[UPDATE: A paragraph was inadvertently omitted from this article during editing. We have added the paragraph, in context, to the story below and highlighted it in bold lettering. -OR Staff]
By Cheryl Sullenger
Hialeah, FL — In a case where a baby was reportedly born alive then intentionally killed by abortion clinic workers in July, prosecutions hinge on the results of a soon to be released autopsy report.
Facing second-degree murder charges are abortion clinic co-owners Belkis Gonzalez and Siomara Senises, who were working in the clinic on July 20 as an 18-year old girl arrived at the abortion clinic at 9:30 AM to complete a late-term abortion that had been started the previous day.
Operation Rescue obtains search warrant
Further details have surfaced as Operation Rescue has obtained a copy of the Dade County search warrant that led to the discovery of the badly decomposed body of a female baby in the later stages of gestation.
According to the affidavits used to obtain the search warrant, an anonymous caller notified police that a baby had been born alive at a Hialeah, Florida, abortion clinic, but was intentionally killed by Gonzalez and Senises. The first search of the clinic on July 22 yielded no remains. However, the mother’s medical records were impounded along with a blood sample obtained from a pink recliner in the recovery room where the young mother allegedly gave birth.
Mother tells police her baby was born alive
The affidavit indicated the baby’s mother, referred to as the “Complaintant,” was interviewed by police and told them that she gave birth at approximately 2:30 PM on July 20 after spending over five hours in labor at the clinic without having seen a doctor.
According to the affidavit, “The Complaintant observed the baby moving and gasping for air for approximately five (5) minutes. The staff began screaming that the baby was alive; at which time, Ms. Belkis Gonzalez cut the umbilical cord, threw it into a red bag with black printing. Ms. Gonzalez then swept the baby, with her hands, into the same red bag along with the gauze used during the procedure.”
The documents indicated that another caller, a Ms. Betty Rojas, informed the police that she was in contact with their informant, telling them that a “doctor” had drowned the baby before desposing of the remains.
It should be noted that neither Gonzalez nor Senises are licensed medical doctors.
Caustic chemical speeds decomposition
On July 28, during a second call, the informant told police that the baby’s body had been placed in a red plastic biohazard bag along with the caustic chemical chloride and tossed onto the roof of the clinic for the expressed purpose of causing the accelerated decomposition of the body in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence of the crime. The body lay on the roof for eight days in the sweltering Florida summer sun.
During that call, the informant indicated to police the baby’s body had been retrieved from the roof and was then inside the clinic. Police arrived with a search warrant and discovered by dead baby’s remains.
Authorities await the autopsy findings that could prove the actual age of the baby and if indeed the child was born alive. In Florida, it is illegal to do abortions in clinics after 24 weeks when the baby is considered to be viable. Clinic personnel say the baby was 22 weeks gestation, but at least one pro-life source who has been closely following this case believes that the baby could have been much older based on the reported weight of the remains discovered at the abortion mill. If the baby is found to have been older than the 24-week limit, additional charges of illegal late-term abortion could be added.
Also anticipated in the autopsy report is any physical evidence that the baby was born alive, such as the presence of air in the lungs. However, due to the severe decomposition of the body, results may not be conclusive.
Possible BAIPA prosecution
In addition to charges of second degree murder and possible illegal abortions, Gonzalez and Senises may face the first ever prosecution under the Federal Born Alive Infants Protection Act, (BAIPA) a law passed to protect babies born alive during abortions.
As for the abortionist who was supposed to be on duty that day, it is uncertain what charges might face him. According to reports, Haitian immigrant Pierre Renelique was contacted by Senises when the patient reported to the clinic at 9:30 AM complaining of discomfort. He never answered his page in the five ensuing hours prior to the baby’s birth. Reports are conflicting as to whether he ever showed up at the clinic that day.
“We have seen cases in other states where this behavior would be considered patient abandonment. If that is the case, Renelique should loose his medical license,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
Fading from memory
But pro-lifers worry that the best evidence in the case has been destroyed and are concerned that the mother’s word and that of the informant may not be enough to convict Gonzalez and Senises in a court of law.
Police seem interested in seeing this case move forward, indicating that the clinic workers should have called for an emergency transport and sent the baby to the hospital, but prosecutors are not so sure. At issue may be the baby’s gestational age. Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague told reporters, “There are lots of questions that medically I don’t have the answer to yet. You’re talking about a fetus that could be aborted legally.”
“In the end, it really does not matter how old the baby was,” said Newman. “If she was born alive, as the mother and the police informant say she was, then that baby deserved every protection under the law that any other person has, regardless of her age. The only difference would be the extra criminal charge if she had passed 24 weeks.”
“I don’t understand why there would be any equivocation in this case,” he continued. “If a litter of puppies had been tossed in a bag and thrown up on a roof to die, no one would rest until the perpetrators were brought to justice.”
In the meantime, public outrage over the incident has cooled.
“It will be tragic if these people walk,” said Newman. “This case, while shocking to the public when it was first reported, is already fading from the public’s memory. That little baby girl, who lived for five precious minutes, deserves better than to have her murder swept under the rug and forgotten because the manner of her birth is controversial.”
Back in business
Meanwhile, A Gynecologists Diagnostic Center, located at 3671 West 16th Ave. in Hialeah, where the incident occurred, remains closed by authorities pending further investigation. However, the same individuals, Gonzalez, Senises, and Renelique, continue to operate at another abortion mill just 3 miles away.
“Why close one abortion mill in the interest of public safety, then allow the same people to continue to engage in the exact same activity just down the street? This whole ordeal hasn’t slowed them down at all, and I think that reflects a failure in the system that is supposed to protect the public from dangerous practitioners,” said Newman. “These people are just laughing at law enforcement right now. They are getting away with murder, and they know it.”