Miami, FL – Two felony charges were dropped last week against unlicensed abortion clinic worker Belkis Gonzalez after doctors who had been scheduled to testify against her changed their opinions.
Gonzalez was charged in March, 2009, with the unlicensed practice of medicine and evidence tampering related to the death of Baby Shanice Denise Osbourne in 2006, who was born alive, moving and gasping for breath at 22 weeks gestation after abortionist Pierre Renelique failed to show up to complete the abortion. Gonzalez cut the baby’s umbilical cord, shoved her into a biohazard bag, then tossed her body on the roof of the clinic to hide her from authorities. A tip led to police finally recovering the body.
“We spoke with both the Hialeah police and the prosecutor’s office in this case numerous times. The police indicated to us that they wanted Gonzalez charged with a homicide, but prosecutors dragged their feet every inch of the way,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue.
The case prompted outrage from the pro-life community. Even the Florida Legislature called for charges against Gonzalez. Nevertheless, it took nearly three years for prosecutors to finally charge Gonzalez and that was only after public pressure was brought to bear. Two more years of what has become known as “defense by delay” followed, knowing that the longer the case drug on, the more likelihood that witnesses would change their testimony or drop from the case. That is exactly what eventually happened.
“Everyone wants to use common sense. There was no common sense involved in this case. We went strictly on the letter of the law,” Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office told Operation Rescue this morning. “The physicians backed away from the position that she was practicing medicine. We had no prosecutable case.”
Sullenger expressed to Griffith that this action would only make it more likely that Gonzalez would reoffend at the cost of the life or health of additional women and babies. The concerns were shrugged off by Griffith.
“There is no fundamental difference between what Gonzalez did to Baby Shanice and what Kermit Gosnell did to babies at his ‘house of horrors’ in Philadelphia. The lack of common sense lies with the prosecutor’s office, not with the law,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
“There’s little doubt that prosecutors did not aggressively pursue this case,” said Sullenger. “When abortion is involved, it can be very difficult to get justice because of a political climate that seeks to protect abortionists at any cost. That is beginning to change, but this case illustrates that there is still a long way to go.”
Renelique, the abortionist who ignored calls from the clinic, had his Florida medical license revoked over the incident. President Obama made public statements criticizing Rev. O’Neal Dozier who officiated at Shanice’s funeral, held over two years after her untimely death. Shanice’s mother, Sycloria Williams, has since expressed remorse for the attempted abortion and has filed a civil suit against those responsible for her baby’s death.
“If there is to be any justice for Shanice, now it will have to come through the civil court. We pray that case will continue to move forward and bear a positive result. Abortion workers must be put on notice that they are not above the law, and that eventually their misdeeds will catch up to them in a court of law,” said Sullenger.