Arina Grossu’s Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on the topic of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on September 23, 2016:

Chairman Franks, Ranking Member Cohen, and Distinguished Members of the Subcommittee:

I am grateful and honored to have been invited to testify on “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.”  My name is Arina Grossu and I am the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council.  As a policy analyst, my issues of expertise and research encompass the dignity of human life from conception until natural death. 

FRC has long supported the Hyde Amendment, which has prevented government funding for elective abortion for over thirty years.  This law, if revoked, would increase the number of abortions in the U.S.  FRC also supports the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, on which I will focus my remarks.

In 2000 and 2001, Jill Stanek testified before this Committee about her experience as a registered nurse where she discovered babies born alive after an attempted abortion and left to die in the department’s soiled utility closet.

In 2002, Congress responded by passing the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush and is current federal law. It passed by voice vote in the House and with unanimous consent in the Senate.  

Unfortunately, incidents involving born alive children being killed after an attempted abortion have continued after this law was passed and into the present.

Infanticide is unacceptable in a civilized society, regardless of what one may think about abortion itself.  It should be uncontroversial for the federal government to supplement current law with enforcement protections.

 

Up to 2010, abortionist Kermit Gosnell operated his dirty and dangerous abortion facility where  he did “hundreds of snippings” of born-alive babies as part of his abortion process.  The Grand Jury Report noted:

Many of [the women] gave birth before he even got there. When you perform late-term ‘abortions’ by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies…Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them… by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord.

See for example the image of Baby Boy B who was found in his facility (A). (warning, graphic content)

Federal and state authorities finally raided his facility, not because he was illegally killing born-alive infants, but because of his illegal prescription drug activity.

While Gosnell’s case was particularly gruesome, he is not an outlier.  A former employee of current Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen described how he regularly killed babies born alive by snipping their spinal cords, fatally injuring them with blows to the soft spot on their heads, and twisting their necks. 

She said:

I’m pretty sure I was seeing at least three or four [large babies] that were completely delivered in some way or another [daily].

….when the fetus would come completely out, of course the fetus would still be alive, because it was still moving… of course you could see the stomach breathing and that’s when he would do [this].

Yet, despite the gruesome photo and eyewitness evidence, Karpen was cleared in December 2013.

The Center for Medical Progress, in its investigative videos, authenticated by in-depth forensic analysis, revealed a lot of evidence of babies killed after being born alive.

Perrin Larton, a procurement manager from Advanced Bioscience Resources said, “The whole point is not to have a live birth…“I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the O.R. and they’re back out in three minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s going on?’ Oh yeah, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups. It just fell out.”

Holly O’Donnell, a former procurement technician with StemExpress, recounted one incident where her supervisor said, ‘want to see something kind of cool…And she just tap[ped] the heart, and it start[ed] beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating.”

Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions.  Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”

The CDC concluded that of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours.  It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate (B).

We know it is an underestimate because these are just reported numbers from hospitals, not abortion facilities.  Gosnell is only one abortionist who was responsible for "hundreds of snippings" of born-alive babies, yet he did not report even one.  His numbers alone exceed the “definitive” numbers of the CDC.

Even one baby born alive after an attempted abortion who is then killed, is one too many.  But we are talking in the hundreds of reported ones.

Yet not one person to date has been charged or convicted under current Born-Alive law.

Due to developments in technology, babies who are considered “extremely preterm” can now survive outside the womb as early as 20 and 21 weeks post-fertilization, recent science journals announced, with 67% surviving after receiving active care.

Here, for example is Lucas Moore who was born prematurely at 21 weeks post-fertilization and one year later (C).

Dr. David Burchfield, the chief of neonatology at the University of Florida said of care for extremely preterm babies, “It confirms that if you don’t do anything, these babies will not make it, and if you do something, some of them will make it.”

We need the proposed Born-Alive act to ensure that babies born alive after an attempted abortion are given the proper medical treatment.  The bill:

  • explicitly requires health care practitioners to treat born-alive abortion survivors with the same care they would treat any other born baby and admit such babies immediately to a hospital. 
  • provides enforcement mechanisms such as criminal sanctions and penalties to hold abortionists accountable for killing born-alive infants
  • the bill also expressly excludes any prosecution of the mother of a baby born alive, and it gives her a private right of action to seek relief if an abortionist were to kill her born-alive infant.

The White House promised that the President would veto the Born-Alive legislation citing it would have a “chilling” effect.  I cannot think of a more chilling effect than continuing to let U.S. abortionists get away with infanticide.

Born-alive babies after an attempted abortion are already recognized as legal persons since the 2002 federal Born-Alive law.

The proposed Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act simply recognizes the obligations that follow from this reality, to ensure that babies born alive after attempted abortions will be given the best medical care available and the full and equal protection of our laws.

I earnestly ask that you support this bill to stop infanticide in the United States.