Editor’s note: This article contains graphic descriptions. Please be advised.
The Dr. Kermit Gosnell legal drama has re-framed America’s abortion debate in many ways. As the trial nears its conclusion, Live Action, a non-profit organization devoted to pro-life causes, has released a new, undercover video that is sure to spark additional surprise and outrage among those who oppose abortion.
Part of its “Inhumane” investigation into the nation’s late-term abortion clinics, the new clip shows a staff member at a Bronx, New York, clinic instructing a woman on how the procedure would work. The conversation, though, includes a few elements that some will pinpoint as problematic.
In addition to telling the undercover Live Action investigator to flush her baby down the toilet if it is delivered at home, the counselor, who allegedly works at the Dr. Emily Women’s Health Center, described what the clinic purportedly does even when babies appear to be twitching or breathing after late-term abortions.
If a baby is delivered at home before the multi-day termination concludes, the counselor is candid about what the woman should do.
“If it comes out, then it comes out. Flush it. … if anything, you know, put it in a bag or something or somewhere and bring it to us,” she tells the Live Action investigator.
When asking what would happen if a baby moves once outside of the womb, the counselor said that the child would be placed in a jar filled with an apparently deadly solution.
“If it did come out in one piece, it’s very small,” the counselor said. “So they would still have to put it in a container – like, a jar – with solution and send it to the lab.”
To clarify, the Live Action investigator asked what would happen if the baby was born breathing or twitching — obvious indicators of life outside of the mother’s womb. Here, too, the jar and solution were mentioned as the fix for this scenario.
“The solution will make it stop. It’s not going to be moving around in the jar … that’s the whole purpose of the solution,” she continued. “It’ll automatically stop. It won’t be able to…not with the solution.”
The counselor did tell the investigator, though, that inserting seaweed — the first step in the late-term abortion — would kill the heartbeat. So, it seems the obvious intention is to have the baby extracted after being terminated.
However, it seems that there may have been misinformation given in this instance. Here’s how LifeSiteNews.com describes this portion of the procedure: “Laminaria (dehydrated material, usually seaweed) is sometimes used to reduce damage to the cervix. Inserted into the cervix the day before the scheduled abortion, it absorbs water and swells, gradually pushing open the cervix in the process.”
Later in the video, another female counselor can be seen telling the investigator that the doctor cannot terminate a pregnancy once the baby is outside of the womb and that, if the baby is born alive, he would need to resuscitate and then send the child to the hospital, because “that’s the law.”
Watch the video below (caution: graphic content):
Live Action founder and president Lila Rose cited the video as evidence that Gosnell’s crimes are not isolated only to his clinic — an office that has been referred to as a “house of horrors.”
“Dr. Kermit Gosnell is not alone,” Rose said in a press release announcing the video. “The gruesome and inhuman practices exposed in Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ are business as usual for the abortion industry in America. These children’s lives are brutally destroyed when they are the most defenseless. This isn’t ‘choice’; this is murder.”
In the past, TheBlaze has explored the journalistic standards and ethics surrounding undercover videos. The central question is: Is it ever permissible to lie to get the truth? While some would quickly answer affirmatively, it’s a challenging dynamic — and one that deserves scrutiny.
Experts have a variety of opinions, but the general consensus is that, unless deceit is the only option to retrieving information of monumental importance to the public, lying to obtain it is not ethical journalistic practice. There are, of course, differing ideas on how this dynamic unfolds. In 2011, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard told TheBlaze that these rules do not apply to those outside of media.
“It’s dishonest for anyone in journalism to pretend to be someone they’re not. This rule doesn’t apply to folks outside the profession,” he said at the time.
But not everyone agrees with this assessment. Poynter has developed a list of standards for when it is — and is not — appropriate to use undercover tactics. And read more about TheBlaze’s exploration of undercover journalistic standards here.
What do you think about the video? Let us know in the comments section.
This story has been updated.