WASHINGTON—Abortionist Cesare Santangelo’s Washington Surgi-Clinic sits amid the sprawling campus of George Washington University, a few blocks away from the White House. Easy access to 25,000 college students—a demographic more likely to experience unplanned pregnancies—is no doubt good for business.
On Wednesday about 100 pro-life activists took direct aim at Santangelo with a rally on the sidewalk in front of his abortion center—two days after the pro-life group Live Action released undercover video of Santangelo saying he would not help a baby born alive through a failed abortion, even though he’s required by law to do so.
“We believe in human rights for all—in the womb and out of the womb,” Live Action President Lila Rose said at the rally. She called on the Washington, D.C., authorities to investigate, prosecute, and de-license Santangelo. She also urged the building owner who leases space to Santangelo to evict him and his business.
Other speakers at the rally included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List; abortion survivor Melissa Ohden; Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life; Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life; David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life; and pro-life blogger Jill Stanek.
Stanek told the crowd her story of being an Illinois abortion center worker in the 1990s and holding a live baby for 45 minutes after a failed abortion. She said it was an “eye-opening experience” that prompted her to join the pro-life cause with an insider’s perspective.
Stanek pointed to Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who is on trial for murder, and said his practices are not unusual: “I’m here to tell you he is not an outlier.”
About a dozen police officers were present at the rally, but no incidents occurred. The event was well attended by both media and pro-life activists, many of whom held signs with messages such as “Stop infanticide,” “Protect women,” and “Prosecute Santangelo.” Live Action is also launching a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #inhuman to draw attention to abortion.
Dannenfelser told me the ongoing conversation about abortion could signify a turning point: “We could very well be in a moment where there is a definite ground shift.”
She said those who support and oppose abortion have for 40 years gone back and forth with competing polls, ignoring “so much common ground in the middle that’s never been acted into law. A moment like this means we can begin to do that.”
On Monday, Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., introduced the D.C. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks. Under current law, abortion is legal for any reason until the moment of birth in the nation’s capital.
After filing similar legislation in 2012, Franks’ 2013 bill has more than 90 co-sponsors, including one Democrat: Rep. Daniel Lipinski from Illinois. Despite garnering 220 votes in favor and only 154 against in a procedural vote, last year’s bill failed because it needed a two-thirds majority.