John Westen

Baby Joseph: The story behind the story

John Westen
John Westen

As we reported on Monday, it looks like Baby Joseph will finally be able to go home!

Earlier this week little Joseph finally received the tracheotomy that his parents have been requesting for so long. And now the U.S. hospital where he was recently flown, thanks to Priests for Life, says that after spending some time in a special pediatric hospital, Joseph will be able to go home with his parents!

I want to tell you the amazing story of how this all this came about, some of which you probably haven’t read anywhere else.

It’s incredible to think that just one month ago things looked hopeless. Baby Joseph was scheduled to die sometime soon after February 21st at 10 a.m. when his doctors at the Canadian hospital where he was being kept decided to remove his ventilator against his parents’ wishes.

“Monday at 10 am they will kill my baby,” Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, told LifeSiteNews in heartbreaking comments on the Friday before that fateful Monday.  “There’s no more humanity.  There’s no more chance.  I’ve tried everything for him.  No more appeals, nothing.”

But everything changed completely when an international firestorm erupted after LifeSiteNews (LSN) ran a wildly popular piece on February 17th, announcing the court ruling upholding the doctors’ decision. 

Immediately following that article, individuals and families all across Canada and then the United States leapt into hyper-drive, launching an all-out effort to avert Baby Joseph’s death.

The article, because we included in the headline Alex Schadenberg’s ‘death panels’ comment to us, also caught the attention of Fox News in the States, which immediately took up the story as an on-going top feature item, spreading it far and wide.

Most pro-life leaders first learned of Baby Joseph’s plight through LifeSiteNews.

A person who proved most instrumental from the very beginning was Alex Schadenberg of the Canadian and International Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Alex quickly got in touch with the family and hired and paid for top lawyer Mark Handelman. It was thanks only to Handelman’s last-minute intervention that the hospital stepped back from their decision, and Joseph’s life was saved allowing further actions to be undertaken to complete the rescue. Schadenberg was finalizing a promising follow up plan when Priests for Life also came up with their response of flying Joseph to a US hospital that thankfully did the desperately needed tracheotomy.

Schadenberg himself explicitly credits with giving the story the legs it needed to draw massive international attention. Without LSN’s reporting, “the baby Joseph story would not have gone anywhere,” he said.

The anti-euthanasia leader says that our Feb. 17 article “launched the world-wide concern for baby Joseph.” After that, he says, “LifeSiteNews continued to publish daily articles that were accurate and they led the world-wide media in covering the baby Joseph story.”

Indeed, perhaps none of our recent stories illustrates better just what kind of impact LSN can have - literally saving lives - by simply by publishing the truth.

Will you help us continue to publish the truth by making a contribution to our Spring Campaign?
Click here to donate.

At no point did LSN directly intervene in the case; we’re a news service, not an activist organization. The people who did the real hands-on work were Joseph’s family and the awesome groups such as the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Priests for Life, the Christian Defense Coalition and the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.

In the end it was Fr. Frank Pavone who arranged for the flight of Baby Joseph and his care at the U.S. hospital.

But most importantly it was you, the pro-life faithful who prayed, wrote, called, and clamoured about Baby Joseph- it was you that created the overwhelming pressure on the powers that be to get things done.

All we did was publish the facts that no one else was willing to publish. But it was those facts that made all the difference.

The family trusted LSN to help them, and we did what we knew to be the right and good thing to do.

Only at LSN did readers find the original interview with expert and pioneer neonatologist Dr. Paul Byrne, a champion for families fighting for appropriate care, who insisted that Joseph should have had the tracheotomy all along. Dr. Byrne pointed out that in 40 years of neonatology he has “never seen a time to turn off a ventilator.”

“If a baby has a disease process that’s so bad that they’re going to die, then they die on the ventilator anyway,” he said.

The last month has been a complete whirlwind, but at last Baby Joseph is safe in the care of a hospital that is willing to respect the wishes of his parents.

Even though Joseph’s long-term prognosis is poor, this is a major victory. Joseph’s family finally has the peace of knowing that he can die at home, in their arms and surrounded by their loving care.

Indeed, this case has put in place a crucial precedent, one that will give Canadian and U.S. hospitals alike a strong new reason for pause before they take key life and death decisions into their own hands, ignoring the wishes of family members.

At LSN it is our duty to spread the word as quickly as possible to motivate our readers to take a stand when life is threatened, particularly the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable. Experience has shown that difficult or desperate situations can undergo dramatic change, simply because the facts have been made public. truly is the information arm of the pro-life and pro-family movements. We know that leaders in these movements, because they so often tell us, absolutely rely on us for the information that we unearth and report every day.

If the Baby Joseph story has shown anything, it’s that promoting the culture of life is a team effort. And you, our supporters, are absolutely necessary members of that team.

We need your support in order to continue to be the leading source of international pro-life and pro-family news! Please make a donation to our spring campaign today!

Thank you, and God bless.

John-Henry Westen

P.S. We are extremely grateful for the work that Alex Schadenberg, Fr. Pavone, and other supportive organizations and individuals accomplished throughout this struggle for the rights of Baby Joseph and his parents, and for other families who find themselves in similar situations. And we also thank for you, our readers, who through your response and support have also played a major role in this success.

U.S. and International Donors

Click here to donate online.

Call our office at (888) 678-6008 x. 923 between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

To donate by mail, print out and fill in one of our Adobe Acrobat PDF format mail-in forms (Click here). Then mail it with your check, money order, or credit card information to the address below. Please note that you can set up an automatic recurring donation using your bank account or credit card by indicating your intention to do so on the check or mail-in form., Inc.
4 Family Life Lane
Front Royal, VA 22630

Canadian donors

Click here to donate online.

Call our office at (888) 678-6008 x. 923 between 9:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST.

To donate by mail, print out and fill in one of our Adobe Acrobat PDF format mail-in forms (Click here). Then mail it with your check, money order, or credit card information to the address below. Please note that you can set up an automatic recurring donation using your bank account or credit card by indicating your intention to do so on the check or mail-in form.
104 Bond St.
Toronto, ON
M5B 1X9

*If the donation is towards a certain promotion or campaign, (i.e. Spring Campaign 2011) please indicate this on the mail-in form and check.


Share this article

Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Pelosi asked: Is unborn baby with human heart a ‘human being’? Responds: ‘I am a devout Catholic’

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Tell Nancy Pelosi: No, supporting abortion and gay 'marriage' is not Catholic. Sign the petition. Click here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, won't say whether an unborn child with a “human heart” and a “human liver” is a human being.

Pelosi, who is the Minority Leader in the House, was asked a question about the issue by CNS News at a press conference last week. The conservative news outlet asked, "In reference to funding for Planned Parenthood: Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”

Pelosi stumbled over her answer, saying, “Why don't you take your ideological questions--I don't, I don't have—”

CNS then asked her, "If it's not a human being, what species is it?”

It was then that Pelosi got back on stride, swatting aside the question with her accustomed reference to her “devout” Catholic faith.

“No, listen, I want to say something to you,” she said. “I don't know who you are and you're welcome to be here, freedom of this press. I am a devout practicing Catholic, a mother of five children. When my baby was born, my fifth child, my oldest child was six years old. I think I know more about this subject than you, with all due respect.”

“So it's not a human being, then?” pressed CNS, to which Pelosi said, “And I do not intend to respond to your questions, which have no basis in what public policy is that we do here.”

Pelosi has long used her self-proclaimed status as a “devout” practicing Catholic to promote abortion.

In response to a reporter’s question a proposed ban on late-term abortion in 2013, Pelosi said that the issue of late-term abortion is "sacred ground" for her.

"As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this," Pelosi said. "This shouldn't have anything to do with politics."

In 2008, she was asked by then-Meet the Press host David Gregory about when life begins. Pelosi said that "as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue I have studied for a long time. And what I know is that over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition....We don't know."

The Church has always taught that unborn human life is to be protected, and that such life is created at the moment of conception.

Featured Image
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

New video: Planned Parenthood abortionist jokes about harvesting baby’s brains, getting ‘intact’ head

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

I interviewed my friend, David Daleiden, about his important work exposing Planned Parenthood's baby body parts trade on the Glenn Beck Program. David urged Congress to hold Planned Parenthood accountable and to demand the full truth. He also released never-before-seen footage showing a Planned Parenthood abortionist callously discussing how to obtain an intact brain from aborted babies.

Posted by Lila Rose on Monday, October 5, 2015


Sign the petition to defund Planned Parenthood here

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - In the newest video footage released by the Center for Medical Progress, a Planned Parenthood abortionist laughs as she discusses her hope of removing the intact "calvarium," or skull, of an unborn baby while preserving both lobes of the brain.

She also describes how she first dismembers babies up to twenty weeks gestation, including two twenty-week babies she said she aborted the week before.

Dr. Amna Dermish, an abortionist with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, told undercover investigators she had never been able to remove the calivarium (skull) of an aborted child "intact," but she hopes to.

"Maybe next time," the investigator said.

"I know, right?" Dr. Dermish replied. "Well, this'll give me something to strive for."

Dermish, who performs abortions up to the 20-week legal limit in Austin, then described the method she used to collect fetal brain and skull specimens.

"If it’s a breech presentation [in which the baby is born feet first] I will remove the extremities first - the lower extremities - and then go for the spine," she began.

She then slides the baby down the birth canal until she can snip the spinal cord.

The buyer noted that intact organs fetch higher prices from potential buyers, who seek them for experimentation.

"I always try to keep the trunk intact," she said.

"I don't routinely convert to breech, but I will if I have to," she added.

Converting a child to the breech position is the first step of the partial birth abortion procedure. The procedure has been illegal since President Bush signed legislation in 2003 making it a federal felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

According to CMP lead investigator David Daleiden, who debuted the video footage during an interview with Lila Rose on The Blaze TV, Dr. Dermish was trained by Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola.

Dr. Nucatola was caught on the first CMP undercover video, discussing the side industry while eating a salad and drinking red wine during a business luncheon.

Between sips, she described an abortion process that legal experts believe is a partial birth abortion, violating federal law.

“The federal abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation,” Dr. Nucatola said on the undercover footage. “So, if I say on day one that I don't intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn't matter.”

Daleiden told Rose he hoped that Congressional investigators would continue to pressure the organization about whether the abortion technique it uses violates federal law, as well as the $60-per-specimen fee the national organization has admitted some of its affiliates receive.

Trafficking in human body parts for "valuable consideration" is also a federal felony carrying a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

"That would be enough to construct a criminal case against Planned Parenthood," Daleiden said.

Share this article

Featured Image
Nancy Flanders


He used to be an abortionist; now, he fights to save the lives of the preborn

Nancy Flanders
By Nancy Flanders

October 5, 2015 (LiveActionNews) -- In 1976, Dr. Anthony Levatino, an OB/GYN, graduated from medical school and was, without a doubt, pro-abortion. He strongly supported abortion “rights” and believed abortion was a decision to be made between a woman and her doctor.

“A lot of people identify themselves as pro-life or pro-choice, but for so many people, it doesn’t really touch them personally; it doesn’t impact their lives in the way that I wish it would. If nothing more than in the voting booth, if nowhere else,” said Levatino in a speech for the Pro-Life Action League. “But when you’re an obstetrician / gynecologist and you say I’m pro-choice – well, that becomes rather a more personal thing because you’re the one who does the abortions and you have to make the decision of whether you’ll do that or not.”

Levatino learned how to do first and second trimester abortions. Thirty to forty years ago, second trimester abortions were done by saline injection, which was dangerous.

"For the first time in my life, after all those years, all those abortions, I really looked, I mean I really looked at that pile of goo on the side of the table that used to be somebody’s son or daughter and that’s all I could see."

At that same time, Levatino and his wife were struggling with fertility problems and were considering adoption. They knew however, how difficult it was to adopt a newborn.

“It was the first time that I had any doubts about what I was doing because I knew very well that part of the reason why it’s difficult to find children to adopt were that doctors like me were killing them in abortions,” said Levatino.

Finally, in 1978, the couple adopted their daughter, Heather. Right after the adoption, they discovered they were expecting a baby, and their son was born just 10 months later.

Levatino describes a “perfectly happy” life at this time and says that despite those first qualms about abortion, he went right back to work performing them.

In 1981, after graduating from his residency, Levatino joined an OB/GYN practice which also offered abortions as a service. Saline infusion was the most common method for second trimester abortions at the time, but it ran the risk of babies born alive. The procedures were also expensive, difficult, and required the mother to go through labor. Levatino and his partners trained themselves to perform the D&E abortion procedure, which is used today.

In his speech, he describes what it’s like to perform the now routine procedure:

You take an instrument like this called a sopher clamp and you basically – the surgery is that you literally tear a child to pieces. The suction is only for the fluid. The rest of it is literally dismembering a child piece by piece with an abortion instrument […] absolutely gut-wrenching procedure.

Over the next four years, Levatino would perform 1,200 abortions, over 100 of them D&E, second trimester abortions.

But then everything changed. On a beautiful day in June of 1984, the family was at home enjoying time with friends when Levatino heard tires squeal. The children were in the street and Heather had been hit by a car.

“She was a mess,” he explained. “And we did everything we possibly could. But she ultimately died, literally in our arms, on the way to the hospital that evening.”

After a while, Levatino had to return to work. And one day, his first D&E since the accident was on his schedule. He wasn’t really thinking about it or concerned. To him, it was going to be a routine procedure he had done many times before. Only it wasn’t.

“I started that abortion and I took that sopher clamp and I literally ripped out an arm or a leg and I just stared at it in the clamp. And I got sick,” he explained. “But you know something, when you start an abortion you can’t stop. If you don’t get all the pieces – and you literally stack them up on the side of the table […] your patient is going to come back infected, bleeding or dead. So I soldiered on and I finished that abortion.”

But by the time the abortion was complete, Levatino was beginning to feel a change of heart:

For the first time in my life, after all those years, all those abortions, I really looked, I mean I really looked at that pile of goo on the side of the table that used to be somebody’s son or daughter and that’s all I could see. I couldn’t see what a great doctor I was being. I didn’t see how I helped this woman in her crisis. I didn’t see the 600 dollars cash I had just made in 15 minutes. All I could see was somebody’s son or daughter. And after losing my daughter this was looking very, very different to me.

Levatino stopped performing second trimester abortions but continued to provide first trimester abortions for the next few months.

“Everybody puts doctors on a pedestal and we’re all supposed to be so smart but we’re no different than anybody else,” he said.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

He realized that killing a baby at 20 weeks gestation was exactly the same as killing one at nine weeks gestation or even two weeks gestation. He understood that it doesn’t matter how big or small the baby is, it’s a human life. He has not done an abortion since February 1985 and says there is no chance he will ever perform one again.

Adamant that he would never join the pro-life movement because of the media’s portrayal of pro-lifers as crazy, he was eventually invited to a pro-life potluck dinner where he met people who he realized were intelligent volunteers who spent their time defending preborn humans.

After that, Levatino began speaking out against abortion specifically with young people, graphically describing for them what an abortion really is.

Levatino has also testified before Congress, asking our government to end legal abortion.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action News

Share this article


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook