Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Wendy Davis Abortion

I've delayed writing about Wendy Davis' truly heart-rending story about how, after receiving a devastating prenatal diagnosis, was presented by doctors with two options: let her unborn daughter suffer a wretched existence and early death, or ease the anguish of waiting for the inevitable tragedy via a late-term abortion.

It's difficult to write about this tragedy in a way that respects Wendy Davis' grief while still asserting that what she went through does not justify the decision to abort her little girl.

When a family is told that their unborn child will soon die, there is never going to be a happy resolution. Hopes and dreams are destroyed and replaced by anguish. What is bewildering is how anybody could actually believe that the death of a child will somehow hurt less if the child's death is hastened by an abortion.
Doctors are by nature people who are driven to take action against suffering. But whose suffering is lessened when a woman aborts after a prenatal diagnosis like the one the Davis family received? It does not seem that Wendy Davis suffered any less:
An indescribable blackness followed. It was a deep, dark despair and grief, a heavy wave that crushed me, that made me wonder if I would ever surface. It would take me the better part of a year to ultimately make my way up and out of it. And when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed.
The suffering is reduced not for the family, but for the doctor, who, after the abortion, no longer needs to go through the ordeal of prenatal visits that can only bring bad news: that the inevitable has happened and the baby has died. If the woman aborts, the doctor's suffering is certainly lessened. But it is the patient who pays the price.

As I said before, when the baby has a condition so serious that she might not survive until birth, and surely will not live long afterward, there is no happy ending. But that does not mean that there can only be the anguish of a treasured life cut cruelly short. Parents who have access to perinatal hospice report finding joy in the tragedy -- the joy of treasuring every single moment of their child's short life.

Perinatal hospice is not nearly as easy for the physician as an abortion referral. The patient and her family are provided with ongoing support in every way: medical, emotional, spiritual, and practical. This is far more time-intensive and resource-intensive than an abortion referral.

Unlike an abortion, perinatal hospice recognizes and respects that grief and anguish are inevitable, regardless of how soon or late the pregnancy and the child's life end. The woman will be a grieving mother for the rest of her life. Abortion can not in any way change that. The woman is allowed to walk through that grief without relinquishing the child a moment sooner. It spares the woman from the needless additional agony of signing her child's death warrant in the form of an abortion consent form, and of helplessly enduring a procedure that kills her child in the one place she should be safest, in her mother's womb. The regret can be devastating, as "Janice" told Troy Newman:
I will never however forget the day I was given the digoxin shot through my stomach into the heart of my baby. It took me 45 minutes to calm down enough so that Dr. Tiller and one of his nurses could come in to do this. I was hysterical because after this there was no turning back. By telling them I was ready for them to come in and do it, I was telling them that it was ok to kill my daughter. They sedated me and then did it. 


I am no longer grateful for Dr. Tiller “helping me.” He didn’t help me at all. I wish now I would [have] had the courage to deliver my little girl and let her get even just one breath of air before she passed, to let her see my face just once before she passed. I will never have that chance now and I will always have to live with the decision I made and the nightmares of what happened to me in Kansas.
Remarkably, perinatal hospice also offers something that the parents never could have expected when that world-shattering diagnosis comes. It offers them a chance to find joy even in the grief. The woman is still supported in nurturing her baby, keeping her safe in the womb. And she and her family may have the opportunity to meet the child, to build memories of having held and treasured a living child who was afforded the opportunity to know a mother's caresses and kisses, her scent, the feel of her skin against her own.

The greatest tragedy of these situations is that so few women are given this support. Too few are even told that even if perintal hospice isn't available in their area, there is still support from other parents who have faced the same ordeal, the same choice, and found their joy.

Many abortion supporters argue that it should still be the woman's choice about how she deals with the dreadful news that her unborn baby is dying. But how much is it a real choice, when doctors and other medical professionals are urging an abortion, are assuring her that it will be for the best, and are pressing her to make a decision quickly, while she's still reeling from such a blow? It's difficult to believe that given the choice between not having even a moment of joy and possibly having the chance to meet and cherish her baby any woman would say she'd rather have only anguish and no joy whatsoever, thank you very much. And given how much pressure is often put on the woman, how much of a choice is the woman really making at all? Read Renee's story.
We were only told that he would be very sick and would have a difficult life. The doctors kept reminding us that it wasn’t too late to terminate the pregnancy. One doctor even called me on the telephone and told me he’d like for me to reconsider my decision not to terminate. He said my son may always have to live in a children’s hospital and his life may be miserable and full of pain. He said that if I don’t terminate the pregnancy, I may feel guilty later on because I could have spared my son such a miserable life.
Abortion supporters will argue that it's condescending and cruel to insist that the woman go through with the pregnancy when all the pregnancy is bringing is continued heartbreak. But again, the heartbreak is inevitable. The choice isn't between heartbreak and peace. It's between having only dark memories and having some joyful memories as well. You can read Jessica's story about her stillborn daughter, or Tam's story about her daughter's four days of being lavished with love. Or Sarah's story about the few precious moments she had with her baby girl:
I have loved Beatrix since the day I was born, it seems like. I was made for loving my beautiful baby girl. My arms were made to hold her until she breathed her last. My lips to cover her face with kisses. I wonder if she knew I was the one who had carried her all that time, safe in her quiet place? I would like to think she did- that when I kissed her and whispered in her ear, so many times, that I loved her, she recognized my voice, and felt loved.
Abortion also closes off the real, if tiny, possibility that the doctors are wrong. How much greater will the woman's anguish be if after the abortion she learns that she'd signed away the life of a child who had a much brighter prognosis, or who was not in any way ailing at all?

Listen to actress Lynn Ferguson, sister of late-night host Craig Ferguson, talk about the pressure brought upon her to abort a child who in the end was born perfectly healthy: Before Fergus.

It's understandable that, given the trauma she's been through, Wendy Davis would cling to the idea that abortion was the only compassionate option available to women like her. No doubt it will be painful to confront the fact that she could have had the chance for precious time with her child. But her own personal tragedy must not let us lose sight of what we owe to other women like her, and their unborn children. Every woman deserves the utmost support in loving her baby, and every baby deserves the chance to every moment of life.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hijack PBS Celebration of Late Abortions

HT: Jill Stanek

Your tax dollars are at work as PBS airs a documentary, After Tiller, celebrating four abortionists falsely identified as the only four in America willing to snuff a baby after viability. (We know there are more; they're just not being openly celebrated -- I'm guessing because they reek a bit too much of Kermit Gosnell.)

The move is no doubt intended to turn the tide of opinion and try to undo the growing support for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks by presenting these abortions as all "tragic" but "necessary" due to maternal or fetal health problems.

So we're hijacking. Let's not let them paint killing babies as anything worth celebrating. Here are some suggested tweets based around various themes.

Theme One: Late abortions are only done under dire circumstances:

Hear Tiller say it himself: 92% of his late abortions were on healthy babies.

Theme Two: The kindest thing to do to a woman with a sick unborn child is to abort the baby

Fetal indications abortion = $$$$$ from tragedy. Perinatal hospice offers love, not exploitation.

Let the world  be one of perintal hospice, not prenatal execution.  trumps

 offers no hope. Find hope. Perinatal hospice means love. Every. Precious. Minute.

Theme Three: Lethal injections

Late abortions use the same killing drug as executions -- without the anesthesia.  
Why is lethal injection only wrong when it's done to a murderer?  

Shouldn't a sick baby get at least as much mercy as a convicted murderer?

Theme Four: Dismemberment

They show you the doctors. They don't show you what they DO.  

Read Carhart describe what he does, then tell me if he's a hero.  

Carhart testified he pulls arms off living unborn babies  

Read Carhart's own words before calling him a hero.  

Theme Five: Dehumanizing

You do know those late abortion babies are delivered into a toilet, don't you?  

NOW! Let's counter their cheerleading for abortion with cheerleading for LIFE!

Friday, July 18, 2014

So Many Whoppers, So Little Time

HT: Jill Stanek

A cheery little web site invites women to Early Options, ta private New York medical practice specializing in abortions -- specifically abortions up to 9 weeks of gestation, or 7 weeks after conception. The web site is a bit high on hype and low on honesty.

First, they talk about their "SofTouch" abortion technique, introducing us gently to the dishonesty that will bloom elsewhere into enormous lies:

They call the method "noninvasive" right before saying that the doctor inserts a tube into the uterus. That's minimally-invasive, not noninvasive.

They describe their abortion technique a method just induces "a natural release" of "your late period."

And, of course, there's the promise that you can always get pregnant again when you're ready -- a promise they can't make because any time you introduce anything into the uterus you're risking infection, which can leave the woman unable to become pregnant in the future.

Let's get to that "late period" that their procedures "release."

I have to first question the ethics of performing a procedure of any kind that they're flat out admitting might be unnecessary to end the pregnancy since it is, they admit, possible that the pregnancy wasn't viable in the first place.

But let's move on. They define "early pregnancy" has having "missed one or two periods." What, exactly, is removed in this early pregnancy procedure?
An early pregnancy consists of tissue similar to your menstrual tissue and a "bubble" of fluid, called the gestational sac. The pregnancy itself is invisible.
The zygote (new organism that comes into existence of conception) is the size of the ovum, which is actually visible to the naked eye. By the time the woman's first period is late, the zygote is 2 weeks into development and has about doubled in size to a tiny but still visible .2 mm. That's the thickness of a small lead in a mechanical pencil. People would have a really, really hard time working their mechanical pencils if the leads were invisible.

Now, let's just skip over to their page on "early pregnancy."

This "educational" information is staggering in its deceitfulness.Before we really dig in, I'd like you to keep in mind something you'll see a screen grab of later. The Early Options web site says:
An early visible embryo begins to form around 10 weeks of pregnancy.
At these stages, early termination of pregnancy is safe and simple. The pregnancy itself has not developed. Ending an early pregnancy is similar to releasing a late menstrual period.
Keep that in mind as I contrast their claims with what embryologists have to say.

Five Weeks.

"At five weeks of pregnancy," they say, "a gestational sac forms. The gestational sac is a thin membrane filled with fluis; this sac would later develop into the amniotic sac. Initially, the gestational sac is the size of a pea."

They're not so much lying as omitting crucial information in their description of what is removed in their procedures, describing it as just a gestational sac and providing a helpful picture of a shredded 5-week (3 weeks of embryonic development) gestational sac. They fail to mention that the embryo itself is so fragile that it is entirely torn apart by the suction.

Five weeks of gestation is three weeks into the embryo's life, at what embryologists call "Carnegie Stage 10." 

I'll admit, the embryo is not very impressive looking at 21 weeks. An untrained person won't even be able to tell if they're looking at the front, back, top, bottom, or side of the embryo. It look a bit like some sort of three-dimensional Rorschach blot. Read into that what you will. Just remember what the web site is telling women:
An early visible embryo begins to form around 10 weeks of pregnancy.
At these stages, early termination of pregnancy is safe and simple. The pregnancy itself has not developed. Ending an early pregnancy is similar to releasing a late menstrual period.
Let's get onto the degree to which "the pregnancy itself has not developed."

At this stage the neural tube, which forms the brain and nervous system, is developing quickly. The cells from which the eyes will develop are differentiated, as are the cells of the ears. The heart, which had originally been just a tube, has folded into an S-shape and has begun beating and circulating blood.

All of this is happening in an embryo so small that it could fit on the tine of a fork. It's tiny. But not invisible.

Seven Weeks.

"At seven weeks of pregnancy," they say, "the gestational sac is the size of a small grape. Cells start to cluster inside the sac, and can be identified on ultrasound but they are too small to be seen with the naked eye."

That's nonsensical on its face. Ultrasound is not nearly as sensitive as the naked eye. though I suppose they could claim they're not lying because the individual cells can't be seen with the naked eye.

Somehow for the illustration they have what they say is a gestational sac -- perhaps passed by a woman who had a chemical abortion, since any mechanical procedure to suction it from the uterus would totally shred it.

Now let's take a look at the "cells" that are starting "to cluster inside the sac." The embryo is now at what embryologists call "Carnegie Stage 14." It is from 5 mm to 7 mm crown to rump.

It looks a bit lumpy, honestly, but the head, abdomen, and limb buds can easily be identified even by an untrained person. I've grabbed a screen shot from The Visible Embryo so you can see for yourself what it is the abortion web site is very pointedly omitting. Remember:
An early visible embryo begins to form around 10 weeks of pregnancy.
At these stages,.... [t]he pregnancy itself has not developed.
Looking at the screen grab, one might say that the lumpy-looking embryo ought not to be too much of a threat to abortion sales, right? There's nothing cute or cuddly about it. Nobody's thinking of an embryo that looks like that when they're knitting baby booties.

It's what is going on inside that blobby-looking body that would be a threat to abortion sales if the potential patients were to get wind of it.Inside that embryo, the brain is dividing into three zones -- hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. The spinal cord is developing. The eyes are beginning to form. The esophagus and trachea separate and lung sacs are forming. The heart is beating and pumping blood.

All of that going on inside a tiny -- yet quite visible -- body.

Nine Weeks.

"At nine weeks of pregnancy," they now say, "the gestational sac is the size of a half dollar."

And here is from whence I snatched the quote I repeated through the previous sections:
An early visible embryo begins to form around 10 weeks of pregnancy.
At these stages, early termination of pregnancy is safe and simple. The pregnancy itself has not developed. Ending an early pregnancy is similar to releasing a late menstrual period.
Remember, they assure the prospective patient that a "visible embryo" won't begin to form until "around 10 weeks of pregnancy. All the abortion is doing is "releasing a late menstrual period."

Let's get to the matter of what they're carefully keeping from the prospective patient. The goal, clearly, is to convince the woman that all that's being removed from her uterus is something that looks like it washed up on the beach after a storm.

The nine-week pregnancy is an embryo seven weeks into development from the time of conception. At seven weeks of gestation, the embryo is at 5 weeks developmentally, or "Carnegie Stage 19."
The embryo -- excuse me, "late period" -- is 13 mm to 18 mm from crown to rump. For comparison, a dime is just a hair over 18 mm in diameter. A screen grab from The Visible Embryo showing the contents of a "7-week gestational sac" drives home the degree to which this abortion facility is being dishonest.

Though the embryo is small and still a bit alien-looking, the eyes, ears, nose, fingers and toes are all clearly visible. And what's going on inside? The semicircular canals are starting to form in the inner ears. The ovaries or testes are forming. Toenails are developing. The hands, which develop before the feet, already have fingernails.

The embryo has been developing rapidly during the past two weeks. Tiny nipples have formed on the chest. Tiny kidneys are producing urine. The skeleton is ossifying. Tooth buds are forming in his jaws. The miniscule heart already has four chambers. The embryo's brain has already divided into hemispheres, and the olfactory bulb, which provides the sense of smell, has formed.

A Letter from Dr. Fleischman

Think back to the illustrations that the web site uses, and how they differ from what the embryology site has to say and illustrate. Rather than show an accurate illustration of the embryo that the woman is making a decision about, they show nothing but a shredded gestational sac, which is tougher than the embryonic tissues and thus more intact after the abortion.

The Earl Options site offers further reassurance in the form of "A Letter from Dr. Fleischman," in which she beats the claim of there being no developed embryo with a 2x4:

The early pregnancy tissue does not resemble an embryo. It is indistinguishable from a small clump of mucus. You are welcome to look at it. We have found that women who look at the tissue feel tremendous relief. They have often seen photos on the internet that have made them feel like the pregnancy is far more advanced.
In other words, Dr. Fleischman and her staff don't just push falsehood on the web site. They rinse away the blood and the pulverized embryo and show the woman the gestational sac, telling her that this is all that was removed from her womb.

Of course the woman feels a sense of relief -- at the moment. She trusts the doctor, who has told her again and again and again and again that there is nothing in her womb that in any way resembles an embryo, that what's in there "is indistinguishable from a small clump of mucus." The woman feels her sense of relief and goes home.

The question is, how will she feel later when she has a wanted pregnancy and goes to a pregnancy web site and learns the truth? I was with my babysitter when she was finally pregnant with a baby her mother couldn't force her to abort -- when she looked at a prenatal development book from the library and learned that what Planned Parenthood had told her was "like a blood clot" was more like what she considered a baby. Planned Parenthood staff weren't there. I was.

Dr. Fleischman won't be there for the women she had in her office years earlier when they learn the truth. She will have long since collected her fee. And even if they learn the truth juts days later, what are they going to do? You can't return an abortion. You can only live with the reality.

Here's a challenge to the people who get their knickers in a twist about prolife centers supposedly misleading women. Why not hold Early Options up to a reasonable standard of honesty?

Friday, July 04, 2014

"Extreme and Disrespectful"

The HuffPo is being a bit chirked up after the Hobby Lobby ruling by the news that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has vetoed what he calls an "extreme and disrespectful" bill requiring women to take responsibility for their abortions.

The law would have done two things:
  1. Increase the pre-abortion waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours
  2. Require the abortionist to show the woman her unborn baby on ultrasound, and play the baby's heartbeat for her
It is not "extreme and disrespectful" to hold a woman to an adult's level of responsibility. When a judge sentences a convicted murderer to death, he looks the prisoner right in the eye and reads the sentence, and then he signs it. And there's no pussyfooting around. The method of execution is spelled out clearly.

An abortion is not merely ending a pregnancy. It is ending the life of another human being. It is extreme and disrespectful toward that human being to try to pretend she doesn't even exist, that she's nothing more than an unwanted growth.

But even more, it's disrespectful of women to presume that they're not adults capable of squarely facing up to what their choices are. A decision to have an abortion, as I said before, is not a decision merely to end a pregnancy. It is a decision that a particular unique and irreplaceable human being must die at your request. And if you're unable to square up to that, you have no business having an abortion in the first place.

The idea that it's somehow putting an undue emotional burden on the woman is condescending. Frankly, I think she should have to face up to the reality of what she's doing much more squarely. She should have to see the baby and hear his heartbeat, yes. But she should go through a counseling session during which she is presented with all the information about how she could resolve her problems without resorting to the death of another human being. She should then have to first read aloud and then sign a document enumerating the non-violent alternatives that were offered to her and has rejected them in favor of the death of her child. The death warrant should also clearly state the means of execution, and not in some roundabout way like "via a termination of pregnancy procedure." The exact cause of the death should be spelled out -- lethal injection into the heart or brain, dismemberment, withholding of nutrition via chemical means. And she should have to both read out loud and sign a statement very clearly saying that this is indeed what she is freely choosing.

If women are going to take on the decision to end the life of another human being, they should do it honestly and in a straightforward manner. And I think it's time the prolife movement started drafting legislation mandating that women clearly and honestly state that they want their baby to die before they're allowed to have it killed. If she can't stomach that reality, she can't stomach the abortion.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Operation Rescue Verifies: Lakisha Wilson Died from Abortion Complications

Lakisha Wilson
Operation Rescue has obtained the autopsy report of 22-year-old Lakisha Wilson. Lakisha went to Preterm Abortion Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 2014. She was 19.4 weeks pregnant.

After the abortion, she began bleeding heavily due to uterine atony (her uterus wasn't contracting and stopping her from bleeding from where the placenta had been attached.

The later in pregnancy an abortion is done, the higher the risk of uterine atony and its associated bleeding.

The Centers for Disease Control has said that with modern diagnostics and care, there is no legitimate reason for a woman to bleed to death after an abortion. Lakisha's hemorrhage left her brain without oxygen, ultimately causing her death.

Several house later she was finally taken to Chase University Medical Center, where she was placed on life support and pronounced dead on March 28.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Misinformation, The Pro-Choice, and Hobby Lobby

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, we've seen a lot of rending of garments by the political Left. Much of this weeping and lamentation (and in some cases downright tantrum throwing) is based on a profound ignorance about what is actually going on.

The Wardrobe Door sums up the situation in "7 Myths (or Outright Lies) About Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court Ruling." In a nutshell, the outraged are either lying or grotesquely mistaken in these beliefs:
1. The Supreme Court allowed Hobby Lobby to ban all birth control. Actually, before the ruling Hobby Lobby was already covering 16 different birth control methods and will continue to provide coverage for those 16. Hobby Lobby will not (and cannot) prevent any employee from purchasing the other four types themselves.
2. All business owners can now stop covering these forms of birth control. Actually, the decision limited this to closely held companies, basically small businesses or family-owned companies. Although Hobby Lobby is a large, national chain store, they are owned and operated by a single family.

3. Religious owners can now refuse any type of medical treatment based on their beliefs. Actually, the ruling only addresses the four abortifacient birth control methods that Hobby Lobby took umbrage with.

4. The government (or our boss) is now in our bedroom. Actually, as writer Sean Davis put it: "The question is not about whether Hobby Lobby is in your bedroom, making birth control choices for you. The question is about whether the federal government has the right to force Hobby Lobby into your bedroom to pay for every form of birth control you may choose."

5. Hobby Lobby is hypocritical because they do business in China. That's a completely separate issue. I'll also point out that Hobby Lobby is doing business with Chinese businesses, whereas it's the Chinese government that forces abortions.

6. This is just another battle in the War on Women. As previously pointed out, as we already discussed Hobby Lobby covers 16 of the 20 contraceptives for women. They also don't cover vasectomies or condoms. Does this constitute a "War on Men?"

7. The ruling jeopardizes the health of women. Even the White House is pushing this lie. It's an incredible leap from "Pay for your own Plan B" to jeopardizing somebody's health. Plus, Hobby Lobby pays so much above minimum wage that any woman who wants Plan B need only work a single day to earn enough above and beyond minimum wage to pay for a dose of Plan B. She need only work a little under four weeks to pay for the most expensive IUD. But more relevant -- she makes enough more to afford better food, a gym membership, etc. to improve her health. And -- this is an important point to remember -- her ordinary health care is still covered.
So here we are, with the most misinformed people, and those most militant in their misinformation, standing firmly for something they don't even fully understand.  And this is hardly new on the political Left.

In 1990, three massive surveys were commissioned by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council, and Americans United for Life and conducted by the Gallup Organization. Those surveys were not designed to produce propaganda for release to the general public. They were intended for in-house use to fully understand the target audience of the pro-life message. James Davison Hunter summarized those findings in "What Americans Really Think About Abortion," published in First Things in 1992.

Hunter made note of something very telling:

Curiously the people most confident in their misinformation about abortion law generally, and Roe v. Wade in particular, were the ones most hostile to the pro-life cause. Those who view themselves as moderately or strongly pro-choice (who are also disproportionately college-educated), for example, are nearly two times more likely than the national average to say that Roe permits abortion only in the first three months.
 So what we're seeing -- the people most confident in their misinformation about the Hobby Lobby case in particular, and all the issues surrounding abortifacients in general, are the ones most hostile to the cause of religious liberty.

This militant misinformation works well for the abortion lobby, the birth control lobby, and the political Left, so we can't expect them to ever stop doing it. What we can do, however, is become as educated ourselves about life-issue news as quickly and thoroughly as possible so we can head the lies off at the pass and prevent the Left from whipping people into a frenzy over things they are clueless about.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Diane Sawyer and the Non-Story of Lawson Akpulonu

With Diane Sawyer in the news about leaving the news, I thought it was timely to share the story I think of whenever I hear her name. It's the story what she considered worth reporting -- or rather, not worth reporting. It turned out to be the story of a serial rapist.

Tentative Curiosity

In March of 1995, I was at Life Dynamics and we were  working on Lime 5, a book about abortion malpractice and its enablers. We got a call from one of Diane Sawyer's assistants. Ms. Sawyer, we were told, had heard rumors that some abortion facilities were selling abortions to women who were not, in fact, pregnant; they just thought they were.

We told Ms. Sawyer's assistant that this was a slow news day kind of story that local news stations would often do: send female reporters to abortion clinic with male reporter's urine specimens, and then document being told that they were pregnant and the attempts to sell them abortions.

We supplied the assistant with what he asked for -- a list of abortionists who were still practicing even after having been caught selling abortions to women who were not pregnant. But we also included a list of abortionists who were a serious public health threat and were still practicing, suggesting that these fellows might make a more news worthy project than rehashing something local news organizations across the country had been doing for over twenty years.

The Big Tip

While I was compiling documentation and verifying that certain quacks were still in practice, we got a call from a nurse in California. She told us, "I'd always thought that the stories of seedy abortion mills were just a bunch of bogus stories made up by right to lifers. But I just quit a job at one of those seedy mills, and I want to report this guy before something terrible happens."

Dr. Lawson Akpulonu
This nurse told us that she had answered a help wanted ad placed by Dr. Lawson Akpulonu, and had been hired on the spot on January 14, 1995. After just four hours, she was so appalled that she quit. After wondering what to do, she saw an advertisement for Life Dynamics' abortion malpractice litigation program, and decided that we were the right people to call.

Akpulonu, she told us, had the filthiest clinic she'd ever seen. She saw life-threatening conditions including:
  • rusty metal speculums and forceps
  • instruments cleaned with dishwashing liquid
  • lack of lifesaving equipment or  apparatus for administering anesthesia
  • cockroaches in the operating room
  • rancid blood smell in rooms
  • used needles left on tables in the operating room
  • improper handling of fetal materials
Scott helped her to prepare a complaint for the California medical board. In her complaint, she reiterated what she'd told Scott, and warned the medical board:
    "When Akpulonu began the abortion procedures, he did not allow anyone else in the room with him. There was no nurse or assistant with him.... I truly believe that someone will become seriously injured if something is not done immediately."
We also asked her if she would be willing to talk to Diane Sawyer about what she'd seen. She said absolutely, that she wanted this guy exposed for what he was before something terrible happened to any of his patients. We contacted Diane Sawyer's assistant and faxed him a copy of the complaint the nurse was about to file. Diane Sawyer had, in her hot little hands, the entire story, before it had even been handed off to the medical board.

Averting Her Eyes 

The next day, Diane Sawyer's assistant called us back, told us that Miss Sawyer had reviewed all the material we'd sent her, and had decided that seedy abortion facilities in general and Lawson Akpulonu in particular were "a non-story."

A few days later all hell broke loose.

The medical board in California went public with a complaint from a patient they identified as "A. A." While under anesthesia for an abortion by Akpulonu at his Midland Medical Center on January 28, 1995:

    The patient awoke to find Akpulonu raping her."A.A. awoke to find respondent raping her; he had penetrated her vagina with his penis. Respondent gave patient A.A. a shot and she went back to sleep. When patient A.A. woke up a second time, she saw respondent next to her. She saw his erect penis out of his pants. She tried to push him away. ... Respondent then gave her another shot and she went back to sleep. When patient A.A. awoke for a third time, she found her sweater had been removed and her bra partially pulled down exposing her right breast. Respondent was caressing patient A.A.'s body. ...when patient A.A. tried to scream, respondent placed his hand over her mouth. Respondent told patient A.A. she had a beautiful body. He said she was a very nice girl and a very sexy girl while he continued rubbing her inside her blouse and bra. He kissed her right breast. He then placed his business card inside her bra and said she could call him anytime"
What Diane Sawyer had dismissed it as "a non-story" turned out to be quite a bombshell. More reports of similar abuse started pouring in from other patients once A.A. had the courage go come forward.

An Alarming History

If Diane Sawyer had turned over a few rocks, she would have found an even greater scandal. Just like the Gosnell case in Pennsylvania, California authorities had long known that Akpulonu was a danger to women and had failed to shut him down. Another former employee had told the Medical Board that Akpulonu did not sterilize instruments, used untrained assistants in surgery, and flushed fetal remains down the toilet. She also reported being hired with no medical training or experience, and being required to assist in surgery. She quit after three weeks.

Unlike those in Pennsylvania, California authorities actually did poke their noses inside abortion clinics. Inspections of Akpulonu's clinic dating from 1991 through 1994 had found deplorable conditions including:
  • Filthy rest room with no toilet paper
  • Unsterile instruments being used in operating room
  • No registered nurse at the facility
  • Akpulonu performing abortions alone, with no assistant
  • Employees trained to clean hoses used in medical procedures in running cold water by working the hoses manually to flush out all blood and tissue
  • A stench of rotting tissues
  • A surgery room splattered with blood and other rooms were filled with dust
  • Rat droppings were found in the surgery room and hallway
  • Akpulonu had brought his entire staff into the examination room to observe a patient who had a severe case of genital warts.
  • No on-site equipment for handling emergencies
  • Fetal remains up to 24 weeks flushed down the garbage disposal or toilets
  • Staff re-using single use equipment
  • A dirty autoclave containing rusty, dirty, tissue-encrusted instruments
  • No soap, antiseptic, or towels at hand-washing facilities
So at the time we contacted Diane Sawyer's assistant and sent her the nurse's complaint, Akpulonu already had a four-year history of dangerous behavior posing a threat to women's health and lives. Ms. Sawyer would have quickly uncovered this situation, as did we, with a single fax to the California medical board. But she and her staff either did not bother to investigate, or had investigated and reviewed this four year string of disgusting inspections and had still dismissed it as "a non-story."

 The Sawyer-Akpulonu Legacy

Kermit Gosnell
After the allegations of patient A.A. became public, a warrant was issued for Akpulonu's arrest on charges of rape. He fled. His whereabouts are still unknown. He and his facility remain "a non-story," very much like the way the "house of horrors" Kermit Gosnell was running in Pennsylvania was dismissed by Sawyer-caliber journalists as just "a local story" and not worth a second glance on their part.

Diane Sawyer, if she'd had a shred of journalistic integrity, would have skulked off in vile disgrace after the Akpulonu story broke no thanks to her. Instead, she continued to pick and choose what the public should know about for decades. Her departure from the newsroom is a long overdue good riddance to bad rubbish.