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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Still waiting for a plausible explanation

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

For hours, a medicated Sycloria Williams lay ignored and feeling ill on a women's clinic table until she suddenly felt a sharp pain and expelled her 23-week-old fetus onto the floor, alive. Williams said she watched as a clinic worker scooped up the still-breathing infant, dropped her in a biomedical waste bag and tossed her in the garbage. From there, the infant, bag and all, allegedly traveled to the clinic roof to boil in the hot Florida sun, then back down into a cardboard box in a closet where police finally discovered it a week later, decomposing. An anonymous caller had alerted police to the killing, and it took police, search warrant in hand, three visits to the Florida clinic to find the hidden corpse. No telling exactly when the baby died, but an autopsy found she had taken air into her lungs, meaning that she had lived through at least a part of this savagery.

A doctor was supposed to have been present, but he didn't show up until an hour later. It was left to the clinic owner, who held no health-care license, to cut the umbilical cord. No one called 911, no one alerted a neonatologist to see what could be done to keep the infant alive.

Did I mention that all this occurred at an abortion clinic? Some people might say, "Oh, well, the fetus was supposed to die anyway, so what's the big deal?" Such crassness only makes the whole episode that much more appalling. Williams had sought an elective abortion after she discovered her pregnancy when she was treated for a fall. She had arrived at the clinic for a 9:30 a.m. appointment, and finding no one qualified there to do the abortion, returned to her parked car to wait. An hour later, she went back in, and a clinic worker gave her two pills. Then she returned to her car. About 11:45 a.m., she was back inside because she began to feel sick; she was told to lie down in a patient room. The clinic doctor who was scheduled to do the abortion now told staff he would arrive about noon. At 1:30 p.m., according to a later Florida health department report, she still was waiting and "feeling worse by the minute." About 2 p.m., she gave birth to her daughter; the doctor arrived at 3 p.m. This "incident" occurred in 2006, but it took until Friday for Florida to yank the license of Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique, the clinic doctor. Local authorities still are weighing whether to charge Renelique with a crime (although it seems negligent homicide would be a lay down). And Williams is suing for physical and emotional damage.

Even some pro-choice groups have found this example of a "live-birth abortion" appalling. "It really disturbed me," said Joanne Sterner, president of the Broward County chapter of the National Organization for Women. "I know that there are clinics out there like this. And I hope that we can keep [women] from going to these types of clinics." Well said, but cleverly deceptive. If there are "clinics out there like this," as Sterner said, why is that? Is society's job only to steer women away from such clinics, or is it also society's job to shut them down? Most pro-choice folks are liberals, and liberals are big on demanding more government regulation. Except when it comes to abortion clinics; every attempt to more strictly regulate abortions—even to protect women—is stoutly opposed by outfits like NOW and the abortion industry as an "intrusion on a woman's right to choose [abortion.]" Failure to require detailed reporting to and aggressive follow-up by regulators of live-birth abortions, as well as other tougher regulations, casts doubt on any claims that Williams' case is extraordinarily rare.

We could debate all day what laws should be passed to prevent such outrages, and not get anywhere. Witness President Barack Obama's vote, twice, in the Illinois Senate against a Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, and his defenders' endless determination to minimize the vote. But we won't get nearer to resolving this issue until the Obamas of the world acknowledge that a baby born alive is a person with all the rights the rest of us claim. Until the pro-choice crowd becomes as passionate about born-alive infants as they are about their pantheon of other victims. Until they finally show some humanity.


Jennifer Gould said...

Mr. Byrne,
Thank you so much for this article. That children would be treated so inhumanely by "health care workers" is appalling. Maybe your words will stop one mother from aborting her baby. Please keep speaking out for the helpless.
Jennifer Gould

Steve Douglas said...

If you truly wonder "why such clinics are allowed to exist", the answer is pretty obvious. Blowhards and simpletons-nearly all men- have made access to, and existence of, safe abortion nearly impossible. If you were truly concerned about "the woman's health", you would write about the need for safe clinics where skilled doctors would not botch the procedure. Instead, you and others of your ilk, intent on bringing every pregnancy to term, are really trying to eliminate women's access to all abortion. If you are such an anti-abortionist who TRULY wants to help women, why don't you press for free and simple access to birth control and morning after pills? Then your so-called concern for the woman's health would be legitimate.
You're just another well-to-do man trying, for some bizarre reason, to keep women "barefoot, pregnant and dependent on welfare".
Abortion is a woman's business, and hers alone!
Steve Douglas

Nitrocat said...

Your article struck a chord here. Our daughter was born at 23.6 weeks old. She will be 10 tomorrow.
I am so thankful that there are people who have dedicated their lives to extending the limits of birth even while others callously do just the opposite.

Stacy Christian

Anonymous said...

Ms. Williams went to the clinic to get a dead baby, so that is what she got. The fault is hers and the people who do this foul work. That her baby lived for a moment and she had to see its face and acknowledge the horror of her "choice" is not a cause of shock but hope -- that at least one person may wake up to what abortion really is.

This baby was fortunate that it wasn't dismembered in the womb which is what happens in second and third trimester abortions.


Mike said...


Ya' know, I really don't mind being a blowhard or a simpleton! I don't mind saying to Steve, "you are missing the point" my friend. Government (both Democrats and Republicans) has become a haven for the confused. They constantly talk about the rights of others when they really simply want to advance an agenda. They talk about personal responsibility while borrowing trillions of dollars to solve a credit crisis. They trumpet womens rights so they can ignore the rights of the unborn.

What is the crime here? That a woman was allowed to suffer the horrific experience reported by Mr. Byrne? That such shoddy medical practices can be allowed to exist? If the abortion was performed perfectly would the baby be alive today? Steve, do you think that the same people who presume that the taking of a human life as being ok wouldn't hesitate to delay or postpone medical procedures that you may one day need to extend your life, I urge you to please think again.

Our stimulus package contains the seeds of a national health care system. The crux of the "change" is that you no longer determine what medical procedures you need. The government, whom you obviously have placed much trust in, will determine if you are worth the procedure. If you need a hip replaced at age 62 you may find that someone else does not feel that the cost of the procedure will yield a subsequent benefit, then you get passed by. And if you think that those who consider themselves above our tax laws would consider themselves within our health care laws, I urge you to please think again. If you think that they would do something for you that they would not do to you, think again.

Personally, I don't want to see one abortion performed, ever. Having said that, I understand that is not my right. I wish everyone could be born into a loving family like my family and like Mr. Byrne's family. I know that is not possible. I wish every sexually capable person would realize the implications of love making. I wish each person would be responsible enough to abstain or protect against unwanted pregnancy. And I wish that there was a network of adoption facilities that were willing and able to take in and place each and every baby that was either unplanned or the product of some non consensual sex act. I wish people like you could see the insanity of your position.

The unborn are the most helpless. If there is anyone who deserves a "chance," who deserves our protection it is the unborn. How is it that we uphold the rights women by ignoring the rights of the unborn? A man and a woman have the right to choose to have sex (again, I understand that rape and incest do exist) when they do so, they take on certain responsibilities. If we take away the sting of a bad decision we only foster or enable more bad decisions. If you don't think that to be the case consider the bail out of Wall Street. For years the financial services industry became more and more like a casino than a forum for investing. CEO salaries sky rocketed to those that held a job, golden parachutes were granted to those who proved woefully inept. Our own government encouraged Freddie and Mannie to lend, to extend the "right" of home ownership to all Americans and fostered lending where loans should not have been made. Then the fruits of all these bad decisions came home to roost. The innocent (the taxpayers) were made to bear the burden of the bad decisions made by all the greedy and self serving on Wall Street. Likewise, are the unborn going to be made to bear the burden of bad decisions of the parents?

Sanity is defined as soundness of mind or wholeness of mind. Insanity can be defined as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I see no sanity in borrowing another trillion dollars when the last trillion that we borrowed didn't create job one. I see no sanity in aborting fetuses "properly." I see no sanity in trusting government. I see no sanity in the thought that the unborn have no right to life. I see sanity in the constitution, in limited government, in personal responsibility.

I know, I know, I am a simpleton. So let me end with the most simple of questions. How would you like to be aborted?

Mike Vallencourt

Son, Husband, Father of three,