Planned Parenthood Violated its Policies in Holly Patterson’s Abortion Death

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 25, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Violated its Policies in Holly Patterson’s Abortion Death

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 25, 2004

Sacramento, CA ( — A report released Tuesday by the California Department of Health Services in their investigation into the death of Holly Patterson reveals that Planned Parenthood failed to follow its own internal policies for informing women on how to use the RU 486 abortion drug that was responsible for Holly’s death.

The state health agency said Planned Parenthood of Hayward did not have Patterson sign one of the three forms the abortion business says it normally requires women obtaining chemical abortions to sign.

The state review also found, according to the Contra Costa Times newspaper, that the abortion facility failed to provide Patterson with "full information and education on the procedure of self-administration of a drug intravaginally."

"The written patient instruction provided to the patient (that was part of the medical record), did not have any evidence that the patient was instructed on a step-by-step procedure on how to self-administer the [abortion drug] misoprostol," the state report says.

"There was no instruction on handwashing prior to the insertion or that the tablets should be inserted with a bare or gloved finger or if the fingernails should be short or free of nail polish. These are simple measures to prevent infection," the report indicated.

Alameda County Coroner’s report confirmed that the use of RU 486 resulted in an incomplete abortion that led to uterine infection and caused Holly’s death.

Responding to the report, Planned Parenthood told the Times newspaper that a staff member did review each of the three forms with Holly. However, the abortion business failed to have her sign the "Request for Provision of Surgery or Other Special Services/Procedures" form.

Planned Parenthood officials claim Holly did sign the other two forms and insist that she was given "personal instruction" into how to take the abortion drugs — including washing her hands before administering the drug.

According to the Times, state investigators also viewed videotape used by Planned Parenthood to instruct women, and found it did not have a demonstration of the proper at-home vaginal insertion procedure.

Planned Parenthood told the state agency that one of the corrections of procedure it will institute includes making sure a staff member initials the three signatures on each of the consent forms.

The abortion business has come under fire from pro-life groups who suspect off-label use played a part in Holly’s death.
Though the FDA has only approved the abortion drug to be used up to seven weeks into the pregnant, Planned Parenthood distributes it to women who are as many as nine weeks pregnant.

Planned Parenthood says the abortion drug can be given in lower doses and vaginally to prevent side effects and cause less nausea. However, the lower dose may have been responsible for the incomplete abortion.

ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton treated Patterson after she came in and complained of intense abdominal pain. The state health department cited the medical facility for not reporting the unusual circumstances surrounding Holly’s death.

In response to Holly’s death, her parents, Monty and Helen Patterson endorsed legislation that would suspend the FDA’s approval of the drug pending a Congressional review.

"We will actively support ‘Holly’s Law’ in Congress by Reps. DeMint, Bartlett and Senator Brownback to suspend and review the abortion drug RU 486," the Pattersons wrote in their letter.
"Holly depended on the safety of the FDA approved pill administered by Planned Parenthood," the Pattersons continued. "The FDA has failed to carry out its mission."

A spokesman for the FDA said in November that the agency is "aggressively investigating [Holly’s] death."

Monty and Helen Pattersons’ letter –