Woman Possibly Dies From Botched Abortion, Medical Board Stalling

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 22, 2011   |   5:01PM   |   Albuquerque, NM

A woman profiled in 911 phone calls a pro-life group obtained from two abortion facilities in New Mexico has reportedly died — while the New Mexico state medical board comes under fire for possibly stalling an investigation.

As LifeNews has repeatedly reported, Operation Rescue has obtained various phone calls covering 911 emergency calls made by the UNM Center for Reproductive Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Southwestern Women’s Options late-term abortion facility in the same city.

A confidential informant has now come forward with more information about one of the patients who was the subject of the emergency calls. The information told OR and Tara Shaver of local pro-life group Project Defending Life that a woman died from abortion-related injuries at the UNM Center for Reproductive Health last month. The informant spoke several times with Shaver about the botched abortion and described how an emergency vehicle picked up the body of the woman who underwent the abortion procedure and transported the body to an undisclosed location.

Clinic workers who were visibly upset and shaken at the time of the incident were told not to discuss the situation with anyone, according to OR president Troy Newman and details the informant gave to Shaver made it appear the information was credible. Both groups have attempted to verify the information, but have had trouble getting details about the woman and her death from the abortion because of HIPAA privacy laws, but Newman says his group reported the abortion death to police.

“We have seen several abortionists, such as Rapin Osathanondh and Kermit Gosnell, criminally charged and sent to jail after abortion deaths,” he said. “Because of the fact that a death is involved, and because there appeared to be an attempt to cover up the death by ordering workers not to talk, it became our duty to report this to the police.”

The informant came forward after hearing news reports concerning a 911 call placed by the UNM Center for Reproductive Health that had been released by Operation Rescue. During that disturbing call, the patient in the background could be heard groaning and struggling for life.

Operation Rescue and Project Defending Life both filed complaints with the New Mexico Medical Board concerning that call and 12 others from UNMRCH and Southwestern Women’s Options. As LifeNews reported, the medical board sent a letter dated July 14 notifying OR that an investigation of three SWO abortion practitioners had been started.

However, last week, Shaver and OR officials received letters from a Board attorney that they called “troubling” and “inaccurate” that demanded the pro-life groups provide the board information protected by patient privacy laws. Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger asked Board Executive Director Lynn Hart last week by telephone to clarify whether there would be an investigation. Hart was reportedly curt and rude on the phone with Sullenger and raised her voice and repeatedly interrupted the conversation.

“Hart was unprofessional and accusatory, reiterating the demand that I ascertain patient names and other private information before the Board would proceed with any investigation. Her language revealed to me a radical pro-abortion mindset. At one point she told me there would be no investigation of any complaint filed by me,” said Sullenger.

“To add confusion, Hart followed up with a letter restating her demand for private patient information.  It is improper for the Board to ask us to do their investigation for them,” Sullenger added. “The Medical Board has all it needs to investigate the thirteen abortion-related injuries in our complaints. Hart is trying to tank this investigation by making demands that are above and beyond what are actually needed to investigate why women are being injured and possibly killed at two Albuquerque abortion clinics at the rate of one every ten weeks.”

“For the Board to not investigate this medical crisis is to shirk their duty to protect the public from negligent medical practices. Hart is putting her pro-abortion political agenda ahead of the health and safety of women and in doing so has made New Mexico the most dangerous state in America for women,” she continued.

Sullenger and Shaver plan to submit additional information as appropriate to the Board this week in an attempt to satisfy some of Hart’s demands, but they say patient privacy and safety concerns would best be served by a confidential Board investigation instead of asking private citizens to discover patient identities.

ACTION: Contact Lynn Hart, the director of the New Mexico Medical Board at 505-476-7221 and [email protected] with your polite communications seeking an investigation of this possible abortion death.