In an undercover video released today by the pro-life organization Live Action, an abortionist in Washington, D.C., admitted he would allow a baby born alive to die, without making any rescue attempt, contrary to federal law.
Cesare Santangelo, who conducts abortions at the Washington Surgi-Clinic, said a baby born alive at his facility would be treated as if the child had a “do not resuscitate” order. His admission is being publicized the same day attorneys are making final arguments in the trial of Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with murdering infants born alive at his Philadelphia abortion center. The Gosnell trial has prompted new questions as to whether babies may be killed or left to die shortly after delivery at other abortion centers across the country.
Live Action, the activist group started in 2003 by Lila Rose, released the undercover video (see below) as part of an investigation intended to expose late-term abortion centers involved in “illegal and inhuman practices.” The group sent a young woman who was 24 weeks pregnant and pretending she wanted an abortion into Washington Surgi-Clinic with a hidden camera. The woman asked Santangelo what would happen if her baby survived the abortion procedure.
“Technically—you know, legally—we would be obligated to help it survive. But it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point,” the abortionist told her. “Let’s say you went into labor, the membranes ruptured, and you delivered before we got to the termination part of the procedure here. Then we would do things—we would not help it, let’s say. We wouldn’t, uh, intubate, let’s say.”
The Live Action investigator replied, “So you would make sure it wouldn’t survive, then.”
“Yeah, we wouldn’t do any extra—you know? It would be … [like] a terminal person in the hospital, let’s say, that had cancer,” Santangelo said. “Whereas, if you were in a hospital in Virginia, let’s say, and you went into labor, and you went to the hospital, and then they saw you deliver, they would do everything possible to help that fetus survive.”
In that case, the hospital would be following the law. Under the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, enacted in 2002, a baby that survives a failed abortion attempt is entitled to full protection as a U.S. citizen.
In the video, Santangelo claimed no baby had ever been born alive in his facility. “I try and sever the umbilical cord first, and we wait for that to stop pulsing, and this way the fetus is expired [before delivery],” he explained to the Live Action investigator.
The secret filming of Washington Surgi-Clinic is the second video Live Action has released this week. Yesterday, the group published an undercover video (see below) of an abortion worker at the Dr. Emily Women’s Health Center in the Bronx, N.Y.
Asked what would happen if a baby was born still twitching or breathing, the Dr. Emily worker said the baby would, by protocol, be placed in a jar of preservative solution: “The solution will make it stop. It’s not going to be moving around in the jar … that’s the whole purpose of the solution.”
Drew Belsky, a spokesman for Live Action, said his group planned to release one more video this week. They hope the videos will prompt officials to investigate the possibility of infanticide at the clinics in Washington, the Bronx, and elsewhere.
“It’s not unusual for babies to be treated in horrible and ungodly ways throughout this industry,” said Belsky.
In March, Florida lawmakers asked a Planned Parenthood lobbyist what the organization’s employees would do if a baby survived an attempted abortion. The lobbyist replied they might just allow it to die: “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.”