Late-term babies who survive abortions in Canada are still being left to die

Every year, Canadian pro-life blogger Pat Maloney faithfully publishes her research on live birth late-term abortions in Canada, obtained primarily through Freedom Of Access To Information requests. Recently, she published late-term abortion numbers from 2022-2023 (excluding Quebec), reporting: “The bad news is that late-term stillbirth abortions are up from 911 in 2021/2022 to 1,059 in 2022/2023 (148 more). And the worse news is, that these horrific abortions still happen at all. That’s a net 130 more late term abortions in 2022/2023 than in 2021/222.” 

“All of these dead children are >= 20 weeks gestation,” Maloney writes. “Seven of these children born alive after an abortion were 29+ weeks gestation. Nine of them were 25-28 weeks gestation when they died. 98 of them were 21-24 weeks gestation when they died. If someone had bothered to care for these children after their failed abortion, they could/would still be alive today.”

It is a chilling thing to consider, but it is indisputably true: Every year in Canada, babies are born alive and left to die – and not a single political party is interested in speaking out for these children, or stopping this brutality. 

During my travels across North America as a pro-life activist, I’ve had many nurses tell me of incidents where children were born alive during an attempted abortion. One Canadian nurse I met after a presentation recalled the doctor hastily tossing the tiny child into a trash can, where she heard the baby rustling weakly among the papers before he died. Former nurse and current pro-life activist Jill Stanek, whose testimony later helped to pass the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act signed into law by George W. Bush in 2003, described how children born alive after failed abortions would be left in the soiled utility room of Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois: 

To commit induced labor abortion, a doctor or resident inserts a medication into the mother’s birth canal close to the cervix. The cervix is the opening at the bottom of the uterus that normally stays closed until a mother is about 40 weeks pregnant and ready to deliver. This medication irritates the cervix and stimulates it to open early. When this occurs, the small second or third trimester pre-term, fully formed baby falls out of the uterus, sometimes alive. By law, if an aborted baby is born alive, both birth and death certificates must be issued. Ironically, at Christ Hospital the cause of death often listed for live aborted babies is “extreme prematurity,” an acknowledgement by doctors that they have caused this death. 

These babies can often live on for hours, Stanek revealed. Some of them, aborted healthy, live longer than others. Even in these circumstances, where it is so clear that a human being has been murdered, hospital staff attempts to normalize the experience: 

In the event that an aborted baby is born alive, she or he receives ‘comfort care,’ defined as keeping the baby warm in a blanket until s/he dies. Parents may hold the baby if they wish. If the parents do not want to hold their dying aborted baby, a staff member cares for the baby until s/he dies. If staff did not have the time or desire to hold the baby, s/he is taken [to] Christ Hospital’s new Comfort Room, which is complete with a First Foto Machine if parents want professional pictures of their aborted baby, baptismal supplies, gowns, and certificates, foot printing equipment and baby bracelets for mementos, and a rocking chair. Before the Comfort Room was established, babies were taken to the Soiled Utility Room to die. 

One experience stands out starkly in Stanek’s mind: 

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking a Down’s syndrome baby who was aborted alive to our Soiled Utility Room because his parents did not want to hold him, and she did not have time to hold him. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone in a Soiled Utility Room, so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was between 21 and 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about 10 inches long. He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet that I could not tell if he was still alive. I held him up to the light to see through his chest wall whether his heart was still beating. After he was pronounced dead, we folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where all of our dead patients are taken. 

These appalling stories give us a brief glimpse of the children we throw away. At Live Action, pro-life blogger Sarah Terzo recounted the testimony of a Philadelphia nurse named Linda, who frequently collected aborted babies after saline abortions were performed and they were delivered dead. In one bed, she found a tiny child, 1.5 pounds, in a woman’s hospital bed. “It looked right at me,” she recalled. “This baby had real big eyes. It looked at you like it was saying, ‘Do something – do something.’ Those haunting eyes. Oh God, I still remember them.” 

Linda found that the baby’s heartbeat was steady and called the doctor. “I called him because the baby was breathing. It was pink. It had a heartbeat. The doctor told me the baby was nonviable and to send it to the lab. I said, ‘But it’s breathing,’ and he said, ‘It’s nonviable, it won’t be breathing long – send it to the lab.” Linda couldn’t, and instead took it to the nurse’s station and put the baby in a crib. She put an open tube of oxygen next to the baby’s head. There was a nursery full of preemies, and the baby could have been saved—but she was forbidden to take the baby there, even by the other nurses. She cared for the baby for two hours, and then the child died. 

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