In Light of Abortion Patient Death, New Mexico Rep. Pearce Seeks Federal Investigation Before Statute of Limitations Runs Out

By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – Rep. Steve Pearce has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking an investigation and prosecution of the University of New Mexico and its partner, Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest full-term abortion facility in the U.S.

Pearce’s letter expresses urgency for a Federal investigation for the following reasons:

• The New Mexico Attorney General’s office has been too slow to act on two criminal referrals made by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, allowing many of the charges to expire under the statute of limitations. (Referral 1, Referral 2)
• The statute of limitations is quickly approaching the rest of the allegations against UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options.
• There has been one documented death of an abortion patient at Southwestern Women’s Options this year, raising concerns that the dangers at SWO must be immediately addressed.

Pearce remind Attorney General Sessions that women travel to New Mexico from all over the country to receive abortions. This thriving abortion business, which specializes in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy, profits from interstate commerce, making the issue a federal concern.

Pearce was especially troubled about the February 4, 2017, death of Keisha Atkins from a botched late-term abortion she received at Southwestern Women’s Options.

“On February 4, 2017, a woman tragically died at SWWO facilities after receiving a late-term abortion. This raises more questions about the reckless behavior of the SWWO. In 2016 alone, the National Abortion Federation reportedly referred more than 200 Texas patients to New Mexico for abortion related procedures. With hundreds of women flocking to New Mexico to receive these dangerous procedures, something must be done” Pearce wrote.

Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico uncovered the death of Keisha Atkins, 23, and obtained her UNM autopsy report that wrongly indicated Atkins’ pregnancy – not her abortion – caused her death. However, an analysis of the autopsy report clearly shows that determination was a cover-up of the truth that Atkins died a painful, panic-filled death as the result of complications that could only have resulted from the late-term abortion.

On April 19, 2017, Rep. Pearce, along with several leaders from state and national pro-life organizations, including Operation Rescue, attended a press conference with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Chairman of the House Select Panel, that called for New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to act immediately on the Select Panel’s criminal referrals that allege UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options were willing partners in the sale of aborted baby remains in violation of state and federal laws.

Later that same day, Balderas’ office acknowledged during a meeting with leaders of Operation Rescue, Abortion Free New Mexico, and several other pro-life groups that the referrals were under active investigation, yet there has been little progress.

On June 26, 2017, Operation Rescue president Troy Newman sent a letter to Balderas urging him to investigate criminal allegations against UNM and SWO with all urgency, but no response to that letter was ever received.

“The delay by Balderas’ office seems intentional to protect UNM and SWO from any consequences for their actions, whether it be the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts or their participation and cover-up of death of Keisha Atkins,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “As New Mexico’s ‘Top Cop,’ Balderas is committing a shocking betrayal the citizens of New Mexico by allowing his ideological cronies in the abortion business to commit crimes without consequence. U.S. Attorney General Sessions must do better than Balderas if the rule of law and the lives of women like Keisha Atkins are to mean anything.”

Read Rep. Pearce’s Letter to AG Sessions

Please contact the office of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and demand that the Department of Justice conduct an immediate criminal investigation of UNM and the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion business.

AG Session’s Direct Online E-mail Contact Form
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Will the Florida Attorney General Investigate Criminal Conduct at West Palm Beach Abortion Facility?

By Cheryl Sullenger

Tallahassee, FL – When the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives issued 15 criminal referrals as a result of their investigation into the illegal sale of aborted baby remains, most news stories focused on Planned Parenthood’s part in the illegal profit-taking scheme.

However, the Select Investigative Panel also referred a West Palm Beach abortion facility, Presidential Women’s Center, Inc., to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for violating State and Federal laws prohibiting the following:

• The sale of aborted baby tissue for profit.
• The use of tissue from aborted babies for research or experimentation.
• The disclosure of individually identifiable health information to another person.
• The disclosure of individual health information for commercial advantage.

These allegations are serious and significant. Selling aborted baby tissue for profit is a second-degree felony that can earn violators up to $10,000 in fines and 15 years in prison for the first offense.

Sharing health information is a violation of HIPAA punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. However, if the disclosure of health information involved commercial advantage, the punishment jumps to a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

Yet, there has been no word from Attorney General Bondi’s office regarding whether or not she will instruct law enforcement to investigate.

Operation Rescue contacted the Attorney General’s office for comment, but despite assurances from Bondi’s Press Secretary Kylie Mason that she would get back with an answer, she never responded to Operation Rescue’s follow up communications.

“The public has a right to know if there will be an investigation based on the Congressional criminal referral,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We have not asked for information about the progress any possible investigation, which we understand they cannot comment on. We have simply sought to find out if there would be an investigation.”

NAF Member

Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) is an abortion business located in West Palm Beach, Florida – ironically less than 10 miles from President Donald Trump’s “Winter White House” Mar-a-Lago estate.

PWC is a member of the National Abortion Federation, a confederation of abortion facilities with an overall dismal safety record that partnered with Planned Parenthood to educate its members about the potential benefits of selling aborted baby remains.

StemExpress Contract

PWC contracted with the procurement company StemExpress to receive $50.00 per 60ccs of maternal blood and $75 for the collection of “fetal tissue” derived from abortions.

It also agreed to allow StemExpress “access to patient charts and identify of donors ‘as necessary to obtain patients’ consent for use of POCs and maternal bloods.”

“Typical Work Day”

In the PWC criminal referral letter, Chairman Marsha Blackburn describes a “typical work day” for PWC staff on organ procurement/abortion days.

First PWC staff logged onto the StemExpress website for orders awaiting fulfillment that described parts needed and gestational ages.

The PWC procurement staff then “met with patients waiting to be prepped for their abortions and convinced them to consent to donate by saying that the donation will help cure diabetes, Parkinson’s, and heart disease.”

Once consent was obtained and the abortion completed, staff would collect the remains of aborted babies and procure the parts requested, then ship the remains via FedEx directly to the customer.

Staff updated the StemExpress website throughout the day to let other abortion businesses also participating in the aborted baby body parts trade about what had been procured at PWC. These updates included some patient details.

Finally, PWC staff shared details of patients’ private health information with StemExpress, including name, date of birth, date of abortion, gestational age at time of abortion, and other information such as the patients’ height, weight, and smoking history.

Disposal of Unused Remains

Disposal of aborted baby remains is a huge problem for many abortion businesses – PWC included. Many medical waste disposal companies refuse to do business with abortion facilities. Those that do charge high prices that cut into the abortion business’ bottom line.

To solve that problem, PWC contracted with StemExpress to “cover disposal services for non-used portions of cadaveric materials.”

Other Concerns

Operation Rescue is not the only one to get the silent treatment when it comes to questions about whether or not Bondi’s office will investigate. M. Susan Pine of FACE Life, Inc., has been attempting to get an answer for weeks. Pine is concerned because she is aware of patient injuries, including a 2012 patient death at Presidential Women’s Center and has been working to see the facility closed due to dangerously shoddy patient care and in the interest of saving lives.

On September 22, 2012, PWC abortionist Frank Rodriguez conducted an abortion on patient S.H. He mistakenly pushed a cervical dilator into her uterus. After the abortion, Rodriguez failed to remove the dilator. S.H. died five days later.

The Board of Medicine reprimanded Rodriguez March 10, 2016, for killing his patient on ordered him to pay fines and costs in the amount of $14,472, and barred him from conducting surgical abortions until he met all the requirements imposed by the board, including extensive re-education and evaluation.

Operation Rescue has evidence of other injuries inflicted PWC abortionists. In April, 2011, Operation Rescue reported on an ambulance at PWC, which transferred a patient to a hospital emergency room for treatment. The abortionist on duty was Michael Benjamin, who has a history of Medical Board discipline.

Criminal charges related to the illegal sale of aborted baby remains may actually help spare other women from injury or death.

Will She or Won’t She?

As serious as the House Select Investigative Panel’s charges are, in the nearly three months since the referrals were made, there still has been no word from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as to whether her office has taken any action to further investigate Presidential Women’s Center, as requested by the Select Investigative Panel.

“It’s time to let the public know if there will be an investigation. Please call Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office and respectfully request an answer to whether or not Presidential Women’s Center will be investigated for violating the laws protecting aborted baby remains from exploitation for financial gain,” said Newman.

Read the Criminal Referral Letter

Please contact AG Pam Bondi and ask if her office plans to act on the criminal referral of Presidential Women’s Center.

Voice: 850-414-3300
Email: Web form

Final Report: Planned Parenthood, Other Abortionists Broke the Law

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC — The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has released their final report detailing their investigation, findings and recommendations related to the underground trade in aborted baby remains for profit and late-term abortion abuses.

The 471-page report also includes hundreds of pages of supporting documents that explains the Select Panel’s fifteen criminal referrals for further investigation and prosecution, including five Planned Parenthood organizations, three middle-man procurement companies, and abortion providers in Texas, Arkansas, Florida, and New Mexico.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and thank them for their tireless investigation, which has vindicated much of Operation Rescue’s work that has raised the alarm about abortion abuses over the past few years,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, whose staff members cooperated with Congressional investigators.

Newman also served as a founding member of the Center for Medical Progress, whose undercover videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the sale of aborted baby parts served as the basis for the Select Panel’s investigation.

“Every word of those videos has been validated as true,” said Newman. “It is gratifying to see our allegations verified by the Panel’s investigation.”

In addition to the Planned Parenthood criminal referrals related to illegal trafficking in aborted baby organs and tissue, some of the referrals were made for abortion providers that were uniquely projects of Operation Rescue.

Since 2010, Operation Rescue has worked with local activists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to expose abuses at Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S. We have repeatedly exposed the link between SWO and the University of New Mexico (UNM), which used tax dollars to expand abortion in New Mexico.

Both SWO and UNM had been referred to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas for prosecution on charges they violated the state anatomical gift act and failed to provide legally-required informed consent to women.

Operation Rescue also first discovered that Houston late-term abortionist Douglas Karpen had likely engaged in illegal conduct and worked with former employees of his two abortion facilities who still stand by their allegations that he murdered viable babies “Gosnell-style” who were born alive during illegal late-term abortions.

Karpen evaded indictment by a 2013 grand jury due to political corruption in the Harris County District Attorney’s office – corruption that Operation Rescue helped expose.

Karpen has now been referred the Texas Attorney General’s office and the U.S. Department of Justice for a laundry list of crimes including murder, infanticide, violation of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and fraudulent concealment of criminal conduct from government authorities, among others.

“We took a lot of heat over our efforts to bring Planned Parenthood and the other dangerous abortionists to justice. I was falsely accused of lying, faking evidence, and committing crimes I never committed,’ said Newman. “But today, every allegation we made about the abortion providers who have been referred for criminal charges has been verified by the Congressional investigation that vindicated our work over and over. Now we pray these abortionists, who have made their livings exploiting women and killing innocent babies, will receive proper justice in a court of law.”

The Select Panel has recommended several significant changes, which include in part:

• Defund Planned Parenthood of Title X grants and Medicaid payments.
• Recommendation that a law be passed by Congress that would mandate that babies 20 weeks gestation or older be born alive. It would ban intentionally killing or dismembering a child in the womb after 20 weeks.
• Mandate training for abortionists in the care of infants born alive during abortions.
• Establish criminal penalties for violating the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
• Create a division within the Department of Justice within the criminal division to enforce Federal abortion laws, such as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, etc.
• Improve Biomedical Research by instituting safeguards so that only ethical (non-abortion) sources of tissue are used.
• Establish guidelines for the use of human fetal tissue.

“Under the Obama Administration or even a Hillary Clinton Administration, we know nothing would be done to make the changes needed to protect women and their babies from exploitation by a predatory abortion industry. However, once the new Trump Administration takes office, we expect that they will take this very seriously,” said Newman. “We will continue to monitor the progress of the Select Panel’s criminal referrals and recommendations and encourage Congress and prosecutors to act swiftly.”

Read the Final Report and Exhibits
Read the 15 criminal referral letters

Select Panel Issues Two Criminal Referrals of Texas Late-term Abortionist Karpen, Others

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC — The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has announced that it has made a total of 15 criminal referrals based on its investigation into the underground trade in aborted baby organs and tissue. Six of the referral letters were just released late yesterday, while nine others had been previously made public.

Among the new criminal referral letters issued by Select Investigative Panel Chair Marsha Blackburn were two made against Texas late-term abortionist Douglas Karpen to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Texas Attorney General’s office seeking further investigation and appropriate action.

In 2012, Operation Rescue began acquiring evidence against Karpen from his former employees. That evidence included photographs depicting the bodies of two infants that were clearly in their third trimester of pregnancy, which were said to have been aborted by Karpen. Those photos were provided directly to Operation Rescue in November 2012, by the former Karpen employee who took them with her cell phone. They depicted wounds that could not have occurred while the baby was still inside the womb.

Blackburn referenced those photographs in both criminal referral letters against Karpen. She quoted from witness affidavits that described how Karpen killed late-term babies who were born alive during abortions at his Houston abortion facilities at a rate of three to four per week.

[Karpen] would terminate the lives of these infants, Employee #1 further alleges based on those incidents she witnessed, by any of several methods, including the following:

Snipping the infant’s spinal cord with scissors, cutting the neck with Sopher forceps or similar instruments; twisting the infant’s head; using forceps or other instruments, or his finger to crush the “soft spot” of the infant’s head, or crushing it by the same means through its stomach; or inserting his finger down its throat. If the infant’s cranium was coming out first, he would usually use his index finger to puncture its head, but if it was coming out feet first, he would instead insert an instrument in the back of the infant’s head.

Blackburn further addressed a 2013 Harris County Grand Jury assigned to investigate the allegations against Karpen of illegal late-term abortion and murder, which were brought by Operation Rescue in a formal complaint. That grand jury failed to return a true bill.

“[Karpen] was previously referred to the District Attorney of Harris County, but the investigation into the matter was deficient,” Blackburn stated.

The Select Investigative Panel referenced several violations Karpen may have committed that warrant further investigation and possible prosecution, including:

• Violations of Texas homicide laws.
• Violation of the Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act.
• Violation of the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.
• State and Federal violations for falsifying ultrasound results.
• State and Federal violations of laws against fraudulent billing. (Medicaid fraud)
• Texas Administrative Code violations for failing to properly store and log medication.
• Texas Administrative Code violations for failing to have adequate medical staff,
• Texas Administrative Code violations for failing to observe proper sterilization procedures and disposal practices.
• Violations of Texas laws related to fraudulent concealment of criminal conduct from government authorities.

“The criminal referrals of Karpen to the Department of Justice and Texas Attorney General validate our efforts over the past three years to bring this late-term abortionist to justice,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “The issuance of the referrals completely repudiates the actions of Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who committed a gross injustice by protecting Karpen from accountability. May justice finally be done!”

Earlier this week, Operation Rescue reported that Anderson had failed in her bid for re-election. The new district attorney-elect notified Assistant District Attorney Sunni Mitchell that her services are no longer needed. Mitchell handled both the 2013 Karpen grand jury and the 2015 grand jury that falsely indicted pro-life journalists while protecting Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast from prosecution.

Other criminal referrals made by the Select Investigative Panel include:

StemExpress is a California organ procurement company that contracted with Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses for the acquisition of aborted baby remains. The Panel issued four referrals of StemExpress for HIPAA violations, Institutional Review Board violations, profiting from the sale of aborted baby remains, destroying documents under subpoena.
University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options was previously referred to the New Mexico Attorney General for violations of the state anatomical gift act. A supplementary referral was made for failing to provide informed consent.
• An Arkansas abortion facility, Little Rock Family Planning, was referred for possible violations of the law when it sent aborted baby remains to StemExpress.
DV Biologics was referred for suspected profiting from the sale of aborted baby remains and failing to collect California sales tax. (Read about this company’s connections to Hillary Clinton.)
Advanced Bioscience Resources was referred for possible illegal profiting from the sale of aborted baby remains.
• A Florida abortion facility, Presidential Women’s Center, was referred for possible illegal sale of aborted baby remains.
Four Planned Parenthood organizations and an organ procurement company, Novogenix, were referred to the Department of Justice for possible violation of a federal law that prohibits the sale of aborted baby tissue for “valuable consideration.”

“Operation Rescue is grateful to the Select Investigative Panel and to Chairman Marsha Blackburn for their courageous willingness to investigate the shadowy underground world of trafficking in aborted baby remains, and abuses related to illegal abortions and the murder in infants born alive during abortions. We know the Panel underwent constant attacks from the opposition, which wanted desperately to cover up these crimes,” said Newman.

Of the criminal referrals, Blackburn issued the following written statement.

“Speaking as a woman, I am deeply troubled by what we have learned about the mistreatment of patients at a particularly difficult and vulnerable time in their lives. They are being treated with a disregard for their best interests and their rights as patients,” said Chairman Blackburn. “Women deserve better than this. They deserve better than to face any level of deception or pressure. We have seen instances in which profit-driven procurement businesses acting in conjunction with clinics violate women’s privacy rights under HIPAA. We have seen consent forms misrepresenting to women that cures for still uncured diseases have resulted from fetal tissue. It is disturbing to see so many cases where there is barely the pretense of consent or no consent at all before the remains of a baby are taken by researchers.”

Read all criminal referral letters released by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.

Read Operation Rescue’s Special Report on its own 2012-2013 investigation of Douglas Karpen (Includes photos referenced by the Select Investigative Panel.)

Pro-Life Groups Urge Prosecution of Illegal New Mexico Aborted Baby Parts Traffickers


By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM – In response to Operation Rescue’s letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to publicly commit to extending the Select Panel on Infant Lives into the next Congressional session, the New Mexico pro-life group Protest ABQ has announced a bold new campaign.

In conjunction with the prominent national pro-life groups of Operation Rescue and Priests for Life, Protest ABQ plans to use public protest and other educational outreaches to urge State Attorney General Hector Balderas to act on the Select Panel’s June 23, 2016, recommendation that he prosecute the publicly-funded University of New Mexico and their abortion partners, Southwestern Women’s Options. The Select Panel submitted evidence that the two entities were working together to violate state and federal law related to patient privacy and the use and sale of aborted baby remains.

Balderas has had plenty of time to investigate the 291 pages of allegations and documentation provided to him by the Select Panel, and was well aware that there were concerns expressed months earlier about the UNM/Southwestern Women’s Options body parts partnership.

“[The Select Panel’s] criminal referral was issued almost one year after Protest ABQ filed an initial formal complaint with Attorney General Balderas’ office with reference to possible violations of state laws, and concerns about the late-term abortion clinic’s consent forms that indicated the use of fetal tissue obtained during abortions that would later be used in medical research,” said Tara Shaver, Senior Policy Advisor for Protest ABQ.

Yet, according to Shaver, Balderas has so far failed to act despite the clear and convincing evidence. His reluctance to enforce the law where abortion providers are concerned is showing the country what is fundamentally wrong with liberal politics in New Mexico.

“We are glad to stand with Protest ABQ and Priests for Life in demanding prosecutions for UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options crimes,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Southwestern Women’s Options is the largest late-term abortion facility in the country where babies are aborted throughout all nine months of pregnancy. All abortions are bad, but there is just something particularly heinous about killing viable babies just days or weeks before they would have been born. It becomes even more appalling when their organs are then exploited for illegal profit and experimentation.”

Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, who is known as the “Protest Priest” with Priests for Life, criticized politicians like Banderas, who are Catholic Democrats that support child-killing though abortion, despite the clear pro-life teachings of the Church.

“Attorney General Balderas is just one in the group of New Mexico Catholic Democrat elected officials who support pre-born child killing throughout all nine months of pregnancy with no restrictions,” said Fr. Imbarrato, who noted in last week’s election, one of the leaders of the Catholic Democrats was defeated for re-election. “It is now time to focus on Balderas especially as he is most likely planning to run for Governor or another higher office.”

Fr. Imbarrato also questioned the lack of outrage by Republican politicians who claim to be pro-life but have been reluctant to act on their stated beliefs.

“So we contend, as we always have, with Catholic pro-abortion Democrats and silent ‘pro-life in name only’ Republicans. Where is the Republican outrage over Balderas ignoring the crimes against babies that are happening here in New Mexico? These two groups of politicians are what makes New Mexico a deadly place for pre-born children,” Fr. Imbarrato said. “We will continue to expose this failure of leadership and protest their complicity in pre-born child killing until babies are finally protected in our state.”

Shaver remarked, “The abortion cartel in New Mexico has been operating by its own standards for far too long, and now the state’s publicly funded university is involved in an unspeakable scandal of using aborted baby remains from one of the most notorious late-term abortion facilities in the nation. This requires immediate action and without peaceful and prayerful pressure there may never be any progress in this matter of life and death that weighs heavily on the state.”