Buffett Foundation Tied to Cleveland Abortion Clinic Where Woman Died

By Cheryl Sullenger

Cleveland, OH – Operation Rescue has uncovered links between the Cleveland abortion clinic, Preterm, where a 22-year old African-American woman suffered a fatal abortion last month, and a foundation managed by the Warren Buffett family. This connection raises concerns that third-world-style abortion practices are being taught to hospital residents that will further endanger the lives of poor urban women of color.

On March 21, 2014, Lakisha Wilson was “not breathing at all” when she was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital Chase Medical Center where she was pronounced dead after suffering late-term abortion complications at Preterm.

Preterm, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, became the official training site for the University Hospital Chase Medical Center Ryan Residency Program in Abortion and Family Planning in 2011, according to Preterm’s 2011 Annual Report. University Hospital is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University, which is listed on the Ryan Residency Program’s website as a program location.

An article published in the New York Times in 2010 revealed that the Ryan Residency Program is funded by “one foundation and one family,” the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named for the former wife of Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett.

“In a very real way, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is making sure that substandard abortion practices, such as those that took the life of Lakisha Wilson, are all that are being taught in the U.S. This has the effect of making sure that abortion clinics, especially those like Preterm that target minority communities, offer no better than the dreadful standards akin to those found in third world nations,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

“We have to wonder if there isn’t a racial component to the Buffett family’s funding of abortion training that is costing the lives of African-American babies and mothers at a rate many times higher than any other racial group.”

The Ryan Residency Program springs from the extremist Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco, the same group that created a “study group” of non-physicians then trained them to do abortions to see if the complication rate went up when abortion were done by the less qualified group. In fact, the non-physician complication rate was found to be twice as high as that of licensed physicians, nevertheless, this study paved the way for the enactment of a radical California state law last year that lowered abortion standards so that non-physicians can now conduct abortions in that state.

In 2010, Preterm, which is located in a predominately Black community in urban Cleveland, added Lisa Perreira to its staff as part of a collaboration with University Hospitals. The addition of Perriera enabled Preterm to expand into the more risky later abortions through 23 weeks of pregnancy even though at that time she had little experience, having been licensed to practice medicine for just one year. Preterm proudly noted that it was now among “less than a quarter of providers [that] offer abortion services beyond 20 weeks.”

Not surprisingly, that year, the number of abortion-related medical emergencies appeared to increase. Local pro-life activists began to document these incidents, including that of a 26-year old Preterm patient that suffered “serious” uncontrolled hemorrhaging. At the time the call was placed to 911, the woman was still under anesthesia and had not regained consciousness.

Just months after Preterm’s official affiliation with the Ryan Residency abortion training program in 2011, another ambulance was called to the abortion facility in early 2012 to care for an overweight high-risk abortion patient suffering from hemorrhaging after an abortion who had to be carried down from the clinic’s third floor due to a broken elevator. The decision to conduct an abortion on a woman with such high risk factors, knowing that emergency responders could not easily reach her in the event of an emergency, reflected poor judgment at best and was more likely an example of gross negligence and reckless endangerment of this woman’s life.

Then last month, Lakisha Wilson died from a late-term abortion at Preterm.

The abortionist who witnesses say followed Wilson’s ambulance to the hospital was 79-year old Mohammad Rezaee, who had been medically trained in 1950′s Iran where standards lagged behind American medical practices.

Operation Rescue has confirmed that two of Rezaee’s children, Roya and Rod Rezaee on staff at University Hospital Chase Medical Center.

“Who was responsible for Wilson’s fatal abortion? Was it Rezaee, as we initially thought, or was it Lisa Perriera, Preterm’s youngest and least experienced late-term ‘specialist’ who was also on duty at Preterm that day? If Perriera conducted the abortion, why did Rezaee go to the hospital? Was it to use his relationships with his son and daughter to keep Wilson’s death quiet? Was one of the Buffett-funded Ryan Program trainees involved? These are all questions that deserve answers,” said Newman.

The fact that Ryan Program abortion students are being trained at a facility with a history of abortion-related life-threatening injuries and death is troubling, especially since the medical complications that have been documented by pro-life activists are likely a small fraction of what actually occur.

“If Preterm’s abortion trainers are engaged in substandard practices that are endangering women, those who are being trained will only perpetuate those dangerous habits,” said Newman. “That does not bode well for vulnerable women who are preyed upon by abortion businesses that are in stiff competition with each other for every abortion dollar and aren’t afraid to cut corners to maintain their profit margins.”

Operation Rescue continues to join with pro-life leaders from around the nation in calling for the closure of Preterm in light of Wilson’s death.

“A young woman and her pre-born baby has died and we do not want anyone else to follow them to an early grave,” said Newman. “The fact that a billionaire’s foundation, a multi-million dollar hospital, and a radical out-of-state abortion program are involved doesn’t diminish the fact that the ‘coat hanger’ abortion groups say they deplore is actually at work in the abortion clinic today. The only way to protect women and their babies is to close the Preterm abortion business for good.”

Pattern of Botched Abortions Surfaces At Cleveland Abortion Clinic Where Patient Died

Cleveland, OH – Operation Rescue has released two videos featuring 911 call recordings showing a pattern of botched abortions at Preterm abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, where Lakisha Wilson suffered a fatal abortion last month.

These new revelations take place as the pro-life community prepares to conduct a memorial service for Wilson and her aborted child. Wilson’s death was first discovered by Operation Rescue through an open records request for 911 records after being tipped off by Pastor Dale Henkel, who photographed the ambulance at Preterm on March 21, 2014.

The memorial will take place Friday, April 11, 2014, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. at Perfect Peace Baptist Church, located at 12001 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120. After the service, mourners will walk to the Preterm Abortion Clinic across the street from the church to continue their vigil. The service is being organized by Pastor Walter S. Moss of Cleveland.

The two additional medical emergencies took place on March 31, 2012, and on June 26, 2010. Both incidents give indications of negligent and substandard practices. The recordings were provided to Operation Rescue by local pro-life activist Frank Kosmerl who also photographed both events.

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.

“I question the judgment of the Preterm abortionist that was responsible for the abortion on this high-risk patient,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “With the elevator down, emergency help was delayed for this patient. It was irresponsible to conduct a surgical procedure on this high-risk patient under those circumstances in a facility that isn’t equipped to handle complications in the first place. It showed complete disregard for the life and safety of this patient.”

A complaint was filed with the Ohio Medical Board by local activist and witness Hugh P. Gaughan, who received written confirmation that the Board would investigate the incident. However, that was the last Gaughan ever heard from the OMB. No disciplinary action was ever taken.

The second video released by Operation Rescue involves an emergency that took place on June 26, 2010. It involved a 26-year old woman who was suffering “serious” uncontrolled hemorrhaging on a woman who was under anesthesia and had not regained consciousness. An ambulance was summoned and instructed to go to the back door of the facility.

“It is clear that medical emergencies that endanger the lives of women take place on a routine basis at Preterm, but that so far they have been swept under the rug. I can’t help but wonder if the Board had taken action on the 2012 complaint whether Lakisha Wilson and her baby would be alive today,” said Sullenger. “We have to make sure that other women are not harmed by Preterm’s practices by seeing to it that this time those responsible are held accountable.”

The Wilson death remains under investigation and her official cause of death and autopsy report are still pending.

ODH Inspectors At Preterm While Pro-Life Leaders Held Press Conference Concerning Abortion Death


Press conference participants outside Preterm in Cleveland, Ohio, April 2, 2014.

Cleveland, Ohio – Gathered around a spray of pink and white flowers that held a photo of Lakisha Wilson, state and national pro-life leaders conducted a press conference yesterday outside Preterm, the Cleveland abortion clinic where Wilson died. The leaders made a unified call on the Ohio Department of Health to suspend Preterm’s abortion facility license pending a full investigation.

But what participants did not know at the time was that while they addressed the media before a large gathering of pro-life supporters, officials from the Ohio Department of Health were inside the facility conducting a preliminary investigation. One news station reported that the officials were at the abortion clinic for most of the day.

In further developments, Molly Smith of Cleveland Right to Life informed the crowd that Governor John Kasich has been asked to instruct the Attorney General’s office to investigate Wilson’s death due to concerns that her abortion may have been done illegally.

It is now also being reported that Wilson was five months pregnant at the time of her abortion on March 21.

A source informed Operation Rescue that Wilson was turned away from two other clinics due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy. The legal limit for abortions in Ohio is 20 weeks gestation.

The pro-life press conference featured Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, who told reporters, “It is clear that if pro-life groups had not discovered Lakisha’s death, it would have been covered up and swept under the rug. How many other women have died from shoddy abortion practices at Ohio abortion clinics? The truth is that no one knows. This kind of cover up only adds to the illusion that abortion is safe so that the next unsuspecting woman who walks in those doors has no idea she could end up in an early grave.”

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman confirmed today with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office that there continues to be no determination of the cause of Wilson’s death. The body was released to the family for burial.

Earlier, Operation Rescue filed complaints with the ODH and with the Ohio Medical Board asking for full investigations and disciplinary action. Ohio Right to Life today encouraged its supporters to all file complaints with the Medical Board against each of Preterm’s known abortionists, Mohammad Rezaee, Lisa Perriera, and Rebecca Lowenthal.

“We would like to thank each and every pro-life person who attended the press conference, either as a speaker or as a supporter. Together, we made a powerful statement to the media of our care for Lakisha and her grieving family and our determination not to rest until justice through legal channels has been accomplished,” said Sullenger.

In addition to Sullenger, Smith, and Leipold, speakers at the press conference included Dr. Day Gardner, National Black Pro-Life Union, Rev. Arnold M. Culbreath, Urban Outreach Director of Life Issues Institute, Inc., Pastor Walter Moss, Pastor Dale Henkel, Janet Porter of Faith2Action, Denver Sallee, and Mark Harrington of Created Equal.

View background with video and 911 call and the CAD transcript.

News video below.