The latest undercover video of a high-level Planned Parenthood official released by the Center for Medical Progress, which came out last Thursday, adds to the evidence that the nation’s largest abortion provider is illicitly profiting from the trade in fetal organs.
But the video also suggests Planned Parenthood may have admitted to a separate illegal act: killing tiny infants who’ve been born alive.
In the video, during a discussion with actors posing as buyers about harvesting “intact specimens,” Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, says that intact organs can be hard to obtain, but “sometimes . . . if someone delivers before we are able to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.”
“Um, but that’s not what we go for,” Ginde says, laughing. “We try for that not to happen.”
But when it does, what she suggests they do would almost certainly be infanticide — and a violation of clear federal law.
What Ginde suggests they do would almost certainly be infanticide — and a violation of clear federal law.
In 2002, Congress overwhelmingly passed (on a 98–0 vote in the Senate and a simple voice vote in the House) and President George W. Bush signed into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The law defines a “person” as any member of the species “born alive at any stage of development” who breathes, has a heartbeat, or voluntarily moves his or her muscles after “expulsion or extraction” after labor, cesarean section, or “induced abortion.” The child would then be subject to all legal protections as any other human being. Many states have similar laws on the books.
Ginde implies that specimens are “sometimes” collected intact after “someone delivers” before Planned Parenthood is able to carry out an abortion. This would indicate that the abortionist takes care of the problem by terminating the born-alive infant — a “person” under federal law. (In order to determine what’s going on, of course, Ginde would have to be interrogated about the specific circumstances of the abortions she referenced in the video.)
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Colorado, where Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is located, does not have a state version of the federal statue after Democrats killed H.B. 1112 this spring. The law would have required “abortionists to provide medical care for a child born alive during a failed abortion,” said Sarah Zagorski of Colorado Citizens for Life, in addition to prohibiting the killing of the child — making, in other words, Planned Parenthood possibly guilty even if the born-alive infants aren’t intentionally killed. The bill also included language prohibiting using born-alive infants for scientific research or other experimentation.
But while federal and state Born-Alive Infant Protection Acts are clarifying and can bring important pro-life issues to public consciousness, Douglas Johnson, federal legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, says the laws do not create new protections for born-alive infants.
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“Both in medical terms and in legal terms, once a human being is born alive — that is, completely outside the mother and alive — he or she is no longer properly referred to as a “fetus,” but as a baby or a newborn,” Johnson has written. “This is true no matter how premature that live-born baby may be.”
Once entirely outside the mother, a living baby is a human being and a person under the laws of every state, and under federal law. A person who deliberately kills such a live-born human being commits the crime of murder.
It is true that when such acts come to light, they often are not prosecuted, either because of difficulties in proof, or because in some jurisdictions an aura of political protection surrounds abortionists and causes clear legal principles to be disregarded.
Democrats in Colorado agreed the proposed legislation was unnecessary, but, of course, not because they want killers of born-alive infants to be prosecuted under existing law.
“It is already illegal to kill a living human being,” said Representative Lois Court of Denver. “I am really tired of my Republican colleagues bringing forward divisive social issues when we really should be focused on rebuilding our middle class here in Colorado.” (Supporters of such laws note that this has not stopped doctors from, for instance, allowing infants to die without any care.)
The relevant federal statute specifies neither criminal nor civil penalties for violators, but, of course, the activity Planned Parenthood might be admitting to would be good reason to revisit whether the group is deserving of hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the government whose law it may be violating.
The 20-week abortion ban passed by the House and scheduled for Senate consideration in August would include the first explicit federal legislative language requiring that newborns who have survived abortion be given all appropriate medical care. The law would mandate “the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child” as a “child born alive at the same gestational age in the course of a natural birth” including transportation and admittance to a hospital for care.
#related#Last week, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote an op-ed published by the Washington Post that twice mentioned “safe and legal abortion.”
If the words of Dr. Ginde are to be taken at face value, then at least some infants Planned Parenthood intended to abort are delivered alive before they are killed. It might be true that that’s not what Planned Parenthood intends. It might be true that they “try for that not to happen.”
But it would still be illegal.