Complaint Filed on Behalf of Mother Whose Born-Alive Baby Died at Abortion Clinic
July 7, 2008
(1st Add: Provides details on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.)
(CNSNews.com) - A conservative legal group has filed two complaints against a Florida abortion clinic claiming the clinic refused to help a mother whose baby was born alive, despite a law that protects babies "accidentally" born during abortion procedures from being killed or left to die.
The mother, Angele, had gone to the EPOC clinic in Orlando, Fla., to get an abortion. After the first day of the procedure, she was required to return to the clinic the following day for an induced abortion. When her baby was born alive, the woman screamed for help, but the clinic workers refused to help her, according to the Liberty Counsel.
Angele was forced to watch her son Rowan die, and during the incident, no doctors were present at the abortion clinic, the legal group said.
The Health and Human Services recently announced it would take steps to improve compliance with the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act after receiving "testimony that some infants who had been born alive after unsuccessful abortions were left to die."
According to the law, "born alive" means "the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion."
"We are hopeful that these complaints will lead to immediate change in the form of discipline against the doctors and revocation of the abortion license for the clinic. But we are also hopeful that these complaints will serve as the catalyst for long-term change," said Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of the Liberty Counsel.
Complaints were filed with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The complaint filed with the Florida Department of Health names Dr. Harry Perper, who performed the procedure the first day but was not on hand the second day, as well as Dr. James Pendergraft, who owns and supervises the clinic.
The complaint also details several violations of Florida laws: the complete absence of a doctor during an abortion procedure, causing a death certificate to improperly state that the baby was still-born, and a complete lack of post-operative care.
The complaint filed with the Agency for Health Care Administration lists the same violations of state law as the claim filed with the Florida Department of Health, but it focuses on unsanitary conditions at the clinic.
The clinic "delivery room" had dried blood on the floor and the walls, and Angele saw a used, bloody cotton ball on the floor, the complaint said.
After the procedure, Angele was rushed out the door with no follow-up care, and she did not receive a rhogam shot, which was medically necessary for her given her blood type, the legal group said.
"Abortion clinics are the least regulated medical facilities in the state of Florida. That needs to change. It is a travesty that tattoo parlors are more heavily regulated than abortion clinics," said Staver.
"These doctors need to be held accountable for their actions, and we intend to pursue these complaints to that end. Part of promoting a culture of life in America means holding abortion doctors and clinics accountable when they violate the law," he concluded.
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