Dramatic Reversal: Abortion Protests Lead to Promising Public Policy Shift in New Mexico

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM — The first-ever National Strike for Life, held on January 22-23 was an astounding success, especially in New Mexico, where the idea for the two-day strike first originated.

One of the most impressive developments to come out of the event was a dramatic change in heart of New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who campaigned as a pro-life supporter, but has been reticent in the past to take any action to make abortion facilities more accountable in her state where clinics have no oversight and abortions are legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

“There are literally no abortion laws in New Mexico. There’s no waiting period, no parental notification, and no safety standards or inspections. There’s no limits on abortion whatsoever. Because of this ‘Wild West’ attitude toward abortion, babies are killed in Albuquerque up until the day before birth,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, co-author of the new book, Abortion Free, which describes how to end abortion one community at a time. “Women and babies who should be protected by law are vulnerable prey to unscrupulous abortion mills that exploit the moms and take the lives of their babies for profit. It is only reasonable to call on the Governor for reforms.”

Now, a remarkable turn-around has taken place as a result of a year of focused protests culminating in last week’s National Strike for Life. Led by Protest ABQ’s Bud and Tara Shaver, who once interned for Operation Rescue, and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, the protests weren’t always popular.

In fact, last June, Martinez’s Re-Election Campaign Manager and Chief Campaign Strategist, Jay McCleskey, became tired of the protests that begged for help from Martinez in protecting women and babies from late-term abortions and confronted the pro-life activists – including the Shavers — stating, “You are all pieces of S***!”

Bishops speak out

But during the Catholic Bishop’s annual prayer breakfast with legislators on January 21, Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, joined in Project ABQ’s call for abortion reforms and urged the New Mexico Legislature to pass a bill that would ban abortions at 28 weeks, or in the third trimester of pregnancy. So important is this new bill that the Bishops of New Mexico have made it their top legislative priority.

“It seems very reasonable after 28 weeks to have a bill for restrictions,” stated Archbishop Sheehan.

With the Republicans now in control of the House in New Mexico after years of domination by pro-abortion Democrats, for the first time the bill actually has the potential of passing.

Governor relents

Just two days after Archbishop Sheehan’s speech, Gov. Martinez relented of her previous inaction and went on the record in support of the bill banning late-term abortions. In addition, her spokesman noted that she also believes parents should be notified before a minor can have an abortion and went on the record with her support of Parental Notification legislation.

Albuquerque Journal supports late-term abortion ban vote

Then on Monday, January 26, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial calling on the Legislature to put a late-term abortion ban to a vote. This is remarkable, given the newspaper’s opposition to the 2012 Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks in the City of Albuquerque, where the largest late-term abortion facility in America, Southwestern Women’s Options, dangerously operates.

“In 2013, 42 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, a Gallup poll found a nation still deeply divided – 47 percent said they were pro-choice and 46 percent pro-life. But in the same poll, just 14 percent thought abortion should be legal in the last three months of pregnancy and 80 percent opposed it,” stated the Journal’s Editorial Board. “When it comes to late-term abortion, New Mexico’s lawmakers should put themselves on record as well.”

Beginning of the end?

The Bishop’s public support for ending late-term abortions via new legislation, Gov. Martinez new pledge of support for pro-life legislation, and the Albuquerque Journal’s new-found support of a late-term abortion ban represent a foundational shift in public policy that could be the beginning of the end for unrestricted abortion in New Mexico.

If successful, the new legislation would save thousands of lives from abortion and spare women from the exploitation and grief that is currently inflicted upon them by the abortion cartel in New Mexico every day.

“Certainly, if it had not been for Protest ABQ’s relentless effort to bring about change, this dramatic reversal would never have happened,” said Newman. “Creating social tension through protest is still an effective tool for achieving change, and the developments in New Mexico prove it.”

Operation Rescue partnered with Protest ABQ in sponsoring the National Strike for Life, along with The Survivors, Created Equal and The Anti Choice Project: Washington D.C.

For more details and photos from the National Strike for Life activities nationwide, visit ProtestABQ.com.

Photos courtesy of ProtestABQ.com.

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

Double Trouble: Ambulances Transport Two Women in One Day from Haskell’s Dayton Late-term Abortion Clinic

By Cheryl Sullenger

Kettering, Ohio – Local pro-life activists have informed Operation Rescue that yesterday, December 11, 2014, two ambulances were called to Martin Haskell’s infamous late-term abortion facility, Women’s Med Center in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Ohio.

The ambulances each transported one woman to a nearby hospital where neither Haskell nor his hired abortionists hold hospital privileges. Their conditions are currently unknown. Photos of the two ambulances, one showing clinic personnel attempting to shield a gurney with an umbrella, were provided to Operation Rescue by Bob Skovgard.

“This is the fifth medical emergency we have documented at Haskell-operated abortion facilities in the past two years,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “It is clear that the lives of women are being routinely placed in jeopardy by Women’s Med Center staff. The State of Ohio should move quickly to deny renewal of Haskell’s facility license and shut down this abortion clinic before further tragedy strikes.”

According to Ohio law, abortion facilities must maintain a valid transfer agreement with a local hospital to meet licensing qualifications. However, Haskell could not qualify for such an agreement. Instead, he has operated his Women’s Med Center, which does abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy, on a variance granted by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

Earlier this year, Haskell’s second abortion facility located in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville, was forced to close after he exhausted his legal appeals of an ODH closure order.

“There is a history of problems with this particular ambulatory surgery facility and operator,” an ODH spokeswoman told the Cincinnati Enquirer in January. “The agency no longer has confidence that this ambulatory surgery facility will take necessary steps to operate in accordance with regulations.”

Those problems persist at Haskell’s Kettering facility. Currently approval of Haskell’s variance renewal application is under review.

Haskell has a long history of medical emergencies at the Kettering facility, including one incident on August 16, 2012, where a 37-year old patient suffered uncontrolled hemorrhaging after an abortion.

Operation Rescue, along with local activists, are continuing to seek additional information about yesterday’s two medical emergencies.