Pro-Life Leaders Call for Criminal Investigation into Cleveland Abortion Death in Light of New Evidence

By Cheryl Sullenger

Cleveland, OH – Operation Rescue has received credible new evidence, apparently leaked from an inside source, that criminal conduct may have been involved in the abortion-related death of Lakisha Wilson at Preterm, a Cleveland, Ohio, abortion facility last year.

Operation Rescue has joined once again with other state and national pro-life leaders in calling for a criminal investigation and closure of the abortion facility.

“The credibility of the evidence is beyond reproach,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “It was unsolicited evidence provided to me by an unknown source who obviously wants the truth to come out. Once this information came to our attention, it was our duty to report it to the County Prosecutor.”

A letter of complaint was sent to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty on January 16, 2015, by the following pro-life leaders:

• Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue
• Day Gardner, National Black Pro-Life Union
• Denise Leipold, Right to Life of Northeast Ohio
• Molly Smith, Cleveland Right to Life
• Denver Sallee, Lake County Right to Life
• Pastor Walter Moss, National Black Pro-Life Coalition

Copies to the letter were sent to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Executive Director of the Ohio Department of Health Richard Hodges.

The groups are calling for an immediate suspension of Preterm’s facility license pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

The letter focused on two allegations supported by documentation now in the possession of Operation Rescue:

Criminal negligence, related to a small and repeatedly malfunctioning elevator at Preterm, which delayed emergency access and treatment to Ms. Wilson.
Illegal abortion, related to evidence that Ms. Wilson’s pregnancy was well beyond Ohio’s 20 week limit.

Due to the sensitivity of the evidence that supports the complaint, Operation Rescue will only release it to designated law enforcement officials.

Faulty Elevator

Preterm operates five abortion procedure rooms on the third floor of their facility located at 12000 Shaker Boulevard in Cleveland. The only gurney access is through a small elevator that was malfunctioning on March 21, 2014, the day of Lakisha Wilson’s fatal abortion.

The new evidence shows that emergency medical technicians were delayed by the malfunction from reaching Ms. Wilson, who was suffering cardiac and respiratory arrest during a second-trimester abortion procedure.

When EMTs were finally able to access Ms. Wilson, they found her still on the abortion table with her legs in the stirrups. She was not breathing at all and her pupils were fixed and dilated. According to the documentation, Preterm abortionist Lisa Perriera had applied a pediatric oxygen mask to Ms. Wilson, which had to be replace by an adult-sized mask by emergency responders. Ms. Wilson’s IV line had been inadvertently pulled out during the confusion in the cramped surgical room prior to the arrival of ambulance personnel.

While EMTs were able to restart Ms. Wilson’s heart, they were unable to give her other necessary life support measures in a timely manner — including intubation — because in order to do so, they needed to lie her flat on a backboard. However, the inadequate size of the elevator prevented the EMTs from fully reclining the gurney as required.

Instead, Ms. Wilson was transported down the elevator in an upright, seated position. She was then rushed to an awaiting ambulance where she was finally intubated and her IV line restarted before being rushed off to University Hospital Case Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead.

“There can be no doubt that the size and unreliability of Preterm’s elevator was responsible for delaying emergency care to Lakisha Wilson when every moment meant the difference between life and death,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

This was not the first time that Preterm’s elevator played a role in hampering emergency medical care for an abortion patient suffering from life-threatening complications.

Operation Rescue obtained 911 records that indicated on March 31, 2012, an ambulance was called for a 32-year old patient weighing approximately 300 pounds who was hemorrhaging after an abortion due to uterine atony, a condition in which the uterus fails to contract enough to seal off blood vessels after an abortion. The woman’s estimated blood loss was 600 cc’s, or in American measures, over 20 ounces.

However, the facility’s elevator was broken and the Preterm caller had to request additional responders to help carry the woman down from third floor in order to extricate her from the building so she could get the emergency help she needed.

“Women’s lives literally depend on Preterm’s faulty elevator that is just too small to ensure that proper care can be given during life-threatening medical emergencies. It is negligent for Preterm to conduct abortions under these dangerous conditions,” said Newman. “We also have to question why the Ohio Department of Health continues to allow Preterm to do abortions, knowing that the elevator is undependable and inadequate to allow proper access during the frequent medical emergencies that arise there. It seems irresponsible at best and possibly negligent on their part.”

Illegal Late-term Abortion

The second concern expressed by the pro-life leader’s letter of complaint relates to the possibility that Ms. Wilson’s pregnancy, said by Preterm to be 19.4 weeks at the time of the abortion, was actually closer to 23 weeks – three weeks beyond the legal limit in Ohio. Despite the evidence that Ms. Wilson’s pregnancy was so far advanced, Preterm abortionists conducted no viability testing as required by law.

“We are aware that a person conducting an ultrasound can manipulate the transducer to make the baby appear to be younger or older, depending on the desired outcome. We have reason to believe that there was manipulation of the ultrasound results to make it wrongly appear that Ms. Wilson’s abortion was legal,” said Newman.

Such manipulation of ultrasound results was testified to in court by one of Kermit Gosnell’s co-defendants, Steven Massof, during Gosnell’s illegal abortion and murder trial in 2013, which as attended and reported on by Operation Rescue. Massof told the court under oath that falsification of fetal ages via ultrasound manipulation was routinely done at Gosnell’s abortion clinic. Gosnell was convicted of killing babies born alive during illegal late-term abortions at what has become known as his Philadelphia “House of Horrors” and is serving life in prison.

In addition, Operation Rescue conducted an undercover investigation in January, 2009, at George Tiller’s now-closed late-term abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas, that documented ultrasonic manipulation by a Tiller employee, which rendered a false fetal age on a pregnant Operation Rescue undercover volunteer. Operation Rescue had the actual age of the volunteer’s pregnancy confirmed by two independent ultrasound exams done by reputable providers.

Evidence Ignored

The evidence points to the fact that the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Medical Board are aware of the dangerous conditions at Preterm and of the fetal age discrepancies, but chose to ignore them.

Investigations conducted by both agencies at the behest of the pro-life groups went nowhere. The cases related to Lakisha Wilson’s death were quietly closed without action, leaving women vulnerable to possible illegal late-term abortions, and at grave risk due to a dangerously small and frequently malfunctioning elevator at Preterm.

Other calls for a criminal investigation have been ignored by the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office. A previous letter of complaint related to the Wilson death was submitted to Prosecutor McGinty by Denise Leipold, Executive Director of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio, in July of last year. Leipold never received an acknowledgement or response to her complaint.

Groups involved in the current attempt to gain a criminal investigation and prosecution hope this time, things will be different due to the supporting evidence that was sent to Sullenger.

“Based on the evidence now in our possession, it seems unconscionable that the Ohio Department of Health and Medical Board have allowed Preterm to continue to operate knowing that the lives of women and late-term pre-born babies that should be protected by law are being endangered every day at that abortion facility,” said Newman. “It’s just plain wrong, and now that we know the truth, we are attempting to rectify this intolerable situation and bring those responsible for these violations to justice.”

Background:

Wilson’s Autopsy Report
Press Conference from April 2, 2014
Pattern of Botched Abortions at Preterm
Cleveland’s University Hospital Enables Abortions
Buffett Foundation Tied to Preterm

Influential California Pastor Names Abortion Free “Book of the Month”

Chino Hills, CA – Pastor Jack Hibbs, Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, has named Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger’s new book, Abortion Free, the “Book of the Month” and will feature it in the church’s bookstore for the month of January.

Pastor Hibbs made the announcement Sunday to his congregation of 5,000 worshippers.

“We are grateful to Pastor Hibbs for making the decision to highlight Abortion Free this month and raise awareness of the urgent need to end abortion in our nation,” said Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “With leadership from the pulpit, we can expect to see great gains as more Christians become involved in protecting innocent lives and work to create abortion-free communities.”

In Abortion Free, Newman and Sullenger share a collection of experiences from the front lines in the battle for life that illustrate successful methods they have developed over decades of activism that are closing down abortion facilities and putting abortionists out of business around the nation. When abortion clinics close, lives are saved.

In fact, Operation Rescue just released the results of their nationwide survey that documents the closing of 73 abortion clinics in 2014 alone!

Newman and Sullenger are the experts on the subject. With the account of one of the nation’s most notorious abortionists, Kansas’ own George Tiller, as the backdrop, they share their more than fifty years of combined experience in shuttering dirty, life-threatening clinics in the first pro-life book that will teach you step-by-step what you can do to help close your local abortion clinic and make America abortion-free.

With the upcoming memorial of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in America, which will be marked on January 22, Newman and Sullenger’s Abortion Free is perhaps the most relevant pro-life book that has been published in years!

Abortion Free: Your Manual for Creating an Abortion Free America One Community at a Time is available now at Amazon.com, and from WorldNetDaily.com.

Still Vanishing: 73 Abortion Facilities Shut Down in 2014

An Operation Rescue Exclusive Special Report
By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – A new survey conducted by Operation Rescue of all abortion facilities in the United States has confirmed that the abortion clinic closure trend continued strongly in 2014. Operation Rescue is the only pro-life organization that maintains a listing of abortion facilities and tracks clinic closures and its extensive research has provided the most accurate accounting of abortion facilities known to exist.

In all, 73 abortion facilities shut down for all or part of the year. The total number of all remaining abortion clinics in the US is currently 739. Surgical abortion facilities account for 551 of that total while the number of medication-only abortion facilities stands at 188.

Out of 60 surgical abortion clinic closures, 47 were permanent. This represents a 23% decline in surgical abortion facilities over the past five years.

Thirteen surgical facilities were allowed to reopen after initially closing, primarily due to court action that enjoined abortion safety laws that had shut down the substandard facilities.

Thirteen facilities that provided only medication abortions account for the remaining closures in 2014. That more than doubles the number of medication abortion facilities that closed in 2013 when six were shuttered.

While the abortion clinic closures did not eclipse the high water mark of 93 total closures in 2013, the 73 closures this year far exceeds the two dozen closures recorded in 2012.

The 2014 figures represent a net decrease of 31 surgical abortion facilities nationwide. even though the number of medication abortion facilities increased by 11 over 2013 numbers, they still remain below the high of 196 facilities in 2012.

“We are continuing to witness the implosion of the abortion cartel in America,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The only things that are preventing total collapse are court injunctions that are blocking several state abortion safety laws from being enforced. Once those laws clear the courts, we expect to see even more dangerous abortion facilities close. This is great news for women and babies because when abortion clinics close, lives are saved.”

The greatest number of closed facilities took place in Texas as the result of the 2013 abortion law known as HB2. Eleven surgical and three medication-only facilities shut down permanently over the course of 2014.

Closures far outpaced clinic openings. Fifteen facilities either added surgical abortions or opened for the first time. Thirteen clinics, primarily Planned Parenthood centers, added medication abortions to clinics that previously did not provide them. Eight clinics that formerly provided surgical abortions made the decision to halt those procedures, but continue to sell medication abortions.

“As new states laws add safety standards for surgical abortions, we are seeing the beginnings of a new trend. Abortion providers who cannot or will not comply with the higher standards have, in some cases, dropped surgical abortions in favor of medical abortions so they did not have to become licensed,” said Newman. “This allows incompetent abortionists to continue exploiting women for money while evading the need to increase patient safety.”

Some of the more notable abortion facility closures included:

Outpatient Services for Women, Oklahoma City, OK: This surgical clinic shut down after the arrest on December 9 of clinic owner and operator Naresh Patel on charges of fraud and racketeering after Operation Rescue filed complaints. Patel had been caught selling abortion pills to women who were not pregnant.
All Women’s Health, Chicago, IL: Clinic owner, abortionist Mandy Gittler, closed this facility after local activists protested there over the death of Tonya Reaves, which was killed by Gittler in 2012 at a Chicago Planned Parenthood clinic.
Novi Laser and Aesthetic Center, Novi, Michigan: This facility shut down after being evicted from two locations this year. After the last eviction in November, owner Michael Arthur Roth had nowhere to go.
Aid for Women, aka Central Family Medical, Kansas City, KS: Operation Rescue discovered evidence of multiple abortion abuses and lodged complaints. This facility was best known for suing in court for the right to stop reporting child sex abuse. Under pressure from the medical board and struggling for business, Aid for Women, finally shut down.
Affiliated Women’s Services, Indianapolis, IN: This facility, associated with the infamous late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart shut down in July due to financial woes and a lack of demand for abortions.
Femcare, Asheville, NC: Its shut down earlier this year for two dozen serious health and safety violations caused an outcry from abortion supporters since it was thought to be the only facility that could pass new safety standards. It reopened briefly before permanently closing after its abortionist, Lorraine Cummings, announced her retirement and placed the building for sale.

There are several primary reasons why abortion facilities continue to close. Those reasons include:

• The enactment and enforcement of new state laws.
• Increased reporting by pro-life activists of incompetent and/or criminal behavior committed by abortionists.
• Financial struggles within the abortion cartel due to decreased demand for abortions.
• The retirement of abortionists who are not replaced.

In 1991, there were 2,176 surgical abortion facilities operating in the U.S. Since then, a full 75% of those facilities have closed.

As abortion facilities continue to close, abortion numbers continue to fall. While national abortion numbers remain incomplete, the average number of abortions decreases by about 3% annually. However, state statistics show that the drop in abortions that is more pronounced in areas where there are abortion clinic closures.

For example, in Ohio, four abortion facilities closed in 2013, the most recent year for which abortion figures are available. During that year, the number of abortions dropped by nine percent – three times the average national drop in abortion numbers.

“No matter how one views the numbers, they show that we are winning,” said Newman. “As the truth about abortion abuses and other dangers become public and are followed by new laws that increase protections for women and their babies, we can only expect the decline of the abortion cartel to continue until it collapses altogether.”

Please visit AbortionDocs.org for a listing of all abortion facilities in the U.S. and documentation of their known abuses. A listing of closed abortion facilities is also available there.