RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes and Sharona Coutts wrote a piece last week deeming it a “myth” that babies survive abortions:

Gosnell was, in fact, a rogue provider, and that there is no evidence of a pattern of infants being “born alive” after an abortion, much less of doctors killing infants in those circumstances….

[T]his notion – that there are multiple cases of fetuses surviving an abortion, only to be killed by a doctor – is a confection of the anti-choice camp, designed to replace fact-based arguments with the lowest form of fear-mongering….

During a state committee hearing in Florida earlier this year, anti-choice legislators ambushed a Planned Parenthood lobbyist with a “born alive” inquiry…. Flummoxed, the lobbyist struggled to answer questions that were largely based on a myth.

Grimes and Coutts based their conclusion on responses 38 attorneys general have provided to the House Judiciary Committee in answer to a letter that in part asked whether they had ever prosecuted an abortionist for murdering abortion survivors.

The authors did acknowledge knowing of one abortionist who murdered abortion survivors (Kermit Gosnell) and one abortionist whose botched abortion resulted in a live birth (James Pendergraft).

But had Grimes and Coutts cared to truly investigate, they would have found much more evidence.

How about 77 annually? Would that constitute “a pattern”? As Americans United for Life reported:

In 2003, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] reports that 40 newborns died as a result of pregnancy terminations in the United States.  In another 37 cases that year, abortion was a “secondary” cause of death. In 2005, there were 45 reported born-alive deaths after abortion, with another 21 “secondary” deaths associated with abortion.

Abortion reporting to the CDC is voluntary, with some blue states like California opting not to, so those figures are almost certainly low. As an aside, while the CDC has the mechanism to report these statistics, it has stopped doing so.

When I went public about my experience holding an abortion survivor as a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, the hospital admitted to the Chicago Sun-Times no small number of babies survived abortions there:


In 2001, a perinatal symposium co-sponsored by the Waukesha Memorial Hospital OB/Gyn Dept. and The Medical College of Wisconsin OB/Gyn Dept. reported “Live birth” as a “complication” of a “labor Induction Mid-Trimester,” i.e., abortion:


How rare can post-abortive live births be if spotlighted?

Then there are the abortion survivors. Birth certificates for Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden prove they were two of those “complications.” Their stories and those of seven other survivors can be found at Melissa, who runs that website, told me today she is in contact with 157 abortion survivors. The youngest is two years old. (Her adoptive parents reached out to Melissa.)

The RHRC authors failed to note at least one other live birth at a Pendergraft abortion clinic. Listen to the 911 call. Clinic workers told EMTs,”There’s nothing to see here,” and the EMTs inexplicably said, “fine.”

2013-08-27_1638Another abortionist, Pierre Renelique, lost his license in 2009 following the death of an abortion survivor. Nevertheless, that baby’s murder was never prosecuted.

But back to the RH Reality Check story.

Actually, in their rush to carry water for the abortion industry, Grimes and Coutts completely missed the story.

That is, why is there such a discrepancy between the reality of babies born alive after abortions and those AG reports?

For starters, is anyone in state government even looking for them? The Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act was signed into law eight years ago, in 2005. Yet to this day the State of Illinois abortion reporting form doesn’t even ask the question: Did any babies survive your abortion? Click to enlarge…


Furthermore, as indicated on the symposium screen shot above, code language is often used for late-term abortions. In that case they were called “labor induction mid-trimester.” Loyola Hospital called them ”early induction of labor.” Christ Hospital said they were “mid-trimester labor inductions.” When an abortion survivor died, Christ Hospital often listed the cause of death as “extreme prematurity.” So the real cause of death is often hidden.

Before Gosnell was caught, the State of Pennsylvania would never have responded “yes” to a congressional letter asking if it had a problem with a) abortion survivors, b) who were being murdered. What abortionist in his or her right mind is going to report a fixed botch?

The other story here is analyzing the motive for RH Reality Check to go out on such a long limb to claim born alive abortions are “myths” in the first place. Both reasons are found in the story.

“…  the anti-choice bogeyman of the soulless abortion doctor, slaughtering newborns in clinics across the country with nary a second thought.”


“… it is more than a little misleading for the House Judiciary Committee to suggest that newborn children are being murdered by abortion providers with regularity and abandon; it is the very myth-making and fear-mongering on which they increasingly rely in their push to eliminate safe abortion care.”

The answers are:

1. The prospect of abortion survivors – and abortion survivors being murdered – only humanizes abortion victims in the minds of the public and makes them think worse of the industry. It’s terrible PR.

2. The abortion industry is scrambling to stem the tide of bills among the states creating abortion clinic regulations. It is also desperate to stop investigations that expose its underbelly.

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