The Nation is Watching: After the Abortion-Related Death of April Lowery, Will the Alabama Department of Public Health Have the Courage to Act?

Take action to make sure those responsible for April’s death are held accountable by the authorities!

By Cheryl Sullenger

Tuscaloosa, AL – Last week, Operation Rescue released the autopsy report of April Lowery, 29, who died as the result of a perforated uterus received during an abortion at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last spring.

Operation Rescue is working with a coalition of national and state pro-life groups, including the CEC for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, and Pro-Life Tuscaloosa, to hold those responsible for April Lowery’s avoidable death accountable under the law.

Below are relevant facts that should be considered by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), which is responsible for licensing abortion facilities.

  • Lowery should have been turned away from the abortion facility because she was impaired by street drugs.

According to her toxicology report, when Lowery reported to the West Alabama Women’s Center (WAWC) for an abortion, she would have been obviously impaired from street drugs that were found in her system. Those drugs included an anxiety medication, marijuana, two types of Fentanyl, morphine, codeine, and traces of cocaine.  Even though the drugs were not listed as contributing to her death, she would not have been an any condition to give legal consent for an abortion.

  • WAWC staff should have known that no parts of Lowery’s baby had been removed during the attempted abortion, and that she had been seriously injured.  Yet no ambulance was called for her and she was released in an unstable physical condition.

The autopsy clearly noted that Lowery’s baby was found intact in her womb. Clinic staff should have realized that the abortion had been a failure. That alone should have been enough for the WAWC staff to call 911 for an ambulance.  The autopsy also described how a hole had been torn through the lower part of her uterus resulting in severe internal damage and hemorrhaging.  Given this life-threatening injury and witness statements that she was extremely pale and unable to make her way to her vehicle without assistance, WAWC’s failure to call an ambulance was unconscionable.

  • During the time of Lowery’s botched abortion attempt on May 7, 2020, WAWC had just changed ownership and was operating under the invalid facility license issued to a previous owner. 

This was a violation of Alabama Administrative Code Chapter 420-5-1, which requires the issuance of a new license upon change of ownership.   Clearly, the WAWC was not legally operating at the time of Lowery’s fatal abortion.  Because a woman died while the clinic was not legally allowed to conduct surgical abortions, that should be enough to permanently close this facility.

  • The abortionist believed to be responsible for Lowery’s death was Louis T. Payne, who surrendered his medical license a few months later under threat of disciplinary proceedings by the ADPH.

Payne was 81 at the time of Lowery’s abortion attempt.  Apparently, he was incompetent to practice medicine, as evidenced by the intent to discipline noted in the ADPH’s own license surrender documents.  The new owner of WAWC, Amanda Reyes, had no medical background.  The poor judgment shown by Reyes in employing Payne led to a woman’s death. 

Further poor judgment was shown by Reyes in the hiring of Payne’s replacement, Leah Torres, who was found by the State Board of Medical Examiners to have repeatedly lied on her application for a permanent medical license. Given these failures, why is the ADPH allowing this abortion facility to continue conducting abortions when those in charge cannot be trusted?

“It is clear that there are serious problems at the West Alabama Women’s Center that not only led to the death of April Lowery, but continue to endanger women,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.  “I am urging the public to contact the Alabama Department of Public Health to let them know the nation is watching how they handle this threat to public safety and demand the permanent closure of the West Alabama Women’s Center abortion business.”

Contact:

ADPH State Health Officer Scott Harris, MD

Voice: 334-206-5200

E-Mail: Online Contact Form