When Babies Survive Abortions

Yes, it’s true. Not all abortions kill the baby. Sometimes they survive the procedure.

Think about that: they “survive.” That means they are born which, according to Pro-Choice advocates’ own definition, means they are alive. If they’re alive, that means they are human beings and have immediate constitutional rights. But are they treated as newborn babies?

I think you know the answer to that question.

Pro-Choice/Pro-Life differences have been the most contentious policies in American politics in my lifetime. It’s difficult to find any American who is not galvanized by one perspective or the other. For this discussion, let’s lay aside our personal opinions about abortion being murder and any action to outlaw abortion would snatch the right for women to control their own bodies.

Let’s talk about a tiny segment of the abortion conversation that has been almost totally overlooked: what happens now and what should happen to a baby — yes “baby” — that lives through an abortion attempt? It happens but certainly is a rarity considering the vast number of abortions performed each year. But there’s something almost never discussed: what happens to the baby that survives an abortion?

Before we discuss that, let’s meet one such adult woman who actually fills the role of an aborted baby who lived.

Meet “Claire”

Mother-of-three Claire Culwell from Austin, Texas, was born to teenager mother Tonya Glasby, who was just 13 when she fell pregnant.

Glasby, now 47, assumed she was pregnant with just one child but doctors found that she had been expecting twins after she continued to feel movement a month after the termination.

Culwell survived the abortion attempt, although she weighed just 3lbs and was born two months’ prematurely with dislocated hips and club feet.

After being adopted at two months’ old by her parents Barbara and Warren Culwell, Culwell began to thrive – although the damage done to her body in the womb ensured health problems throughout her early childhood.

Her parents had adopted her believing that she’d simply been born early to a teenager mother, with no hint of the real story offered to them.

“I weighed just 3lbs at birth, having been born two months early and my hips on both sides were dislocated,” she said. “My feet were both turned in. I was on life support for months.”

After growing up in a happy home, she was always given a positive story about her birth mother, being told frequently by her adoptive parents that she was an always ‘wanted’ baby.

At 20, Culwell decided that she wanted to meet her birth mother and, after several months tracking her down via an adoption agency, the family decided together that they should have a face-to-face reunion – unaware of the dramatic confession about to be made.

In March 2009, Culwell, by now 21, met her mother for the first time at the house of a friend in Texas.

The highly emotional meeting went well, with Culwell sharing photos of her childhood and thanking her for giving birth to her.

She’d written a card to her birth mother in advance, saying: “Thank you for choosing life for me… it’s the greatest gift I’ve ever received.”

After Glasby read the card, she broke down and began to confess the real story of Culwell’s birth, revealing that she was just 13 when she fell pregnant and that, after telling her family, they had decided she must have a termination.

She told the Culwell family that she had been unaware she’d been expecting twins and when the abortion took place at five months, she assumed she was no longer pregnant.

In fact, Culwell’s twin brother had died but Culwell had continued to live on in the womb.

When the teenager realized she was still carrying a baby, she was six months’ pregnant and traveled to a different state to try and have a second abortion – but doctors deemed it too risky and the pregnancy continued to the seventh month when Culwell was born and placed straight on life support.

Of the shock confession, Culwell said she “felt like I was in a movie”…but didn’t hesitate to reassure her birth mother that she had forgiven her already.

The mother and daughter are now still in touch. Glasby said meeting her daughter had been “amazing,” and that “forgiveness is a wonderful thing.”

This is a victorious story that has a happy ending. Sadly, the Culwell story is rare. There are no official numbers kept documenting such good endings. Almost all the time, that baby (or “fetus” as Pro Choicers prefer) is lost.

We cannot end today’s story without hearing from a professional who has faced this dilemma personally.

LifeNews.com reported this story:

Republican members of Congress held a hearing in September 2019 on the “Born Alive” bill that would provide medical care and treatment for babies who survive abortions. During the hearing, nurse Jill Stanek talked about her experience discovering a baby who had survived an abortion procedure.

Stanek was working in a hospital in Chicago at the time when she discovered the newborn infant left to die in a soiled utility room. She conveyed her experience during the testimony portion of that Congressional hearing:

“When I heard Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, describe during an interview the process by which doctors determine to shelve unwanted newborns to die, it hit painfully home to me.

He said, quoting,

‘If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.’

Governor Northam was right. That is exactly what happens.

I know because I cared for a dying baby who was on the other side of that decision. My experience was 20 years ago, but as Governor Northam made clear, it could have happened yesterday.

I was a Registered Nurse at Christ Hospital in Illinois when I learned it committed abortions into the second and third trimesters. The procedure, called induced labor abortion, sometimes resulted in babies being aborted alive. In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called“comfort care” — made comfortable, as Governor Northam indicated.

One night, a nursing co-worker was transporting a baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome to our Soiled Utility Room to die –because that’s where survivors were taken. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, so I rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived.

He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about the size of my hand. He was too weak to move very much, expending all his energy attempting to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall.

After he was pronounced dead, I folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where we took all our dead patients.

Christ Hospital readily admitted babies there survived abortions. A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times (article submitted with testimony) ‘between 10 percent and 20 percent of aborted babies survive for short periods.’

From what I observed, it was not uncommon for a live aborted baby to linger for an hour or two or even longer. One abortion survivor I was aware of lived for almost eight hours.

Of 16 babies Christ Hospital aborted during the year 2000, four that I knew of were aborted alive. Each of those babies — two boys and two girls — lived between 1-1/2 and 3 hours. One baby was 28 weeks gestation — 7 months old — and weighed two pounds, seven ounces.


In way of a disclaimer, let me make it clear: I am 100% Pro-Life. My perspective on today’s subject is absolute. I am against abortion. Can/is there a justification for even “abortion in the case of rape, incest, or danger to the mother?” When there are tens of thousands of American couples who cannot have their own children waiting to adopt, I cannot justify terminating a pregnancy. Yes, rape and incest or horrible incidents. But sometimes a product of that wrong is an amazing life that when given can create many good things, “if” those pregnancies were not terminated.

I agree with the premise that when that fetus is created it is alive and therefore deserves every opportunity to live. And I disagree that abortion is a part of “Women’s healthcare.” Babies are not diseases or afflictions or high blood pressure or diabetes. They’re babies.

For a moment, consider my premise is factual. That fact really creates an uncomfortable dilemma for those who are Pro-Choice when in an abortion a baby survives. Why? Babies — any baby — is a human and has each and every right afforded to every person: both socially AND legally.

Those rights include receiving medical care sufficient to as best as possible save that baby’s life: yes, a baby that is alive! We’ll hear about that very thing in detail in a few minutes when Virginia Governor Ralph Northam — a physician himself — outlined what most feel is the policy supported by Pro-Choice advocates.

I’ll close by saying this: Virginia Governor Northam promoted in that televised interview a horrible and life-attacking outcome of some foiled abortions. But his policy was no different than Barack Obama when as an Illinois representative who voted against a bill that would have provided medical care for a baby who survived an abortion.

As Americans — heck, as humans — we should always come down on the side of life. A baby that’s breathing is alive! You may disagree with my anti-abortion position. But denying a baby that is alive medical care allowing it to die simply because it was part of a botched abortion is an atrocity of inhumane proportions. As Americans, we’re better than that.

Just consider this: how will anyone and everyone who has participated in any way in an abortion reconcile what they have done if and when science tells us that life indeed begins at conception. Think of the mental devastation they will feel and the certain nightmares they will have.

Wouldn’t we be better to simply say this: Until we receive definitive proof that life does not begin at conception and that an aborted baby that survives is not yet alive, we will do everything we can to see to it each baby survives and gets the same chance we had at our birth?

What’s to lose? Only the lives of millions of babies killed for the sake of convenience.


1 thought on “When Babies Survive Abortions”

  1. Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate.
    Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
    Proverbs 31:8-9

    This Scripture made me think that the unborn have no voice of their own so we must speak for them. They are unfortunate if the woman who was blessed with their presence chooses to ignore their rights.

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