Senators Considering Sotomayor Should Take Notice of Delays in Florida Born-Alive Baby Killing Case
Personal biases may have prevented this case from moving forward, if not for public outcry.
Contact: Troy Newman, President, 316-841-1700; Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor, 316-516-3034; both with Operation Rescue, email@example.com
MIAMI, July 15 /Christian Newswire/ -- The criminal trial of Belkis Gonzalez, who was charged with two felony counts related to the death of a baby born alive during a botched abortion in Hialeah, Florida, in 2006, has been delayed. Just two days before the scheduled July 9th trial date, a new prosecutor, Gail Levine, was assigned to the case, prompting Judge John Thornton to reschedule the trial to begin on October 9, 2009 at 9:00 AM.
"This is an open and shut case that has been characterized by foot-dragging and delay. Three years is a long time to wait for a case that should have been prosecuted within months," said Operation Rescue Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger. "But it is likely that it would never have been prosecuted without public pressure brought to bear on a reluctant State Attorney's office that obviously allowed personal biases to affect judgment."
Gonzalez was on duty in July of 2006, at an abortion clinic in Hialeah, Florida, when a patient of abortionist Pierre Renelique came in to complete an abortion procedure she began the previous day. Renelique did not show up or respond to calls. When the woman birthed Baby Shanice, who was in her 24th week of gestation, the baby was moving and gasping for breath. Gonzalez cut the baby's umbilical cord, shoved her into a biohazard bag, then tossed her body on the roof.
On a tip, the police recovered Shanice's body. An autopsy confirmed that Shanice was born alive. At 24 weeks, babies are considered to be viable, or able to survive outside the womb.
For two and a half years, prosecutors dragged their feet over the decision to charge Gonzalez.
Then in February, 2009, the Florida Medical Board stripped Renelique of his license, declaring him a danger to the public. This prompted forty-four members of the Florida House of Representatives to call for Gonzalez's arrest. Within days, at Operation Rescue's request, pro-lifers held a press conference outside the State Attorney's office demanding that Gonzalez be charged. Within a week, prosecutors arrested and jailed Gonzalez on two felony counts for practicing medicine without a license and evidence tampering.
Gonzalez was previously convicted of practicing medicine without a license in February, 2008, for illegally doing abortions at a Miramar abortion clinic. She is currently serving five years of probation as she awaits trial.
"It is clear that Gonzalez is a habitual offender who will only learn her lesson behind bars, but when abortion is involved, there is often a reluctance to prosecute," said Sullenger.
"This is what happens when prosecutors and even judges allow their personal feelings about abortion to interfere with justice. This case should be a lesson to Senators who are considering the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor has shown a similar inclination to allow her personal beliefs to trump the rule of law. That kind of partiality only leads to injustice. Without public pressure, it is very likely this case would have been swept under the rug. But thankfully, injustice was averted and we look forward to justice being served in a court of law."
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About Operation Rescue®
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become the voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.