Hospital Upset Pro-Lifers Posted 911 Call of Botched Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 18, 2011   |   11:26AM   |   Albuquerque, NM

A University of New Mexico hospital is upset that pro-life advocates posted the audio they obtained of a woman who went there for an abortion. The abortion was botched and hospital officials told a 911 dispatcher the woman was “crashing” and her life and health was at risk because of the failed abortion.

As reported earlier this month, Operation Rescue released the audio of the 911 call staffers at the UNM Center for Reproductive Health (UNMCRH) that contains information about the status of a 35-year old woman “crashing” after being given “conscious sedation” during an abortion that took place on February 15, 2011. In the call, voices can be heard calling the patient’s name and urging her to breathe as she groans and gasps for air.

“We have a patient who is crashing right now,” the caller from the abortion business tells the 911 dispatcher. At the dispatcher’s request, the call was transferred to the abortion room where another clinic worker described the patient as “grayish” in color. Once the call was transferred, the disturbing sounds of the patient’s suffering and struggling for life became clearly evident.

“She is unresponsive right now,” the abortion center staffer adds. “Yeah, can you hear them,” the staffer tells 911, “They’re calling her name out right now. I’m not in the room with them, I can just hear what’s happening.”

Asked the age of the patient, the caller says, “The patient? Let me see, Lisa, Lisa, um, 1975? She’s 35?”

UNM officials told the New Mexico Daily Lobo newspaper that they believe the privacy rights of the patient, whose medical condition is unknown, were violated by posting the audio obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. However, the audio does not provide the full name of the patient (only her first name) and no other identifying details about her are given.

“It is unfortunate that organizations use situations without knowing the facts, especially when discussion and public disclosure may violate the right of all patients to maintain the confidentiality of their medical information,” Lauren Cruse, Public Affairs representative for UNM Health Sciences, told the newspaper.

Tony Ogburn, a physician at UNMCRH and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, also complained in an interview with the Lobo, and talked about the pregnancy center local pro-life advocates operate, saying, “What they have is not a medical clinic, and they have no licensed health care professionals. They have an agenda, and their goal is not to provide legal healthcare.”

“It really hasn’t impacted our operation, but I would prefer that patients didn’t have to be bombarded by protesters,” he added.

Tara Shaver of Defending Life, the local pro-life group working with Operation Rescue, told the newspaper that she and other pro-life advocates were outside the hospital offering women abortion alternatives when they noticed the ambulance coming to the facility. That prompted her to seek out the recording of the 911 call to determine what happened to the woman in the obviously failed abortion.

“Someone saw the ambulance, and we got the recording because these clinics are really just abortion clinics,” Shaver said. “No other procedures require a sedative like that. We want to inform women of the dangers of abortion.”

The two UNM officials say the woman in question was not eventually transported to the hospital but was released later that day. Still, the details of the call make it clear that the abortion did not go as planned and it outlines how abortions can easily put women’s lives and physical health at risk.

When the 911 dispatcher asks if the woman is awake, there is clearly a lack of information as the abortion center call says, “Um, can you ask him if she is up and awake – the patient – in what room please? The one that they’re – yeah the patient that’s – no, no no, no she is not — or…”

OR president Troy Newman talked about how botched abortions hurt women, saying, “This 911 call is evidence that there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ abortion. It emphasizes the need to end this grisly practice. Until it can be ended, this patient’s suffering graphically illustrates the need for more accountability and oversight for abortion clinics around the nation.”

“New Mexico has virtually no laws regulating abortion, so this is the kind of thing that one can expect. Abortion clinics fight safety laws because they don’t want inspectors to know the truth about what really goes on behind their closed doors. The 911 call released today gives us a window into that world and it’s not a pretty sight,” he added.

The UNM Center for Reproductive Health is an abortion business operated by the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, a publicly-funded institution. Newman says residents in the program are rotated through the abortion center for training and, if they opt out of learning to do abortions, they are assigned other tasks at the abortion facility.

Newman indicates the UNM Center for Reproductive Health does abortions until the unborn child reaches 22 weeks gestation and it is a member of the National Abortion Federation, a national trade group of abortion centers that includes numerous members with various health and safety standard violations and some of whom have been permanently or temporarily closed for killing or injuring women in legal abortions or violating state laws.

“This is more proof that the abortion industry is incapable if regulating itself. NAF standards are a joke. States need to get serious about protecting the safety of women,” said Newman.