Born Alive, Left to Die

Nora Sullivan, M.P.A  

A very disturbing story has recently come to light as it has been revealed that 491 babies were born alive during botched abortion procedures in Canada and then left to die in its immediate aftermath. These deaths took place between the years 2000 and 2009.

This revelation was made known to the world by pro-life blogger Cynthia Maloney who discovered the information on the public database of Statistics Canada, which is an agency of the Canadian federal government and is currently overseen by the Minister of Industry.


After Maloney’s initially posted this revelation on October 19th, the news was picked up by pro-life blogs and news sources. After more than a month, a representative for StatsCan confirmed the story to LifeSiteNews on November 28th.


In an email to the news site, StatsCan’s Owen Philip makes clear that these were the deaths of live babies and not the still born births. He writes, “These are included in national cause of death statistics because when the aborted fetus is born alive and subsequently dies, each event must be registered. If the aborted fetus is born dead but meets the provincial requirement (birth weight and/or gestational age) it must be registered as a stillbirth.”


Canada’s Criminal Code guarantees legal protection to a child once he or she “has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.”  No criminal or legal action has been taken regarding any of these deaths.


Perhaps what is so shocking about this case, once you are able to wrap your mind around the sheer number (the thought 491 babies being left to die is staggering) is the thoroughly scholarly way in which each death was documented and categorized before being entered into the statistical database and then forgotten. The lives of these children were counted but not valued.  Their deaths were reported but not questioned.  These 491 helpless infants, whose lives inside the womb came to a violent end and whose lives in the outside world were no doubt painful and short, had their deaths meticulously marked as statistical data. However no one felt enough empathy for them to do more than note their existence.  No one thought that perhaps babies born alive following an abortion has the same rights as babies born in a delivery room.


Children who are born as the result of a failed abortion are not unheard of and, in fact, those who receive immediate can survive.  One such example is Melissa Ohden who survived a saline infusion abortion and was saved by nurse who heard her crying after her body had been set aside and then ensured she received medical treatment. She was subsequently adopted and now has her own family and speaks publicly on the dignity of human life.


Not much is needed to avoid such blatant brutality in our modern ‘civilized’ world. It requires a medical professional on hand who has enough courage to provide care to the young life he was just attempting to extinguish.  It also requires that a child born after an abortion is guaranteed the same protections as every other child.  The deaths of these children are tragedies but they will be even more shameful if they do not bring about a major change in Canada.


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