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

Planned Parenthood Abortionist Deceptively Omitted Patient Death on Indiana License Application

Operation Rescue has filed a complaint calling for Mandy Gittler’s Indiana license revocation for failing to report a malpractice settlement related to the 2012 death of Tonya Reaves.

By Cheryl Sullenger

Indianapolis, IN – Mandy Gittler has something to hide.

On July 20, 2012, she reported to work as usual at a Chicago Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. But what happened next was anything but routine.

That day, Gittler fatally botched a second trimester abortion on a young African-American woman named Tonya Reaves. While Reaves’ life ebbed away, Gittler delayed her transport to the hospital for 5½ hours. By then it was too late. Reaves died from internal injuries that had been inflicted upon her by Gittler during two consecutive incomplete abortion procedures that ruptured her uterus and caused internal hemorrhaging.

Reaves’ family sued and on January 24, 2014, they settled their malpractice case with Gittler’s employer, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, for the significant amount of $2 million, most of which will be paid to Reaves’ surviving young son, Alvin Jones, III, throughout his life.

That incident is certainly not the kind of thing that an abortionist wants on his or her resume.

Later, Gittler shut down her private Chicago abortion facility and took her abortion act on the road, hiring on at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and an independent abortion facility in Peoria, Illinois.

It appeared that her professional career had survived the Reaves abortion/death scandal and was moving on as a “circuit-riding” abortionist.

Then on September 3, 2014, Gittler submitted an application to obtain a medical license in Indiana, which was granted on November 7.

When Operation Rescue received a copy of Gittler’s Indiana application, one answer jumped out.

Next to a question that asked whether she had ever had a malpractice judgment against her or settled any malpractice action, Gittler had marked the box indicating “no.”

There was no mention of Tonya Reaves, her tragic and avoidable death, or the malpractice suit that clearly named Gittler as a defendant – and not a word about the $2 million settlement for her fatal acts that “deviated from the standard of care.”

Last week, Operation Rescue filed a complaint against Gittler with the Indiana Attorney General for violations of the Indiana Administrative Code, which states regarding license applications, “All information on the application shall be submitted under oath or affirmation, subject to the penalties for perjury.”

It is clear from the documentation Operation Rescue included with its complaint that Gittler was the primary person responsible for Reaves’ death and that Planned Parenthood agreed to pay because there was simply no defense for Gittler’s negligence.

Operation Rescue’s complaint narrative connects the dots from one court document to another and discusses a letter from the plaintiff’s expert witness that places the blame for Reaves’ death squarely on Gittler’s shoulders.

Filed with the Jones v. Planned Parenthood complaint documents, a redacted medical opinion dated September 28, 2012, can be found. . . That letter is purportedly written by a physician who is board certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology who is familiar with abortion procedures.

The letter notes that Mandy Gittler performed a dilation and evacuation abortion on Tonya Reaves on July 20, 2012, at a Planned Parenthood of Illinois office without the use of ultrasound guidance. After the procedure, Reaves experienced excessive bleeding and another dilation and evacuation procedure was performed by Gittler. The reviewing physician stated that Gittler “did not timely recognize that the patient needed to be transferred to a hospital for care and treatment, which resulted in a delay in her receiving care and treatment that she needed.” Reaves died as a result.

The letter further notes that each procedure done by Gittler and her delay in sending her patient to the hospital each represented deviations in the standard of care and concludes that if the deviations had not occurred, Reaves would have survived.

Gittler submitted to a sworn deposition in Jones v. Planned Parenthood on August 22, 2013, wherein she admits having conducted two dilation and evacuation abortion procedures on Reaves on July 20, 2012, at a Planned Parenthood of Illinois office. . . She further admits to a timeline that showed Reaves was not transported to a hospital for 5 ½ hours after Reaves’ first procedure and the onset of excessive bleeding.

It was soon after Gittler’s deposition, in which she shamelessly attempted to blame Reaves’ death on a non-existent uterine deformity, that her employer, Planned Parenthood of Illinios, settled the malpractice suit. Gittler left them with nothing to defend. Her negligence was obvious.

“It is our position that Gittler intentionally concealed information about Reaves’ death and the ensuing malpractice suit and settlement from the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We are asking for her medical license to be rescinded or revoked because deception was used to obtain it.”

If the Indiana Attorney General’s office finds that Gittler committed perjury, she could be criminally charged.

“We cannot stand idly by while Gittler acts like Tonya Reaves’ death never happened. It was extremely disappointing when the Illinois medical board decided to place the lives of other women at risk by excusing Gittler of responsibility for taking Tonya’s life,” said Newman. “If Indiana decides to act, it won’t be perfect justice, but it will be something. Tonya deserves at least that.”

Read the Complaint Narrative, with links to documentation.

Abortionist that Killed Tonya Reaves During Botched Abortion Has Closed Her Chicago Abortion Business

By Cheryl Sullenger

AllWomensHealthClosed-FeaturedChicago, IL — The abortionist that was responsible for the late-term abortion death of Tonya Reaves has shut down her All Women’s Health abortion facility in Chicago, the Pro-Life Action League has confirmed.

The closure was discovered when members of the Chicago-based group arrived at the clinic on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, for a planned public outreach only to find the facility closed and a “For Rent” sign on the door. A phone call placed by a League member confirmed that the abortion clinic had gone out of business.

All Women’s Health was operated by abortionist Mandy Gittler, who was working at a Chicago Planned Parenthood abortion center on July 20, 2012, the day Reaves paid $459 and received a fatal Dilation and Extraction dismemberment abortion of her 16-week pre-born baby from Gittler.

This closure brings the current number of remaining surgical abortion clinics in the U.S. to 572.

“Many independently owned abortion businesses are shutting down due to financial issues,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We would hope that her notoriety as the white abortionist that killed Tonya Reaves, a poor urban woman of color, contributed to her failed abortion business.”

Operation Rescue heavily publicized details of Reaves’ death while the Pro-Life Action League had conducted protests at the All Women’s Health abortion facility in the past.

According to records, including Reaves’ autopsy report and Gittler’s sworn deposition, Reaves suffered internal bleeding and an incomplete abortion, but was not transported to the hospital for over five hours after the bleeding began. By then, it was too late to save her life.

Emergency 911 records obtained by Operation Rescue also showed that Planned Parenthood failed to call 911 for emergency transport, even though they had been instructed earlier in the day by an emergency dispatcher to do so since that was the quickest way to get help.

Gittler attempted to blame Reaves’ death on a malformed uterus even though later documentation revealed that Reaves suffered no such condition.

Reaves’ family sued Gittler and Planned Parenthood for the wrongful death of Tonya Reaves. The suit was eventually ended in a settlement agreement in which Planned Parenthood must pay $2 million, most of which will go to Reaves’ surviving son over the course of his lifetime.

Gittler’s Illinois medical license profile indicates that in addition to Planned Parenthood, she may now be working at the troubled National Health Care abortion facility in Peoria, Illinois, where numerous “serious” violations were discovered in 2012, after it underwent its first inspection in over a decade.