When patients with wanted pregnancies deliver prematurely at 23 to 26 weeks, she gives the woman or parents a choice, laying out what may be in the best interest of the baby and its quality of life. “Do they want us to ‘do everything,’ or do they want us to provide comfort care, wrap the baby in a blanket and let them hold it until it passes away?”
Live Action was founded by Rose, a former associate of conservative activist James O’Keefe, whose controversial stings contributed to the demise of the liberal group ACORN. She has used similar techniques in her campaign against Planned Parenthood, employing actors to infiltrate clinics to provoke clinic workers into condoning child sex trafficking or sex-selective abortions.
Santangelo, 56, said he’s been a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in the District since 1987. He said he keeps a low profile, partly because he worries that the controversial nature of abortions could make him a target for violence, but also because he prefers to stay out of the politics. He said he sometimes refuses late-term abortions if he feels women have been coerced or are in extramarital affairs, are seeking to terminate because of the sex of the child, or seem unsure whether they want the procedure.
He said he views what he does as a service because some are victims of rape and incest. The majority are women with wanted but abnormal pregnancies.
When a patient is seeking a late-term abortion, he said, he will insert a suppository to open her cervix. Two days later, he said, he completes the procedure by cutting the umbilical cord until the cord stops pulsing. Then he removes the fetus. He said he has never had a live birth during an abortion.
He said he was “tripped up” by a hypothetical at a moment when he was trying to reassure a client. “Once the baby is born, it’s out of everybody’s hands, and the baby has rights, too,” he said. “I understand that and I support that.”
He said he has not watched the video because “I don’t like to feed into these people. I really consider them terrorists.”
Alice Crites contributed to this report.