In Philadelphia, Dr. Joseph Melnick has been charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and violating the state abortion control act (for an illegal abortion on Sept.12).
According to a UPI report of October 5, Melnick, 62, performed an elective abortion on a 13-year-old girl after the baby had reached the “viable” stage – that is, the baby was sufficiently developed to have had a reasonable chance of survival if born prematurely.
The baby, known as “Baby Girl Smith,” was born alive during the abortion, weighed 3 lbs. 9 ozs., and was said to be “at least eight months old.” There was no mention of what abortion procedure was used. Melnick subsequently allowed the baby to die, withholding any care.
Melnick is charged with refusing medical treatment to the baby girl. He allegedly told other doctors and nurses that the child was dead when she was not.
One nurse reported hearing the baby moan; another nurse said she heard a gasp; an orderly saw the baby move when placed on a scale. Melnick is said to have listened to the baby’s heart and reported she was dead. One of the nurses subsequently detected a heartbeat: the heartbeat was confirmed by another doctor.
“Baby Girl Smith” was pronounced dead by Melnick two hours after the abortion, the cause of death was stated to be respiratory failure.