May 7, 2010

Former nurse is on a mission to end horror of abortion

Jill Stanek speaks at the archdiocesan Sanctity of Life Dinner on April 22 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Mary Ann Wyand)

Jill Stanek speaks at the archdiocesan Sanctity of Life Dinner on April 22 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Mary Ann Wyand)

(Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of late-term abortions and may not be suitable for younger children.)

By Mary Ann Wyand

Her graphic, shocking, heartbreaking stories related the tragic suffering of aborted babies who were somehow born alive then left to die alone in a utility room at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill.

Stunned pro-life supporters, many in tears, listened with anguished expressions as keynote speaker Jill Stanek, a former labor and delivery nurse at the Chicago-area hospital, shared horrific abortion stories during the archdiocesan Sanctity of Life Dinner on April 22 in Indianapolis.

“When I graduated [from nursing school] in 1993,” Stanek said, “I applied at the one hospital—Christ Hospital on the southwest side of Chicago—where I thought I would be safe from such moral and ethical dilemmas like abortion because who would think that a hospital named for Christ could possibly be involved in such a thing?

“I came to work one night in my capacity as a labor and delivery nurse, and received two terrible blows,” she recalled. “The first was finding out that the hospital was involved in a late-term abortion procedure called induced-labor abortion. The second blow was finding out that this method of abortion sometimes results in babies being aborted alive. And if they were aborted alive, they were allowed to die without any medical intervention whatsoever.”

Stanek told more than 475 people at the fundraiser for the archdiocesan Office of Pro-Life Ministry that many hospitals and abortion clinics in the U.S. perform this barbaric second- and third-trimester abortion procedure.

“A physician inserts a medication into the mom’s birth canal up to the cervix, … [which] causes the cervix to open prematurely,” she explained. “The goal is to abort these babies in their second- and early third-trimester before they would survive if born. These fully formed babies, who are very small, in essence fall out of the uterus, and that’s how it comes to be that sometimes they are aborted alive.

“The doctors anticipate that the babies will die during the birth process or soon after,” Stanek said. “My experience was that about one-third to one-fourth [of the babies aborted with this procedure] lived, and those who lived were alive for just a few minutes. One baby lived almost as long as an eight-hour shift. At Christ Hospital, abortion survivors are relegated to the soiled utility room to die.”

Induced-labor abortions are legal “for the life or health of the mother,” she said. “People in the pro-life movement know that abortions [performed] for the health of the mother are basically just abortions on demand. Several of the babies I am aware of who were aborted at Christ Hospital were completely healthy babies.”

Illinois state law requires that all babies who are aborted alive must be legally documented with both birth and death certificates, she explained. “Ironically, the cause of death that is usually listed for these babies is ‘extreme prematurity,’ which is the doctor’s admission that if they would have just left the baby in the womb then the baby would not have had to die.”

Stanek is a devout Christian and believes that every life is sacred.

“This practice of eugenic abortions is abominable,” she said. “These particular abortions were taking place in a hospital named after my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“One night, a nursing co-worker was taking a little baby who had survived his abortion into the utility room,” she said. “He had Down’s syndrome, and that’s why he was aborted. … I couldn’t bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone so I cradled and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived.

“He was about the size of my hand, and he didn’t move very much because he was using all of his energy attempting to breathe,” Stanek recalled. “I remember, toward the end of his life, that I couldn’t tell if he was alive or not unless I held him up against the light to see if I could see his heart beating through his chest wall. … There was nothing that I could do to save this little guy. Even if people had tried resuscitating him, it would have been impossible because his lungs weren’t fully developed.

“After he was pronounced dead, I folded his little arms across his chest,” she said. “… I wrapped him in a shroud, and I took him to the morgue, where we took all of our other dead patients. After I held that baby, the weight of everything that I knew became too much for me to bear.”

Stanek said she realized that she had two obvious choices—to quit her nursing job at the hospital or stay and fight to end this terrible abortion procedure.

She sought counsel from her pastor, prayed and read Scripture.

“I came upon a [Scripture] passage that I thought spoke directly to me,” Stanek said. “Proverbs 24:11-12 says, ‘Rescue those who have unjustly been sentenced to death.’—Don’t stand back and let them die. Don’t try to disclaim responsibility by saying that you didn’t know about it.—‘For the Lord who knows our hearts knows you knew, and he will reward everyone according to his deeds.’ So I thought those were my marching orders. I was called to stay and fight.”

At that moment, Stanek realized that she was going to be standing on Calvary near the crucified Jesus.

She wrote a letter to the religious leaders of the hospital because she “couldn’t believe that they knew that these abortions were going on just a couple of floors over their heads.”

But they knew, Stanek said. “The hospital was run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the United Church of Christ, and these are both pro-abortion denominations. I had no idea there was such a thing back when I was so naive.”

As a result of her letter, she was reprimanded by the labor and delivery department supervisors.

Stanek took her pro-life campaign and abortion testimony to the local, state and national levels, which prompted the Christ Hospital administrators to fire her two years later. She also testified under oath in support of the federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act before the U.S. Congress.

“The bill said any baby born alive, no matter what gestational age, no matter what reason for being born, wanted or not, was a constitutionally protected person,” she said. “The day [had come] when abortion would leave the uterus, and we would now be arguing whether infanticide was acceptable or not. … This is how far 37 years of legalized abortion has brought us. … Christ Hospital has never publicly denied that what I am saying is true because it can’t.”

Stanek’s courageous pro-life campaign continues, she said, because God called her to speak the truth to protect unborn babies from the horror of abortion.

“All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord,” she said. “… We may not understand sometimes the reasons for the difficulties that we go through, but God never promises us that we will understand. He just asks us to be faithful and to believe that he is a good God.” †

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