Born alive after abortion part 12: allegations against abortionist Shelley Sella

No charges were ever pressed.

Some time ago, Live Action published a series on babies born alive after abortions. The series highlighted cases where children were born after abortions and not allowed to survive. One article discussed the accusations made by a former clinic worker against Dr. Tommy Tucker, who has since lost his license after being implicated in the death of a woman at his clinic. Many people in the pro-life movement are aware of the allegations against abortionist Douglas Karpen. Three abortion clinic workers released a video in which they testified that the abortionist has killed many babies who were born alive.

Less widely known are the allegations of infanticide brought against Dr. Shelley Sella, who was employed by the late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller. (Dr. George Tiller’s death at the hands of an anti-abortion extremist was a perversion of what the pro-life cause stands for. Taking the life of a human being for a cause is never justified, and all the major pro-life organizations have spoken out against the killing.)

Women came from all over the country to kill their third-trimester babies at Dr. Tiller’s clinic. Some of the children were handicapped, many with Down syndrome or other manageable conditions. Others were perfectly healthy. Former clinic worker Luhra Tivis, who left her job at the clinic and became pro-life, testified that the majority of babies killed by Dr. Tiller and his cohorts were healthy.

Dr. Tiller and the other abortionists who worked at Women’s Healthcare Services were under no illusions. They knew that babies were dying in their clinic. The clinic website said the following to parents who came to abort their handicapped children:

If you wish to see the baby, we call this an identification and separation encounter. After we deliver and after the twilight anesthesia has worn off so that you will remember the process we will bring the baby to you either at the bedside, or we will go to our quiet room and we will bring the baby to you there. During this encounter we will describe to you what’s right with your baby we will identify what’s wrong with your baby you may hold the baby, we will take pictures of you and the family holding the baby if you wish and that is not an uncommon request.… The identification and separation encounter may involve two or three hours of bonding with the baby. The idea the identification that this is your baby and you have had a delivery. We understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that the difficult part of this process is not premature delivery of a stillborn…. The difficult part of the process is saying goodbye to the relationship you have with your baby, saying goodbye to the hopes and dreams you had… You have placed this baby in your life someplace and you simply have to start the process of saying goodbye.

In just this short passage, the word “baby” was used 13 times.

In a 2008 interview after his speech at the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Women’s Leadership Conference held at the National Education Association, Dr. Tiller was asked about the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, which mandated that babies born alive after abortions had to be given medical care. He disagreed with the act, saying:

Let’s say you have 15 or 16, you had one slip out with a heartbeat; that is not a viable fetus, but that is born alive or has a heartbeat. Then you have to take that non-viable fetus and rush it directly to the hospital against the woman’s wishes.

He also said that a live birth was “sloppy technique.”

Dr. Tiller employed abortionist Shelley Sella. In 2008, the same year that Dr. Tiller complained about the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, a former clinic worker at his facility came forward with the claim that Dr. Shelley Sella had stabbed to death a baby born alive after an abortion that she had performed. It is unknown whether or not Tiller was present for the alleged killing.

The clinic worker who came forward was Tina David, a Licensed Practical Nurse. You can hear her testimony here. She said, in part:

Well, my job, like I said, my job was to hold the leg and count the parts, if it was in pieces. And this was…maybe 35 weeks. That’s pretty big….It was a big baby….[the] baby came out, and it was moving. I don’t know if it was alive or if it was nerves, I have no clue. But Dr. Sella looked up right away at me and took a utensil and stabbed it, right here, and twisted. And then it didn’t move anymore.

David went on to say that a live birth was unusual because of the way late-term abortions were done in Tiller’s clinic. An injection into the baby’s heart was supposed to kill him or her before delivery. In this case, however, it seemed that the injection did not do the job.

The body of this nameless child was burned in Dr. Tiller’s full-size crematorium along with the other bodies of the babies who were killed that day. Because there was no body to autopsy, allegations against Dr. Sella could not be proven. Despite David’s graphic description of the baby’s final moments, no charges were ever pressed.

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