By Cheryl Sullenger
Fayetteville, NC — Recently, women were encouraged by Planned Parenthood to #ShoutYourAbortion in an effort to de-stigmatize and normalize abortion. This was in response to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of shock videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing callous remarks by its abortionists haggling over the price of aborted baby body parts, hoping to get top dollar.
However, when I spoke to Amanda (not her true name) just three short weeks after her recent abortion, she didn’t feel like shouting — unless it was at the abortionist who maimed her during an abortion that couldn’t have been more traumatic if it had been done in the “back alley” or at Kermit Gosnell’s squalid “House of Horrors.”
But Amanda’s abortion wasn’t done in a back alley. It was done at A Hallmark Women’s Clinic, a licensed abortion facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Her abortion was done by Melvin Lee Henderson, a licensed physician without a lengthy disciplinary record.
But that’s not to say Henderson didn’t have problems.
He retired from the practice of medicine in 1998 after back surgery and went into the restaurant/entertainment business, opening a “sports bar” in Fayetteville known as Docks at the Capitol. There were high hopes in the community that Docks, a restaurant, bar, and arcade, would anchor revitalization in that part of downtown, but slow service, bad food, and mismanagement soon led to financial difficulties.
By mid-2010, Docks had closed. Employees picketed outside Henderson’s business seeking a month’s worth of back pay. News reports at the time indicated that Henderson owed “more than half a million dollars in federal and state payroll and sales taxes.” A bank claimed he defaulted on a $4.3 million. His property was in foreclosure.
After four years of struggling with crippling debt, Henderson made an application to renew his North Carolina medical license on January 28, 2014. He was granted a full license on September 18, 2015 — 16 years after his first “retirement” and less than a year before he inflicted life-threatening injuries on Amanda.
It was early September, 2015, when Amanda, 31, drove into the Hallmark parking lot for a 10:00 a.m. appointment to abort her 14-week pregnancy. She was frightened to think of having an abortion. She had always considered herself “pro-life,” but she wasn’t sure where else to turn. Amanda was in an abusive relationship with a man who she accuses of raping her. She needed to end it with him, and was told an abortion was the solution to her emotionally troubling situation. She felt there was nothing else she could do.
As a pro-life activist, I could think of everything that was wrong in her decision to abort, but it was too late for all that now. Amanda was distraught just thinking of what happened to her. What she really needed was to tell someone who would understand, so I listened and tried to give her what little comfort I could.
The minute she pulled into the parking lot, Amanda sensed something wasn’t right. Hallmark was located in a run-down converted residential house, not a regular medical facility. To Amanda, it reminded her of an illegal abortion clinic she once saw in a horror show on television.
“I’m scared,” she told her mother.
“I know. I would be, too,” her mom replied, but tried to laughed it off. “You watch too much TV.”
The interior of the clinic wasn’t much better than the outside. The entire office had a dirty feeling. None of the doors locked, including the bathroom stall doors. She worried there was so little privacy.
Amanda was told the abortion would only take 3-5 minutes and would be done under anesthesia. She wouldn’t feel a thing.
But she did feel something. She felt everything.
“I don’t think the anesthesia is working,” Amanda told Henderson as he began the procedure and the pain began to increase to unbearable levels.
Henderson told her to calm down and take deep breaths. He told her to be quiet and that the pain was all in her head.
But the pain was all too real. Amanda began to cry. Then she began to beg.
“Please stop, it hurts, it hurts!” she cried over and over, but he kept telling her to calm down. It would be over soon.
Then Henderson did something inside her and she screamed. She knew things weren’t right.
“Look here, ma’am, you need to shut up before you scare the other women out of the clinic,” said the nurse who was operating the ultrasound machine while holding her down on the table with a firm arm across the torso.
Amanda knew she was in trouble. She begged for her mother to be brought into the room, but was told that wasn’t allowed.
Desperate and without thinking, Amanda grabbed the nurse’s arm in an effort to release some of the pain.
“Don’t you ever touch me!” yelled the nurse. Amanda felt humiliated, but the pain didn’t subside.
She continued to beg for Henderson to stop, but he told her if he stopped, she would need to be transported to the emergency room.
Amanda thought that was a good idea. At least maybe the hospital would give her something to stop the pain. But Henderson still refused to stop. Finally, he told her that he “got it” and they were almost done.
Suddenly, everyone left the room. She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do. She tried to sit up but the stabbing pain in her abdomen prevented her.
After about 10 minutes, Amanda was told to go across the hall to the recovery room, but Amanda couldn’t move. The nurse had to literally yank her off the abortion table. Somehow, hunched over and in dire straits, Amanda made her way across the hall and sat down in a recliner. She was given a heating pad and two mystery pills, and told to wait until Dr. Henderson could “figure out what he’s doing?”
Amanda was confused and wondered what was meant by that. Henderson had told her everything was good.
Later, the clinic’s so-called “counselor” came in to speak to Amanda. She said that there was some “tissue” left inside her that would pass through the night. She was told to expect some “light cramping.”
Amanda was given misoprostol pills in an envelope and told to return at 10:00 a.m. the next day so they could make sure the tissue passed. Henderson had emphasized to her not to go to the emergency room, but return to him instead.
By then, she had had enough. Amanda grabbed her phone, texted her mom, and told her to come back and get her out of there because she was in pain and they were hurting her.
Amanda’s mother went to the front desk to ask about her daughter and said she wanted to see her, but the clinic staff refused. Meanwhile, Amanda slowly struggled through excruciating pain to walk even the few steps to the dressing room.
Clinic staff told her told her that the abortion had taken a little longer because she was a little heavier than the other girls. She wasn’t bleeding at the time, so one of the clinic workers told her she would have no problems whatsoever and released her to go home at around 3:00 p.m.
Clinic staff sent Amanda out the back door so the other patients wouldn’t see her and leaned her against a tree until her mother could pull their car around to pick her up.
What started out to be a 3-5 minute painless procedure turned into a five-hour torturous ordeal at Hallmark.
But Amanda’s nightmare was only the beginning.
During the drive home, she laid screaming, barely able to breathe.
“Something’s wrong! They did something to my insides,” Amanda cried.
But her mother dismissed her pain as the cramping they were told to expect.
Once home, Amanda pled with her mother to take her to the hospital, but her mom was reluctant because she had to go to work. She suggested that Amanda keep her follow-up appointment at the clinic instead, but Amanda was adamant about not returning to Hallmark under any circumstances.
“I’ll take you to the hospital when I get off work,” her mom suggested as a compromise.
As she was telling me this, Amanda began to sob.
“And I looked at her and I said, ‘Mom, I’ll be dead before you get here!” Amanda remembered. “I’m in so much pain, I’m afraid I could be dead. I’m serious!”
Thankfully, Amanda’s mom called into work and drove her to the hospital – just in the nick of time!
The emergency room staff had to conduct some tests to find out why she was in so much pain.
To Amanda’s shock, an ultrasound discovered that Henderson had left her whole baby inside. Because air was detected in her chest cavity, the doctors at the hospital suspected a uterine tear. Amanda was told she would be in surgery for about 45 minutes to repair the tear and remove her dead baby.
However, once surgeons began, they didn’t stop operating for 7½ hours.
They were shocked to discover that the reason Amanda had not been bleeding was because she was hemorrhaging internally.
If she had waited even another hour to get to the emergency room, Amanda would have died from severe blood loss.
Surgeons also discovered that there were actually four perforations in her uterus consisting of three large tears – bigger than a silver dollar — and one that was smaller. They also discovered that her intestine and colon had been lacerated and her bladder was seriously bruised.
They called in a specialist and converted their laparoscopic procedure into a full abdominal surgery that required an 8½ inch vertical incision.
Amanda’s uterus was so mangled that the doctors couldn’t believe that Henderson had actually used ultrasound guidance during the abortion. After assessing the extensive internal damage, they wondered if he was actually a doctor or just some quack posing as one.
There was no saving Amanda’s womb, and she was given a full hysterectomy at age 31. It took 32 staples to close the surgical incision.
Henderson called the hospital and tried to get medical information as her doctor, but Amanda was using her own physician. She never wanted him to touch her again.
“He’s probably trying to make sure you didn’t die somewhere because he knows what he did and probably wants to could blame it on the next person,” her doctor told her when they discussed how Henderson was trying to get information about her condition.
In all, Amanda spent five days in the hospital. She was told she could not work for eight weeks. Because she couldn’t lift over five pounds, she needed constant help caring for her two-year old.
Amanda told me she still has nightmares every night where she is begging over and over, “Please, stop!”
She filed a complaint with the North Carolina Medical Board, but was frustrated that she couldn’t find a local attorney to take the malpractice case she hoped to file.
I referred her to a good pro-life attorney and to a group for post-abortion counseling, hoping I could help her get the assistance she needed. I promised to write her story so that others can beware of Hallmark and Henderson, and the grief her abortion has caused her.
“I want that place to get shut down because I don’t want anyone to ever, ever go through what I went through,” Amanda told me.
Stories like hers need to be told in order to bring to light abortion abuses that take place in abortion clinics across America every day, and Amanda was very brave to share hers with me. Silence only benefits the Abortion Cartel, which already works overtime to cover up their wrongdoing. Perhaps her openness about her experience can finally help bring Henderson and the shoddy Hallmark abortion business to justice.
You see, Amanda isn’t the first woman to tell me of Hallmark’s abuses.
In January, another young lady called me about her botched abortion without anesthesia done by another abortionist Malana Moshesh, at the unsanitary Hallmark clinic. I also wrote her story and filed the appropriate complaints on her behalf, but in an action reminiscent of the incompetent Pennsylvania Medical Board that turned a blind eye to complaints against abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the North Carolina Medical Board dismissed that complaint, leaving the door wide open for Amanda’s near-death experience.
In April, 2014, an article appeared online lamenting the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services lacked resources to inspect abortion clinics. This is just a lame excuse for allowing abortion abusers to run amok. It is because of a lack of oversight that shoddy abortion mills like Hallmark and incompetent abortionists like Henderson flourish.
Operation Rescue is calling on the North Carolina Division of Health Regulation to immediately close A Hallmark Women’s Center.
This time, the state must act – before a mother ends up on a slab in the morgue, as Amanda so nearly did.
Just a few days ago, Amanda contacted me again and I asked how she was doing.
“Physically as far as my surgery, I am doing better, but mentally and emotionally, it taunts me,” she said. “Hopefully, it will get better with time.”
Please contact the North Carolina Division of Health Regulation (NCDHR) and demand an unannounced inspection of A Hallmark Women’s Center and an investigation into abortion abuses taking place there.
NCDHR Complaint Hotline: 1-800-624-3004 (within N.C.) or 919-855-4500