Author's Note: Additional reporting and photography by Cortney O'Brien.
A crowd of 100 pro-life supporters gathered in D.C. Wednesday at the clinic of Dr. Cesare Santangelo to protest his controversial abortion practices. Earlier this week Dr. Santangelo told an undercover activist that he would leave a baby to die if it survived an abortion. The news came as a shock following the horrific Kermit Gosnell story, and is one of many videos documenting this unethical practice. Extensive coverage of the videos can be found on Townhall from Guy and Katie.
During the protest, anti-abortion media group Live Action held a press conference featuring key speakers in the fight against Planned Parenthood. Live Action is known for their use of investigative journalism to expose dangerous abortion procedures and shed light on common practices that many Americans are unaware of. The group’s founder Lila Rose introduced speakers and reminded attendants that these events occur every day—“they are not an anomaly”.
Many speakers made personal appeals to end the controversial late-term policy, including abortion survivor Melissa Ohden, who told her story:
“Dr. Santangelo would have left me to die. My mother went to have an abortion and was injected with a saline fluid meant to burn me. When the doctors induced labor I was left on the table presumed to be dead. But when the doctors realized I had survived they could have just abandoned me. I could have been lost thanks to people like Dr. Santangelo. But those doctors didn’t see me as a liability, they gave me medical care and they gave me life.”
President of Students for Life Kristan Hawkins also told the story of her first-born, and questioned the lack of action from the Department of Health.
“This is business as usual for the abortion facility,” said Hawkins. “This is what they do, this is not the exception. When hospital advisors were trying to save my son, Dr. Santangelo would have wanted me to abort him and let him die. Why aren’t you here [Department of Health], inspecting this facility? Why aren’t you shutting it down?”
Despite earlier comments by Dr. Santangelo this week that labeled Live Action as terrorists, the protest went over peacefully, with a few policemen watching over the crowd in case of controversy. The clinic is located on George Washington University’s campus, which brought up additional ethical concerns over how easily college students can have the procedure. Anti-abortion activists also offered prayers and encouragement to those that have survived abortions, and to the families that had lost significant others from malpractice.
Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List urged lawmakers not to see this as a plea to overturn Roe v. Wade, but to consider guidelines and laws to prevent these atrocities from ever occurring again.
“This shouldn’t have to be the common ground we find ourselves on,” said Dannenfelser. “We need to establish standard practice—how many inches inside or outside the womb should your rights be protected? If we reach the point where a child feels pain, you should not be allowed to abort that child.”
Live Action promises to continue releasing videos of questionable abortion clinic behavior—in hopes that the news will prompt viewers to take action, regardless of their politics. The message from Lila Rose and the activists gathered at Dr. Santangelo’s clinic wasn’t based off legal precedent or a back and forth between pro-choice or pro-life—but rather, one troubling question:
“How many more women have to die before we begin to question abortion facilities?”
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