The story I am about to tell you is already several years old and received a shockingly small amount of attention at the time that it occurred. It is back in the news now because of a civil lawsuit.
In July, 2006, an 18-year-old young lady went to an abortion clinic in Hialeah, Florida. She and another witness allege that the baby was born alive and was moving and gasping for breath. A subsequent autopsy confirmed that the child was born alive. The estimate in the stories I have seen is that the child was 22-23 weeks' gestation. The witnesses state that a clinic staffer later identified as Belkis Gonzalez put the baby into a red biohazard bag and zipped it up. The police found the infant's body eight days later hidden in a cardboard box at the clinic.
The deputy police chief was very determined that homicide charges should be brought, but they never were. In fact, no criminal charges have been filed at all. Why not?
Apparently one reason was that the Medical Examiner's report listed "extreme prematurity" as the cause of death and said that the manner of death was "natural," stating that children born that young have "zero" chance of survival. (This seems factually incorrect, even concerning 22 weeks' gestation.)
So--all you legal eagles out there in readerland. Just how tied are State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's hands by the coroner's report? Let's consider a parallel: Joe walks up to Grandma's bedside in the nursing home in front of witnesses and holds a pillow down over her face while she flails around. The medical examiner lists the cause of death as "heart failure" and the manner of death as "natural." Does this mean the prosecutor can't bring charges on the strength of the witnesses' testimony? Is the case of the asphyxiated infant just a matter of the prosecutor's deciding that she probably can't get a homicide conviction anyway, so why bother trying? (And if so, what does that say about our society?) Or is this more probably, as some sources in the office have told Jill Stanek, a case of her shelving the case because it is related to abortion?