Abortion is an ugly word for an ugly procedure. Partial birth abortion is an uglier phrase for an even uglier procedure. There is a desire among some citizens of this country, and among some lawmakers, to pass a law to prevent partial birth abortions.


The following testimony, one of six, was given by Coreen Costello on 11/17/1995 to the U. S. Congress. Please read it.


John Burgeson

III The case of Coreen Costello

Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 11/17/95(abbreviated)


            My name is Coreen Costello. I live in Agoura, California, with my husband Jim and our son Chad and daughter Carlyn.


            On March 24 of this year, when I was seven months pregnant, I had premature contractions and my husband and I rushed to the hospital. During an ultrasound, the physician became very silent. Soon more physicians came in. I knew there was something very wrong. I went into the bathroom and sobbed. I begged God to let my baby be okay.  I prayed like I've never prayed before in my life.


            My husband reassured me that we could deal with whatever was wrong. We had talked about raising a child with disabilities and we were willing to take whatever God gave us.


            My doctor arrived at two A.M. He held my hand, and informed me that they did not expect our baby to live. Our poor precious child had a lethal neurological disorder and been unable to move for almost two months. Her chest cavity was unable to rise and fall to stretch her lungs to prepare them for air, leaving them severely underdeveloped. Her vital organs were atrophying.  Our darling little girl was going to die.


            A perinatologist recommended terminating the pregnancy. For my husband and me, this was not an option. I chose to go into labor naturally.  I wanted her to come on God's time--I didn't want to interfere.


            It was so difficult to go home and be pregnant and go on with life, knowing my baby was dying. I wanted to stay in bed. My husband said, “Coreen, this baby is still with us. Let's make these last days of her life as special as possible." I felt her life inside of me, and somehow I still glowed. At this time we chose her name-- Katherine Grace. "Katherine” means pure, and "Grace" represents God's mercy.


            We went to many more experts over the next two weeks. It was discovered that Katherine's body was rigid and she was stuck in a transverse position. Due to swelling, her head was already larger than that of a full-term baby. Natural birth or an induced labor were impossible.


            We considered a caesarean section, but experts at Cedars-Sinai Hospital were adamant that the risks to my health and possibly my life were too great. There was no reason to risk leaving my children motherless if there was no hope of saving Katherine.


            The doctors all agreed that our only option was the intact D&E procedure.  I was devastated. The thought of an abortion sent chills down my spine. I remember patting my tummy promising my little girl that I would never let anyone hurt or devalue her.             After Dr. McMahon explained the procedure, I was comforted. He understood the pain and anguish we were feeling.  I realized I was in the right place. This was the safest way for me to deliver. This left open the possibility of more children.  It greatly lowered the risk of my death. Most important, it offered a peaceful, painless passing for Katherine Grace.


            When I was put under anesthesia, Katherine's heart stopped.  She was able to pass away peacefully in the womb, the most comfortable place for her to be. Even if regular birth or a caesarean had been medically possible, my daughter would have died an agonizing death.


            When I awoke a few hours later, she was brought in to us. She was beautiful. She was not missing part of her brain. She had not been stabbed in the head with scissors. She looked peaceful. My husband and I held her tight and sobbed. We stayed with her for hours, praying and singing lullabies. Giving her back was the hardest moment of my life.


            Discuss the science and ethics of this case. See the full text of this testimony, along with five others, on page 6 of my web site at www.burgy.50megs.com