In an exclusive interview with Florida Catholic, Sycloria Williams, the 18-year-old mother of the baby left to die after a botched abortion in a Miami clinic, told the real story behind the ordeal that recently attracted national headlines.
In an interview with journalist and photographer Daniel Soñé, Sycloria now 21, revealed that she has filed a civil lawsuit accusing the staff of A GYN of Hialeah, Florida of delivering her child alive and killing the newborn girl by stuffing her into a biohazard bag.
Originally, aborting the baby was not part of the plan; "we were reluctant at first, but as time passed it became more and more of an option," Williams said.
Williams first went to Miramar Woman Center Inc. where she was told that the procedure would cost $1,200 – $400 more than expected, because a sonogram had determined that the pregnancy was 23 weeks along, requiring a more complicated late-term abortion.
She later met Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique on July 19, 2006. "He said that it was a two-day procedure, to take my medicines, and come back the next day. He just said it like one, two, three," she told Florida Catholic.
After their meeting, according to Williams, Renelique inserted laminaria sticks, thin rods of dried kelp that absorb moisture and slowly dilate the cervix. He also gave her a prescription for Cytotec, a brand of the drug misoprostol, to induce labor.
Shortly after leaving, Williams said she received a call from Natali Vergara, the daughter of clinic owner, Belkis Gonzalez, telling her to go to their clinic in Hialeah named "A GYN," instead of the North Miami one to complete the procedure.
On the way to the clinic the next morning, her boyfriend at the time, Shane, "didn’t want to go through with it," Williams recalled.
Wanting to "put it all behind," Sycloria arrived at the Hialeah clinic, where she received another dose of Cytotec to induce labor. She waited in her car with Shane, until the drug started to work.
Back in the clinic, Williams felt more and more sick as her labor intensified.
According to Florida Catholic, "Williams recalls grabbing the armrests of her chair and elevating herself to a squatting position, heels at the edges of her seat. The receptionist and staff kept telling her to sit down and close her legs, but she couldn’t comply. She delivered her baby, Shanice, onto the recliner almost immediately after squatting. First amniotic fluid spilled out, then the baby dropped onto the cushion."
"When I saw that happen, I jumped off the chair and turned away, facing the wall," Williams said.
Sycloria said she stood against the wall, glancing in horror at her newborn baby. "She wasn’t moving much. Twitching, gasping for air. She wasn’t crying though, just hissing. Hissing sounds only."
"I thought it would be a blob thing, but bigger, not a baby," she said. "She looked like a Water Baby. Like those dolls you fill up with water. She was really little, like this," she said, holding her hands about 12 inches apart.
According to Williams, Gonzalez, the clinic’s owner, who has no health care licensing, came into the waiting room, cut the umbilical cord, and scooped Shanice’s body into a red biohazard bag, sealed it and tossed it into a trash can.
She recalls begging God for help and trying to listen to the staff. They only gave her Motrin for her pain because Renelique had not yet arrived. "Everyone was panicking," Williams said.
According to the lawsuit, the doctor arrived about 60 minutes after Williams delivered Shanice. No one called an ambulance. The lawsuit also states that Renelique gave Williams a shot to put her to sleep: "She awoke after the procedure and was sent home still in complete shock."
She said while Shane was driving her home, she told him, "I don’t think that baby was dead." Answering almost as if he did not hear correctly, Shane asked, "What do you mean? Are you sure?"
The next day, Hialeah homicide detectives, tipped off by an anonymous caller, arrived at Sycloria’s residence to question her. Then, on July 22, 2006, they executed a search warrant at the clinic, but didn’t find the baby’s decomposing body until six days later, in a cardboard box in a closet at A GYN.
Sycloria told the Florida Catholic that she still recalls the most startling part: Her 23-week-old pregnancy looked like an actual baby. "They never said anything to me that would make me think it was a baby. They never said anything like ‘baby,’ ‘fetus.’ Nothing. They only said things like ‘termination’ and ‘pregnancy’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’," "They cheated me because they didn’t tell me everything and the doctor wasn’t there."
She then said she and other post-abortive women need love, support and family. She also has changed her mind about abortion. "No one should lose their life if you get pregnant," she said. "If I got pregnant again I would have the baby."
Her advice to women in unplanned or crisis pregnancies: "I would tell them not to do it. I’ll say whatever to make them have second thoughts so they don’t do it... There is help out there."
After it was confirmed that the baby was born alive, Williams finally buried her daughter, Shanice Denise Osbourne, last November in the children’s section of Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Fort Lauderdale. Her small white casket was escorted by the honor guard of Hialeah police officers and Knights of Columbus. Father Dominic O’Dwyer, pastor of St. Malachy Parish in Tamarac, conducted the graveside service.
The Archdiocese of Miami donated the plot.
"When you see a small white casket like that, you can’t help but be struck by the reality of what happened to her," said Thomas L. Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, which is representing Shanice’s mother, Sycloria Shante Williams, in a lawsuit against the abortion clinic.
The Florida Catholic article makes clear that the case of Shanice Denise Osbourne has unveiled a vast network of abortion-related medical malpractice: two co-workers at the Hialeah center were arrested for the unlicensed practice of medicine, two doctors who performed abortions at that clinic were found to be unlicensed and the Florida Department of Health filed an order of "emergency restriction" against Dr. Pierre Jean-Jacque Renelique and later revoked his medical license.
Read the full Florida Catholic story here: http://www.thefloridacatholic.org/mia/2009_mia/2009_miaarticles/20090205_mia_shanice.php