Father of Girl Who Died From Abortion Slams Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2011   |   12:01PM   |   San Francisco, CA

The father of a teenage girl who died in 2003 from using the abortion drug mifepristone has conducted a new interview in which he slams the Planned Parenthood abortion business for failing to follow FDA guidelines when dispensing the abortion drug.

In August 2003, Holly Patterson, then 17, discovered she had become pregnant with her boyfriend, seven years her senior. On September 10, shortly after her 18th birthday, the couple went to a Planned Parenthood clinic to inquire about an abortion of her seven-week-old unborn child. There, she received the first of two drugs in the mifepristone abortion protocol.

At the Planned Parenthood facility, Holly received an abortion drug regimen not approved by the FDA consisting of 200-mg mifepristone orally — which blocks the hormone progesterone that is required to maintain a pregnancy. At home, 24 hours later, on September 11, she followed the clinics instructions to vaginally insert 800-mcg of misoprostol to induce labor contractions and expel the body of the dead baby.

On September 13, Holly repeatedly called the Planned Parenthood clinic hotline to complain of severe cramping. She was told her symptoms were normal and to take the clinic prescribed Tylenol-Codeine painkiller. Later, Holly called the clinic’s hotline again and was told to go to a local hospital’s emergency room if the pain continued.

The next day, Holly continued to experience extreme cramping and bleeding, and visited the emergency room of Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton. She told the doctor about her drug-induced abortion and she was sent home after an injection of narcotics getting a prescription for more painkillers.

The severity of the pain continued. Holly was weak, vomiting, and unable to walk. She was re-admitted to Valley Care Medical Center on September 17 and died later that afternoon with her father, Monty Patterson, who had just learned of the pregnancy, at her side.

In a new interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Monty Patterson recalls Holly’s death:

“Holly was intubated, and I went and held her and said, ‘I don’t know what happened, but I’m here to help, to get you well,’ ” Patterson said, his eyes welling with the memory. “The look in her eyes said, ‘Dad, save me.’ “

He has become an expert in RU-486, the “medical abortion” (as opposed to surgical), which involves taking two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, to terminate an early pregnancy of up to 63 days. In his research, Patterson uncovered other, previously unreported deaths linked to RU-486.

He traveled to Washington to meet with FDA officials and share his findings. He testified before Congress, amassed an archive of information on the drugs, and was instrumental in getting warnings put on the labeling of RU-486. Medical abortion, which terminates an established pregnancy, is different from the “morning after pill,” which operates like a high-dosage contraceptive and is intended to prevent pregnancy. Today, medical abortions account for about 27 percent of all abortions in the United States.

Now, Patterson – who also has been lobbying health officials in Europe to raise awareness – has created a website, www.abortionpillrisks.org, to share all he has learned.

“When this began that day in the hospital, I didn’t know the abortion pill even existed,” Patterson said. “That day in the hospital, there were officials from Planned Parenthood who showed up and said that nothing like this had happened before. I just didn’t believe it.”

He blames Planned Parenthood for contributing to Holly’s death.

“Holly received 200 milligrams of mifepristone at Planned Parenthood – instead of 600, as is FDA approved,” Patterson said. “She was instructed by Planned Parenthood to insert 800 micrograms of misoprostol vaginally the next day, and to do it at home, not at a clinic. That is double the approved dosage of misoprotol, and it was taken vaginally instead of orally.”

“The medical abortion method approved by the FDA is the method used in France – and highly monitored there,” Patterson said. “Here, once the FDA approves a drug, any drug, doctors have latitude in using the drugs the way they feel it’s best for their patients. About 96 percent of clinics and abortion providers in the United States use ‘alternative, off-label’ practices never approved by the FDA.”

“I wanted to know exactly what kind of infection killed Holly,” said Patterson. The FDA obtained samples of Holly’s tissues, and Patterson learned that a rare bacterium called Clostridium sordelli killed Holly. Her death was the first case of Clostridium sordelli linked to RU-486 reported in the United States.

Patterson said that since her death, “I learned of 10 reported deaths from sepsis (serious infection involving the blood) following medical abortions, and nine of these were from Clostridium sordelli and all involved these alternative, off-label treatments.”

He added, “The look in Holly’s eyes that day in the hospital was fear. I don’t want anyone else to go through that.”