Was Woman Killed in Botched 33-Week Abortion Told Not to Go to ER?

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 14, 2013   |   4:14PM   |   Washington, DC

Papers uncovered in trash bins outside the abortion facility where a woman was killed in a botched late-term abortion are leading to questions about whether she was instructed to not go to a local emergency room after the failed abortion.

Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, a 29-year-old woman from New Rochelle, New York died from a botched 33-week abortion last week.

Following a new probe started by local officials, the Maryland Attorney General has opened an investigation into the late-term abortion practitioner who killed a Morbelli. The Maryland Attorney General’s office is not specifically looking into Morbelli’s death but it is looking at illegal dumping by the abortion clinic that could result in fines or other form of punishment.

In a new report on her blog, pro-life writer Jill Stanek has posted images of documents retrieved by pro-lifers from Carhart’s trash that advise patients to not go to the local emergency room if facing medical problems following an abortion (see right, click to enlarge).

As Stanek notes:

Also collected between August 2011 and May 2012 were Carhart’s (pictured right) instructions to patients. There were three sheets found, all on the same color blue paper, two of three stating they were revised in October 2010. Since the previous revision was made 16 years earlier, it is reasonable to expect Morbelli was given these same instructions.

Of greatest interest, particularly in the wake of Morbelli’s tragic death, which came after the abortion of her 33-wk-old baby Madison Leigh, were Carhart’s instructions not to go to the ER in the event of an emergency, but instead to “call and we will meet you at the clinic,” which is clearly dangerous medical advice.

Furthermore, who is “we”? Carhart left the state the afternoon Morbelli’s abortion was completed.

In addition, if it is true, as was maintained by an informant close to the situation, that Morbelli’s family tried several times to unsuccessfully contact Carhart before going to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital’s ER, then this document is at the very least misleading, stating, “One of our staff is on-call 24 hours a day.” Again, that staff does not necessarily include the doctor himself.

In this case, Carhart’s self-serving motive at the expense of patient safety is to contain publicity about negative reactions to abortions.

Why does Carhart instruct abortion patients not to go to the emergency room? In addition to not wanting pro-life advocates outside his abortion clinic to see another patient injured in a failed abortion and requiring emergency transportation to a local medical clinic, Stanek notes Carhart does not have admitting privileges at a local hospital – which also puts women’s health at risk.

Stanek says:  “Also, because Carhart has no hospital privileges – anywhere – his impotence as a primary care physician is that much more glaring when he is barred from an ER to provide contiguous care to a patient. Did Jennifer Morbelli’s family delay getting her emergency medical treatment based on Carhart’s instructions? I hope they saved all their paperwork.”

The Maryland Attorney General’s office notified the Maryland Coalition for Life and Operation Rescue that is has late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart and Germantown Reproductive Health Services under an active criminal investigation for illegal dumping, based on complaints made by both groups last year. This investigation is separate to ongoing investigations into Morbelli’s death, OR informed LifeNews, that are currently underway by the State Medical Examiner, the Montgomery Police Department, and the state’s Office of Health Care Quality.

David Williams of the Maryland Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit contacted Janet Kotowski, a pro-life sidewalk counselor in Germantown, to notify her that an investigation was underway. Kotowski wrote a letter last November asking the agency to look into illegal dumping of biohazardous waste and private patient information at Germantown Reproductive Health Center in follow up to a complaint filed by Operation Rescue in July, 2012.

Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue also spoke with Williams yesterday and has agreed to turn over unedited video-taped evidence of the illegal dumping documented last year to aid in his investigation.

“This is a very serious criminal investigation,” Williams told Sullenger.

In July, 2012, Operation Rescue filed a formal complaint with the Environmental Crimes Unit and released edited video and photographic evidence that showed GRHS and Carhart engaged in the illegal dumping on a routine basis. Evidence included:

1. Documents containing private patient information concerning birth control prescriptions and abortion procedures, as well as copies of patient driver’s licenses.
2. Bloody refuse blood clots and possible human fetal remains.
3. Drug control violations.

“For years we have documented Carhart’s abortion abuses. This time we pray authorities will quickly act before he has the opportunity to kill again,” said Sullenger.



Other incidents documented by Operation Rescue include the 2005 third-trimester abortion death of Christin Gilbert in Kansas, unsafe abortion practices reported by former Carhart employees in Nebraska, and the falsifying of information to gain licensure in Maryland.

Sullenger continued, “The tragic death of Mrs. Morbelli from a botched 33-week abortion may be the catalyst that will finally bring Carhart to justice. It’s too bad that a woman had to die before authorities would sit up and take notice.”

Morbelli died as the result of fatal complications suffered during an abortion at 33 weeks at the hand of late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart. The abortion took place at the Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Germantown, Maryland. Her 33-week-old preborn daughter, Madison Leigh, died in the failed legal abortion as well.

Morbelli arrived at Germantown Reproductive Health Center on February 3 to start the abortion process. Local pro-life advocates protesting outside saw her every day until yesterday, and described her as appearing “pale and weak.”

By the morning of February 7, she began suffering chest pain and other discomforts, the group informed LifeNews. Her attempts to reach Carhart were unsuccessful. The woman was taken by her family from her hotel to a nearby hospital emergency room at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital at approximately 5:00 a.m. Efforts by hospital staff to contact Carhart or get informational assistance from the abortion clinic were unsuccessful and he did not return a handful of calls.

Morbelli, a full-time substitute teacher at the Church Street School in White Plains, New York, suffered massive internal bleeding into her abdominal cavity. She slipped into a Code Blue condition approximately six times before finally succumbing to her injuries at around 9:30 a.m.

Investigators in Maryland said that, while the probe into Jennifer Morbelli’s death is ongoing, there is currently no indication of criminal activity.

“I can confirm that, yes, there is a death investigation being coordinated by the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Montgomery Police Department has been notified,” said Lucille Baur, a spokeswoman for the police department.

Bruce Goldfarb, a spokesman for the medical examiner, said the office was “investigating the cause and manner of death” of Morbelli, but would not provide further details.

“This is a routine death investigation,” he said. “Anytime somebody dies during a medical procedure it’s referred to this office. So it’s a routine matter. There is no timetable. Things happen when they happen.”