Baby Rowan’s Autopsy Report Confirms Part of Mother’s Story

Medical Examiner admits to OR that heartbeat after birth was “probable.”

ORLANDO, FL — Operation Rescue has obtained the autopsy report for Baby Rowan, the infant said to have been born alive on April 2, 2005, at a Florida abortion mill and whose mother claims was refused help by abortion workers in spite of her pleas on behalf of her dying son.

The autopsy performed by Orange County, FL Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan C. Garavaglia on April 27, 2005, listed the official cause of death as “extreme prematurity from induced labor.”

The autopsy report describes Baby Rowan as a male of 21-22 weeks gestational age who appeared to be a completely healthy baby. He was free from congenital abnormality and showed no signs of trauma. However, the report found no air or excessive fluid in the lungs, nor was there air or fluid in the stomach. Thus, the report concluded “forensically” there was no evidence the fetus was born alive.

But Operation Rescue disputes that the evidence detailed in the autopsy report supports the conclusion that Rowan was stillborn. “We believe the autopsy report does not refute Angle’s allegations, but actually presents evidence to support many of them,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

In an exclusive interview with Operation Rescue, Dr. Garavaglia was specifically asked about weather or not the baby’s heart was beating when Rowan left the birth canal. “I can only deal with the facts I can find,” she responded, indicating that there would be no way to tell from an autopsy exactly when Rowan’s heart stopped beating. Garavaglia believed that the only scientific evidence of life after birth that she could hope to find was air in the lungs.

However, air in the lungs is not the only sign of live birth, according to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002, (BAIPA). Three other criteria of life at birth are a beating heart, pulsating umbilical chord, or movement of voluntary muscles, none of which can be determined by an autopsy. Only one of these criteria must be met for a child to be protected under the BAIPA. Rowan’s mother, Angele, has stated repeatedly that Rowan moved his leg, turned his head toward her voice, and grasped her finger with his hand before passing away.

While the autopsy could not answer the question of whether Rowan met any of the other three of the criteria for life, the report does support Angele’s claim that she did not receive a shot of digoxin, a drug injected into the baby’s heart to stop it before the induction of labor. The report indicates that Rowan’s body was trauma free.

“There was no evidence of needle marks,” said Dr. Garavaglia.

The abortion clinic maintains that Rowan could not have been born alive because he received a lethal digoxin injection into his heart before labor was induced to insure he was dead upon delivery. The physical evidence soundly refutes their claim.

When Dr. Garavaglia was asked if the heart was beating when the baby exited the birth canal, she responded, “I can only go on what we can check for.” However, after further discussion Dr. Garavaglia agreed it was “probable” that Rowan’s heart stopped beating after exiting the birth canal, which would qualify him for protection under the BAIPA.

“Even according to the Medical Examiner, it is likely that Rowan’s heart was beating when he was born,” said Newman. “This was simply something Dr. Garavaglia could not forensically prove or disprove. Because of the probability that his heart was beating upon birth and in light of the eyewitness account that Rowan moved voluntary muscles, we must deduce that the lack of air in the lungs is not conclusive proof that Rowan was stillborn.”

“Baby Rowan was a perfectly health baby boy. He went through the labor and delivery process, which is designed to deliver LIVE babies, not dead ones,” said Newman.

“There is nothing in the autopsy report to indicate that Rowan expired before his delivery,” he continued. “In fact, there has been nothing to indicate that Rowan was killed by anything other than the fact that he was too young to survive very long outside the womb. But just because he lacked the strength or maturity to draw a breath into lungs that had not been suctioned does not mean that he was not alive at birth. He moved voluntary muscles after expulsion from the birth canal, and that meets the definition of a live birth according to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.”

The point is a critical one. On April 22, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt stated, “As a matter of law and policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will investigate all circumstances where individuals and entities are reported to be withholding medical care from an infant born alive in potential violation of federal statutes for which we are responsible.”

Angele stated in an interview with World Net Daily that she presented herself for an “induction” abortion at the EPOC abortion clinic in Orlando where Dr. Harry Perper prepared her to begin an abortion by premature delivery. After a harrowing labor experience, Angele delivered her 22-week old baby boy into a toilet at the abortion mill. She repeatedly called for help once she saw movement in her son, but was denied assistance by abortion clinic workers. She instructed her friend to call 911, which was done, but emergency workers who responded to the call were led to believe that no emergency existed and were turned away.

Angele now deeply regrets her abortion and is eager to work to insure that this kind of thing does not continue to happen to other women and their babies.

“Somebody in that clinic should have rendered assistance to Angele and her tiny son. But they didn’t and a baby died. We believe that is a violation of the law,” said Newman. “We clearly have a case for the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate, and we strongly urge them to do so immediately.”

View Baby Rowan’s Autopsy Report

  • Steven

    One must remember that, in most medical centers, 21-22 week babies do not routinely survive. While the threshold for viability has gotten much lower in the last few years, often kids of this gestational age are too small for even the smallest breathing tubes, etc. So I hesitate to describe the baby as ‘perfectly healthy.’ It is quite likely the child would not have lived very long. However, I am still in much agreement that this poor child was indeed killed. The abortion clinic is not a place where a child has much of a chance. If she were at a hospital, she may not have lived long had she been delivered at this age, but attention would have been diverted to keeping her in longer, as there are ways to arrest labor, etc. The real problem here is that this women arrived at an abortion clinic in the first place. I say this having spoken to a toddler last week who was born at 23 weeks, who spent 4 months in a hospital early on, but is doing well now…she would have ended up the dead in an abortion clinic. So is the utter hipocracy of our culture today.

  • Rick Ellis

    Thank God that a young woman in a crisis prenancy, who was facing death, did not go to the pagan culture of the time for abortion, but believed And trusted God, and gave us the savior of us all.

    How manny revivals have been thrown away at planned parenthood? How many medical break thrus?

    The scripture tells us that every joint supplies the body. That we are a holy habitation fittly joined together.

    What would this lost child have supllied us? 4000 lost revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ a day!

    How manny mother Threasa’s? How many Billy Graham’s?
    How many end of life care giver’s?

    I could go on for 50 million pages.

    Call a solem assemble! Sack cloth and ashes, appropiate. Lament and cry aloud. How can there be joy in America when we have thrown away our posterity? How can we survive as a nation, when so many little ones have been dropped in the toilet of abortion clinics?

    Go figure?

  • jerry


    good points – reminds of the following tract:


    Would you consider ABORTION in the following situations?

    The father is ill with syphilis; the mother has tuberculosis. They have had four children. One child has died, one is blind, one is deaf and one has tuberculosis. The mother is pregnant.

    Would you recommend an abortion?

    If you answered “yes”, then you would have recommended the death of Ludwig von Beethoven.

    A white man raped a 13-year-old black girl and impregnated her.

    Would you recommend an abortion?

    If you answered “yes”, then you would have recommended the death of the gospel singer Ethel Waters.

    A poor teenager girl is pregnant and unmarried. Her soldier father disowns her and the child. She would name the child after the father and raise the child, while bearing the disgrace of illegitimacy.

    Would you recommend an abortion?

    If you answered “yes”, then you would have recommended the death of Father Joseph Mohr, lyricist and composer of Silent Night.

    A teenage girl is pregnant. She’s not married. Her fiancé is not the father of the baby.

    Would you recommend an abortion?

    If you answered “yes”, then you would have recommended the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • jane

    Does the mother believe it would have been okay had she killed the baby before birth (digoxen?) What difference is that?

  • maria

    I don’t think she realized this was really a baby, unfortunately, until she held him in her arms. She has bought into the propaganda that fetuses are not babies until they are born – which is totally ridiculous.

    What a sad, sad story.

  • April

    The above comment about pagans hurt me. I am devout pagan but I am 100% pro-life and this websight although being christian is my number 1 source for pro-life news. And I respect every single one of you that operate this site.

    I wish that rowans mother would not have chosen to end his life in such a manner. This story is very sad and heartbreaking for anyone to read.

  • I don’t know how many lives have been thrown away at this planned parenthood. And how many medical break throughs?

  • TB

    if it were you..

  • RC

    I agree with what you are saying. We do not know what this child could have contributed had he lived. His life will only be remembered for how it ended, which is very sad, indeed.

    What I have not seen discussed much is the filthy condition of the room in which his mother was abandoned to give birth. As I understand it, the room had two couches, both soaked in blood, a wet, filthy blanket, and dried blood on the walls and floors. Once she was in labor, and the clinic had her money and thought that they had already killed her baby, she was left alone without help, comfort, or dignity. As one report mentioned, tattoo parlors in this state are more regulated than abortion clinics. Why is this clinic still open now that the total lack of sanitation is common knowledge? How can this these conditions truly be thought to support a woman’s “choice?”

    I believe that while it is unfortunate for Angele that her son’s life ended as it did, the fact remains that she traveled to another state in order to end that life. She bought into the lie that abortion was ultimately best for herself and her family, and found herself abandoned in a filthy execution chamber. Cattle aren’t treated this badly in slaughterhouses. How can this be allowed to continue in the name of “choice?” Why is this business still operating, filthy couches and all? If pro-choice activists are truly trying to support women and their rights and dignity, shouldn’t they be picketing this establishment in horror over these conditions? Could the real reason that they’re not there be that they are actually driven by a desire to end babies lives, and not by their supposed desire to support their fellow women? It makes you wonder….


  • Tim

    You’ve nailed it. “Choice” is only the bait. Greed and Ease are the real reasons. How many abortionists do pro bono work as do those in the legal profession? If they, the abortionists, really cared about the women for all the reasons that they say they do, well… the life of Albert Sweitzer comes to mind.
    Having been personally involved in this decision process, I truly do have compassion for those that have to make the “choice” to become a mother or at least to give birth so that someone else can become the child’s mother. But if we all killed the person, at whatever age, that makes life difficult and called that a choice, as if it really fixed anything… well… young and old alike are at risk, as is the future of our society. But after all, if we think killing the unborn is right then I wonder that we even have a future, let alone deserve one.
    When Greed and Ease justify killing then we’re simply headed down the same road as every other now-defunct failed society. Aztec child sacrifice was intended to enrich them as well. They sacrificed the born; we sacrifice the unborn. And if we can’t see the striking similarity then we really are all victims of our own self-delusion.


    Abortion has taught the younger generation that a baby deserves life only if we the parents want the child. Most Women do not understand they are mother and should protect their child. The blob of tissue in their stomach is a baby with a beating heat, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, nose and mouth. They do not consider that, and if every women who gets an abortion had to watch the baby through the ultrasound while the abortionist is injecting it they would realize the baby runs. The baby knows that, that needle is there to harm it. And most likely the woman would have the mother instinct and tell the abortionist to stop and cancel the abortion.

  • Bombeni

    Too bad Rowan didn’t have a chance to be born at full term and adopted by a childless couple.

  • JCarver

    This story saddens me to the point of tears. I will never feel as strongly about anything as I do about abortion. I see no reason for abortion. Under no circumstances can you justify the reasoning behind giving/getting an abortion, not rape, not being financially stable, not having the time, etc. It is a very unfortunate thing that happend here but one that could have been prevented nonetheless. Like someone said before me, if only people would look at the other options at hand, like adoption. I see no reason for it and never will. My opinion will never waver although I do sympathize with the mother of Baby Rowan. A lot of women don’t take into consideration that it is an actual baby. They just see it as an inconvenince. Pro-choice people don’t look at the whole spectrum…they just really don’t want to be told what they can or cannot do and therefore are pro-choice. Sometimes it takes horrible and heartbreaking situations for people to realize it’s not just your life but anothers as well. I really do feel bad for the mother and poor Baby Rowan…

  • Sarah

    this is wrong on so many levels. How much easier it is to get the information to have an abortion than to have a baby and give it up. We can only pray for all those who do not understand what it is our culture is doing and attempt to educate where we can . I do praise Rowan’s mother for what she has tried to do since this experience and pray that she will stay firm in her resolve to make Rowan’s short life stand for something.

  • Jessica

    What saddens me is the lack of compassion on here from supposed “Christians”. What happened here was tragic, horrible, and painful to even imagine. However, as a devoutly religious person, my beliefs are that we are not to judge others. By condemning Rowan’s mother or anyone else that has had the heartwrenching choice of an abortion, we are spreading nothing but hate. I am shocked and appalled at the amount of vile negativity that is spread on this site, all in the supposed name of God. It amazes me that the people who preach the most about compassion are often the first to abandon it when someone who doens’t fit their perfect mold comes along.

    I have never been in the situation to consider abortion and I hopefully never will. I cannot possibly imagine what a person’s life must be like, how they must feel, to have to make that choice. Allow God to handle the judgement. Our purpose is instead to live a life of true compassion and love.

  • Jean

    Are you all on waiting lists to adopt these unwanted children? How many children have you all adopted??

  • Cara

    I have to agree with one of the previous comments, We are supposed to be christians…supposed to be forgiving, yet many people are critisizing the mother for having the abortion. The mother regrets having done it with all of her heart. She is telling her story to keep others from making her same mistake, not for people to say how awful she is, or how wrong. I do not agree with abortion in any way shape or form, and do agree that the only option for these women should be adoption. I have a younger sibling that is living proof that a child can survive if born extremely early. No, he wasn’t an abortion case, but he was born at 24 weeks gestation, an age that is still considered ok to do an abortion on. He did have many complications as a young child, but is still a healthy happy teenage boy today. I now have a child of my own, and personally, could have never imagine ending her life. She was not a “planned” baby, and things were financially rough, but i never once tought about ending my precious childs life. I wish everyone who thinks about an abortion could realize just how amazing and precious that childs life is.

  • jessica

    I am so sick of hearing about this story. What happened is that a mother (if you can call her that) decided to kill her child. And it went horribly wrong. It is a heart wrenching story no doubt. But it is simply another “mother kills her child” story. She did not seem to mind that the baby would “humanely” (???) have a needle thrust into his heart to kill him while he was in the womb. I see absolutely no difference in killing the baby while he is in the womb, to killing him when he is out.

    She said herself that she felt him moving when he was in the womb the night before. And was waiting for his poor little heart to give out. How is it any different if he is wiggling in her body or wiggling on the floor?

    All we can hope and pray for is that abortion becomes illegal. For this woman to attempt to profit off of killing her child is just too much for me to handle anymore.

    One last point, had they injected him with this heart stopping crap which would kill him instantly and then delivered the baby 5 minutes later, she would have been ok with that??? Why? Out of sight, out of mind? I guarentee you that baby had the same amount of life, thoughts, feelings in the womb as he did when he was out. Someone please explain the difference to me.

  • Michelle

    In response to Jean, yes, we are in the process of having our home approved to adopt, and yes, we know many other couples who have given up in heartbreak because there simply were no babies available. (We personally are planning to adopt a teen, in part because we know that there are so few little ones available, but mostly because that is where our heart is.)

    We are able to have more children, but chose not to, because we know that there are many children out there already who need a stable home.

    My point is that there are far more families looking for infants than there are babies to fill those arms. Many give up because the wait is so long. (Once again, we have met those who had to give up the dream.)

    In all this “counseling” that is going on, there should really be more of an effort to let these women know how much their babies are wanted and how much love is waiting for them. It is a tragedy that this “stillbirth” was presented as the most loving option for Rowan.

  • Sarah

    I just watched “22 weeks” the movie based on Rowan’s murder. It was heartwrenching, especially the scene where she cradles a dying Rowan and it cuts to a dream sequence of her cradling a future toddler Rowan… I have a toddler son and it made me SOB!!!! It just broke my heart. Today I found out, is the anniversary of Rowan’s death. No, I can’t understand how someone can think ANY abortion is “humane” or that its better to kill your child rather than place him for adoption, but that is why we have to lovingly educate our selfish, death focused society to respect life. This story still touches my heart even years later. May God end this bloodshed soon by turning hearts to Him or if people will not turn, my He exact His righteous judgement on them!!!!