Kermit Gosnell and his staff are not unique in killing live born infants that survive abortions. I'll add examples to this page as I find them.

The Edelin case is fairly well-known. Dr. Kenneth Edelin, a member of the National Abortion Federation's Standards Committee, had been convicted for manslaughter in the case of an infant boy aborted by hysterotomy (a c-section in which you intend for fetal death rather than live birth) in 1973 at Boston City Hospital. Edelin had estimated fetal age a 20-22 weeks pre-abortion. Witnesses said Edelin smothered the baby, and the prosecution held that at 1 lb 8 oz, the infant was viable. The prosecution also said that a right to abortion constituted a right to terminate a pregnancy, not a right to a dead baby. The defense contended that the death of the baby -- okay, they said fetus -- is a desired and foregone conclusion in such cases. Edelin's conviction was overturned on the grounds that the jury had been improperly instructed. Edelin later became national chairman of Planned Parenthood. (Omaha World-Herald 10-19-79; Philadelphia Inquirer 8-2-81; also cited in Orange County Superior Court Case No. C-37815)

Dr. Gordon Sean Goei was arrested on March 19, 1998, on suspicion of murdering a 26-week preemie born live during an abortion Goei had performed six days after his license had been suspended for failing to pass a competency exam. The charge was reduced to practicing medicine without a license and illegally performing an abortion. The fetus had been found in a trash bag at Centro Mexico Family Planning Clinic. The mother was age 42. She had been rushed to a hospital for severe bleeding, and the police found the baby's mutilated body in a dumpster. The baby's death was ruled a homicide due to “blunt force trauma.” Later reports placed the baby's age as 30-32 weeks. Goei's license had been revoked in 1995, but the revocation was overturned by order of an Administrative Law judge because although the Medical Board had sent two letters by surface mail, and another two by registered mail, Goei hadn’t gotten the letters. A witness for Goei said that he had opened the letters, felt sorry for Goei, and hidden them.

Dr. Joseph Melnick was convicted of infanticide and unlawful abortion after the death of 32-week infant girl (3 lb, 9 oz) born during an abortion Melnick performed on a 13-year-old girl at what was then West Park Hospital, Philadelphia, in 1984. The nursing supervisor testified that "Baby Girl Smith" showed signs of life and gasped and moaned following the abortion, others in the room pointed out infant's condition and requested that Melnick aid the infant. The nursing supervisor attempted CPR on the baby, detecting a heartbeat. She found a death certificate filled out by Melnick stating that the infant was stillborn. She tore up the death certificate, whereupon Mewlnick filled out a birth certificate for the infant. Another doctor ordered resuscitation, but the baby died after 90 minutes. Melnick indicated on medical records that he observed "agonal breathing" in the infant, which he defined for the judge as "It's the last effort a human being makes to sustain life." After the judge asked him three times he admitted that agonal breathing would not be observed in a stillborn infant. An autopsy found that the infant had a full head of hair, and skin typical of a term infant. Melnick allegedly admitted, "After the fact, it occurred to me that I had miscalculated." He also admitted that when the patient insisted that she was four months pregnant, Melnick noted the size of the infant and told her "if that's true, your baby would have been 18 pounds at birth." Melnick's defense claimed that the prosecution was based on "frustration raised over the abortion issue" rather than the evidence, and that a conviction would have "chilling effect" on other doctors' willingness to perform abortions. (LA Times Magazine 1-7-90; Houston Chronicle 6-13-89; United Press International 10-3-84; Associated Press 3-16-89, 5-13-89, 6-12-89, 12-20-89)

Dr. Raymond Showery was found guilty in 1983 of the 1979 murder of a 5-7 month baby aborted by hysterotomy (cutting the mother open and taking the baby out to die). Five of his employees testified that the infant girl had light brown hair, was about a foot long, and curled up in Showery's hand. One employee saw the infant apparently attempting to breathe as Showery held the placenta over her face. Showery then dropped her into a bucket of water. His employees testified that bubbles rose to the surface. Showery then put the baby in a plastic bag which was tied and put at the end of the operating room. The bag moved as though someone were breathing in it, then the bag stopped moving. One witness said he was holding the bag as Showery put the infant in, and that he later put the bag in the freezer where fetuses were stored. Showery was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison even though the body of the infant was never found and employees could not identify the patient upon whom the abortion was performed. The jury chose to convict for murder even though they had the option of convicting for manslaughter. A news report said that Showery, "his voice breaking and tears filling his eyes," denied all the allegations. "I never killed a baby," Showery said, "and if I'm not telling you the truth, may I die right now." Showery had also been convicted of a felony charge of altering his hospital's records, which hindered the state's attempts to locate the woman. The former employees alleged that Showery falsified records on all patients over 20 weeks pregnant, saying they were all exactly 20 weeks pregnant, and that such abortions were routine. One former employee, Gloria, said she assisted in abortions in which Showery would sedate the patient, dilate the cervix, and pull the fetus out with forceps. "He wanted them in pieces, but a lot of times they would come out whole." She said that she saw signs of life in at least two fetuses aborted this way. Another former employee, Belinda, said she looked away as Showery removed a fetus through a hysterotomy incision, and that when she turned back Showery had placed the fetus in a plastic bag within a bucket "and just waited until it stopped moving." She said the fetus squirmed and wiggled for about 10 seconds. Former employee Anita alleged that for late abortions, "He walks in, closes the door, and locks it." She also said Showery instructed them, "If you see any movement or anything, you don't see anything, you don't know anything," and that he always asked employees to look away when the fetus was extracted. A former employee said the fetuses would be put in plastic bags and frozen, that employees did not know what became them but that someone removed them from the freezer. An autopsy on a male fetus identified as Baby John Doe #81-01, found among other fetuses in the freezer at Showery's hospital, was inconclusive as to whether he was born live due to decomposition during thawing. The fetus was just over 2 pounds, just over 13 inches long, with sparse dark hair; the autopsy also found meconium, usually found in the intestine of full-term fetuses. Showery denied ever performing abortions after 20 weeks, and is quoted as saying, "If that baby takes a breath, that's life. Now the department of vital statistics comes into it and you fill out death certificates. It cried once. It took life. It took breath. It becomes a person. You cannot dispose of it with hospital wastage. It must go to the mortician and et cetera." Family Hospital was not known to have ever filed fetal death certificates. While out on bail pending appeal of the murder conviction, Showery performed the fatal abortion on Mickey Apodaca. (New York Times 4-29-84; DesMoines Register 5-5-84; El Paso County Offense Report No. 00-380101, Houston Chronicle 6-9-85; El Paso Times 9-22-83, 9-23-83, April 5-8, 1981; Dallas Morning News 4-20-84, Dallas Times-Herald 9-29-83)

The woman in the following case never consented to an abortion, but I'll include it because I think it illustrates the attitude some abortionists have toward infants. Carmen H., age 36, reported that in 1983 she was 8 months pregnant by Dr. Pravin Thakkar, who had seduced her when she was his patient. He gave her drugs while she was at his house, knocking her out. She briefly awoke to hear the muffled sound of a baby's cry. Thakkar told her the baby was still-born while she was unconscious. She did not consent to terminate the pregnancy. No death certificate was filed for the fetus. Thacker was convicted in the baby's death. (Tyler Morning Telegraph 6-12-91, 6-13-91; Associated Press 2-9-89)

A question about born alive babies and criminal charges

Somebody came to my blog after searching for "Why are there no felony prosecutions in Illinois for children born alive during abortions who then die?"

Well, it turns out that in Illinois, the law Barack Obama said already protected babies who survived abortions — 720 ILCS 510.6 — applied only where an abortionist declared before the abortion that there was "a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the fetus outside the womb." In other words, all the abortionist would have to do is declare before performing the abortion that the fetus would not survive, and presto! Even if it did survive, even if it turned out to be full-term and perfectly healthy, legally the baby would be considered "pre-viable" and thus not entitled to medical care.

But babies in places other than Illinois should be okay, right? Well, maybe not:

  • external image xeina.jpgXimena Renearts (pictured) was born alive in a Canadian hospital, shortly after her mother had undergone an abortion in a clinic in Washington state. The attending nurse put the baby, gasping and shivering, into a bedpan, and left her in a utility closet to die. Multiple medical professionals were involved in the decision to deny the baby medical care and to simply wait for her to die. Over an hour later another nurse rescued her and sent her for proper care. Many citizens were outraged at this attempted murder, but it became clear that there would be no prosecution due to abortion politics. A police spokesman called the case "bullshit", not worth investigating. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health defended the choice to try to kill Ximena, saying, "As you know, this Ministry is very much in favor of giving women choices about their reproductive health." And had Ximena died, there wouldn't even have been an autopsy to determine whether or not she'd have survived had she been given care. BC Chief Coroner explained that his office only got involved if a death was "unexpected". In an abortion, he explained, the baby is expected to die. So the death of a baby born alive after an abortion is not considered worth investigating. (Hearken back to the police spokesman who called public outcry for an investigation "bullshit".

    So clearly, the attitudes of the people involved in health care and law enforcement play a role in these decisions.

  • Before legalization, one of the problems prosecutors had in getting convictions was the difficulty in proving that the fetus had been alive at the time of the abortion. Remember, in America you are innocent until proven guilty. So, in order to prove that the abortionist hadn't simply been removing a fetus that had died already, the prosecutor had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the baby had been alive. Imagine trying to prove this! All you would need is a sympathetic juror and an attorney who points out that none of the state's witnesses had put their hands on the pregnant woman's belly and felt fetal movement!

    A similar dynamic plays out in cases in which live-born babies are left to die. They are extremely premature in most cases. How can the prosecutor prove that it was the neglect, and not extreme prematurity, that caused the baby's death? How can you prove that the baby would have lived, had he or she been taken to the NICU? All you can do is bring out charts showing survival rates, which prove only that the baby might have survived. This was the idea behind the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which doesn't require that you prove that the care would definitely have saved the baby's life. All you'd have to prove is that other babies the same gestational age would have been provided with the care, which is much easier to prove.

    external image gonzalez.jpgThere is a case that played out in Florida will show how hard it is to prosecute these cases. A baby was born alive at a freestanding clinic. Multiple staff, as well as the mother, saw the baby moving. The clinic owner, Belkis Gonzalez (pictured), put the baby in a biohazard bag and tossed her on the roof of the building. An autopsy showed that the baby had been born alive. But will prosecutors believe that they can prove that it was being put in a biohazard bag and tossed on the roof in the hot sun that killed her? Will a juror sympathetic to the abortion cause hold out, claiming that Shanice would have died from prematurity anyway?

    external image Waddill.jpg
  • Yes, a juror can really bog down a case that way. William Baxter Waddill (pictured) strangled a 32-week baby girl in front of multiple witnesses, including a pediatrician and several NICU nurses. His trial resulted in two hung juries because some jurors clung to an obscure legal definition of "death". They said that while the baby died of manual strangulation, not of prematurity or abortion injuries, they still felt that the prosecution couldn't prove that Waddill had caused Baby W's "death" under this legal definition of death.

    Considering how Gianna Jessen, Jill Stanek, and now Sarah Palin are coming under attack merely for pointing out that these things happen, can you imagine the firestorm an Illinois prosecutor could expect if he tried to pursue murder charges against an abortionist?