Maryland Cmte Hears About Woman’s Death From Legal Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 7, 2011   |   6:23PM   |   Annapolis, MD

Last week, a Maryland state Senate Committee heard about the death of a young woman from a botched abortion and how abortion centers in the state are not properly regulated by the state health department to protect women.

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 505 — a bill to ensure abortion facilities are held to the same health and safety standards required of legitimate surgical facilities.

Members of the panel heard about how one woman drove with a friend to an Anne Arundel County abortion center and how she paid $800 for the procedure.

“She thought that she’d just have it done and nobody would know,” said Stephanie White, Denise Crowe’s mother, told the panel, according to the Baltimore Sun.

White told lawmakers last Wednesday how her daughter went to the abortion center and was pumped full of drugs before the abortion procedure began by someone she later learned was not qualified to work at a surgical center. During the abortion, White says her daughter’s nail beds turned blue and abortion facility staff noticed something was going horribly wrong.

The abortion clinic had no equipment to revive Crowe and the 21-year old died on her way to Anne Arundel Medical Center. Although the death was officially listed as a result of  Meperidine intoxication, White says she never would have died if she had not gone to the abortion center and if the abortion center had been run, equipped and staffed properly.

Robyn S. Elliott, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, said the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has regulated abortion clinics since 1993, but Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Eastern Shore Republican, said that is apparently not working.

“We are up against tough cases,” Pipkin said, according to the Sun. “For 18 years there’s been no regulation. Are you saying that the 19th year is going to be different?”

Maryland Right to Life is strongly supportive of the bill, which could result in closing some substandard abortion centers that can’t promise to operate by proper health and safety standards and put women’s lives at risk.

“Abortion facilities are currently entirely unregulated in Maryland due to a loophole in law.  Consequently, women have been horribly injured and have even died because of the lack of protective safety regulation,” Angela Martin, the director of the group, told “All ambulatory surgical facilities in Maryland where invasive surgical procedures are performed are subject to regulation. These regulations are not burdensome or intrusive, rather they are necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients.” [related]

“The cost of upholding basic protections for patients must never be put ahead of protecting women’s health,” she added. “After 18 years, Maryland women are still waiting for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to craft any regulations on abortion facilities. Too many lives have been lost or irrevocably damaged while the Department debates regulation. Please make sure the 19th year is not the same.”

The pro-life group is asking Maryland residents to contact the following senators to urge support for the bill:

Senator Thomas ‘Mac’ Middleton – (410) 841-3616, (301) 858-3616
Senator John Astle – (410) 841-3578, (301) 858-3578
Senator Delores Kelley – (410) 841-3606, (301) 858-3606
Senator Katherine Klausmeier – (410) 841-3620, (301) 858-3620
Senator Robert Garagiola – (410) 841-3169, (301) 858-3169
Senator Allan Kittleman – (410) 841-3671, (301) 858-3671
Senator Jim Mathias – (410) 841-3645, (301) 858-3645
Senator E.J. Pipkin – (410) 841-3639, (301) 858-3639
Senator Catherine Pugh – (410) 841-3656, (301) 858-3656
Senator Barry Glassman – (410) 841-3603, (301) 858-3603
Senator C. Anthony Muse – (410) 841-3092, (301) 858-3092