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
Comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DOJ/
Comment on Twitter: @thejusticedept

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.

New Video with Urgent Message to Senate: Defund Planned Parenthood Now

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – As the Senate considers legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood, a new video produced by Operation Rescue provides a compelling reason for urgency.

The 1.5-minute video plays an excerpt from the chilling 911 call placed by Cree Erwin-Shepard’s mother when she found her daughter dead from a botched abortion on July 4, 2016. That is followed by a video clip of remarks made by Erwin-Sheppard’s brother, Tyler Sheppard, at a press conference held last month outside the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Erwin-Sheppard received her fatal abortion.

Referring to Planned Parenthood, Sheppard explained, “They are ravaging these women . . . I want to know what happened. I want to know why my sister’s life wasn’t good enough to save.”

“Our federal tax money currently enables Planned Parenthood to continue to inflict human tragedy on our society,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The response of Cree’s family to her loss humanizes that tragedy. This gives new urgency to the Senate’s impending vote to defund Planned Parenthood. If this family’s grief and pain are overlooked or ignored, then the Senate is only creating conditions that will ensure more women like Cree will be injured or killed, and more families will suffer.”

Please contact your Senators today and demand the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Pick your state for contact information.

Family Comes Forward with New Evidence, Questions about Cree Erwin’s Fatal Botched Abortion at Planned Parenthood

An unredacted autopsy report surfaces that shows a 4 cm perforation and internal hemorrhaging as the result of a botched abortion

By Cheryl Sullenger

Kalamazoo, MI — At a press conference with pro-life leaders held yesterday outside the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Tyler Sheppard, the brother of Cree Erwin-Sheppard produced new evidence to show his sister suffered an incomplete abortion in addition to a large uterine perforation.

Sheppard, who lives in Florida, traveled to Michigan specifically to participate in the press conference, so he could call attention not only to what happened to his sister, but also to what goes on at Planned Parenthood.

“They are ravaging these women . . . I want to know what happened. I want to know why my sister’s life wasn’t good enough to save,” he said.

Sheppard displayed a copy of Cree’s medical record obtained by another family member from Bronson Hospital in Battle Creek where she had sought help for severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting two days after having a 12-week abortion at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo.

At the hospital, records show that an ultrasound discovered “products of conception” inside the uterus consistent with an “incomplete miscarriage,” the hospital’s term for an incomplete abortion.

“They saw baby parts still inside of my sister and they still sent her home . . . I want to know what happened,” Sheppard said, questioning why she was not treated at this hospital.

Instead, the Bronson Emergency Department prescribed a pain killer and an anti-nausea medication to Cree and told her to report to her doctor or Planned Parenthood after the long July 4th weekend.

However, the hospital pharmacy was closed for the weekend and Cree was in too much pain to get those prescriptions filled. She died just hours later.

Cree’s death certificate noted mysteriously that her “injury” took place because of “unprescribed drug use,” but Sheppard insisted that his sister did not use illegal drugs. Methadone was found in Cree’s system but Sheppard said he believes that she took the methadone because she was in excruciating pain and she could not fill the prescription for pain medication prescribed by the hospital.

The press conference, led by Michigan pro-life activists Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Detroit and Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, also spurred the local news media to conduct their own research. As a result, the Kalamazoo Gazette requested and received public records from the City of Battle Creek that contained a final police death investigation report and an unredacted autopsy report.

Pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, which has worked with Lynn Mills and Catherine Davis, Founding Core Member for the National Black Pro-Life Coalition to investigate Cree’s death, were given heavily redacted copies of the autopsy report that covered any mention of Cree’s abortion and injuries she suffered because of it.

However, the unredacted autopsy, now in the hands of Operation Rescue thanks to the Kalamazoo Gazette, sheds new light on exactly what Cree’s botched abortion did to her.

The coroner reported a four-centimeter long full-thickness perforation that ran through the lower back side of her uterus. The autopsy also discovered 250 cc’s (or 8 ½ ounces) of blood that had hemorrhaged internally into the space behind her uterus. Her womb was also filled with “clot material,” in which the Bronson Emergency Department identified parts of the aborted baby.

As for the redactions found in the copies provided to pro-life groups, the Kalamazoo Gazette confronted Calhoun County Jim Dyer, who admits he made the decision to omit the abortion related information from only certain copies.

Dyer admitted that he withheld critical information from those he determined to be “curiosity seekers,” in order to “protect the family.” However, Dyer’s poor judgement in deciding who deserved access to public information only hurt the family – and helped cover up for Planned Parenthood.

“I want those responsible for my sister’s death to take accountability for it, be responsible. Giving us the information they gave us is insulting our intelligence,” Sheppard stated, referring to the redactions in Cree’s autopsy report.

“I have a message for Mr. Dyer and any other city official who thinks he or she can dole out public information to whomever they deem worthy,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We are not ‘curiosity seekers.’ We are members of the public who happen to be serious pro-life investigators and journalists that have a keen interest in truth and justice. The law says we’re are entitled to public information such as autopsy reports. You have no right to violate the public records laws simply because you do not like those who are seeking public information. Mr. Dyer should resign and issue Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s family a public apology.”

The Kalamazoo Gazette also learned that after the Battle Creek Police referred Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s death investigation information to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, it was determined that Cree’s death warranted no investigation, and the case was closed on September 9, 2016.

However, Mills learned last week that a complaint filed by Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue against Laura Castleman is still open. Castleman is the abortionist whose name was on a Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood prescription slip made out to Cree Erwin on the day of her fatal abortion.

“In our attempts to hold Castleman accountable, we pray for an unbiased investigation that does not assume, as so many investigators do, that everything possible was done for Cree. It wasn’t. It was unconscionable for Planned Parenthood to kick Cree down the road with an incomplete abortion and a big hole torn in her uterus,” said Newman. “It may have been a mistake, but people are forced to pay for their mistakes all the time. Abortionists should be no different, especially when the mistake is a fatal one.”

Tyler Sheppard wants the world to know that before she died, his sister acknowledged that she regretted her abortion decision.

“She was very sorrowful. She was regretting it. Not just because she was in agonizing pain. She was bawling. She was crying her eyes out. She didn’t like that she did that,” Tyler Sheppard told reporters.

Read Erwin-Sheppard’s Bronson Hospital Records
Read Erwin-Sheppard’s Unredated Autopsy Report
Read Battle Creek Police Final Death Investigation Report

MI Pro-Life Advocates Demand Answers in Planned Parenthood’s Fatal Botched Abortion

Kalamazoo, MI – Pro-life supporters, holding signs that read “Justice for Cree and Her Baby,” gathered outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on a frigid Friday morning to call attention to Planned Parenthood’s responsibility for the death of a 24 -year-old patient.

The March 31, 2017, protest, led by Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Michigan and Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, pointed to documentation that shows Cree Erwin-Sheppard died from injuries, including a perforated uterus, during an abortion she received during an early suction aspiration abortion at the Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood. [Read more and view full documentation.]

While Erwin-Sheppard’s death certificate listed the full cause of death, the autopsy report was heavily redacted and made no mention of her abortion, which took place on June 30, 2016. Erwin-Sheppard died three days later in her mother’s home in Battle Creek.

“We know she died as a result of coming to this place for a surgical abortion. We’d like to put pressure on the M.E. to release all facts related to the autopsy report,” Mills told reporters.

Mills went on to say in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette that the heavy redactions were not about protecting Erwin-Sheppard’s privacy, but more likely were done to protect Planned Parenthood.

“We want to know why the medical examiner felt it was necessary to black out, to redact, all of these complications,” Mills said. “Why is she covering up for Planned Parenthood?”

Mills refuted the notion that the redactions were done for privacy reasons.

“They are not protecting the privacy of Cree Erwin,” she said, noting that “they put out everything females would not want exposed,” from Erwin-Sheppard’s weight to condition of her body, tattoos and piercings and details of her underwear.
“They are not protecting Cree’s privacy, they are covering up that horrible place and what they did to Cree,” she said, gesturing toward the clinic beyond the metal fence that surrounds it.

The protest prompted reporters to reach out to Detective Sgt. Troy Gilleylen of the Battle Creek Police Department, who had opened a homicide investigation into Erwin-Sheppard’s death last July. He indicated that the case had been turned over to the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and that he planned to “release more information next week.”

Currently there are open complaints filed by Operation Rescue against the Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood and an abortionist, Laura Castleman, whose name was found on an unused prescription slip issued from Planned Parenthood on the day of Erwin-Shepard’s abortion.

“A healthy woman walked into Planned Parenthood, received an abortion and died. I don’t care how safe Planned Parenthood says abortions are, it was fatal for Cree or her baby. Those involved in killing Cree must be held accountable for her death,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
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Note: Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger teamed up with Lynn Mills and Catherine Davis Founding Core Member for the National Black Prolife Coalition in July to investigate Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s death and Planned Parenthood’s involvement. The documents referenced above were obtained by them.