An anti-abortion group called Live Action released an undercover James O’Keefe-style video of a pregnant woman speaking with a D.C. abortion doctor regarding a procedure for terminating a 24-week-old pregnancy.
D.C. has been the target of Live Action’s six-month undercover investigation into abortion clinics in the area. The president of Live Action, Lila Rose, said that this video shows that the Kermit Gosnell case was not an isolated incident.
Most notably, the doctor in the video Dr. Santangelo, says, “Hopefully we’ll get this pregnancy out intact, but it doesn’t always happen that way.”
He continued with, “Technically — you know, legally we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive. But, you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.”
Live Action’s video will inevitably prompt both criticism and praise that will eventually lead to heated arguments from both sides of the abortion debate. I believe that there are some important factors to keep in mind when responding to this video:
1. Live Action is a non-profit group focused on ending abortion by using new media and investigative journalism to expose people to various issues in the abortion debate.
They are not attempting to be objective. Consider the perspective of the creators of the piece.
2. This video focuses on Washington D.C., which happens to have some of the fewest abortion restrictions in the nation.
They also have no specific guidelines for late-term abortions. The entire nation’s abortion policy is not as lenient on late-term abortions as this city is.
3. An estimated 1% of abortions are carried out after 21 weeks.
This ends up being approximately 15,000 late-term abortions per year.
4. Dr. Santangelo stands by what he said in the video.
Live Action may have employed selective editing in order to highlight certain points, but they did not doctor (no pun intended) the video to a level at which Dr. Santangelo is supposedly making claims that he did not intend.
5. Anti-abortion groups must also be reminded that, medically speaking, it can be very dangerous or damaging to the fetus to attempt to save or carry out further medical treatment to the baby, if he/she were born alive.
Treatment is up to the doctor in charge; some are more open to riskier treatments while others are more in favor less invasive procedures.
6. According to Dr. Santangelo, it is not common, and actually quite rare, for the fetus to survive after the umbilical cord is severed.
Dr. Santangelo has never witnessed this, but yet admits that it is possible.
This video focuses on this hypothetical situation in which the baby is born alive, despite the attempted abortion, which includes an induced labor with a severed umbilical cord. Dr. Santangelo only suggests that he was slightly tripped up due to the hypothetical situation proposed by his faux-patient.
7. Legally speaking, if the baby is born alive, even if an abortion is attempted, the doctors are required by law to treat the infant as a citizen with full rights and an entitlement to life-saving medical care, via the Born Alive Infants Protection Act.
8. Investigative journalism often involves entering situations under false pretext. Live Action’s video is no exception.
The Washington Post was provided with an advanced copy of the full video to review and raise objections if anything was taken dreadfully out of context. The Post also remarked that a nurse was asked a similar question and said that the infant would immediately be taken to a hospital if it were born alive.
What needs to happen as a result of this video is a serious discussion regarding what kinds of actions we are willing to allow our government, society, and physicians to take. We do not need to waste our time attacking or condemning Planned Parenthood or Lila Rose. Let’s focus on actually attempting to understand the other side’s argument and less on the inevitable flare ups of the simple pro-life vs. pro-choice groups. Screaming at the opposing side about “women’s rights” or “abortionists are murders” doesn’t bring about a discussion. We need discussion and voting, not name-calling.