An Alabama abortion facility that has been accused of killing a woman along with her unborn baby in a botched abortion will not face charges.
Pro-life advocates reported the woman’s death to the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Board of Medical Examiners after they learned that she died in May after an abortion at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa.
However, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jack Kennedy told the AP last week that his office did not find evidence to warrant criminal charges against the abortion facility. Kennedy said the Board of Medical Examiners also was involved in the investigation.
“We did do an initial investigation,” he told the news outlet. “We haven’t been able to come up with anything we could prosecute anyone for. It’s a death under medical supervision.”
The woman died on May 7 at the UAB Hospital on the same day as her abortion, according to the report.
Local pro-lifers who were standing outside the abortion facility that day noticed a woman who looked very sick. They said they suspected something was wrong when they watched her being helped outside. They said she was struggling to walk and needed the support of another person to get from the facility door to the parking lot.
Later, pro-lifers said they learned that she had died.
A coalition of pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, CEC for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation and other Alabama pro-life groups began investigating the matter.
Operation Rescue said it uncovered documents showing that the abortion facility never called 911 for the woman even though she clearly was unwell. The pro-life groups also requested the autopsy report conducted after the woman’s death.
Abortionist Louis Payne, 81, likely did the abortion. He retired in July.
According to Operation Rescue, the state health department declined to investigate, saying the matter was outside its jurisdiction. However, the medical board appears to be investigating whether Payne’s actions contributed to the woman’s death.
A spokesperson for the abortion facility declined to comment.
The West Alabama Women’s Center has new owners. In May, the Yellowhammer Fund bought the abortion facility and put abortion activist Amanda Reyes in charge. According to Operation Rescue, Reyes reportedly began running it on the same day when the woman died.
According to Operation Rescue, the state health department has allowed the abortion facility to continue operating under its old license in violation of Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 420-5-1, which requires the issuance of a new license upon change of ownership.
Its research indicates the abortion facility has not been inspected since the new owners took over either. The last reported inspection was January 2019.
Ellie Hermann, a registered nurse who often stands outside to offer women life-affirming information and support, said the facility has a bad reputation.
“One or two women per month are rushed from here to DCH Regional Medical, usually in passenger cars driven by employees of the clinic,” Hermann said. “Imagine just being dropped off at the curb in an unstable condition, possibly hemorrhaging or groggy from medication — how can the [state health department] pretend that kind of care deserves a license?”