Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach, says the charges against Belkis Gonzalez should be elevated to murder.
The trial of the woman accused of botching a 2006 abortion at a Hialeah clinic is set to begin Friday, but critics say the charges against her are not enough.
Belkis Gonzalez has been charged with unlicensed healthcare resulting in death and evidence tampering in the July 2006 death of the newborn at a GYN Diagnostic Center.
The baby's mother, Sycloria Williams, was 21 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to the baby girl as she was about to undergo the abortion. Prosecutors say Gonzalez took the baby girl, who was still breathing, put her in a medical supply bag, and hid her from police for a week.
Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center Church in Pompano Beach, held a funeral for the girl, named Shanice Osbourne after her death, in 2006. He spoke out yesterday to demand that the charges be elevated to murder.
"The proper charge here is murder. This is a homicide!" Dozier said.
Dozier, never a stranger to controversy, is known for his somewhat radical views on everything from gays to women, and especially abortion, which he claims is a plot to exterminate minorities.
"Absolutely. They are targeting minority babies," he said.
Nevertheless, the case has brought attention to late-term abortions, which are legal in Florida. Anti-abortion groups nationwide are hoping the case against Gonzalez will help to ban the late-term procedures.
Gonzalez, unlicensed when she performed the procedure, faces a maximum of 15 years if convicted. Hialeah police chief Mark Overton said he hoped for murder charges but that he must follow the law.
"I know there's outrage out there," Overton said yesterday. "They may not be the charges that we want to hear or we want to see, but the bottom line is, is that she's being charged with serious felonies and she's going to be held to account. We'll see to that."