Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN1
Hearing on H.R. 4292, the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000"
House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution
July 20, 2000
Warning: the description below is graphic and upsetting to most people. Do not continue if you are unwilling to suffer some emotional trauma.
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. The way that induced abortion is most often executed at my hospital is by the physician inserting a medication called Cytotec into the birth canal close to the cervix. Cytotec irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open. When this occurs, the small, preterm baby drops out of the uterus, oftentimes alive. 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.
Abortion is a cancer that is literally killing America. It is killing our children while it is killing our consciences. It began when we took God out of our decision-making and proclaimed that the little beings growing inside of women were "products of conception" and not little girls and little boys. Who should be surprised that we keep pushing the envelope so that now we are aborting these "products of conception" alive? I even work at a hospital named "Christ" that does this very thing! It is beyond me to comprehend that we're doing what we're doing now, and so I can't even imagine what horrible ways we will think of next to torture our children. Please help put an end to this by proclaiming infants as American human being Homo sapiens with the same legal and medical rights that you and I big people have. Thank you.
- Testimony of Jill L. Stanek, RN. Hearing on H.R. 4292, the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2000" House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, July 20, 2000.
Last Modified May 13, 2006