Live Action, the nonprofit organization dedicated to documenting what really goes on inside America’s abortion clinics, has released a shocking new video. “Investigation #5: New Mexico” includes audio captured at Southwestern Women’s Options, a late-term abortion clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In the recording, a pregnant Live Action volunteer is heard speaking with members of the clinic staff, including an unnamed “counselor” and abortionists Shelley Sella, M.D., and Carmen Landau, M.D. Landau and the counselor dispassionately describe a three-day procedure that involves killing the fetus via lethal injection, usually to the head. Landau, who freely uses the term “baby,” assures the woman that any movement will cease within a few hours. In response to an inquiry about whether the child feels pain, Landau and the counselor claim not to know, despite medical research showing that the neuropathways necessary for pain transmission are established by the 20th week. When the pregnant woman asks how they feel about causing pain, the counselor replies, “Um, well, I feel that, um, its necessary for the procedure to happen and, ultimately, um, safest, and kind of the most, kinda, humane way to do it, you know?”
Worse is Landau’s description of toilet protocol on the third day, when the woman is given drugs to induce labor and left alone in a local hotel room. Landau says that staff will be present at the time of delivery, but cautions that “If we can’t catch it early enough, which has happened … then you’ll want to unlock the door to the hotel room, get your cell phone, and just sit on the toilet. You don’t have to look at anything … you can stay on the phone with us until the doctor and nurse get there.” When the woman asks what she should do if her baby “pops out” while she’s on the toilet, Landau instructs her to simply “sit there and … stay there,” even with her dead child floating in the commode beneath her.
Unfortunately, everything described in Live Action’s audio recording is perfectly legal in the state of New Mexico, which has been described as the “Wild West” of the abortion industry, with virtually no restrictions on the procedure right through the ninth month of gestation. Southwestern Women’s Options is owned and operated by Curtis Boyd, M.D., a Baptist minister-turned-abortionist who freely admits that what he does is “killing.” Boyd has performed abortions in New Mexico since 1972. Along with his wife, he also operates the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas, which until last week performed abortions up until the 24th week of gestation. In recent years, Boyd has hired Shelley Sella, M.D., and Susan Robinson, M.D., both veterans of the Wichita, Kansas, clinic of Dr. George Tiller, who was gunned down in the vestibule of his Lutheran church in May 2009. In 2008, Sella was accused by a former colleague of murdering an infant born alive at Tiller’s clinic. Robinson has been involved in a number of botched abortions that resulted in injuries to pregnant women, and even deaths. In the last five years, there have been at least 14 medical emergencies at Southwestern Women’s Options. Curtis Boyd’s operation may not be the charnel house that Kermit Gosnell ran in Philadelphia, but it is every bit as lethal.
Live Action is the work of 24 year-old Lila Rose, who founded the organization in 2004 at the age of 15. Live Action leverages new media and deploys Alinsky-style tactics to expose the truth about abortion in America, particularly the abortion industry’s slippery relationship with veracity and the law. Rose and her team go into abortion clinics posing as potential patients, where they secretly record or film their interactions with staff members. Those audio or video files are then edited to exclude material that isn’t pertinent to their investigations, and released publicly.
Live Action’s tactics have generated some degree of controversy within Catholic circles, most notably among bloggers who question whether it is right for Christians to lie in order to expose wrongdoing in the abortion industry. After all, one of the fundamental tenets of Catholic moral teaching is that lying is always sinful (though not always gravely so) and the Church teaches that, “a good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just.” (CCC #1753) Mark Shea, the influential writer and blogger, has taken his criticism a step further, charging that Live Action’s tactics amount to “lying in order to tempt somebody to commit a mortal sin,” which would be gravely evil.
Still, even critics of Live Action like Shea admit that exposing the depraved reality of the abortion industry is itself a worthwhile goal, if done justly. Rose and her team at Live Action should – and likely do – wrestle with the morality of their tactics. But for the rest of us, Live Action’s videos provide convincing evidence that the lucrative abortion business doesn’t care a whit for the lives and health of either children or their mothers. The toilet protocol prescribed by Southwestern Women’s Options testifies to that fact.