In Light of Abortion Patient Death, New Mexico Rep. Pearce Seeks Federal Investigation Before Statute of Limitations Runs Out

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – Rep. Steve Pearce has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking an investigation and prosecution of the University of New Mexico and its partner, Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest full-term abortion facility in the U.S.

Pearce’s letter expresses urgency for a Federal investigation for the following reasons:

• The New Mexico Attorney General’s office has been too slow to act on two criminal referrals made by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, allowing many of the charges to expire under the statute of limitations. (Referral 1, Referral 2)
• The statute of limitations is quickly approaching the rest of the allegations against UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options.
• There has been one documented death of an abortion patient at Southwestern Women’s Options this year, raising concerns that the dangers at SWO must be immediately addressed.

Pearce remind Attorney General Sessions that women travel to New Mexico from all over the country to receive abortions. This thriving abortion business, which specializes in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy, profits from interstate commerce, making the issue a federal concern.

Pearce was especially troubled about the February 4, 2017, death of Keisha Atkins from a botched late-term abortion she received at Southwestern Women’s Options.

“On February 4, 2017, a woman tragically died at SWWO facilities after receiving a late-term abortion. This raises more questions about the reckless behavior of the SWWO. In 2016 alone, the National Abortion Federation reportedly referred more than 200 Texas patients to New Mexico for abortion related procedures. With hundreds of women flocking to New Mexico to receive these dangerous procedures, something must be done” Pearce wrote.

Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico uncovered the death of Keisha Atkins, 23, and obtained her UNM autopsy report that wrongly indicated Atkins’ pregnancy – not her abortion – caused her death. However, an analysis of the autopsy report clearly shows that determination was a cover-up of the truth that Atkins died a painful, panic-filled death as the result of complications that could only have resulted from the late-term abortion.

On April 19, 2017, Rep. Pearce, along with several leaders from state and national pro-life organizations, including Operation Rescue, attended a press conference with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Chairman of the House Select Panel, that called for New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to act immediately on the Select Panel’s criminal referrals that allege UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options were willing partners in the sale of aborted baby remains in violation of state and federal laws.

Later that same day, Balderas’ office acknowledged during a meeting with leaders of Operation Rescue, Abortion Free New Mexico, and several other pro-life groups that the referrals were under active investigation, yet there has been little progress.

On June 26, 2017, Operation Rescue president Troy Newman sent a letter to Balderas urging him to investigate criminal allegations against UNM and SWO with all urgency, but no response to that letter was ever received.

“The delay by Balderas’ office seems intentional to protect UNM and SWO from any consequences for their actions, whether it be the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts or their participation and cover-up of death of Keisha Atkins,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “As New Mexico’s ‘Top Cop,’ Balderas is committing a shocking betrayal the citizens of New Mexico by allowing his ideological cronies in the abortion business to commit crimes without consequence. U.S. Attorney General Sessions must do better than Balderas if the rule of law and the lives of women like Keisha Atkins are to mean anything.”

Read Rep. Pearce’s Letter to AG Sessions

Please contact the office of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and demand that the Department of Justice conduct an immediate criminal investigation of UNM and the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion business.

AG Session’s Direct Online E-mail Contact Form
Email Session’s Office: Press@usdoj.gov
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Looking Deeper: Analysis of Facts Proves Woman Died from Abortion — Not Pregnancy

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – Tara Shaver opened the mysterious letter that arrived in the mail. She could hardly believe what she was reading.

It was an anonymous tip that informed her a woman named Keisha Atkins had died from a late-term abortion on February 4, 2017.

Shaver and her husband, Bud, who lead Abortion Free New Mexico, have spent years laboring in the pro-life trenches in Albuquerque exposing the largest late-term abortion facility in the United States, Southwestern Women’s Options, and its connections to the publicly-funded University of New Mexico.

Due to their experience and training, once serving as interns for Operation Rescue, they immediately jumped into action. They filed a public records request for Atkins’ autopsy and established a valuable line of communications with her family. They discovered that Atkins’ abortion had been done at Southwestern Women’s Options, which made perfect sense since it alone in New Mexico specializes in late-term abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

They consulted with Operation Rescue over the meaning of the autopsy report. Such reports are written in technical medical jargon that is sometimes difficult for anyone without a medical background to decode. However, this correspondent has been reading autopsies concerning abortion-related deaths for decades.

It did not take long to realize that as everything was not as it seemed.

At first glance, the cause and manner of death of this initially healthy 23-year old woman was made it appear that abortion was not even a factor in Atkins’s death. The cause of death was “Pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy.” Her manner of death was natural.

In other words, the autopsy findings that a blood clot formed as a result of her healthy pregnancy and coincidentally at the moment of the abortion, it traveled to her lungs and killed her.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Once Operation Rescue and Abortion Free New Mexico announced Atkin’s death and released the public autopsy report, the Albuquerque Journal jumped all over it, declaring in their headlines, “Autopsy rules out abortion as cause of death.”

The newspaper cited the opinion of the UNM Office of the Medical Investigator that it was Atkins’ pregnancy that killed her, not the four-day late-term abortion process that Operation Rescue believes was mismanaged her eighty-year old abortionist, Curtis Boyd, and fumbled by UNM hospital where she died.

But as William Shakespeare once said, “Truth will out.”

No matter how much UNM may have tried to obfuscate what happened to Keisha Atkins, the truth seeps through in the pages of the autopsy report in descriptions of her physical condition and the complications she experienced in what must have been an excruciatingly panic-filled and painful death.

“Somehow, these people want us to believe that Atkins developed blood clots as a result of her pregnancy, and through no one’s fault, a blood clot just coincidentally moved to her lung and killed her in the middle of a late-term abortion, which, of course, played no part in her death,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “That’s ludicrous in light of the rest of the autopsy report findings.”

Here is what happened to Keisha Atkins, according to the autopsy report, information provided by her family, and documented information obtained through research by Operation Rescue.

Atkins reported to Southwestern Women’s Options, the nation’s largest late-term abortion facility, on January 31, 2017, to begin a four-day late-term abortion. She was at least six months pregnant, and may have been even farther along according to the tipster that contacted Tara Shaver.

Sometime during the ensuing days, something went wrong and Atkins developed a bacterial infection.

Possible sources for such infections during late-term abortions include:

• Complications from the repeated insertion and removal of laminaria cervical dilators;
• The fact that the baby in the womb is killed on Day 1 of the procedure and the woman must carry her dead fetus for days before completing the abortion;
• Unsanitary conditions and/or practices by abortion facility staff.

On February 3, four days after her abortion process began, Adkins reported to Southwestern Women’s Options for the completion of her abortion. She was showing signs of a dangerous, systemic infection known as sepsis. She also displayed difficulty breathing as she was being prepared for labor. (Read more about how late-term abortions are done.)

Because of the seriousness of her condition, an ambulance was called at 12:04 p.m., but was later cancelled by the clinic, according to a 911 Computer Aided Dispatch transcript obtained by Operation Rescue. At some later point in the day, Atkins was transported by unknown means to UNM Hospital.

Once at the hospital, Atkins was tested for blood clots with negative results. The autopsy report made an effort to explain the rare false-negative test with one statistic that shows false negatives occur in as high as 10.7% of cases. (In other words, no one was at fault.)

Atkins continued to suffer shortness of breath and below base-line oxygen levels despite supplemental oxygen. She also experienced abdominal cramping pain, an elevated heart rate, and reduced ventricular function in her heart.

Additional tests of her placental tissue showed the presence of a bacterial infection. Post-mortem tests of her uterus also showed evidence of the infection.

Why is this significant to understanding the truth behind Atkins’ death?

Bacterial infections are a known trigger for a life-threatening condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC).

DIC is a clotting disorder that begins with the rapid formation of small blood clots that block small blood vessels. As the clotting becomes more aggressive, it essentially strips the rest of the blood supply of the clotting factor. This typically results in hemorrhaging of the body cavity and various organs, including the brain.

In addition to bacterial infections, other causes of DIC can include retention of a dead fetus and surgery – both of which were documented in Atkins’ autopsy report.

Supposedly operating under a false-negative test for blood clots, UNM Hospital staff conducted a surgical Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) dismemberment abortion to remove the dead baby.

During the D&E procedure, Atkins suffered a fatal heart attack due to a blood clot in her lungs. Resuscitation efforts were so aggressive that her ribs were broken, yet they proved unsuccessful.

She also received “multiple blood product transfusions,” – a standard treatment for DIC – but to no avail.

Atkins was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. on February 4, 2017.

Atkins’ autopsy revealed “acute coagulopathy” as well as hemorrhaging in the brain (left adrenal gland), inside the abdominal cavity, and from the uterus. She also had a massive build-up of serous fluid around her lungs.

How do we know she hemorrhaged from the uterus when that is not specifically mentioned in the report? There was a curious notation in the initial description of Atkins’s body that stood out.

A Foley catheter was present that led through the cervix and into the uterus. A Foley catheter balloon is used to tamponade the inside of the uterus to stop heavy bleeding. (Such a procedure is described on page 24 of this unrelated medical board document.)

The UNM coroner’s determination that Atkins died from “Pulminary thromboembolism due to pregnancy” is suspect, at best.

These are a few of the symptoms described or strongly inferred in Atkins’ autopsy report thatthe coroner’s opinion does not account for

• Uterine hemorrhaging;
• Hemorrhaging in the brain;
• Blood found in the abdominal cavity;
• A large amount of serous fluid found around the lungs, (over 40 ounces);
• Bruising of the extremities (another symptom of DIC).

The UNM cause of death also does not account for the multiple transfusions of blood products she was given at the UNM hospital.

These symptoms do not make sense in light of a random blood clot in the lungs. However, they do make sense in light of the clotting and hemorrhaging that exemplifies DIC.

It more likely that during Atkins’ four-day abortion process — during which she retained the body of her dead baby — a bacterial infection turned septic and initiated a fatal cascade of symptoms associated with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation.

It is Operation Rescue’s opinion, based the facts found in the autopsy report, that the UNM cause of death determination is simply not the truth.

The abortion facilities involved in patient deaths first try to conceal the fact that a patient died. If that doesn’t work, the abortion businesses immediately attempt to deny any culpability for their patient’s death.

What is the easiest way to do that? Whitewash the truth by blaming the woman and/or her pregnancy.

The leftist mainstream media is usually a willing co-conspirator in the cover up, and the response to the Atkins death was no exception.

Once Operation Rescue and Abortion Free New Mexico announced Atkin’s death and released the autopsy report – a public record — the Albuquerque Journal jumped all over it, declaring in their headlines, “Autopsy rules out abortion as cause of death.”

The newspaper cited the opinion of the UNM Office of the Medical Investigator that it was Atkins’ pregnancy that killed her, not the four-day late-term abortion process that Operation Rescue believes was mismanaged her eighty-year old abortionist, Curtis Boyd, and fumbled by UNM hospital where she died.

UNM’s own autopsy report described in detail compelling evidence that it was complications from the abortion process that killed Keisha Atkins – not her pregnancy.

There can be no doubt that if Keisha Atkins had not endured the process of a four-day late-term abortion, she would be alive today.

So why the attempt to obfuscate the true cause of death?

UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options are partners in the trade in aborted baby remains. SWO is the sole supplier of aborted baby tissue and organs to UNM. Both are under criminal investigation by the Attorney General’s office based on a complaint filed by Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico and criminal referrals issued by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

This gives them UNM and SWO motive to nefariously ascribe the death of Keisha Atkins to her pregnancy in order to prevent another abortion-related scandal in the middle of a criminal investigation into their alleged participation in the illegal baby body parts trade.

This may also be why there was no notation of the weight of the dismembered remains of Atkins’ baby in the autopsy report. While the baby’s remains were present during the autopsy, revealing the weight might also reveal the truth about how far along Atkins’ pregnancy really was.

On a side note, some have expressed misplaced concern that the autopsy report was made public, and that its release may have compromised Atkins’ privacy, or more absurdly, her legal rights as a dead person. In reality, there is no legal issue with making a public document available to the public.

In fact, its release is actually a public service. The people have a right to know what is going on at SWO and UNM, especially because they are both recipients of public funds. They have a right to know that not everything is as it appears in the left-wing Albuquerque Journal.

When abortion is involved, concealing the truth that seeps through in these public documents only serves to aid the abortionists and their associates, who are desperately trying to diffuse any controversy around Atkins death.

Tara Shaver’s anonymous tipster apparently had a sense that something was very wrong in the way Keisha Atkins’ death occurred and how it was handled after the fact. And that person’s instincts were right.

If this information can prevent others from suffer Atkins’ fate, it is morally imperative to make sure the public – as well as the authorities investigating UNM and SWO — knows about it.

Operation Rescue urges the New Mexico Medical Board and the Attorney General’s office to aggressively investigate Keisha Atkins’ death, and bring those responsible for it and its cover-up to justice.

Read Atkins’ Autopsy Report

Woman DEAD from Abortion at Late-Term Facility Currently Under Criminal Investigation

PRESS RELEASE
(By Cheryl Sullenger)

Albuquerque, NM – A woman has died as the result of a late-term abortion process initiated at Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is the largest abortion facility in the U.S. that openly specializes in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Abortion Free New Mexico obtained the autopsy report for Keisha Marie Atkins, 23, who died on February 4, 2017, after being transported from SWO to UNM Hospital. Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico has also been in communication with members of Atkins’ family.

Operation Rescue is assisting Abortion Free New Mexico with an investigation of this tragedy.

This abortion-related death is particularly troubling in light of a criminal investigation that is currently underway by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office into Southwestern Women’s Options and UNM. UNM has aggressively worked to increase second and third trimester abortions at SWO, which, in turn, is UNM’s largest provider of aborted baby tissue and organs. A U.S. House investigation found this arrangement violates state and federal law, despite stonewalling and obfuscation on the part of UNM and SWO.

Atkins reported to SWO on January 31, 2017, for a four day late-term abortion procedure that was to be done by eighty-year old abortion facility owner Curtis Boyd. It is believed that Atkins was six months pregnant or more.

Four days later, on February 3, 2017, Atkins returned to SWO for the completion of the abortion where she displayed labored breathing and signs of sepsis, a systemic, life-threatening infection.

At 12:04 p.m. on February 3, an ambulance was called to transport Atkins to the hospital, but was later cancelled, raising questions of how and when Atkins actually received emergency medical help.

Once at the UNM Medical Center, Atkins’ condition deteriorated rapidly, prompting UNM staff to perform an emergency D&E abortion procedure to remove her baby through dismemberment.

During the procedure, Atkins suffered cardiac arrest. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. on February 4, 2017.

An autopsy was conducted at the UNM Health Sciences Center by the UNM Office of the Medical Investigator, which also serves as the Bernadillo County Coroner. The OMI determined that Atkins cause of death was “pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy,” in other words, blood clots in the lungs.

However, a careful review of the autopsy findings indicates that this cause of death is a whitewash meant to blame Atkins’ pregnancy for her death instead of what appears to be a mismanaged late-term abortion procedure.

“UNM is a biased promoter of abortion that is attempting to shift blame onto Atkins’ pregnancy, instead of the abortion, where the blame rightfully belongs,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Keisha Atkins and her family deserve the truth, not a cover-up. But with UNM and SWO, covering up their misdeeds has become standard operating procedure.”

There is evidence that Atkins suffered from sepsis, a bacterial infection caused by the four-day abortion process, which brought about symptoms consistent with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC). Atkins suffered hemorrhaging in her brain, a buildup of fluid around her lungs, and other symptoms of DIC that the autopsy ignored.

Pro-life leaders believe there is a way to keep other women from suffering Atkins’ fate.

“We call on the New Mexico Attorney General to step up their criminal investigation, and we call on the State Medical Board to take a hard, honest look at Keisha Atkins’ death,” Newman said. “Curtis Boyd should be stopped from practicing, and the dangerous Southwestern Women’s Options should be shut down for good.”

“Coverups are as heinous as the crimes, and the crimes of the abortion cartel in New Mexico have been covered up for too many years. It is time for Hector Balderas to do his job or resign. It is time for the UNM Regents to do their jobs or resign. It is time for the New Mexico Medical Board to fully investigate Keisha’s death without bias,” said Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, The Protest Priest.

“We join the family of Keisha Atkins as they grieve her death from serious complications during a late term abortion at Southwestern Women’s Options. She was a 23-year old vibrant woman with her whole life ahead of her that was tragically cut short,” stated Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico. “For years we have worked to expose the barbaric nature of late term abortion in New Mexico and sought to bring accountability to the unregulated and unaccountable Abortion Cartel. Now more than ever, we need leadership in our city and state to take a bold stand and the necessary steps to prevent the needless deaths of women and their children through late term abortion.”

View the autopsy report.

Late-term Abortion Facility Turns Over Records as New Undercover Recordings Expose Additional Crimes

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – In a new development, a spokesman for New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, James Hallinan, confirmed last week that Southwestern Women’s Services and the University of New Mexico have submitted a “voluminous” amount of records in response to the ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal trafficking in aborted baby remains and other crimes.

“While we can confirm there is an ongoing investigation and both UNM and SWWO have responded to our demands by producing a voluminous amount of records, we cannot comment further on the investigation,” Hallinan said in an email to the Albuquerque Journal.

The Attorney General’s investigation and “aggressive” request for documents, which was first made public during a meeting between national pro-life leaders and Deputy Attorney General Tania Maestas in April.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico, and later criminal referrals from the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. Representatives from Operation Rescue, Priests for Life, the Survivors, and Abortion Free New Mexico attended the meeting. Also present was Cathern Glenn Foster, who has since become President and CEO of Americans United for Life.

However, there is some question about whether the “voluminous” records represent full compliance.

Southwestern Women’s Options and UNM previously submitted documents to the House Select Panel during its investigation into the practice of procuring aborted baby remains for “research.” It is believed that neither entity fully complied with the Select Panel’s subpoenas.

According to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who chaired the investigatory panel, UNM was especially uncooperative. UNM officials never showed up to the any of the several meetings with investigators, which were arranged at UNM’s request.

“We can only hope that this new state criminal investigation will be finally result in justice. Southwestern Women’s Options and UNM must be held accountable for their actions that are suspected of violating a ban on the use of fetal tissue for experimentation, as well as a woman’s informed consent,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Since Balderas is a Democrat who was very slow to act on these serious allegations, there is no guarantee there will be a prosecution. We hope Attorney General Balderas will chose to put aside partisan politics and his personal bias favoring abortion, and just enforce the law as written as he was elected to do.”

This development comes in the wake of new investigative reports from Abortion Free New Mexico that reveal disturbing behavior by Southwestern Women’s Options.

An undercover recording revealed how tax money completely pays for abortions for any reason – even through the third trimester of pregnancy — on women who can qualify for Medicaid. A caller identifying herself as 30-weeks pregnant, was told that Medicaid would pick up the full cost for her elective late-term abortion.

While that might not be a crime, failure to report child sex abuse is.

A second undercover recording featured a caller posing as a minor girl who was 26-weeks pregnant by an older family member. Instead of being told to contact the authorities, the incest victim was told to call New Mexico Medicaid, which would pay the full costs of her $7,500 for the abortion. The caller was never notified that the abortion facility would be required to report suspected child sex abuse.

“This latest undercover call continues to rip the veil off the abortion industry and show our nation what even most ‘prochoice’ people oppose: late term abortion of healthy babies, paid for by taxpayers, and conducted by an industry which provides cover for sexual predators,” said Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who has been working with Abortion Free New Mexico on their investigative efforts. “What we need to know to end abortion is found in the abortion industry itself. We just need to continue exposing it, and we will.”

New Mexico AG “Aggressively” Seeking Documents from UNM and Late-term Abortion Business in Criminal Investigation

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – In a new, encouraging development, the office of New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has confirmed to a group of pro-life leaders that an investigation of a complaint filed by Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico against the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) is being “aggressively” pursued.

This investigation also encompasses the criminal referrals against the publicly-funded UNM and SWO, the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S., made by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. Shaver’s complaint predates the Congressional criminal referrals.

Both Shaver’s complaint and the criminal referrals allege that UNM and SWO violated the state anatomical gift act as it relates to the ban on use of aborted baby remains in research and failed to provide legally-required informed consent to women.

“We are aggressively working on gathering further information that will assist in our ongoing review of this matter,” stated James Hallinan, Communications Director for the Office of Attorney General Hector Balderas, in a written statement requested by Operation Rescue.

Representatives from national and state pro-life organizations met on Wednesday with Deputy Attorney General Tania Maestas, including Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life, Jeff White and Cheryl Conrad of the pro-life youth group the Survivors, Catherine Glenn Foster of Sound Legal Group, Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, and Bud and Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico.

Maestas informed the group of leaders that the Attorney General’s office has sent “inquiry letters” to UNM and SWO requiring a “large amount of information to be produced” as part of the inquiry into alleged criminal conduct.

Earlier in the day, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who led the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ national investigation into the illegal sale of aborted baby remains for profit, addressed 150 pastors and pro-life leaders, telling them that UNM had never fully complied with subpoenas issued by the Select Panel. She said that at least four times, meetings were arranged with the Panel at the request of UNM officials, who never showed up for any of the meetings.

Later, Rep. Blackburn headlined a press conference on UNM’s campus and called for a thorough investigation into the criminal allegations, urging UNM to come forward and comply with the law.

Also speaking at the press conference were Catherine Glenn Foster, an attorney from Washington, D.C., who testified before the Select Panel during its investigation, and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life, who called out both political parties for their inaction. Both Foster and Fr. Imbarrato were unfazed by loud heckling both received from a handful of counter-protesters.

Among those counter-protesters was abortionist was abortionist Brenda Pereda, who conducts abortions at UNM’s off-campus abortion facility, the UNM Center for Reproductive Health.

Meanwhile, Paul Roth, Chancellor for Health Sciences at UNM, who came under fire during the Blackburn press conference for his lack of transparency and cooperation, issued a private memo to employees of his department claiming, “UNM HSC worked diligently to cooperate with the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives throughout its inquiry. We have also fully cooperated with the New Mexico Attorney General’s office.”

However, the Attorney General’s office gave no indication that UNM had already complied with their “Letters of Inquiry.”

“I hope UNM cooperates with the New Mexico Attorney General’s investigation better than they complied with the Select Panel,” said Tara Shaver. “Their idea of compliance has so far been to claim they are cooperating while doing the opposite.”

This week, Shaver and her husband, Bud, launched a new pro-life initiative called Abortion Free New Mexico. They plan to continue their work documenting abortion abuses at Southwestern Women’s Options, which is one of five abortion facilities in the nation that openly conduct abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy, with the immediate goal of holding it accountable for crimes it may have committed and seeing the abortion business closed.