A late-term abortionist in Washington, D.C. requires patients to strip to the waist and take mind-altering medication before meeting with them to obtain their final consent for an abortion, according to a new undercover video by Live Action.
The investigation raises additional questions about unethical and potentially illegal practices at the Washington Surgi-Clinic, a late-term abortion facility owned and operated by abortionist Cesare Santangelo.
Earlier this year, the facility also faced questions after two pro-life advocates discovered the bodies of five late-term aborted babies who may have been killed in partial-birth abortions or born alive and left to die.
In the new video, published Thursday, a woman who is 28-weeks pregnant meets with a nurse to discuss having an elective, late-term abortion.
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When the woman asks to meet with the abortionist before making a final decision, the nurse tells her that she must take Xanax, a medication that can cause drowsiness and impair memory, and strip to the waist first.
“Uh, well, unfortunately, [the pills] need to be in your system in order for the doctor to do the procedure,” the nurse says in the video.
When the patient asks if the Xanax she is being told to take will affect her “clarity of thinking,” the nurse responds, “It shouldn’t. I mean, you might be a little sleepy…” She adds, “[W]e have to make sure that — 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 [the abortion]. And you’re actually pants off in the room.”
Dr. C. Ben Mitchell, an ethicist and former Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy at Union University, told Live Action that these findings likely violate informed consent ethics.
“The physician … 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,” Mitchell said. “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.”
According to Live Action, the woman in the video filed a complaint with the city medical board and urged authorities to investigate, noting that “administering Xanax prior to a full medical consultation appears to be a negligent, if not reckless, practice of medicine.”
The nurse’s comments about late-term abortions raise even more concerns.
In the video, the nurse tells the woman that the abortionist does not inject poison into the unborn baby’s heart before finishing the abortion. Typically, late-term abortionists do this to ensure that the baby is dead before he/she exits the womb.
The nurse also admits that, though rare, sometimes women go into labor in their hotel rooms before the two- to three-day abortion procedure is finished.
Additionally, she tells the woman that the “fetus” will not feel pain and they do abortions as “humanely as possible.” By 28 weeks of pregnancy, there is very strong medical evidence that babies can feel pain.
Evidence from previous investigations also suggests that viable, late-term babies may be being born alive and left to die or killed in partial-birth abortions at the Washington, D.C. abortion facility.
In a previous undercover investigation, Live Action discovered that “Santangelo causes the baby’s death by cutting the umbilical cord and waiting for the child to die, drastically increasing the chance that a child may be born alive and then killed, which is a federal crime.”
Earlier this year, pro-life advocates with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) obtained the bodies of five late-term aborted babies from Santangelo’s facility, raising more questions about whether they and other babies were born alive or killed in partial-birth abortions in violation of federal law.
Responding to the new evidence, PAAU director of activism Lauren Handy urged authorities to investigate the abortion practice.
“We can not let history keep repeating itself,” Handy said. “Santagelo’s evil practices were first exposed 10 years ago and now here we are again: New footage. Same story. With five of his victims languishing away in the DC Medical Examiner’s Office and an untold amount of victims drugged and exploited, I want to know what is considered going too far? When will he be held accountable and his business shut down?”
Live Action president and founder Lila Rose also asked authorities to act on these findings and shut down the abortion facility.
“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,” Rose said in a statement. “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.”