We can all recognize that neglecting an older child is abhorrent and illegal, regardless of whether or not the parents “want” the child. Why should a live newborn be any different?
No human being should be deprived of lifesaving medical care because he or she is unwanted by the people in the room.
In 2002, Congress passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which clarified that all babies who are born alive, including those that survive an abortion attempt, are considered human beings under the law.
Unfortunately, this law lacks any federal enforcement mechanism and has failed to prevent abortionists from either actively killing babies who survive an abortion attempt or leaving them to die.
This was made gruesomely evident in the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who severed the spinal cords of babies who survived his abortions during his 30-year career, and was finally convicted of murder by the state of Pennsylvania in 2013.
One of us, Dr. Kathi Aultman, is a retired OB-GYN and former medical director for Planned Parenthood of Jacksonville. For years I performed abortions before becoming pro-life. While I was actively practicing as an OB-GYN, a woman came to me suffering from prolonged bleeding from a late-term abortion.
What she told me was shocking. She described being given medication and then being left in a cold room overnight with no blanket or call button. The next day, she was given more medication, and eventually told to sit on the toilet and push. She delivered a living 20-week-old baby boy into the toilet, where he drowned.
The experience traumatized her, and she described having emotional problems following the abortion. I knew from experience that this was not an isolated case.
At the time, only six states required abortion clinics to report babies born alive after an abortion attempt to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida was not one of them. This meant that cases of infant death after abortion were not included in the agency’s widely quoted 2015 “Abortion Surveillance” report.
Of the six states that did report these numbers between 2003 and 2014, 143 babies were recorded as having died after being born alive after an abortion attempt.
This issue is also personal for me. I know what it’s like to love a family member who has survived abortion. I have a wonderful cousin who was born alive after an attempted abortion. Her Bangladeshi mother was raped by a Pakistani soldier during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
While the Bangladeshi government provided free abortions for women who became pregnant, Mother Teresa’s nuns would visit the clinics and rescue babies who survived.
My aunt and uncle, who now run multiple homes in India for destitute children, went to Bangladesh after the war, knowing that there would be unwanted babies of mixed race. It was there that they fell in love with that tiny abortion survivor and adopted her.
We need to recognize as a country that there are babies, each year, who survive an abortion attempt and are killed afterward. There are babies who survive abortion and are then denied health care. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 has not been enough to protect them.
To address the insufficiencies in that law, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., recently introduced companion bills to require that any child born alive after an abortion be given the same degree of medical care provided for any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and that the child be transferred to a hospital.
Unfortunately, the bill failed to meet the 60-vote threshold needed for passage in the Senate. In the House, Democratic leadership led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not allowed the bill to be voted on.
That led Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., to file a discharge petition to force a vote on this critical legislation, and over 60 Republican members have pushed for a vote on the House floor, yet to no avail.
The discharge petition needs 218 signatures to force a vote. So far, it has 201.
Let us hope and pray for this petition to succeed. The children who have been born, and then killed, deserve to have a voice.