For Immediate Release
June 23, 2022
VP, External Relations, Live Action
Undercover Investigation Prompts Serious Complaints Against DC Abortion Facility
Newly Released Footage Uncovers Potential Ethics Violations
Washington, D.C. – Today, Live Action, one of the nation’s leading human rights organizations, released undercover footage from The Washington-Surgi Abortion Clinic, that shows a nurse saying a patient is required to take Xanax before speaking with the abortionist, admitting that they do not use digoxin (a lethal injection given to the infant in utero during an abortion to ensure the baby is not born alive during the procedure), and indicating that the patient may deliver her dead child in her hotel room alone.
“The undercover footage released today shows that the Washington Surgi-Clinic abortion facility is forcing mothers to take mind-altering medications before meeting with the abortionist and giving final consent. This is a likely violation of basic medical ethics, and so the patient has filed a complaint with the DC medical board,” said Live Action’s President and Founder, Lila Rose. “The footage also provides first-hand testimony that the Washington Surgi-Clinic may kill later-term babies without using a feticidal drug, increasing the chance that the babies would be born alive and then brutally and illegally killed. Whether or not this drug is used, this facility is ending innocent lives through violence. Tragically, this footage also shows the nurse relaying the reality that the patient may be left to deliver her dead child alone in her hotel room.”
In the video, Live Action’s investigator asks the nurse what to expect during the abortion.
Nurse: No. We don’t do the–a lot of people do the injection through the heart and all that. We don’t do that here.
Patient: Okay. I didn’t even know.
Nurse: Yeah. She’ll be alive when you go to sleep, but she will definitely have passed before he
This same abortionist has been under scrutiny in recent months due to photos released of the mangled bodies of infant children who were killed at his facility. In April, five children, some of whom medical experts say may have been able to survive outside the womb, were discovered by pro-life activists. Nearly a dozen physicians have looked at photos and videos of these children, and several have concluded the following: One intact baby boy may have been nearly full-term, and possibly a victim of infanticide. One baby girl, between 28-30 weeks, had injuries consistent with an illegal partial-birth abortion –– her neck is cut and her brain removed. Another child, still in her gestational sac, may have been born alive and then left to die. The last two children, a boy, and a girl, approximately 22 weeks and 28 weeks old respectively, were savagely dismembered and were likely the victims of D&E (Dilation and Evacuation) abortions.
Patient: This is the possibility of labor, basically?
Nurse: Yeah. Spontaneous abortion.
Patient: I’m sorry, that means…
Nurse: You may go into premature labor and deliver the fetus in your hotel.
Patient: Right. What do you tell me to do when that happens?
Nurse: That depends on what happens.
Patient: Do you guys come and like–
Nurse: He could come and help you take care of it. We could just tell you what to do with the
remains. It just depends on what happens.
Rose continued, “This footage also shows the unethical and coerced administration of Xanax prior to seeing the abortionists. Xanax is a substance that medical experts attest impairs a patient’s ability to give truly informed consent, particularly when a patient is not used to taking the drug.”
Patient: Does the Xanax effect, like–
Nurse: – The fetus?
Patient: No, not the fetus, just my clarity of thinking.
Nurse: It shouldn’t. I mean, you might be a little sleepy, but other than that…
Patient: I would really – I don’t mind if I have to stay longer, I would really rather talk to him first.
Patient: Is that not usually how you guys do it?
Nurse: Yeah, that’s unfortunately – cause like I said, we have to make sure that’s in your system before you talk to the doctor. He’s not going to be able to speak with you until he is ready to do it.
The patient in the video has filed a medical complaint asking the DC medical board to investigate this seemingly unethical action.
After reviewing the footage, Dr. Christina Francis, OBGYN and CEO-elect of The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) said, “Xanax is a substance that, in a patient who is not used to taking it, would most definitely impair her judgment and therefore her ability to give truly informed consent. There is no reason a medication like this should be routinely given to a patient prior to her meeting with a physician and going through the consent process. Often times patients are not allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery for up to 24 hours after even minor procedures due to sedating medications they have received that impair their competence to make complex decisions. Xanax is a clear sedative, especially in a patient naïve to that medication.”
Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, ethicist and former Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy at Union University also reviewed the video footage.
“The footage I viewed indicates a likely ethical violation and could warrant further inquiry due to it demonstrating that patients were required to ingest Xanax before a full medical consultation could occur. Being a physician entails profound ethical responsibilities and professional duties to the patient to inform, treat, and care. The physician himself or herself is ultimately responsible to ensure informed consent, in which the patient understands the diagnosis, treatment options, potential outcomes, and possible complications of a procedure or medication. That means being available to the patient to answer any questions the patient has about his or her care. Failure to do so is a dereliction of duty.”
Rose concluded, “The government of DC including the Mayor, Medical Examiner, and Chief of Police must investigate Santangelo and his facility. They are not only killing children through abortion, but they may be committing illegal infanticide, as well as other federal crimes such as partial-birth abortion. We demand justice for these babies, and the closure of DC’s House of Horrors, the Washington Surgi-Clinic.”
About Lila Rose & Live Action – Lila Rose founded and serves as president of Live Action. Live Action is a 501(c)3 human rights non-profit and the digital leader of the global pro-life movement. Live Action exists today to shift public opinion on abortion and defend the rights of the most vulnerable. With over 5.6 million social media followers and 1.4 billion lifetime video views, Live Action reaches up to 100 million people per month – saving lives and transforming hearts, with 38% of surveyed followers saying Live Action’s content has changed their position on abortion. Through compelling educational media, human interest storytelling, investigative reporting and community activism, Live Action reveals the humanity of the preborn and exposes the abortion industry exploiting women and families for profit. Lila is also the author of ‘Fighting for Life: Becoming a Force for Change in a Wounded World. Find Lila on Twitter at @lilagracerose, and Instagram at @lilaroseofficial, and Facebook at @lilagracerose. Find out more at http://www.liveaction.org.