On Tuesday, January 27, 2009, suit was filed by the Thomas More Society in Miami on behalf of Shanice Denise Osbourne, an infant girl who was allegedly murdered in July, 2006.The case claims that Shanice was born alive and then murdered by abortion clinic owner, Belkis Gonzalez. Thirteen defendants (including Gonzalez, abortionist Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacques Renelique and their conglomerate of four South Florida abortion clinics) have been sued for unlicensed and unauthorized medical practice, botched abortions, evasive tactics, false medical records and the killing, hiding and disposing of the baby.
Shanice’s mother, Sycloria Williams, learned she was pregnant early in July of 2006 when she went to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain and bleeding. She decided to abort the baby, and visited the Miramar Woman Center in Miramar, Fla., where she was referred to abortionist Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique. Dr. Renelique inserted laminaria sticks to dilate the cervix and prescribed additional medication to be taken that night in preparation for the procedure the next morning at a Hialeah clinic.
Williams arrived at the Hialeah clinic on the morning of July 20, 2006, feeling ill and in severe pain from the medication the night before. Despite the fact that the doctor nor any other licensed health practitioners were present, the abortion center’s receptionist gave Williams Cytotec, which induces labor and also dilates the cervix. Williams, however, began to feel even worse with nausea and cramping. According to testimony, the staff had her sit in the clinic’s recovery room area where she waited for hours in severe and increasing abdominal pain without medical staff available.
At one point, unable to remain seated, Williams braced herself with the arms of the recliner chair she was sitting on. As she lifted herself, her water broke and she delivered a live baby girl onto the seat of the recliner. The baby writhed and gasped for air, still connected to Williams by the umbilical cord.
Immobilized by shock, Williams watched Gonzalez run into the room, cut the umbilical cord with a pair of orange-handled shears, stuff the baby into a red biohazard bag and throw the bag into a garbage can. Shortly thereafter, the doctor arrived at the clinic and sedated Williams. The doctor’s medical records failed to indicate that Williams had delivered a live baby that was killed by the clinic.
Anonymous callers notified police at least three times about the live birth and murder, and when police executed a search warrant on July 22, 2006, they found medical records but couldn’t locate the baby’s remains. Six days later, another anonymous caller told police the baby’s body had been hidden on the roof. Police responded but didn’t find the baby’s body on the roof. After another anonymous tip police got another search warrant and found the decomposing baby in a cardboard box in a closet at the clinic. DNA linked the baby’s remains to Williams.
The Miami-Dade County medical examiner performed an autopsy which showed that the baby’s lungs had been filled with air before her killing, proving it was a live birth. But the examiner blamed the death on “extreme prematurity,” ignoring eyewitness testimony that the baby had been murdered. The Thomas More Society took an interest in the case when a local law school professor was quoted in The Miami Herald to the effect that if the baby wasn’t “viable,” then it “couldn’t be a case of homicide.”
“That opinion is dead wrong,” says Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. “A disabled or dying patient may not be ‘viable’ in the sense of being able to live very long or without help, but if you kill them, it’s murder. This was a case of infanticide, and we’re not going to let it go ignored or unpunished.”
The Thomas More Society tried to secure a second autopsy but prosecutors wouldn’t release the baby’s body, or take any action to begin criminal proceedings. An investigator and expert pathologist were retained by the Society, and the expert concluded – after examination of the autopsy slides and investigation of all the facts – that the acts and omissions of the abortionist and clinic staff were causative factors in Shanice’s untimely death. The state attorneys’ office has had this matter “under investigation” for more than two years with regard to filing what the Thomas More society says should be a clear case of criminal murder, or at least manslaughter.
“This case will trumpet to the world that abortion clinics are places of barbarism where mothers as well as their babies are at serious risk,” said Brejcha. “Moreover, this case should put some sharp teeth into the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. As we struggle to end the scourge of legal abortion in this country, we must hold the line against infanticide!”