Jill Stanek Addresses Catholic Leaders on 'Live Birth Abortions'
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"Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn't know."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Catholic Online) - For me, the highlight of the gathering of the Catholic leadership Conference was the plenary address given on the final evening by Jill Stanek, the Registered Nurse who worked in the Labor & Delivery Department at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn and exposed the practice of a modern form of "infant exposure" wherein unwanted children would be born alive and left to die. Like so many, I have read of this horror and regularly visit Jill's web log.(http://www.jillstanek.com/) I have seen Jill interviewed on television and have been deeply moved by her heroic witness of exposing, opposing and confronting this evil. However, nothing could have prepared me for the reaction I had on Friday evening when I heard her story in person.
As a student of Church history I am well aware of the barbaric practices that the early Christians faced as they went, in obedience to the Lord, to proclaim the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every Nation. One of those practices was infant exposure. Unwanted children would be left on rocks to be eaten by birds of prey or picked up by slave traders. One of the earliest accounts we have of the practice is from the second century. It is mentioned in a letter written by an anonymous Christian and addressed to a pagan inquirer to the Christian faith named Diognetus. In this letter the Christian explains what makes Christians different through contrasting Christian practices with some of the prevailing cultural practices. A portion of that letter reads: "Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives."
Jill Stanek has ripped off the veneer of civility which has covered over a modern form of infant exposure for too long. In fact, she has exposed the evil lie of every procured abortion. This is not a bout "choice" but about the killing of innocent human persons. She has also clearly implicated Senator Barack Obama as having once been on record supporting such a heinous practice. Here is just a portion of the extraordinary message I heard Friday evening:
Testimony of Jill Stanek
"I had been working for a year at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, as a registered nurse in the Labor and Delivery Department, when I heard in a report that we were aborting a second-trimester baby with Down's syndrome. I was completely shocked. In fact, I had specifically chosen to work at Christ Hospital because it was a Christian hospital and not involved, so I thought, in abortion. It hurt so much that the very place these abortions were being committed was at a hospital named after my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I was further grieved to learn that the hospital's religious affiliates, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Church of Christ, the denomination of which Senator Barrack Obama was a member, were pro-abortion. I had no idea that any Christian denomination could be pro-abortion! But what was most distressing was to learn of the method Christ Hospital used to abort, called induced labor abortion, now also known as "live birth abortion." In this particular abortion procedure doctors do not attempt to kill the baby in the uterus. The goal is simply to prematurely deliver a baby who dies during the birth process or soon afterward. 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.
It was not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer. At Christ Hospital one of these babies lived for almost an entire eight-hour shift. Some of the babies aborted were healthy, because Christ Hospital will also abort for life or "health" of the mother, and also for rape or incest. 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 does not have the time or desire to hold the baby, s/he is taken to Christ Hospital's "Comfort Room", complete with a "First Foto Machine" if parents wanted professional pictures of their aborted baby, baptismal supplies, gowns and certificates, foot printing equipment and baby bracelets for mementos, and even a rocking chair. Before the Comfort Room was established, babies were taken to the Soiled Utility Room to die. 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. After I held that baby, the weight of what I knew became too much for me to bear. I had two choices. One choice was to leave the hospital and go work at a hospital that didn't commit abortions. The other was to attempt to change Christ Hospital's abortion practice. Then, I read a Scripture that spoke directly to me and my situation. Proverbs 24:11-12 says, "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to disclaim responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God, who knows all hearts, knows yours, and he knows you knew! And he will reward everyone according to his deeds." I decided that to quit at that point would be irresponsible and disobedient to God. Sure, I might be more comfortable if I left the hospital, but babies would continue to die. The journey God has taken me on since I first stepped out in obedience to fight abortion at a hospital named after His Son has been overwhelming! I travel around the country now, describing what I or other staff have witnessed. I have testified four times before National and Illinois Congressional Subcommittees. Bills are being introduced to stop this form of abortion that results in infanticide. The subject of Christ Hospital and live birth abortion has garnered much public attention. Descriptions of "live birth abortions" have now been told on national television, on radio, in print, and by local and national legislators.
Another nurse from Christ Hospital also testified with me in Washington. Allison described walking into the Soiled Utility Room on two separate occasions to find live aborted babies left naked on a scale and the metal counter. I testified about a staff worker who accidentally threw a live aborted baby in the garbage. The baby had been left on the counter of the Soiled Utility Room wrapped in a disposable towel. When my coworker realized what she had done, she started going through the trash to find the baby, and the baby fell out of the towel and onto the floor. Other hospitals have now admitted that they commit live birth abortion. It apparently is not a rare form of abortion. But Christ Hospital was the first hospital in the United States to be publicly exposed for committing this form of abortion. On August 31, 2001, after a 2-1/2 year battle with the hospital, I was fired. I am free now to openly discuss the horrors of abortion after having seen its horror with my own eyes. I can personally testify to the fact that One + God = the majority. Each one of us has a voice that we must use to stop the atrocity of abortion."
Nurse Stanek went on to detail more of her experiences, including her battles with a then State Senator from Illinois named Barrack Obama. Her story was compelling, revealing not only her tremendous courage but the incredible importance of this current election.
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