Human Rights

Nurse: Baby survived abortion for 15 minutes ‘and we did nothing’

abortions,abortion, late-term, aborted

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer tells the story of Jane, a nurse who worked in a hospital that committed saline abortions. In a saline abortion, a caustic salt solution is injected into a woman’s womb, burning the baby’s skin and eventually killing the child. The woman then goes through labor and “gives birth” to her dead baby. Saline abortions are seldom done today; many babies were born alive from this procedure, and the procedure is also very risky for women.

Today, late-term abortions are frequently done by D&E, in which the baby is dismembered in utero. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes this type of abortion.


Jane was the head floor nurse at an Ohio hospital. She and her fellow nurses were forced to assist with late-term abortions, and were so troubled by this that they petitioned the hospital to stop them. They were successful, but before the hospital stopped, Jane personally witnessed two babies born alive during abortions. The first occurred in 1975. The article states, “[Jane] recalls vividly the 16-year-old patient who phoned her mother after an abortion and said in an agonized voice, ‘Ma, it’s out – but Ma, it’s alive.'”

A year later, Jane saw a second baby born alive during abortion. She said:

I was called by the patient’s roommate. When I got there the baby’s head was sticking out and its little tongue was wiggling. Everybody felt they couldn’t do anything until they called the doctor. It was a little thing – it only lasted about 15 minutes. But it was alive, and we did nothing. And that was wrong.

The experiences left Jane angry. She couldn’t save the two babies, but along with her fellow nurses, she was able to convince the hospital to halt saline abortions.

READ: Abortionist at undercover investigators’ hearing: ‘No question’ babies are born alive

Jane described regularly handling the bodies of aborted babies who were the “size and shape of well-formed premature babies.” She said:

Because of my position, I had to pick them up off the bed and put them in a bottle of formalin [a preservative fluid]. Sometimes you had to have a very large container. Our gynecologists seemed to have a very poor ability to estimate gestational age. Time and again they would say with a straight face, “This woman is 20 weeks pregnant” when she was actually 26 weeks.

We don’t know if the abortionists genuinely made mistakes or if they deliberately misrepresented the ages of the babies in order to do more abortions. Either way, the hospital was killing babies that were old enough to survive if born. Even with the technology of 1975, some babies at 26 weeks were able to survive. Today, babies as young as 21 weeks have survived being born prematurely.

Source: Liz Jeffries and Rick Edmonds, “Abortion: The Dreaded Complication.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 2, 1981

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