A member of the abortion lobby testified during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on late-term abortions that it is acceptable to deny immediate medical care to babies born alive following botched abortions.
Dr. Diana Greene Foster, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, responded to Sen. David Vitter this week during a hearing on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. “I can imagine there are situations where the doctors and nurses have decided that there’s not a point in medical intervention, and by whisking the baby away you’ve taken away a woman’s chance to hold her child and say goodbye.”
Foster, who is also director of research for advancing new standards in reproductive health at the University of California-San Francisco, had the following exchange with Vitter:
VITTER: So, just to be clear nobody disagrees that a child born alive should get all available medical care for survival. Dr. Foster?
FOSTER: I think that the problem with this bill is that it treats all pregnancies the same and there are pregnancies…
VITTER: I didn’t ask about the bill.
FOSTER: I do disagree that I can imagine situations where the doctors and nurses have decided that there is not a point in medical intervention and by whisking the baby away you’ve take away a woman’s chance to hold her child and say goodbye.
VITTER: OK, so if there is care available towards survival you think that in some cases that care should be denied.
FOSTER: I think that the law says that the child has to be taken away and receive medical care if there are signs of life, which doesn’t allow for the physician or nurse–or more importantly the wishes of the family–to say that they don’t think that care is going to help in this case and that they want to be able to hold their child.
VITTER: And if…if that care could lead to survival, do you think that should be able to be denied?
FOSTER: I think that doctors and nurses and women themselves know best whether care would lead to survival. This bill doesn’t allow that judgment to be made.
However, the majority’s witness Dr. Kathi A. Aultman, a former abortionist and current pro-life advocate, asserted:
The worst complication for an abortionist is to have the baby born alive, and I do not feel that the abortionist has the best interests of that child at stake and the mother may not either. The bill is not saying that you must give that baby extraordinary care; they’re just saying you have to give them the same care you would give any other baby at that gestation, and at that gestational age they do need to be where they can get the best help–and the mother can go with them.
Witness for the Democrat Senate minority Jodi Magee, the president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health in Clifton, New Jersey, replied to Vitter:
I don’t disagree with that. I think the doctors who care for women who are receiving abortion services have the health and well-being of their patients utmost in their minds, and they’re looking for the best possible health outcomes and we should leave it to doctors to make those decisions and we should be leaving it to women to make the choices about their own pregnancies.
Dr. Colleen Malloy, an assistant professor of pediatrics-neonatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said, “Yes, I do think that baby should be transferred to a hospital as soon as possible because the neonatologist… could assess the gestational age, assess the infant, and treat that baby with the same care that any baby born in the hospital would receive.”
Also serving as a majority witness was Melissa Ohden, who was born alive following a botched abortion and founded the Abortion Survivors Network. Christy Zink served as a witness for the Democrats and testified as a woman who had an abortion after tests revealed her unborn son had a seizure disorder.
“[I]f he had been born, he would have been born into a life of seizure, of pain, of suffering,” Zink said. “And that to me, this question of survival, gets very complicated.”
Responding specifically to the issue of medical care for babies born alive during botched abortions, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, chairman of the House’s special investigative panel that is probing Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices, said following the Senate hearing, “The effort to bring attention to the important issue of how we can better protect babies born alive and their right under the U.S. Constitution to medical attention should never have become an issue for debate.”
It is haunting that the testimony at the hearing revealed that abortion advocates believe the right to terminate a pregnancy continues after the child has been delivered. One of our charges at the Select Investigative Panel is to specifically look into the business practices of organizations that perform second and third trimester abortions. Science tells us that these babies can feel pain and it is simply unconscionable that any organization would allow a child born alive to die, a position that was voiced during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning.
Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, remarked that most of the abortion lobby’s witnesses at the hearing would not consider the science that unborn babies can feel pain at least at 20 weeks gestation.
In response to Vitter’s question if the witnesses denied the existence of fetal pain at the 20-week gestation mark, Magee insisted research demonstrates that no fetal pain exists until the third trimester. However, when Vitter returned with a question about why doctors use anesthesia on babies for other operations, Magee replied she could not “speak to the clinical question” Vitter was asking because she is not a doctor.
However, Charlotte Lozier Institute’s Angelina Baglini Nguyen, said there is only one study that asserts fetal pain doesn’t exist until the third trimester. The evidence is “heavily favored in the direction” that at least at 20 weeks’ gestation, unborn children are “able to perceive and feel pain,” Nguyen said.
“The abortion industry is indifferent to the fact that it is inflicting horrific pain upon–and ultimately killing–children who can feel pain and who have the potential to survive outside the womb,” Rose said, adding:
Many babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive, and the survival rate increases dramatically with each passing week of gestation. Yet these children are routinely killed in abortion facilities across America. When asked about helping children born alive through botched abortions, the abortion lobby’s witnesses testified that getting them medical help shouldn’t be automatic, it should be up to the mother and her abortionist–a clear violation of federal law, the Hippocratic oath, and every concept of humanity.
Vitter said in a statement following the hearing:
As a father of four, I am dedicated to protecting children from needless suffering, and contrary to what some of today’s panelists say, it has been scientifically proven that babies in the womb at 20 weeks of pregnancy can experience severe pain. Offering the same level of care to children who survive abortions as is offered to women who experience complications in abortions shouldn’t be a political issue–it just makes plain sense, and I am hopeful we can pass commonsense legislation protecting the lives of unborn children.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who chaired the hearing, observed that the United States is one of only seven nations, including China and North Korea, that does not restrict abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy. Currently 13 states have passed Pain-Capable laws that ban abortions past 20 weeks.
In the video below, former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino, who performed more than 1,200 abortions, uses medical animation to demonstrate what happens during a late-term abortion:
Graham asked Foster whether there is evidence to suggest that women who have abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are adversely affected.
“There’s no evidence internationally or domestically that women have psychological problems after abortion,” she replied, adding that women are adversely affected “by carrying unwanted pregnancies to term.”
“There is evidence that women who are denied abortions because their country’s gestational limit is lower than ours go on to seek illegal abortions,” she added.
Magee said her organization believes “the safety and health of women is paramount, so if there are going to be restrictions on abortion, they should serve the needs of women.”
Planned Parenthood tweeted a similar message about the hearing:
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) March 15, 2016
Sen. Al Franken asked the pro-abortion witnesses about the anticipated effects of the Pain-Capable bill on women.
Magee said the Pain-Capable bill “limits women’s choices and forces them into situations they find untenable, and seems to me to be punishing women at the same time.”
“These kinds of restrictions which we’re seeing all over the country do nothing for the health and safety of women seeking abortion services,” she continued, adding:
Most women seeking abortion services are already mothers, and it seems to me they know best what they need to parent, and that these kinds of restrictions take that kind of control of their lives out of their hands, and … forces doctors to be worried about being put in prison.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act are measures that would, respectively, ban abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy and strengthen protections for babies born alive following botched abortions.
The House approved the Pain-Capable Act for the second time in May of last year, on the second anniversary of the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering infants born alive during abortion procedures and of negligence in the death of an abortion patient. The Senate has yet to pass the measure.
The Born-Alive Act passed the House last September and Sen. Ben Sasse is sponsoring the measure in the Senate.