Group targets D.C. abortion clinic with undercover video

WASHINGTON – An undercover video by an anti-abortion group reportedly shows a D.C. doctor discussing what he would do if a baby was born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

Arlington, Va.-based Live Action says the video shows a woman — 24-weeks pregnant — at a D.C. clinic asking Dr. Cesare Santangelo about what would happen if her baby survived the procedure.

“I mean, technically, you know, legally, we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive,” Santangelo says on the video. “But, you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.”

The woman then asks for assurance that the fetus would not survive. Santangelo acknowledges the woman is there for an abortion and says, “We would not help it … We wouldn’t intubate, let’s say.”

Santangelo also compared the situation to caring for a patient with terminal cancer.

“You wouldn’t do any extra procedures to help that person survive … like ‘do not resuscitate’ orders,” he says.

The Washington Post reports the video follows a six-month undercover operation by Live Action targeting clinics that perform late-term abortions. The group has released footage of another undercover sting in the Bronx, N.Y., and reportedly plans to release additional videos.

Live Action claims, according to the Post, that the videos show doctors willing to violate a federal law that mandates them to try to save a child born after a failed abortion by treating them as they would a miscarried or preterm infant.

Authorities have not accused Santangelo of a crime, the Post reports. He tells the paper he was responding to a hypothetical situation and trying to reassure the client. He did not rescind his comments.

“What I said is, basically I wouldn’t do anything extraordinary,” he tells the Post. “We would call EMS. We would call 911. But I wouldn’t do intubation or anything … You let nature take its course.”

The Post also reports that an extended cut of the D.C. tape features a nurse saying that any live birth at the clinic would be taken to the hospital.

“Once the baby is born, it’s out of everybody’s hands, and the baby has rights, too,” Santangelo tells the Post. “I understand that and I support that.”

Read more from the Post here, and see more on the story from WJLA below. The Live Action footage also is below.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.


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