Abortion Access or Safety? You Can’t Have Both


An Operation Rescue Commentary By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC — Friday, in a disappointing move that could adversely impact women, the U. S. Supreme Court blocked enforcement of a Louisiana abortion safety law that required abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities.

This ruling will allow two Louisiana abortion facilities to reopen despite the documented dangers to women’s lives and health.

The Court appeared more concerned for the rights of the abortion facilities to prey on vulnerable pregnant ladies than it did the safety of those same women. It pandered to the Abortion Cartel’s hysterical rhetoric about abortion access and its loud complaining that clinic closures may create too many hurdles to women who might be seeking abortions.

But when it comes to “access” and safety, you can’t have both.

When substandard practitioners who cannot qualify for hospital privileges are allowed to operate, women are the ones who suffer.

Operation Rescue has learned through years of documented research that the emergency plan for abortionists who have no hospital privileges is to dump their patients on local hospital emergency rooms, which may not be prepared since most do not keep a certified Ob/Gyn on duty. This creates a dangerous break in the continuity of patient care. The delays caused by having to round up a specialist and due to a lack of access to information about what went wrong during an abortion can delay emergency care in situations when minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Such was the case when Jennifer Morbelli suffered complications to a third-trimester abortion done by LeRoy Carhart at his very late-term abortion facility in Germantown, Maryland, in 2013. Carhart, a resident of Nebraska who has had no hospital privileges since 1987, completed Morbelli’s abortion then promptly boarded a flight out of Maryland. As Morbelli’s condition worsened throughout the night, neither Carhart nor any of his Germantown staff could be reached by her distraught family. Finally, after hours of futility, the family transported Morbelli to a nearby hospital where the emergency room’s staff also could not reach Carhart for clarity concerning how she was treated and what might have gone amiss. After hours of delay, Morbelli died.

Because of situations like this, the public should be concerned about the Louisiana abortion facilities that will be allowed to reopen without hospital privileges.

One of those abortion businesses is Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, a high-volume abortion clinic that is also a high-volume provider of serious abortion complications. It has been involved in a number of botched abortions over the years, including the deaths of at least two patients, Ingar Weber and Shelia Hebert.

The owner of Delta, Leroy Brinkley and his associate, Panzy Myrie, employed convicted murderer and illegal abortionist Kermit Gosnell at one of their two now thankfully-closed Delaware abortion businesses. Brinkley also employed one of Gosnell’s co-defendants, Eileen O’Neill, at the Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge before he recommended her to Gosnell for employment at his “House of Horrors” abortion facility in West Philadelphia. O’Neill was later convicted of crimes along with Gosnell.

At Delta, standard of care issues abound, yet none of its abortion providers has hospital privileges. In 2011, Operation Rescue filed a complaint against Delta abortionist Mary Frances Gardner with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. The complaint was filed on behalf of a patient whose abortion was botched so badly that she had to undergo a hysterectomy after being hospitalized for the life-threatening complications. Unfortunately, the Board turned a deaf ear to this patient’s suffering and chose instead to allow Gardner to continue practicing.

It would not be surprising to learn that information about Delta’s dubious history, shoddy practices, patient injuries, and abortion-related maternal deaths was not included in briefs that the Supreme Court depended upon to reach the decision to block enforcement of Louisiana’s desperately needed abortion safety law.

Tragically, the prevailing theory of some judges and regulators is that women are better off being injured, maimed, or killed by unaccountable abortion quacks at Gosnell-like facilities than they would be if their “access” the these dangerous chop shops was curtailed in any way.

However, requiring abortionists to maintain hospital privileges provides patients with a bit of a safety net they currently lack by weeding out shoddy abortionists that hospitals view as unqualified. That’s just common sense, given the dismal state of abortion practices in Louisiana and the rest of the nation.

Earlier last week, the full Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case challenging the 2013 Texas abortion safety law that also included the hospital privilege provision.

We can only hope that last week’s poorly-decided Louisiana case does not forebode the Court’s future ruling on the Texas case. If it does, hospital emergency rooms across America better start preparing to receive the consequences.

  • Marilyn Lyman

    I just wonder how many U.S. Supreme Court Justices would allow their family members to use these abortion facilities under these so called conditions.