Roundup: Florida Doctor Loses License Over Live Birth Case

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Roundup: Florida Doctor Loses License Over Live Birth Case

Emily Douglas

Florida doctor loses license over live birth case; Sen. Casey votes against global gag rule, said to be "cooperating...with evil"; future of reproductive health legislation in Obama era; Sen. Boxer to chair subcommittee on global women's issues; study finds no link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer; personhood movement spreads to Maryland.

Florida Doctor Loses License Over Live Birth Case
A Florida doctor has lost his license over a case in which a teenager,
seeking an abortion, instead gave birth "to a baby she says was killed
when clinic staffers put it into a plastic bag and threw it in the
trash," reports CNN
The teenager, Sycloria Williams, discovered she was pregnant at 23
weeks and scheduled an abortion.  When she came to Dr. Pierre
Jean-Jacques Renelique’s clinic for an abortion, she then gave birth. 
The suit says, "The staff began screaming and pandemonium ensued. Sycloria
watched in horror and shock as her baby writhed with her chest rising
and falling as she breathed."

A clinic co-owner entered the room and used a pair of shears to cut
the baby’s umbilical cord, the suit said. She "then scooped up the baby
and placed the live baby, placenta and afterbirth in a red plastic
biohazard bag, which she sealed, and then threw bag and the baby in a
trash can."

Staff at the clinic did not call 911 or seek medical assistance for Williams or the baby, the suit said.

Renelique arrived at the clinic about an hour later and gave Williams a
shot to put her to sleep. "She awoke after the procedure and was sent
home still in complete shock," the suit said.

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Police were notified of the incident by an anonymous caller who told them the baby was born alive and disposed of.

"The complainant [Williams] observed the baby moving and gasping for
air for approximately five minutes," according to a police affidavit
requesting a search warrant for the clinic.

Two search warrants
found nothing, but officers executing a third warrant "found the
decomposing body of a baby in a cardboard box in a closet," the suit

The baby was linked to Williams through DNA testing, the
lawsuit said. An autopsy showed it had filled its lungs with air prior
to death. Documents from the state Department of Health said its cause
of death was determined to be "extreme prematurity."

Fewer than
1 percent of babies are born at less than 28 weeks, according to the
March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization aimed at reducing premature
births, birth defects and infant mortality.

Infants born at that
stage may survive, but require treatment with oxygen, other medical
help and mechanical assistance to help them breathe. They are too
immature to suck or swallow and so must be fed intravenously.

Babies born before about 32 weeks of gestation face the highest risk of health problems, the March of Dimes said.


"I don’t see this as an abortion story," said Karen J.
Nelson, chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood of Western New
York, to the Buffalo News. "I see this as a story about an individual doctor accused of
violating medical standards, and the officials in Florida are taking
care of it." 

Casey Votes Against Global Gag Rule, Said to Be "Cooperating…with Evil"
Anti-choice Sen. Bob Casey Jr. voted against an amendment to the SCHIP
expansion that would have reinstated the global gag rule, and Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino has accused him of "cooperating with … evil."  "Martino praises Casey for supporting
children’s health insurance, but disputes his arguments. The Helms
amendment, he says, does nothing to stop groups from promoting abortion
with their own money. He chastises Casey for supporting artificial
contraception," reports.  CitizensVoice adds, "Casey contends legislative amendments authored by the late
Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and the late Rep. Henry Hyde of
Illinois and adopted into federal law forbid the use of U.S. funds by
foreign groups to pay for or promote abortions."

Future of Legislation Addressing Reproductive Health in Obama Era
What’s the future for federal legislation addressing abortion in the
Obama era?  Progressive measures will likely move more slowly than
pro-choice advocates may have expected, reports James Oliphant on the Baltimore Sun

Despite gains in the House and Senate in last year’s elections, there
are still significant numbers of moderate Democrats, particularly in
the House, who either oppose abortion altogether or are not in favor of
sweeping changes, instead preferring a more incremental approach. And
any large-scale effort involving something as polarizing as abortion
necessitates spending political capital, something the Obama White
House needs in abundance at the moment to ensure the survival of its
economic policies.

Oliphant examines the prospects for the Freedom of Choice Act:

Topping [the anti-choice movement’s] list of
concerns is what’s known as the Freedom of Choice Act, first introduced
in the early 1990s. To abortion-rights supporters, the legislation
would codify the constitutional right to abortion that was established
by the Supreme Court in 1973 and prevent states from limiting that

But pro-choice members of Congress respond:

At the same time, Democratic leaders on the Hill are taking a go-slow approach. The office of Sen. Barbara Boxer,
a California Democrat and past sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act,
says there are no plans to reintroduce the bill in the immediate
future. And Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat who co-chairs the
Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said the bill "is not our top priority
right now."

Sen. Boxer to Chair Subcommittee on Global Women’s Issues
Sen. Barbara Boxer will chair a new Senate Foreign Relations
Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human
Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues, Women’s eNews reports.  Boxer said the subcommittee would address the "overlooked issue" of
violence against women. "Too often, we turn our eyes away as women are
persecuted, abused and treated as second-class citizens. But even the
most conservative historians have noted that when women are given the
freedom to live up to their full potential, society as a whole
flourishes," Boxer said.

Study Finds No Link Between Fertility Drugs and Ovarian Cancer
Feministing picks up a New York Times story reporting that a large-scale study has found no link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer.  " the individual drugs (but may have been treated with one of the other medications).

adjusting for risk factors, the researchers concluded there was no
increase in ovarian cancer risk associated with the drugs, nor was
there an increased risk for women who underwent 10 or more cycles of
treatment or for women who never became pregnant despite treatment," the Times reports on the conclusions of the study.

"Personhood" Movement Spreads reports that 15 states have introduced or will soon introduce
"personhood" amendments, state constitutional amendments that define
life as beginning at the moment of conception:

The Personhood movement is catching fire as Maryland joins 15 other
states across the country working toward the legal recognition of all
human beings as "persons" under the law. Delegate Don H. Dwyer, Jr. will introduce a Personhood Amendment this
coming week in the Maryland General Assembly. The amendment recognizes
all human beings from their biological beginning as "persons."