WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life leaders from around the country gathered at late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo’s office in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to demand the district shut the facility down.
Santangelo was caught on tape by an undercover investigator with Live Action saying that he would not take extraordinary measures to save a baby who survived a late-term abortion at his facility, a violation of federal law.
Santangelo spoke critically of women who visited Virginia emergency rooms when their two-day abortion procedures went wrong instead of going back to him.
It was “the stupidest thing they could have done,” he said, because in Virginia they try to save babies born alive – even if an abortion is already underway.
He said if a woman gave birth to a live baby at his clinic, he would call 911 but otherwise take no extraordinary measures to save the baby, “like a terminal person in the hospital…that had cancer.”
Live Action’s Lila Rose led Wednesday’s rally and press conference outside Santangelo’s Washington Surgi-Clinic abortion center (site currently down).
Speaking to a crowd of about 120 protesters and reporters, Rose urged the city to revoke the abortionist’s medical license for stating that he would violate the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which requires lifesaving treatment to be given to babies who survive abortion attempts.
“It’s time to put an end to this injustice, to this killing,” Rose told the crowd.
She said she had secured a meeting with the owners of the building in which Santangelo’s clinic is housed and would be asking them to evict Santangelo.
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Rose was joined by a number of pro-life speakers, including Jill Stanek, David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, abortion survivor Melissa Ohden, and Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life.
Stanek, a former nurse, shared her personal story of comforting a baby boy born alive after a late-term abortion at Christ Hospital in Chicago.
“One night, a nursing coworker was taking a little abortion survivor to the soiled utility room to die because his parents didn’t want to hold him and she didn’t have time to hold him that night,” Stanek said. “When she told me what she was doing, I couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child dying all alone, and so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived.”
She said such incidents were not uncommon at her hospital before the Born Alive Infant Protection Act was passed, and that “nothing has changed.” She said abortionists are still allowing babies born alive to die from lack of care, or even murdering them after birth, as Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell may face the death penalty for doing if he is found guilty.
Kristan Hawkins said what happened at Gosnell’s clinic, where babies’ necks were snipped with scissors after birth, “is not the exception. It’s the rule. This is simply business as usual for the abortion facility…this is what they do every day for profit.”
Hawkins said that when she was 22 weeks pregnant with her first child, she participated in an undercover sting of several federally-funded Planned Parenthood clinics in New Jersey. When she asked how they would abort her baby son, the nurse told her, “Well, he’s too big for the normal procedure, so we’re just going to birth him and then let him die. He won’t survive.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser and Charmaine Yoest both called for additional restrictions on late-term abortions, including fetal pain legislation to ban abortions after the infant can feel pain, and stricter clinic safety standards to protect women’s lives. Yoest compared the U.S.’s liberal abortion laws to those in China and North Korea, saying that along with Canada, “we are the four countries with the most radical abortion policies.”
Yoest called Rose the “Sinclair Lewis of our generation” for her undercover investigative work exposing the dark realities of the abortion industry.
“Lila is doing what the mainstream media is refusing to do,” said Yoest. “She stands in the proud tradition of Sinclair Lewis, who went undercover in the meatpacking industry and came out with a book called The Jungle. It revolutionized our country. It changed our laws. Why? Because Congress followed up with hearings, with investigations, with the power of law to find out what was actually happening behind closed doors.” She said she hoped Rose’s work with Live Action would do the same.
David Bereit also applauded Rose for “shining a light” on the abortion industry. He said the work of Live Action and other groups is helping more Americans to realize that “not just Gosnell, not just Santangelo, but the entire abortion industry is inhumane.” He said his Forty Days for Life event saw more than 600,000 Americans take time out of their lives to pray and protest in front of abortion clinics, a record number, and noted that they were doing so even during the term of President Barack Obama, “the most pro-abortion administration in history.”
Melissa Ohden was the final guest speaker, and the most emotional. Ohden shared her story of barely surviving an abortion, after which she was placed for adoption with loving parents.
“I can tell you it means the world to me to have people standing up for my life and the lives of my preborn brothers and sisters,” she told the crowd.
“When I hear things like, ‘Flush it down the toilet,’ ‘Leave it to die,’ she said, “it horrifies me.”
“What happened in my life is sadly the story of many children’s lives, and they don’t live to share their stories the way that I have,” Ohden said. She told the crowd that she was the victim of a saline infusion abortion 35 years ago which was meant to scald her to death inside the womb before her mother was induced with premature labor to deliver her stillborn baby.
The procedure normally takes three days, but Ohden soaked in the toxic fluid for five days before she was delivered alive with severe injuries from the abortion, weighing less than three pounds.
Medical staff at the hospital gave her lifesaving care, an act for which Ohden is profoundly grateful.
“They loved me into life,” she said of the doctors and nurses who saved her. “They didn’t subscribe to Dr. Santangelo’s credo that children like me should be left to die.”
Protesters held signs that read, “Stop Infanticide”; “Protect Women; Prosecute Santangelo”; and “Abortion. Infanticide. Inhuman.”
All of the speakers called for the city of Washington, D.C. to shut Santangelo’s clinic down and conduct a thorough investigation.
Rose said Live Action’s investigations are far from finished. “There’s a new video coming out [Thursday],” she said. “These investigations are meant to show and illuminate that … abortionist Gosnell is not alone. That this is an industry that makes its money off of the difficult situations of women.”
Rose singled out abortion giant Planned Parenthood, reminding the crowd that a spokesman for the organization testified before the Florida legislature that the decision about whether to save a live infant who survives an abortion procedure should be left “between a woman … and her physician.”
“Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar organization that makes its money off of procedures that end life in its weakest form, and even goes as far as ending the life of those children if they make it out of the birth canal, if they make it out of the woman alive,” Rose said. “The tapes coming out [Thursday] are more admissions that this is common practice in the abortion industry.”
Rose told LifeSiteNews that Live Action has recordings from eight abortion facilities that will be released over the next several weeks.
The recordings the organization has already released can be viewed here.