Delaying emergency medical care unacceptably places lives at unnecessary risk
By Cheryl Sullenger
St. Louis, MO – In what is becoming an all-too-familiar occurrence, pro-life sidewalk counselors snapped photos as an ambulance arrived to transport yet another patient from the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Planned Parenthood volunteers held up bed sheets as a covered woman was wheeled out of the abortion facility on a gurney in an attempt to prevent pro-life supporters from documenting the event.
This incident, which took place on July 10, 2014, boosts the number of known medical emergencies at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood site to 26 in the past five years.
This time, however, Planned Parenthood summoned a private ambulance company – instead of dialing 911 – to transport the patient to the hospital for emergency care that the abortion facility was not equipped to provide. This was likely done to conceal facts about the incident and prevent pro-life activists from uncovering the seriousness of the medical emergency through 911 records.
“Planned Parenthood has chosen to put their own interests ahead of getting this patient emergency medical assistance by the quickest means,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Delays in receiving emergency care can cost women’s lives. It is disgraceful that Planned Parenthood chose to place a woman’s life in jeopardy in order to protect what little reputation this abysmal abortion mill has left.”
Response times for private ambulance services are slower than when calling 911, and the calls placed to them are not subject to public records requests.
That change in emergency protocols is likely due to a lawsuit filed against the St. Louis Fire Department in May by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of an Operation Rescue staff member. Operation Rescue sued to obtain public information that was over-zealously redacted from 911 records it had received through the Freedom of Information Act.
Operation Rescue originally sought the 911 call records for 25 incidents involving medical emergencies at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood dating back to 2009. Instead, 57 heavily redacted records were produced to Operation Rescue by the St. Louis Fire Department, hinting that there were many more medical emergencies than previously documented.
So extensive were the redactions that even the dates of the incidents had been expunged, which is a clear a violation of open records laws that require only the most minimal redactions be made and only on narrowly exempted information, such as patient names.
“Planned Parenthood may be afraid that if we win the lawsuit, information damaging to their abortion business will come out and their abortionists may then be held accountable. They would rather delay emergency care to women than allow that to happen,” said Newman. “Planned Parenthood must have a lot to hide.”