By Cheryl Sullenger
Jefferson City, Missouri — A new provision in an abortion safety bill has been introduced in the Missouri State Legislature that would make it a misdemeanor crime for abortion clinic workers to interfere with medical assistance by asking ambulances to run with no lights and no sirens. It is the first of its kind in the nation.
If passed, the new law would make such interference punishable by up to one year in jail and fines up to $2,000.
While Planned Parenthood representatives have said the new bill has nothing to do with the health and safety of women, Operation Rescue has evidence to prove that their assertion is a false one.
It is a fact that ambulances running silently take longer to reach their destinations than ambulances running with lights and sirens.
“Asking an ambulance to run in silent mode actually delays care to women when minutes can mean the difference between life and death for women experiencing abortion injuries or other complications,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, whose organization tracks and documents medical emergencies at abortion facilities nationwide.
The real reason abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood do not want ambulances running to their clinics with lights and sirens has everything to do with wanting to avoid bad publicity, according to a former Planned Parenthood abortionist.
Marc E. Heller worked for Planned Parenthood in New York until earlier this year. In a recorded interview with a student from the Cooperstown Graduate Program, conducted on November 19, 2016, Heller explained how Planned Parenthood handled ambulance calls.
“We always said to the ambulance, ‘Please come to the back entrance. Please don’t use any sirens or lights,’ because we knew that the protestors that were there every day would call the press. And there would be a press thing about ‘another botched abortion,’” Heller said.

Mary Kogut, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, has admitted that her St. Louis abortion facility has in the past asked that no sirens be used for the numerous medical emergencies that occur at that clinic.
“[We] may have asked that the siren wasn’t on so that it didn’t alarm other people,” Kogut said, later claiming that it is no longer their policy to ask ambulances to run slowly without sirens.
“Expecting an abortionist to self-police is unwise at best, and often foolhardy. The minute they think no one is looking, they revert back to their bad behavior. We have seen it over and over again,” said Newman. “This law is meant to protect women suffering life-threatening abortion complications from further harm inflicted by often incompetent abortionists who are more interested in covering up their mishaps than getting proper emergency treatment for the women they injured. This law is absolutely necessary.”
The tragic effects of delaying medical care to patients suffering from botched abortions was dramatically illustrated in the death of a 19-year old Down syndrome girl, Christin Gilbert. She had reported with her parents to a Wichita abortion facility for a late-term abortion in January 2005.
When Gilbert, who was pregnant due to a sexual assault, suffered life-threatening complications, one of the clinic workers called 911 begging them to come with no lights or sirens, which delayed their arrival at the abortion facility by several minutes. When emergency responders finally arrived, they were unprepared for the severity of Gilbert’s condition, thinking it was just a routine inter-facility transfer. She died at a local hospital later that day.
Operation Rescue strongly supports the new Missouri bill because the St. Louis Planned Parenthood – the last abortion facility left in Missouri — is a high-volume clinic that has experienced an extraordinary number of medical emergencies. Operation Rescue has documented 65 medical emergencies involving patient ambulance transports there since mid-2009.
Preventing Planned Parenthood from asking ambulances to run more slowly may indeed save lives.