Botched Abortion Leads To Infanticide, Finger-Pointing

Illustration for article titled Botched Abortion Leads To Infanticide, Finger-Pointing

The image at left is one opportunity that Sycloria Williams' daughter will never have after a doctor in Florida induced labor when she went in for an abortion and staff threw the (living) child away.

There aren't really words to describe how we feel about this story, so, to start, we'll have to let the news account speak for itself.

[Williams] concluded she didn't have the resources or maturity to raise a child, he said, and went to the Miramar Women's Center on July 17, 2006. Sonograms indicated she was 23 weeks pregnant, according to the Department of Health. She met [Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique] at a second clinic two days later.

Renelique gave Williams laminaria, a drug that dilates the cervix, and prescribed three other medications, according to the administrative complaint filed by the Health Department. She was told to go to yet another clinic, A Gyn Diagnostic Center in Hialeah, where the procedure would be performed the next day, on July 20, 2006.

Williams arrived in the morning and was given more medication.

The Department of Health account continues as follows: Just before noon she began to feel ill. The clinic contacted Renelique. Two hours later, he still hadn't shown up. Williams went into labor and delivered the baby.

"She came face to face with a human being," [Tom Pennekamp, Williams' lawyer] said. "And that changed everything."

The complaint [to the medical board] says one of the clinic owners, Belkis Gonzalez came in and cut the umbilical cord with scissors, then placed the baby in a plastic bag, and the bag in a trash can.

Williams' lawsuit offers a cruder account: She says Gonzalez knocked the baby off the recliner chair where she had given birth, onto the floor. The baby's umbilical cord was not clamped, allowing her to bleed out. Gonzalez scooped the baby, placenta and afterbirth into a red plastic biohazard bag and threw it out.


Police have since recovered the body, and an autopsy concluded that the baby had drawn breath before it died. There is a criminal investigation pending and, today, Renelique's medical license was yanked. Williams is also being represented in her lawsuit by lawyers from the anti-abortion movement, who — in concert with pro-choice activists — are decrying Renelique's and Gonzalez's actions.

I doubt that there are any pro-choice women who aren't horrified by the actions of the doctor and the clinic owner. In most states — including in Illinois, despite the lovely infanticide ads the anti-abortion movement ran against Barack Obama during the Presidential campaign — doctors are required by law to take care of a premature infant, even if that infant is born prematurely as the result of a botched abortion. But Gonzalez's actions are exactly the sort of thing the anti-abortion movement accuses clinic workers of all the time — operating "abortion mills" without regards for the women they care for or the "pre-born children" they are supposedly destroying.

If Williams' cooperation with the anti-abortion movement is any indication, Renelique and Gonzalez have created yet another woman like Norma McCorvey who, although once pro-choice, is now a staunch and somewhat effective anti-abortion advocate. Unlike McCorvey, however, Williams will come complete with a story of how she watched her living infant slaughtered in front of her by an "abortionist" with no regard for her or her child. And although the pro-choice movement is going to have to take this one lying down, we're all horrified on her behalf.


Doctor Investigated In Badly Botched Abortion [MSNBC]
Board Revokes License Of Fla. Abortion Doctor [MSNBC]

Related: Norma McCorvey; Of Roe, Dreams And Choices [New York Times]
Who Is 'Jane Roe'? [CNN]


Earlier: Obama The Baby Killer?

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Hmmm. A lot of commenters on this story don't seem to know anything about the basic procedure for later term abortions. I'm seeing shock and outrage about the fact that, basically, the procedure calls for induced labor, which means that women are often sent home overnight to go through excruciating pain while waiting for their cervixes to dilate; then they are anaesthetized and the baby is delivered, usually dead. If you don't understand this much you are missing a large part of what the debate is all about.

If you're going to be pro-choice, don't act shocked when you hear the grisly details. Do your research. None of this should come as a surprise to you if you want to defend the rights of women for elective abortions as late as 24 weeks.

BTW I'm pro-choice and I think this is a sad and horrible story, but it definitely didn't surprise me, and confirmed my notion that abortions this late in the game should be much more strictly regulated.