Statement on Baby Hope

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Ohio Right to Life Statement on Baby Hope

"Baby Hope" Is Born Alive in Cincinnati During Preparation for Parial-Birth Abortion, Then Dies.

CINCINNATI: "Baby Hope", so named by a member of the emergency room staff who lovingly cared for her, clung to life for more than three hours before dying on April 7 [1999].

"It's too bad that Judge Rice wasn't there to hold Baby Hope as she died," observed State Representative Jerome Luebbers (D-Cincinnati). U.S. District Judge Rice struck down a ban on "brain suction" abortions enacted by the state legislature in 1995.

In the local case, according to medical sources, a woman who was about 5 months pregnant went to the Women's Med Center in Dayton on April 6 to seek an abortion. Dr. Martin Haskell, the owner and operator of this clinic, is nationally known for his advocacy and practice of the partial-birth abortion method at 20 through 25 weeks of pregnancy. This three-day abortion procedure, used after the 20th week of pregnancy, involves two days of dilating the woman's cervix (the opening to the uterus). On the third day, the abortionist delivers the live baby feet first leaving the head inside the mother. Without anesthesia, he then stabs the baby in the back of the neck and suctions out the brain, before delivering the head. In this case, Haskell apparently followed his usual procedure of inserting larninaria (rods made of seaweed) to begin the process of opening up the womb. The woman would have normally returned on April 7 for insertion of larger laminaria, and on April 8 for the actual process of extraction of the baby. Instead, she appeared at the emergency room on the early moming of April 7 experiencing severe abdominal pain. Shortly after her arrival, she delivered Baby Hope. Doctors estimated Baby Hope's age as 22 weeks. Physicians in attendance judged her lung development to be insufficient to permit sustained respiration. Nevertheless, the little girl fought for her life, and lived for more than three hours as an emergency room technician rocked and sang to her. She died in the arms of this kind woman shortly after 7 am.

"Despite the tragedy of her death within hours of birth, Baby Hope was at least spared the brutality of having surgical scissors thrust through to base of her skull, which is what Dr. Haskell planned to do the next day," said Peggy Lehner, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life.

It is estimated that roughly 5,000 partial-birth abortions are performed annually in the U.S., the vast majority on healthy infants of healthy mothers. Some of these are rerforrned on babies as far a long as 30 weeks gestation. Most of these babies are capable of being born alive, as was Baby Hope, and many could live normal life spans.

This statement was released on April 19, 1999. Much of the statement concerned an upcoming press conference on this subject. This portion has been omitted.
Posted 5 Sep 2000.

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Copyright 1999 by Ohio Right to Life. Used with permission.
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