be as high as 362 babies born alive between 2001 and 2010.
More recently, data from just Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona reveals at least 40 babies were born alive during failed abortions between 2016 and 2018.
As most other states do not require such data to be maintained, pro-life advocates are left to wonder just how many more live births are undocumented.
Likewise, “Live birth” was listed as a “complication” of abortions by a perinatal symposium cosponsored by the Waukesha Memorial Hospital OB/GYN Department and the Medical College of Wisconsin OB/GYN Department in 2001.
Democratic opposition to Born-Alive bill is astounding, given that even 70 percent of Democratic voters support the bill. “It is time for Speaker Pelosi to stop blocking protections for born-alive babies. It’s time to allow a vote on this vital bill,” said Representative Jackie Walorski (R., Ind.). “This should not be partisan. It’s simply the right thing to do.... We’ve got to stand together against this radical and inhumane agenda.”
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