- Cullman, Alabama


May 16, 2013

COMMENTARY: Slate: There Is Only One Kermit Gosnell



Pro-lifers clipped parts of Pigman's testimony, removing the section where he referred to other perinatal conditions, and they attributed all 1,270 deaths to botched abortions. "1,270 Babies Born Alive After Failed Abortions in the U.S.," declared Life News. The Weekly Standard reported that Pigman had "testified that in 2010 there were 1,270 infants in the United States whose deaths were reported as 'mortality subsequent to an abortion.' " On April 9, Yoest told a Florida Senate committee that "1,270 infants were reported to have died following attempted abortions."

That number is off by a factor of 30 to 40. If you go to the CDC's Wonder database and plug in code 96.4, you'll find that in 2010, the total number of deaths linked to this condition ("Termination of pregnancy, newborn") was 30. In 2009, it was 42. In 2008, it was 33. In 2007, it was 30. In most of these cases, the fetus had gestated less than 24 weeks — not enough to survive outside the womb. How many of the coded deaths were fetuses 24 weeks along or more? The database shows three in 2007, seven in 2008, and six in 2009.

When you consider the percentage of deaths in this group that were also attributed to other factors such as "neonatal cardiac dysrhythmia" or "hypoxic schemic encephalopathy" — roughly 50 to 90 percent — we're probably talking about two to three cases a year in which the death of a post-viability baby was attributed solely to abortion. And we have no idea from the records whether these abortions were done to save the woman's life.

Live Action thinks there are lots of born-alive killings. To prove it, in the last six months, the organization has sent actresses into clinics with hidden cameras. The actresses, posing as patients, have asked clinic workers about born-alive scenarios, hoping to expose a pattern of infanticide. Instead, they've found nothing. "We never had that, for ages of being in this practice," one clinic employee says in a video secretly recorded by Live Action. "We never had a situation like that," says another. "That's never happened," says a third. A fourth assures the actress, "These kinds of issues that you're talking about, they don't happen."

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