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Abortion and Morality

on February 14, 2009
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CNN: “Doctor Loses License in Live Birth Abortion Case” The tragic account of a cold-hearted abortion clinic murder—and the ensuing legal battle—reminds us of the dark connection between abortion and morality. (Warning: revolting content.)

An abortion clinic “mishap” in the state of Florida has—so far—resulted in the murder of a newborn, the revoking of a doctor’s license, and an alleged case of post-traumatic stress disorder. The patient who would have received the abortion is suing the abortion clinic staff and doctor, while the state attorney has yet to conclude the criminal investigation and press charges.

The clinic co-owner confiscated the living baby and sealed it in a red biohazard bag, which she then threw into the trash.

The initial incident reportedly happened back in the summer of 2006. Then 18-year-old Sycloria Williams “discovered” she was 23 weeks pregnant while being treated for a fall. Williams sought an abortion, but—according to her—she instead gave birth while at the abortion clinic. The “screaming” staff was unsure what to do until the clinic co-owner confiscated the living baby and sealed it in a red biohazard bag, which she then threw into the trash.

According to the lawsuit, clinic staff unsurprisingly neither called for medical assistance nor offered it to Williams or the baby. Confusingly, the suit notes that when the abortion clinic doctor, Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique, arrived, he gave her a shot to put her to sleep then “[s]he awoke after the procedure and was sent home still in complete shock.” It is not clear what procedure was performed.

Police, acting on an anonymous tip about the baby, found “the decomposing body of a baby in a cardboard box in a closet” on their third search of the premises. The baby was confirmed to be Williams’ through DNA testing, and an autopsy showed the cause of death to be “extreme prematurity” (though the baby’s lungs were filled with air).

The legitimacy of Williams’s suit—which claims she suffered “severe emotional distress, shock, and psychic trauma”—seems a bit opportunistic, since she went to the clinic to have the baby killed, which is exactly what was done, albeit not how she’d planned. Nonetheless, CNN quotes police who said “a fetus born alive cannot be put to death even if its mother intended to have an abortion.”

The Florida Medical Board, acting on Florida Department of Health complaints based on the incident, has revoked Renelique’s license on account of falsifying medical records, inappropriately delegating tasks to unlicensed personnel, and committing malpractice.

This story sadly speaks for itself, so we’ll only make two quick comments. First, we can only wonder how many other macabre abortion clinic “mishaps” have occurred over the years where the mother refuses to speak out (and that’s not even including the tragedy of partial birth abortion when performed according to plan, not to mention any abortion).

Second, it’s quite obvious that an individual’s moral foundation largely determines their perspective on abortion. What we overlook, it seems, is how participating in abortion can alter one’s moral norms, specifically in the case of the abortion clinic co-owner who allegedly killed the newborn. Not only does our moral compass frame our laws; our laws in turn affect the moral compass of society. In this case, and as we’ve also seen with embryonic stem cell research last week especially) we see a steady devaluing of human life.


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