Testimony of Jill Stanek

Jill Stanek tells her story about babies born alive after abortions:

I had been working for a year at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, as a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Department, when I heard in report that we were aborting a second-trimester baby with Down’s syndrome. I was completely shocked. In fact, I had specifically chosen to work at Christ Hospital because it was a Christian hospital and not involved, so I thought, in abortion. It hurt so much that the very place these abortions were being committed was at a hospital named after my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was further grieved to learn that the hospital’s religious affiliates, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Church of Christ, were pro-abortion. I had no idea that any Christian denomination could be pro-abortion!

But what was most distressing was to learn of the method Christ Hospital uses to abort, called induced labor abortion, now also known as “live birth abortion.” In this particular abortion procedure doctors do not attempt to kill the baby in the uterus.  The goal is simply to prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward.

To commit induced labor abortion, a doctor or resident inserts a medication into the mother’s birth canal close to the cervix. The cervix is the opening at the bottom of the uterus that normally stays closed until a mother is about 40 weeks pregnant and ready to deliver. This medication irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open early. When this occurs, the small second or third trimester pre-term, fully formed baby falls out of the uterus, sometimes alive. By law, if an aborted baby is born alive, both birth and death certificates must be issued.  Ironically, at Christ Hospital the cause of death often listed for live aborted babies is “extreme prematurity,” an acknowledgement by doctors that they have caused this death.

It is not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer. At Christ Hospital one of these babies lived for almost an entire eight-hour shift. Some of the babies aborted are healthy, because Christ Hospital will also abort for life or “health” of the mother, and also for rape or incest.

In the event that an aborted baby is born alive, she or he receives “comfort care,” defined as keeping the baby warm in a blanket until s/he dies. Parents may hold the baby if they wish. If the parents do not want to hold their dying aborted baby, a staff member cares for the baby until s/he dies. If staff did does not have the time or desire to hold the baby, s/he is taken to Christ Hospital’s new Comfort Room, which is complete with a  First Foto Machine if parents want professional pictures of their aborted baby, baptismal supplies, gowns, and certificates, foot printing equipment and baby bracelets for mementos, and a rocking chair. Before the Comfort Room was established, babies were taken to the Soiled Utility Room to die.

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking a Down’s syndrome baby who was aborted alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was between 21 and 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I could not tell if he was still alive. I held him up to the light to see through his chest wall whether his heart was still beating. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken.

20 weeks

Read the rest of Stanek’s testimony here.

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Author: Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

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