How to Get Away With Murder

by Karen Hayes and Wendy Wright

"Once, I held the aborted baby in a warm blanket for the 45 minutes it took for him to die?The only situation that could be worse was?since we have no place designated to keep these babies, one had to be left to die alone in the Soiled Utility Room." Nurse Jill Stanek.

Christ Hospital is the only hospital Jill Stanek applied to work for after graduating from nursing school. It had the best reputation in the Chicago suburbs, she believed. And she was certain that a hospital whose mission is "rooted in our fundamental understanding of human beings as created in the image of God," would not possibly do abortions.

But clever names can cover a multitude of sins. Most people assume that a "therapeutic abortion" is a desperate procedure to save the life of a mother. To her dismay, Jill found out that "therapeutic" and "life of the mother" are malleable terms when abortion is involved. At Christ Hospital, "I have never observed a ?therapeutic? abortion in the true sense of the term," she stated in a letter to hospital directors. "The abortions I have observed have been elective abortions."

That was not her only discovery. "I have personally witnessed two babies who have been aborted alive (and this is actually not an unusual occurrence)," she wrote.

How could babies survive an abortion? This is not surprising when all that the doctors are doing is inducing labor. A drug is used to open the woman?s cervix, then the baby falls out. Some die in labor. Others (though no one is saying how many) live. In that case, department policy is to provide "comfort care," meaning the baby is held in a blanket but is not given medical attention. That is, if a nurse is available. Otherwise, the babies get stuck in a closet with the soiled linen until they die.

The babies are between 16 and 24 weeks old. With undeveloped lungs, they will last from a few minutes to 6 or 7 hours. The baby Jill held "spent his 45 minutes just ?gasping."

Hospital spokeswoman Sue Reimbold, told the Chicago Sun-Times these are "medically indicated pregnancy terminations" and are only performed when "complex and critical maternal or fetal conditions threaten the life or health of the mother or developing fetus." Yet the first abortion Jill discovered was of a Down syndrome child. A draft guideline dated June 1, 1998 included cystic fibrosis and even the mother?s mental health as justifications for abortions.

Around the time Jill?s letter became public, Dr. C. Everrett Koop sent a letter to Advocate Health Care, parent company of Christ Hospital. "It has come to my attention," he wrote, "that advocate Health Care Systems is contemplating expanding their abortion indications to include destroying the fetus because it has Spina Bifida. This is truly a barbaric outrage. Turman?s Spina Bifida are treated every day in this country and become competent, innovative, and creative citizens who are both loved and loving. Abortion for Spina Bifida is not indicated unless one is committed to a practice of eugenics."

This set the public relations machine in motion. Advocate Health Care announced a new policy would allow abortions in "cases of rape or incest, where there is a serious threat to the life or health of the mother, or when there are lethal fetal anomalies incompatible with sustained life." Enough exceptions to drive any abortion through, considering that the Supreme Court has ruled "health" to include emotional, financial, or age. No mention was made of methods. In effect, it is business as usual.

The scandal has brought many things to light. Dr. Michael Curtis told a reporter that live birth abortions were performed at Christ Hospital when he was in student rotation in 1982. While Christ Hospital claims to do 10 to 20 a year, Chicago?s Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke?s Medical Center disclosed they do about 100 each year. State Senator Patrick O?Malley resigned from Christ Hospital Governing Council partly because they "threaten the employment of those who refuse, due to personal conviction, to participate in any abortion procedure."

In case you missed the irony in the name, Christ Hospital is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ. Both denominations gave their stamp of approval on the hospital?s policies. Even Roe v Wade doesn?t include denying life to a child after she is born. Yet Christ Hospital is not unique. Perhaps your local hospitals are killing babies through deliberate neglect. Want to know how to get away with murder? Call it abortion. C