Court Records Indicate Nearly 1,000 Abortion Patients Likely Hospitalized Annually in Texas

By Cheryl Sullenger

Austin, TX – A decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the State of Texas to enforce a controversial abortion law passed last year reveals that abortion complications that require emergency hospitalization are higher than thought, and raise the concerns that the true number of serious abortion-related injuries and maternal deaths are being kept from the public.

“Information in this decision has forced us to crunch the numbers,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Our calculations based on conservative estimates indicates that nearly 1,000 women might very well be hospitalized each year in Texas alone. That number is completely unacceptable.”

The appeals decision issued on March 27, 2014, reveals troubling information that was submitted in the form of sworn testimony during a challenge to the constitutionality of HB 2, a sweeping abortion law that requires abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion clinics and follow protocols set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for administering the abortion pill, mifepristone, also known as RU-486.

According to the ruling:

During these proceedings, Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Witnesses for both sides further testified that some of the women who are hospitalized after an abortion have complications that require an Ob/Gyn specialist’s treatment.

That number was based on information provided by Planned Parenthood’s expert witness, abortionist Paul Fine, who serves as Medical Director of the organization’s mammoth Houston abortion clinic where Operation Rescue has documented three medical emergencies in the past year.

38-Year Old Complication Rate

Fine referred to studies that show “only 2.5 percent of women who have a first-trimester surgical abortion undergo minor complications while fewer than 0.3 percent experience a complication that requires hospitalization.” Calculations related to abortion patient hospitalizations were made from abortion numbers provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) showing that 70,003 abortions were done on Texas residents in 2011.

However, expert witness Dr. John Thorp told the court that the 0.3% hospitalization estimate “is based on data that is thirty-eight years old.” He also indicated that abortion complications are notoriously underreported and that only one-third to one-half of all abortion patients return for follow-up visits where complications could be reported to clinic staff.

In addition, in many states, abortionists are simply not required to report abortion complications. The underreporting means that the percentage of women actually suffering surgical abortion complications is much higher.

The number suggested by Planned Parenthood of “at least 210 women” who were hospitalized due to abortion complications was not based on any actual reporting. Instead, it appears to have been calculated using 2011 state abortion numbers with Fine’s 0.3% hospitalization rate, and assumes that all of the 70,003 abortions done on Texas residents in 2011 were first trimester surgical procedures, an assumption that is completely inaccurate.

Medication Abortions

Numbers obtained from the DSHS indicate that in 2011, 26 percent of all abortions on Texas women were done using the abortion pill. The court documents reveal testimony indicating that a full six percent of women who obtain medication abortions using the abortion pill require surgical abortions due to failure of the abortion pill process.

Based on those numbers, there would actually have been approximately 1,089 cases where women required surgical intervention following medication abortions.

Hospital Referral Policy

How many of those were actually hospitalized? Additional testimony in the Appeals Court decision gives some indication that the numbers could be in the hundreds.

The ruling revealed that many Texas abortionists “have virtually no history of hospital admissions since the experts presented by the plaintiffs argued that it is the practice of many abortion physicians to instruct their patients to seek care from an emergency room if complications arise.”

Planned Parenthood’s abortionist Fine even testified that “the appropriate course of action” in the event of abortion-related complications “would be to refer the woman to a nearby emergency room.”

In view of this policy, if a conservative estimate of just 50% of Texas women suffering from medication abortion complications requiring surgical intervention went to the hospital for treatment instead of the abortion clinic, it would represent 544 women.

Riskier Second Trimester D & E

Also, second trimester Dilation and Evacuation abortions that have higher risk factors were done on 4,233 Texas women. While hospitalization figures for these women were not discussed in the court documents, if we conservatively estimate that the percentage of women hospitalized due to complications from these riskier abortions is six percent, the number of women hospitalized would be at least 254.

In total, an estimate of the number of Texas women hospitalized due to abortion complications would be closer to 1,000, even using the abortion industry’s “low-ball” figure of 0.3% complication rate for first trimester surgical abortions and very conservative second trimester estimates.

Disingenuous Attribution of Complications

To make matters worse, complications experienced by women who report directly to emergency rooms are not attributable as a complication for any particular abortion provider. Thus, the abortionist appears to the public as having a better safety record than he actually does.

Maternal Deaths Concealed

While the vital statistics kept by the DSHS indicated no women died in Texas in 2011 from abortion-related complications, there is reason to believe that abortion clinics are simply not reporting deaths of women who are pronounced dead at local hospitals.

“Suppose a woman suffered a fatal abortion complication at a Texas abortion clinic. If the clinic called for emergency medical assistance and the patient was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead, the abortion clinic would not report that death as one that occurred at the abortion clinic,” said Newman. “That’s exactly how abortion deaths get covered up and swept under the rug.”

Statistics on abortion-related maternal deaths remain unreliable due to this practice, which is common throughout the U.S., and due to the fact that often, the deaths are classified as something other than abortion related.

In fact, most incidents of abortion death are only made public when pro-life activists happen to be on site at abortion clinics when ambulances are called.

Such was the case with 2005 death of Christin Gilbert in Wichita, Kansas; the 2013 death of Jennifer Morbelli in Germantown, Maryland; and the death of Lakisha Wilson in Cleveland, Ohio, just last month.

Other known deaths from abortions have only been discovered when pro-life activists research documents such as clinic inspection reports, as in the 2013 case of Maria Santiago, who died at a Baltimore “clinic” owned by the notorious Steven Chase Brigham, which was located in a residential condominium.

“It is likely that women are dying from abortions obtained at Texas abortion clinics, but that those incidents will never be made public because the deaths were attributed to the hospital or some other cause of death – such as cardiac arrest, for instance,” said Newman. “It’s true that people die when their hearts stop, but what isn’t mentioned in many cases involving abortion is the part abortion played in causing the hearts to stop.”

Tens of Thousands

If we apply the information about abortion complications found in the Texas court records to the rest of the country, it is likely that tens of thousands of women are landing in hospital emergency rooms yearly unbeknownst to the public.

Overall in the U.S., there is a dangerous lack of current, accurate data on abortion numbers, complications, hospitalizations and deaths that lead to rough “guesstimates” based on dubious numbers that are decades old. This contributes to an inaccurate picture of abortion safety in America, as the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision shows.

Operation Rescue calls for states to continue to pass local hospital privilege requirements to protect women from shoddy abortion practices. In addition, states need to pass laws that require detailed reporting regarding abortion complications that will ensure such complications are not misattributed to hospitals where botched abortion patients are ultimately treated.

“The court found that requiring hospital privileges for abortionists within 30 miles of their abortion businesses means that women will actually be safer because hospitals require standards that weed out the most dangerous and incompetent abortionists,” said Newman. “The truth is that thousands of women in this country every year suffer needlessly from abortion complications because states do not require abortionists to meet standards required to ensure patient safety. The information in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is a wake-up call to every state. Requiring local hospital privileges is a way to protect women and save lives until such time as the practice of abortion can be completely abolished. This requirement should be passed in every state.”

View the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision No. 13-51008

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.

Houston Planned Parenthood Befuddles 911 Dispatcher with Attempt to Obfuscate Abortion Hemorrhage

By Cheryl Sullenger

houstonambulance08142013-featuredHouston, Texas – By now abortionists around the nation are well aware that Operation Rescue and other pro-life organizations are accessing public 911 records to verify and document abortion-related medical emergencies that are often witnessed by street activists outside American abortion clinics.

In some instances, abortion clinics have resorted to using private ambulance services that are not subject to open records laws. Others have pressured county records officials to over-redact public information in order to hide the seriousness of all-too-common abortion-related emergencies from the public.

In extreme situations, abortionists even have been known to violate patient care standards by transporting women suffering life-threatening abortion complications to emergency rooms using private vehicles so as not to draw attention to their latest medical mishaps.

However, in Texas, the monolithic Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Houston recently resorted to new tactics to obfuscate the severity of an abortion-related medical emergency and confuse anyone who might access the 911 record.

During a call to 911 placed on December, 14, 2013, from the towering Houston Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on Gulf Freeway, the caller is heard using medical abbreviations and “shorthand” terminology to conceal the fact that an abortion patient was suffering uncontrolled bleeding and heavy blood loss.

But the tactic backfired and served only to confuse the dispatcher and delay emergency care to the hemorrhaging abortion patient, who was eventually transported to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston.

Listen to the full 911 recording.

This transcribed excerpt is revealing of the lengths to which Planned Parenthood will go to conceal the fact that its abortionists are hurting women:

Planned Parenthood Caller: We have a 33-year old G-6, P-2 –

Dispatcher: Okay, what does that mean?

Planned Parenthood Caller: Um, she’s – um, been pregnant six times and has two living children.

Dispatcher: Okay. How old –

Planned Parenthood Caller: — Transport with IV running from ASC to Ben Taub. Um, she is status post complete A-B.

Dispatcher: What does that mean?

Planned Parenthood Caller: Abortion.

Dispatcher: Okay –

Planned Parenthood Caller: — With an EBL of 500.

Dispatcher: EBL?

Planned Parenthood Caller: Estimated blood loss.

Dispatcher: Oh, okay.

Planned Parenthood Caller: And she has no drug allergies.

Dispatcher: But she needs to go to Ben Taub — why?

Planned Parenthood Caller: Because she’s having some, um, bleeding that we can’t control.

Dispatcher: Oh, okay, okay, okay. That’s what I needed to know.

It took a long two minutes and six seconds into the 911 call before the dispatcher finally understood why the Planned Parenthood worker had called.

To translate, Planned Parenthood had just completed an abortion on a patient who was essentially hemorrhaging and had already lost 500 milliliters of blood in a relatively short time. The abortionist on duty could not control the bleeding, so they requested emergency transport from Planned Parenthood (an ASC or Ambulatory Surgical Center) to the hospital.

Just to give an idea of how much 500 ml of blood is in terms of American measures, she had lost approximately 17 ounces of blood – about half of the allowable blood loss for an average-sized woman undergoing surgery.

“If Planned Parenthood thinks their ‘insider lingo’ will outsmart us, they completely underestimate the Pro-life movement. This kind of nonsense is actually endangering the lives of women and delaying their access to emergency care when every minute might mean the difference between life and death,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It just goes to show that for Planned Parenthood, covering up their mistakes takes priority over the lives and health of women.”

Read about other abortion emergencies at this Planned Parenthood in Houston.