Teen’s Death Warns Us about Lack of Abortion Safety at Planned Parenthood

By Cheryl Sullenger

New York, NY – Roselle Owens had a bright future.  At just 17, Roselle looked forward to graduating from High School in the spring of 2009 and attending college in the fall. 

By all appearances, she was doing all she could to succeed in life. One of her Facebook photos showed a happy and healthy African-American teen showing off a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider with the caption, “No alcohol for me!”

But in April of that year, Roselle discovered she was pregnant. 

On April 11, 2009, she sought an abortion at the Margaret Sanger Center Planned Parenthood, located at 26 Bleecker Street in Manhattan. 

It was the last thing she would ever do.

Even though Roselle Owens died ten years ago, this case takes on new importance in light of the increased medical emergencies that have been recently documented at Planned Parenthood’s Bleecker Street location.

The Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood has a long history of hospitalizing abortion patients.  While public records are nearly impossible to obtain in the leftist enclave of New York City, local activists have documented an average of about one medical emergency at this facility every twelve days so far this year.

Because extra information about the women’s conditions is so difficult to obtain, it is impossible to tell if more women like Roselle have died due to botched abortions or negligent care at the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood. 

According to a medical malpractice/wrongful death suit filed by her father, Thurman T. Owens, Planned Parenthood’s website indicated that abortions were “very common” and “safe.”  Roselle believed them.

Mr. Owens’s attorneys also noted in his complaint that Roselle and her family were never fully informed of the possible risks of abortion prior to her procedure.

“This case stands as a warning to women who seek abortion at the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood – or any other abortion facility, for that matter,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.  “Abortion is not as safe as Planned Parenthood claims. We know this because we have been documenting cases of medical emergencies at abortion clinics for several years.  It is a sad reality that women who walk into an abortion facility may never walk out.”

Roselle was placed under general anesthetic and was given an abortion by Gerald Zupnick, an aging abortionist who also has a long history of medical malpractice dating back to the 1970’s.

According to the Owens legal complaint, Zupnick noted in his operative report that the abortion, which ended at 9:20 a.m. that fateful day, was uneventful with no complications.

However, other notes in the records indicated that Roselle was experiencing labored breathing immediately after the abortion and that her oxygen saturation levels had dropped.

Nevertheless, Roselle was inadequately monitored as her condition deteriorated.  The seriousness of her breathing difficulty was not recognized until it was too late, and she was not given proper treatment. 

The lawsuit also alleges that Planned Parenthood delayed in contacting EMS for emergency assistance and transport.

At 9:43 a.m. – 13 minutes after Roselle was first observed struggling to breath, an ambulance was finally called.  Roselle was transported to St. Vincent’s Medical Center 10:05 a.m.

By then, Roselle had suffered brain damage due to hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain.  She was placed on a respirator and was never able to leave the hospital.  On September 8, 2009, Roselle was pronounced dead.

Zupnick reached an out-of-court settlement with the Owens family on July 21, 2015.  Because that, there is no court record of the terms of that settlement.

Planned Parenthood followed suit with a discontinuance of the case followed by an off-the-books settlement on February 10, 2016.

There is no notation on Zupnick’s New York medical license profile that would indicate that he was involved in the death of a patient or that an undisclosed settlement was reached.

“These people at Planned Parenthood did not seem to care if Roselle Owens lived or died. We cannot overstate how serious the situation really is there,” said Newman. “Women are being hospitalized on a regular basis.  We doubt that Roselle Owens has been their only fatality. This is one of Planned Parenthood’s dirty little secrets they take great pains to conceal from the American people. This abortion facility poses a danger to the public and should be closed immediately.”