Walk On: Responding To Recent Situations in the Pro-Life Movement
by Sonja Morin
Content warning: physical assault, medical malpractice, and brutality against pre-born children are discussed in this article. Reader discretion is advised, especially for those who have experienced pregnancy loss.
“What?”… “what?”… “what?”
I did not realize how bad my hearing loss was until the four of us arrived in Boston’s North End. We had just counter-protested Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights (RU4AR) and their violent messaging in the “free speech zone” at the Boston Common this past Saturday, April 9. One of the organizers had come up behind me, and – after both taking my sign and practically hurdling over me to place one of RU4AR’s stickers on my megaphone – she whistled into my ears at a high pitch so as to disrupt my hearing for a sustained ten minutes.
As I write this, I am still dealing with the effects of that assault, ears still ringing and all. In reliving that moment again and again in my own mind, it brought my attention back to the intended topic of this week’s blog post: the situation of the 115 pre-born bodies recovered in Washington, DC by members of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
As the sole abortionist at Washington Surgi-Clinic, Dr. Cesare Santangelo knew what he was doing. His track record reveals countless incidences of malpractice, dehumanization, and absolute disregard for his parental and pre-born patients. He has admitted on camera that he would refuse care for pre-born children delivered alive after botched abortions. His errors have sent several women to the hospital after complications, one of whom died (see more details and the wrongful death lawsuit complaint). If the 115 babies’ bodies had not been intercepted, they would have faced a far more morbid fate even after death: immolation in the furnaces of Curtis Medical Waste to generate energy for the D.C/Maryland/Virginia metro area. Who knows how many bodies have been immolated prior to this discovery.
Conflicts about the manner in which these bodies were retrieved, as well as the release of information to the public, have ensued in the weeks following the recovery of the babies. This is the first time we are dealing with a situation to this degree and with this many bodies. Confusion, questions, and concerns are absolutely understandable as we embark into uncharted territory. Personally, I welcome this discussion as we seek to learn how best to grieve and call for justice.
But in the midst of all the dialogue about this situation, what we are missing is the fact that we would not have this situation to deal with had it not been for the initial brutality at the hands of Dr. Cesare Santangelo. We’ve let our own fears and confusion take rein. We forget that – at the time of writing this post – five bodies are still waiting in the DC medical examiner’s office, awaiting the moment of truth when their cause of death will be revealed. We forget that Dr. Cesare Santangelo and his complicit staff are still practicing in Washington, DC, regardless of the harm they’ve caused.
And if we ignore this situation, if we let our own preferences interrupt our work, how much more violence will occur? The people who assaulted the four of us counter-protestors in Boston this past Saturday give such an example. While our experience is in no way comparable to the gruesome death of these five babies, we saw a glimpse of the consequences of violent rhetoric. We cannot let violence and dehumanization conquer the frightened minds of all of us observers.
While we cannot undo the violence that has already happened, we can use our voices collectively to demand justice for all who have been harmed. We must expose the horrors happening in our own communities, starting with Dr. Santangelo’s office. We couldn’t give these 115 babies a chance at life; the least we could do is honor them in death, and ensure no more lives experience the same fate they did.
For more of our posts from Sonja Morin, see: