Saturday, December 31, 2022

January 31, 1915: Was Margaret Doomed by Lack of Medical Advances?

 On January 25, 1915, Dr. E. M. Ullrich of Brooklyn, was called in to attend to 20-year-old Margaret Bereis at her home on Warhope St. in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. He found her with a high fever. The next day he consulted with Dr. Jensen concerning Margaret's high fever. They concurred that she was suffering from septicemia. Ullrich continued to care for her until her death on January 31, filling out her death certificate attributing her death "Acute Septicemia And Suppurative Peritonitis Caused By Infection Following An Abortion."

We can speculate about whether Margaret would have found a more skilled practitioner had abortion been legal, but in any event, infection is a known abortion complication. It is also a complication that was extremely difficult to treat in 1915, with the development of penicillin more than a decade in the future and widespread use of antibiotics still two world wars away.

After legalization, according to theory, unskilled or careless abortion practitioners would be replaced by reputable doctors, and women would no longer needlessly die. However, even before the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision struck down all US abortion laws in 1973, women were already starting to die needlessly from the purportedly safe legal abortions.

New Years Eve, 1986: Plunked into Wheelchair, Shoved Out the Door to Die

Eighteen-year-old Sylvia Jane Moore underwent a safe and legal abortion at the hands of 50-year-old Arnold Bickham on December 31, 1986 at his Urgent Medical Care Clinic in Chicago. She was in the second trimester of her pregnancy, but Bickham used a suction technique suitable for a first-trimester pregnancy. After the abortion, Bickham gave Sylvia repeated injections of Demerol because she was reporting severe abdominal cramps.

According to her mother, Sylvia was bleeding, weak, incoherent, and unable to walk after five hours at the clinic. Bickham tried several times to lift Sylvia to her feet, but she repeatedly collapsed. Bickham called her "lazy," put her in a wheelchair, and physically ejected her from his Chicago clinic. 

Sylvia's mother took her to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, where staff tried in vain to save the young woman, who had arrived with no pulse and no blood pressure. An emergency hysterectomy was done to remove her lacerated uterus, which still had a plastic instrument embedded in a 6.5 cm laceration. Sylvia also had a 2.2 cm laceration of her vagina. Despite the surgery, she bled to death.

Bickham claimed that he "didn't think there was anything wrong" with Sylvia, and said that he'd merely been helping her with the wheelchair. He could not explain why he didn't think there was anything wrong with a patient so weak that she couldn't walk out to the car.

He blamed Sylvia's death on the hospital, saying, "They were successful in repairing the damage done in the abortion, but in doing that, they perforated an artery causing there to be blood loss in the chest cavity." 

The autopsy report, however, noted the chest tube incision but noted "lungs are well expanded and the pleural cavities are free of fluid and adhesions." An attorney with the Department of Professional Regulation said, "This patient should never have been allowed to leave Bickham's clinic with her mother. She should have left in an ambulance."

The postmortem report said: "The circumstances of injury, review of the Medical records, the findings at autopsy examination, and subsequent investigation of the circumstances of the case provide evidence of gross negligence and abandonment on the part of the original treating physician. In consideration of the above, the manner of death is determined to be Homicide."

No charges were pressed against Bickham. His attorney claimed that the actions against Bickham were a racist witch hunt, saying, "He's a black man who did an abortion and he's an ex-felon. That's strike one, two, and three."

Somehow the fact that Sylvia was also Black didn't seem to matter.

The suit filed by Sylvia's survivors noted that Bickham had failed to perform an ultrasound, and failed to have adequate staff or equipment. The specimen of abortion tissue sent from clinic contained segments of placental tissue, umbilical cord, and fetal intestinal parts and liver.

Sylvia left one child motherless.

Bickham's license was revoked by Illinois in October of 1988 due to Sylvia's death. The medical board had concluded that Bickham had performed the abortion "without adequate support staff and emergency equipment, and failed to recognize symptoms of abdominal bleeding...." He was arrested in September of 1989 for practicing medicine without license, and sentenced to 30 months probation and 2,600 hours of community service in lieu of 6 months jail, in addition to a $10,000 fine. 

Sylvia's mother found his punishment far too lenient. "I don't want to see this happen to any other mother."

Bickham had been a prolific abortionist, and in 1974 had been the highest-paid doctor in the country's Medicaid program, with total reimbursements of $192,266 (over $4 million in 2020 dollars). His medical license had been put on probation in 1979 after he had been caught performing abortions on women who had not actually been pregnant. That same year he was sentenced to two years in federal prison for defrauding the government out of job training funds.

Fortunately, Bickham eventually hung up his canula. On the downside, he became a pubic school administrator, still in a position where his poor judgment might cause harm but at least not death to any more children or young women. 

Watch Teen Shoved Out the Door to Die on YouTube.


Friday, December 30, 2022

December 30, 1967: Retroactively Safe and Legal

"Sophia," age 19, traveled from Youngstown, Ohio, to Duquesne, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 27, 1967 to have an abortion performed by 50-year-old Dr. Benjamin King. King also had medical offices in both McKeesport and Homestead.

Sophia was a 19-year-old freshman at Ohio State University. She had gotten King's contact information from her boyfriend, who was also 19 years old. King put out word about his services on college campuses in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Sophia's boyfriend accompanied her to King's office. They made a down payment of $110 toward the $300 fee for the abortion. (That's over $2,000 in 2020 dollars.) The young couple returned to Youngstown, where Sophia was admitted to South Side Hospital on December 29. She died the following day. King had perforated her cervix, causing both infection and hemorrhage.

Police had Sophia's boyfriend contact King, saying he had the rest of the money. When King came to collect, he was arrested. 

Consistently In Trouble

While awaiting sentencing for Sophia's death, King was sentenced to 90 days for trafficking in amphetamines.

King insisted that while he had indeed seen Sophia, he had only examined her and had only been paid $20. He remained free on a $5,000 bond during the trial. A jury deliberated for 1 1/2 hours before finding King guilty. He was remanded to jail to await sentencing pending a $100,000 bond. The judge justified the high amount on the grounds that King had previously been convicted of an abortion charge after a 26-year-old patient had to be hospitalized in February of 1966. King also had another abortion charge pending against him. 

Convictions and Sentences

King was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in Western Penitentiary for the 1966 charge. In passing sentence, Judge David Olbum told King, "If abortion laws were repealed tomorrow, you would not be qualified to perform abortions." The judge asserted that King "had run an abortion mill for years and years." King's wife, 46-year-old Regina B. King, was charged with being an accessory before the fact and sentenced to three years of probation. I haven't been able to determine how long the sentence was for Sophia's death.

King's attorney said that King only perpetrated abortions because of his "compassionate nature" and not to profit. The Pittsburgh Courier described King as a "well-known Western Pennsylvania physician, an former high school and college star quarterback."

Though convicted and sentenced to prison, King won his freedom in March of 1973 by citing the Roe vs. Wade decision striking down the abortion law.

Watch Retroactively Safe and Legal on YouTube.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

December 29, 1971: Antiquated Abortion Method Legal but Unsafe

 "Beth" was 23 years old when she traveled from Massachusetts to take advantage of New York's liberalized abortion law in 1971. Beth's doctor chose saline abortion, which is performed by injecting a strong salt solution into the amniotic fluid. The fetus inhales and swallows the fluid, which causes massive internal bleeding and death. The woman then goes into labor. 

The abortion was initiated by injecting saline into Beth's uterus. But instead of the amniotic sac, the saline went into Beth's bloodstream. Beth immediately began to have seizures and went into a coma. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1971.

December 29, 1977: Dead the Next Day

 Mary Ann Page was 36 years old when she went into cardiac arrest during an abortion/tubal ligation performed under general anesthesia on December 28, 1977. Both procedures were completed, then Mary Ann was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland. Mary Ann suffered several more cardiac arrests while she was in the ICU. She was pronounced dead on December 29, 1977.

December 29, 2003: Fatal Abortion Drugs Courtesy of Planned Parenthood

 Hoa Thuy "Vivian" Tran, like Holly Patterson, got abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood. Vivian was 22 years old, and died December 29, 2003, six days into the abortion process. She‘d been given the drugs on December 23 at the Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood facility. The autopsy showed that she died of sepsis. 

Vivian‘s husband is suing the drug company, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernadino Counties, and The Population Council Inc., in Orange County Superior Court. 

Costa Mesa Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood spokesperson Kimberlee Ward said that the organization has "absolute confidence in this method of abortion," which is hardly surprising. After all, Vivian‘s fetus died, leaving PP with nothing to complain about. 

Other women identified as having died of infection deaths after RU-486 deaths in the Los Angeles area: Chanelle Bryant, and Oriane Shevin. Chanelle got her abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood, and Oriane and Vivian got theirs from National Abortion Federation members.

Source: "Suit links death to 'abortion pill'," Orange County Register, October 7, 2005

December 29, 1987: Fatal Embolism in Houston

On December 29, 1987, 31-year-old Sheila Watley had a safe, legal abortion at Concerned Women's Center in Houston, Texas. She was 17 weeks pregnant, and had one child. 

The abortion was performed by Dr. Richard Cunningham. About four minutes into the procedure, Sheila went into cardio-respiratory arrest. She was pronounced dead later that day. 

The cause of death was listed as an amniotic fluid embolism, which is when fluid from the uterus gets into the woman's blood stream. From a search on information about Cunningham's license, a lawsuit was filed against him that might have pertained to Sheila's death; the case in question was dismissed, according to information Cunningham gave the Texas medical board. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

December 28, 1931: A Self-Induced Abortion in Vermont

According to Vermont death records, 24-year-old Alice E. Kendall of Baltimore, Vermont, attempted to perform an abortion on herself using a catheter in the winter of 1931.

Alice developed peritonitis, went into septic shock, and died on December 28.

Watch Vermont, 1931: Fatal Self-Induced Abortion on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Chapter 3 of Lime 5: Planned Parenthood

Crutcher opens this section by noting that Planned Parenthood are the snobs of the abortion lobby. They're looked on with disdain by independent abortion practitioners for this snooty attitude.

Crutcher says that we found stuff just as bad about Planned Parenthood as we did about NAF and independent facilities, but that's really not the case. The most egregious goings-on we saw when I was at Life Dynamics, and that I've seen since then, have never risen to the level of  Lawson Akpolonu or Kermit Gosnell. Planned Parenthood admitted that women had reported the grotesqueries to them, and said that they encouraged the women to report Gosnell to the medical board. There's no evidence that they were actively referring women to him, just as there's no evidence that they took any steps to warn women away or to ask the state to take action. Like the bystanders who listened to the murder of Kitty Genovese, they treated Gosnell as not their problem and let him go about his deadly business entirely unmolested.

That's not to say that we didn't find appalling things.

Charity's Tragic Story

Lime 5 recounts a Tennessee case. In October of 1990, a 14-year-old girl named Charity suffered a terrible tragedy in her home: her older sister had reported that their stepfather had been abusing her, and the stepfather had responded by murdering their mother then killing himself. The traumatized girl was sent to live with her grandmother. Six months later, her biological father called her, saying that he'd kill himself if she didn't move in with him. When Charity chose to stay with her grandmother, her father hanged himself.

Charity required a psychiatric hospitalization, where she was treated for about a month and a half.

In mid-January of 1993, Charity told her 17-year-old boyfriend, Jason Millikan, that she thought she was pregnant. Two days later he took her to Planned Parenthood of Middle Tennessee where his mother, Sandy Millikan worked as a counselor. Jason's mother told Charity that she was 11 or 12 weeks pregnant. Both Jason and his mother pushed for an abortion, but Charity wanted to have her baby. 

Jason began calling Charity every night, threatening to kill himself if she didn't go through with an abortion. His mother told Charity that she needed to think about Jason and do what was right for him by undergoing an abortion. 

Jason took Charity to Planned Parenthood's main Nashville facility, where she spoke to a different counselor rather than his mother. Charity again stressed that she did not want an abortion. Jason again threatened suicide. The counselor pushed a paper in front of Charity and told her to sign it without reading it.

It was a consent form for an abortion, which the medical director, Dr. Peter Cartwright, promptly performed in defiance of a law requiring that a minor's parents or guardian be notified at least two days prior to an abortion.

Two weeks later Charity was admitted to the hospital again for a psychiatric emergency. She was discharged to her grandmother's care, but had developed such severe mental health issues, and troubles with alcohol and drug abuse. Her grandmother was not able to continue to care for her. Charity ended up placed in a home for troubled adolescents.

Planned Parenthood denied any wrongdoing. ("Girl given abortion she didn't want, suit says," The Tennessean, January 28, 1994; Davidson County TN Circuit Court Case No. 94C-259)

Endangering Kathy

Kathy was 16 when she learned that she was pregnant. Her mother took her to a doctor for prenatal care. The doctor said that Kathy had abnormalities of the cervix and uterus that would make an abortion risky for her, possibly leaving her unable to bear future children. An abortion, he said, might lead to her death.

Undeterred, Kathy made secret plans for an abortion. Her mother learned of the plans and got a court injunction against area abortion facilities to protect her daughter. One of those served with the injunction was Delbert L. Culp (John Roe 851), who served as executive director of Planned Parenthood of Central Indiana. He told his staff to notify him if Kathy sought an abortion at their clinic.

They did so. Culp and a counselor informed Kathy that they could arrange for her to have an abortion in an out-of-state clinic not covered by the injunction. They scheduled the abortion in Louisville, not informing the other facility of Kathy's health problems that caused her obstetrician such concern.

Kathy's mother learned of the plan and got a restraining order banning Planned Parenthood from providing "any advice or aid in obtaining an abortion" and forbidding them to work with others in arranging an abortion. She tried to get the name of the clinic where the abortion was scheduled so that she could at least relay her daughter's medical information even if she couldn't legally protect her child. Planned Parenthood refused to provide the information.

The next day, Kathy underwent the abortion. Five days later she ended up in the hospital with a life-threatening infection that left her ability to bear future children in doubt. Both Kathy and her mother filed suit, but Planned Parenthood venue-shopped and got the case transferred before a judge who dismissed the cases.

Again, they insist that they did nothing wrong. Culp said that Kathy's father, though not the custodial parent, had signed a consent form and that this was enough for them to legally go ahead. ("Mother files lawsuit over teen's abortion," Indianapolis News, June 11, 1986; Boone County Indiana Circuit Court Cause No. C86-293; Marion County Indiana Superior Court Cause No. S287 0782)

The Same Old Run-Around

Just as we called the National Abortion Federation about Steve Lichtenberg and Mayfair Women's Center, we called Planned Parenthood to get their take on questionable doctors and what they'd tell patients who had questions about any deaths or malpractice. 

Dr. Robert Crist

I called to ask why Dr. Robert Crist, who had two dead patients to his discredit (Latachie Veal and Diane Boyd) and numerous other lawsuits was allowed to work at a Planned Parenthood. Did he, I wanted to know, meet their internal requirements for a physician to work at one of their clinics? Of course, I was assured that he did. When I asked why somebody with his background would be considered good enough, the employee, Ann Glazier, told me I'd have to talk to Crist. 

As was the case with asking NAF about Lichtenberg, I asked what they'd tell a patient who had heard about Crist's background and called to find out if the stories were true. That, Glazier said, was proprietary information. How, I asked, could a patient really know that her doctor was safe, if somebody like Crist was allowed to work at one of their clinics?

They would, Glazier told me, have to check with the medical board or the American Medical Association.

As Crutcher put it:

No one can seriously believe that a fifteen-year-old girl in a crisis pregnancy situation is going to call the American Medical Association in Chicago, the Texas Board of Medical Examiners in Austin, the Missouri Board of Medical Examiners in Jefferson City, and then start sifting through courthouse records in two states. Of course, the real question is why she would have to when the person she's talking to at Planned Parenthood already has that information. When we asked Ms. Glazier whether she thought it was reasonable to expect this kind of effort out of a woman in this situation, her answer was, "Well, uh, I have to tell you that, uh, I have all the confidence in Dr. Crist's skills and judgment."

That exemplary doctor went on to perform the fatal abortion on Nichole Williams at a Planned Parenthood owned facility in 1997.

I'll also note at this point that troubled abortionist Bruce Steir, who abandoned his patient Sharon Hamplton to the care of people who shoved her out the door to bleed to death, sometimes worked at a Planned Parenthood. Andre Nehorayoff, who performed two fatal abortions, did some time as a trainee at a Planned Parenthood.

Crutcher's Closing Thoughts

Crutcher notes that when we had a woman call a Planned Parenthood hotline asking for an abortion referral, they referred her to Family Planning Associates Medical Group. As of the publication of Lime 5, we had already "identified eight women who died as a result of abortions performed by them, plus over 70 other documented allegations relating to botched abortions. Among many other things, patients and health department officials have alleged that this organization performs abortions on women who are not pregnant, falsifies medical records, pays kickbacks for abortion referrals, maintains unsanitary and unsterile conditions, improperly maintains its medical equipment, and allows non-physicians to practice medicine. The California Department of Health Services once said that this chain's primary abortion clinic 'lacks the ability to conform to licensing requirements and is not of reputable and responsible character.' (Letter from California Department of Health Services, August 12, 1985) Apparently, however, their character and ability is good enough for Planned Parenthood."

It is also, I will note, good enough for the National Abortion Federation, since the chain remains a member in spite of racking up another eight deaths since the publication of Lime 5. We had already known about Patricia ChaconMary Pena, Josefina GarciaLanice Dorsey, Joyce Ortenzio, Tami SuematsuSusan Levy, and Deanna Bell. I've subsequently learned about Christina Mora, Ta Tanisha Wesson, Nakia JordenMaria LehoKimberly Neil, Maria Rodriguez, Chanelle Bryant, and "Kyla Ellis." And this isn't even counting Natalie Meyers and Denise Holmes, who died at facilities owned by FPA founder Edward Campbell Allred before he christened his abortion empire Family Planning Associates Medical Group.

Deadly Referrals

I'll note here that Planned Parenthood has referred women to their deaths, including Christi Stile, who languished in a near-comatose state for over 22 years before finally dying of brain injuries she'd suffered at Mayfair.

After performing a failed abortion on her, Planned Parenthood referred Elizabeth Tsuji to the notorious Inglewood General Hospital for the abortion that ended her life in 1978. Kathy Murphy and Lynette Wallace had already died from abortions at that facility.

Planned Parenthood referred Kawaida Espenrace to A-Z Women's Center for the abortion that killed her in 2007.

Bring Out Your Dead

Planned Parenthood, as a huge abortion conglomerate, at least has a better track record than FPA -- or at least they're better at hiding the bodies. I've only uncovered the following deaths following abortions at Planned Parenthood:

Sandra Kaiser, aged 14, leapt to her death from a highway overpass in 1984 after a secret abortion at a Planned Parenthood.

In 1987, Elise Kalat suffered an asthma attack after an abortion and ended up dead because the Planned Parenthood uncertified staff were clueless about how to perform CPR.

Diana Lopez bled to death after a Planned Parenthood doctor rushed through a 19-week abortion in only 6 minutes in 2002.

Vivian Tran died of sepsis after getting her abortion medications at a Planned Parenthood in 2003. The same thing happened that same year to Holly Patterson.

A nurse at Planned Parenthood caused Edrica Goode's fatal infection in 2007 by using laminaria in a contra-indicated way.

Roselle Owens died in 2009; Planned Parenthood waited nearly 20 minutes to call an ambulance.

Tonya Reaves's transfer to a hospital was delayed for over 4 hours when she suffered abortion injuries in 2012; she bled to death.

Cree Erwin-Shephard died after being sent home from Planned Parenthood with injuries they hadn't noticed during her 2016 abortion.

The Full Scope

I thought about providing a lot of links to other seedy stuff Planned Parenthood does, such as lie to patients, facilitate child sexual abuse, and set abortion quotas, and push hard for abortion even if the woman is hesitant, but I think the better approach is this: Live Action's playlist, "Planned Parenthood Workers Speak Out," allows former employees to describe what they witnessed. 

Watch Lime 5: Planned Parenthood on YouTube.

December 27, 1985: Teen's Abortion Not Legal After All

Arnetta Hardaway was 18 years old when she had an abortion performed by Dr. George Tucker in Atlanta on December 23, 1985.

Arnetta continued to bleed, and developed infection, after her abortion. On December 27, she died from infection and hemorrhage, according to the medical examiner. 

Tucker was investigated by the medical board for failure to meet minimal standards of care, and was indicted for performing an illegal third-trimester abortion. At the time of Arnetta's abortion, Georgia law required that second-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals and third trimester abortions were only allowed for purported danger to the mother's life. (A third-trimester life-of-the-mother abortion is nonsensical on its face, since nobody would reasonably think that the mother would benefit medically from additional steps taken to ensure a dead baby prior to ending the pregnancy safely for the woman.) District Attorney Lewis Slaton characterized Arnetta's abortion as "way late."

Tucker had an active medical board order on his license as of January 4, 2002. The Georgia medical board web site does not reveal the details of the order.


Watch Not So Legal After All on YouTube.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Lime 5 Chapter 3: The National Abortion Federation

NAF member Abu Hayat
The first inkling I got that all was not kosher at the National Abortion Federation was when I went to Library of Congress and pulled out some National Abortion Federation Annual Reports. There, on a list of members, was Hanam Rotem, the man who had allowed a receptionist to administer general anesthesia and was responsible for the death of Gloria Aponte.

I started looking for other unsavory characters and I found them, including Abu Hayat. For those of you not familiar with him, he was the New York City abortionist who gained national notoriety when he pulled the arm off of a 32-week unborn baby who was subsequently born alive: Ana Rosa Rodriguez. Once the press scented blood they started chasing him down and found egregious activities, including sexual abuse of patients and the death of 17-year-old Sophie McCoy. These revelations won him the sobriquet "The Butcher of Avenue A." (Watch What the National Abortion Federation Provides and The Butcher of Avenue Aon YouTube for more about this guy.)

So what is the National Abortion Federation? As Lime 5 notes:
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) claims that they "ensure continued high standards for safe, quality abortion care. We meet this charge in three ways: offering continuing medical education to reproductive health care providers; chronicling abortion-related complications; and establishing new standards of care." Generally, their argument is that regulation would drive the cost up and deny some women access to abortion services. That has prompted some critics to argue that what NAF wants is not "safe and legal" abortions, but "cheap and legal" ones.
As Lime 5 notes, NAF does publish, and want their members to follow, standards of care. Let's quote Lime 5 again:
Warren Hern
Warren Hern
-- who is a NAF board member, former head of its Clinical Guidelines Committed, and author of the book Abortion Practice -- helped write NAF's abortion standards, but now calls them "ornamental," "cosmetic," and "meaningless." He admits that NAF "has never pursued a serious program of standards implementation and program evaluation," adding that, "Following good standards costs money. And people don't want to do that." He also pointed out that NAF has never implemented a system to monitor whether its facilities are following its standards. (Source: "Claiming Abortion Malpractice," Diane Gianelli, The American Medical News, February 6, 1995)
Reactions to Hillview -- and Gosnell

Crutcher then moved into the 60 Minutes episode about Hillview in Maryland, where Debra Gray had died and Susanne Logan was injured (and died after the episode aired). 60 Minutes "asked Barbara Radford, executive director of NAF, if they knew about these problems. She responded that NAF was aware of them, but had decided to remain silent because, 'This is the last thing we need. We had hoped that it wouldn't get national publicity because of the political nature of all this.'"

Mugshot of a balding man about 60 years of age
Dr. Kermit Gosnell
We need look no further than the Kermit Gosnell debacle to see that this "publicize no evil" attitude is firmly entrenched. After the death of Karnamaya Mongar, Gosnell applied for membership in NAF. They sent an evaluator to his clinic on December 14 and 15 of 2009. The conditions she found were appalling enough that NAF denied his request for membership -- but they took no other action. They did not report him to the medical board or the health department. They did not warn other facilities, not even their own, to stop referring to him. They did not even instruct the Delaware facility where he worked on Wednesdays to sever ties. They lay low until the news broke, whereupon they dismissed Gosnell as "an outlier" even though the word "colleague" -- or even "employee" -- would be closer to the truth.

The Safe Abortion Hotline: Steve Lichtenberg

Lime 5 noted that NAF has a toll-free number for abortion-minded women to call, ostensibly to get a referral to a high-quality, safe, compassionately-operated abortion practice. We decided to find out what they'd say if we asked them about a specific case. I called, posing as a woman whose relative was scheduled for an abortion at Albany Medical Surgical Center in Chicago. The phone counselor assured me that their doctor, Steve Lichtenberg, was "a very, very excellent doctor; very well respected."

I started to talk about hearing about malpractice at the facility. The counselor interrupted. "All of the complications are reported here, and if there is an excessive amount of complications, or unnecessary complications, they would not be members of the National Abortion Federation." She discussed stories about complications as "just a rumor."

I was more specific, saying that my brother-in-law had told me about somebody named Deanna who had died from an abortion at that clinic. (I was referring to Deanna Bell, the 13-year-old girl who had died from a massive overdose of Brevitol at Albany.) The counselor put me on hold, then came back and said that the brother-in-law was confused and had Deanna mixed up with a girl who had died from an illegal abortion (most likely referring to Becky Bell, whose death from pneumonia shortly after a miscarriage continues to be presented as a criminal abortion death by abortion advocates). The counselor was adamant that whoever the dead girl "wasn't aware that there was an organization that could refer her to a clinic." She added, "There are still poor abortions performed in the United States, not by NAF doctors."

The previous day I had called and spoken to Susan Shapiro at NAF. When I asked, "Okay, and if they asked if there was malpractice or deaths at that facility or by that practitioner, would you inform them?"

Shapiro responded that "we would not inform them of anything specific, unless there was a problem. Then they wouldn't be NAF members if there was something -- if there was a serious problem, and if the complications were -- were serious, you know. Your NAF members are the best abortion providers in the country."

On a subsequent call I specifically asked about Lichtenberg and the death of Deanna Bell. Shapiro responded that "the people that work on the hotline don't have that information readily available, and they tell the person on the phone, 'We just don't have that information readily available right now.' Their basic goal is to refer them to a NAF member clinic, and that's what they do. They don't get into specifics on the phone."

I clarified, "Even in a case like the situation with Lichtenberg, where there was a death, and the consumer specifically asked, 'Was there a death?', your hotline counselors would not even have access to that information to share it?"

Shapiro responded, "Right. And they ... would not say, 'No, there was not a death.' They would say, 'I don't have that information.' And we can give them the number of the medical board and they could research that themselves."

The Safe Abortion Hotline: Ronald Kuseski and Mayfair

A thin, middle-aged white man sits at the bedside of a disabled young woman, looking into her face and holding her hand
Christi Stile attended to by her father, Fred
Was the misinformation I got a fluke? We had Lisa Beaulieu call on November 10, 1995. Lisa posed as a pregnant 15-year-old from Aurora, Colorado. We'd chosen that location because the Christi Stile case had recently been settled by Mayfair Women's Center

Abortionist Ronald Kuseski, not an anesthesiologist, had administered sedatives to Christi through her IV. After the abortion, he looked up to find Christi pale, with bluish lips, and no pulse or respiration. Her heart had stopped. The clinic had no record of Christi's vital signs being recorded during the abortion. Christi's mother says that Kuseski had told her that the clinic had no crash cart. The medical board investigation found that Kuseski didn't have pulse oximetry equipment in place for Christi's abortion. Paramedics were summoned, who managed to restore Christi's pulse and respiration before rushing her to the hospital but she never regained consciousness. She remained in her parents' care for over 22 years until her death in 2015.

Given the appalling lack of attentiveness of staff during the abortion, and the lack of equipment to deal with a very predictable complication, we were curious about how NAF's hotline would describe Mayfair.

As we had anticipated, the counselor referred Lisa to Mayfair. Lisa expressed safety concerns, and the counselor reassured her that "we check out all of our clinics to make sure they're very good places."

Lisa responded, "I've been so nervous because there's been on the news that this girl was -- I guess she's in a coma or something because she had an abortion a couple years ago, and I'm so scared that something like that would ever happen to me because then my parents would know, and..."

The counselor interrupted her, reassuring her that abortion is "the safest surgical procedure in the United States. It's safer than having your tonsils out. There are fewer complications. There's a very, very low likelihood that anything is going to go wrong."

The phone call ended with a lot of reassurance that Lisa would be safe at Mayfair.

Lisa called back the next day, saying that she'd talked to her friend's mother, who had told her that Mayfair was where the girl in the coma had undergone her abortion. The counselor said, "I think that, I'm not sure, but this may be the case, um, where there was a -- she had some sort of condition, and I don't know and I can't say any of this officially, but she had some sort of condition that was not related to any of the procedure itself. It was a problem she had, she had a bad reaction -- it was a strange thing, but it wasn't anything -- there was nothing, nothing medically wrong with the procedure. Um, it's just kind of a -- it was really a fluke kind of thing."

Lisa continued to express reservations, and the counselor continued to reassure her, including telling her that the comatose patient's case was something what was "out of their hands." This, of course, could only be true if there was some sort of outside mandate to run a slipshod abortion clinic that lacked emergency equipment, lacked sufficient qualified staff, and failed to monitor patients during procedures.

NAF's Real Priorities

Lime 5 quotes a seedy abortionist named Ronachai Banchongmanie (referred to jocularly at Life Dynamics as "Raunchy Bunch-a-money" or "Raunchy Botch-a-many") who quit NAF after a brief stint as a member. He described them as "a group of abortion providers that bind together for the purpose of their own benefit."

Raunchy, old fellow, I couldn't have said it better myself.

After noting how many substantiated cases of malpractice and deaths we'd found, Lime 5 shares an exchange I listened to in a tape of the National Abortion Federation's 18th Annual Meeting, April 24-26.
Our old friend Warren Hern was being attacked by some attendees for his willingness to review potential malpractice cases and to provide expert testimony. Hern defended working with attorneys who opposed abortion, saying, "I do not conceal my views from these people, but I have to say this -- There's a lot of crummy medicine being practiced out there in providing abortion services, and I think that some of the stuff I see coming across my desk is very upsetting."

Hern tried to focus the conversation on following standards and avoiding malpractice. His fellows focused more on legal strategies for avoiding lawsuits or getting the women or families to drop them. 
Additional discussion focused on how to attack the women who sue, including ideas about how to discredit, frighten, and/or intimidate them into dropping their suits. Hern spoke up yet again, trying to get the discussion onto providing quality care. He stressed that there was a lot of bad practice that he wanted to see eliminated. Again, his opinion was summarily dismissed, and the discussion returned to attacking the injured woman, her attorney, and any individuals or organizations helping with her case.
Come September of 1994, NAF held their Fall Risk Management Seminar. A consultant they brought in told the group some strategies for managing lawsuits, but "to her credit, the basic thrust of her presentation was that the most effective way not to get sued for malpractice is to not commit malpractice. And once again, Dr. Hern offered his opinion that, 'The way to keep from being sued by these idiots is to practice good medicine. It's really very, very simple.'"

However, as in April, Hern's advice was thrust aside. 
Discussions were held about the need to do the following things: keep clinic records as vague as possible; keep written records to a bare minimum; keep employees from knowing too much so that if they quit they can't testify in a malpractice action; get crisis pregnancy centers out of the phone book so women won't know who to call if they get injured; and harass attorneys who represent women injured by abortion. One presenter even offered to supply a list of attorneys who attended the Life Dynamics Abortion Malpractice Conference to anyone who would target them.

The list of "action plans" went on and on, but the underlying theme was typified by an attendee who lamented that, "We do have bad practitioners. And it's affecting all of us. And we have been reluctant to do anything or say anything or whatever because of the physician shortage. We don't want bad press, but when something happens, under our breaths we all say, 'Well, it was just a matter of time.' You know, that stuff is going to come to the surface more and more.... I want to know how we can control this."
Has NAF Cleaned Up Their Act?

A lot of time has passed since the publication of Lime 5. I'm sure that supporters of the abortion lobby want to believe that NAF has cleaned up their act since then. Sadly, there's not a lot of evidence that they have, and there's plenty of evidence that they haven't.

We can start with that NAF flagship, Family Planning Associates Medical Group. Since the publication of Lime 5, they have added more bodies to their list of shame. Nakia Jorden died of an anesthesia screw-up in 1998, as did Maria Leho in 1999. Kimberly Neil stopped breathing during her abortion in 2000 and died. Maria Rodriguez bled to death after an abortion by Steve Lichtenberg in 2000. Chanelle Bryant died in 2004 from an infection after getting abortion drugs at an FPA clinic. A woman I identify as "Kyla Ellis" bled to death after an FPA abortion in 2014. 

FPA is a huge chain, though, so of course they're going to accumulate more corpses than a small freestanding facility. Nevertheless, NAF members continue to prove deadly.

Tamika Dowdy died in 1998 after an abortion at NAF member Brooklyn Women's Medical Pavilion. 

Malachy DeHenre
Leigh Ann Alford died from hemorrhage in 2003 after an abortion performed by Dr. Malachy DeHenre at NAF member Summit Medical Center of Alabama. DeHenre was later convicted of manslaughter after shooting his wife in the head. He served half his sentence then was deported to his native Nigeria. Not only was he a murderer and a quack -- he was an illegal alien.

National Abortion Federation member Alberto Hodari performed an extremely late abortion on 15-year-old Tamiia Russell at the behest of her 24-year-old abuser's sister. The teen bled to death. Regina Johnson died when she was left inadequately monitored after an abortion performed in 2003 at Hodari's clinic. 

Oriane Shevin died of infection following off-label use of RU-486 at Eve Surgical Center in 2005.

Romeo Ferrer
Romeo Ferrer advertised his private practice, Gynecare Center, as a clinic. He overdosed Denise Crowe on anesthesia in 2006, resulting in her death.

Jennifer McKenna-Morbelli underwent a "fetal indications" abortion at National Abortion Federation member clinic Germantown Reproductive Health Services in 2013. When she suffered complications in the motel where she was staying, her family members called the emergency number provided by Dr. Leroy Carhart. It rang to Carhart's wife's equestrian supply company. This led to a delay in care. Jennifer died. Carhart had also provided the amateurish resuscitation efforts that led to the death of Christin Gilbert at NAF member George Tiller's Wichita clinic in 2004.

Lisa Perriera, who performed Lakisha Wilson's fatal abortion in 2014, serves on the Board of Directors for the National Abortion Federation.

April Lowery bled to death in 2020 after an abortion at NAF member West Alabama Women's Center.

Non-Fatal NAF Quackery Continues as Well

FemCare in North Carolina was closed by the state after inspectors discovered appalling conditions.

Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge has quackery documented from 1981 through 2011 -- when the National Abortion Federation finally suspended their membership and stopped referring patients there from their hotline.

Martin Haskell, whose biggest claim to fame is popularizing the D&X or "partial birth abortion," has an extensive history of malpractice.

Little Rock Family Planning has had some extremely questionable physician on their staff, including Thomas Tvedten, whose license was suspended by the Arkansas Medical Board in 2020, and Willie Parker, who was accused of sexual misconduct.

Northland Family Planning has an extensive history of malpractice, including a 2019 case where they left a patient screaming in agony with a punctured uterus and a collapsed lung.

Closing Thoughts

See for yourself as Mark Crutcher tours a closed National Abortion Federation clinic bought by a prolife group. Note the irony of the women entering the building through the back alley. 

I also went to the NAF website and started looking up their facilities on The very first one, A Capital Women's Health Clinic, clearly has issues as revealed in the inspection reports. 

Ditto the second one, A Preferred Women's Health Center -- Charlotte. The next one, A Preferred Women's Health Center -- Raleigh, had some deficiencies but passed most inspections without deficiencies. A Preferred Women's Health Center -- Augusta had some issues with fetal disposal but there are no other documents indicating problems. There were no deficiencies noted for the last inspection of A Preferred Women's Health Center -- Forest Park. So this chain seems to have just the one bad apple -- 25% of their locations.

A Tidewater Women's Health Clinic seems to have cleaned up their act after a dismaying inspection report for 2015.

Diamond Williams
A Woman's Choice of Charlotte is where Diamond Williams underwent her fatal abortion in 2016. Until just now I had not known that this clinic -- identified as Carolina Center for Women in other documents -- was a NAF member. They clearly have other issues with running their facility.

A Woman's Choice of Greensboro clearly has some issues that show up in inspections.

A Woman's Choice of Jacksonville mainly seemed to have issues with failing to report adverse events. They seem to have cleaned up their act after their inspection of 2019.

A Woman's Choice of Raleigh has some more serious complaints directly relating to patient care.

A-Z Women's Center in Las Vegas was sued for the death of Kawaida Espenrace, with allegations that they failed to treat her hemorrhage in a timely manner. 

AB Abortion Telemedicine evidently has just one website and phone number but lists itself on the NAF websites in California, Colorado. Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. AbortionDocs has no information at all about them. Odds are they just have a headquarters in Florida and licenses to prescribe medicine in those other states.

Abortion At Home by carafem is probably fairly new and seem to be listed on the AbortionDocs site purely under CaraFem. All AbortionDocs has is chipper articles noting the joys of abortions by mail. Ditto for Abortion Delivered (aka Just The Pill) and Abortion On Demand. I'm guessing that any women who suffer complications or death won't be connected back to the drug prescriber, but I could be proven wrong. Still, given the high risk of hemorrhage and infection this doesn't seem like a very safe way to approach abortion.

I've hit the first Planned Parenthood affiliate, and since I'm covering Planned Parenthood on the next installment I'll not touch on any of them today. And rather than plow through any more in alphabetical order, I'll take the first non-PP for each letter of the alphabet -- and highlight any I spot that I've heard of that I find out are members.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center just has information about the hospital's "family planning" and their first and second trimester abortions.

Camelback Family Planning went through a period where they weren't exactly up to the stated NAF standards, that's for sure.

Delaware County Women's Center failed to pass licensing requirements in 2012 and seems to have been changing hands a lot since then. 

Early Options doesn't have much information on AbortionDocs.

Falls Church Healthcare Center seems to be pretty seedy, with a lot of deficiencies found in inspections.

I can't find Gynecology & More on the AbortionDocs site -- and they don't seem to have a website themselves.

Hagerstown Reproductive Health Services is the clinic that sent Desiree Hawkins to Kermit Gosnell's clinic. She's one of the patients whose baby's feet were found in jars in the clinic. Hagerstown Reproductive evidently also operates under the name Potomac Family Planning, since they were sued for Jennifer Halner's 1997 abortion death. They have quite a few serious problems noted.

Indianapolis Women's Center is run by Martin Haskell. They racked up quite a lot of deficiencies in 2019.

AbortionDocs doesn't have any inspection reports or other documents of that type about Joan G. Lovering Health Center.

Lakeland Women's Health Center got a smackdown in 2019 for being pretty lackadaisical. 

The only thing AbortionDocs has on Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center is that they joined Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit against the state.

North Durham Women’s Health was closed by the state in 2013, re-opened briefly, was closed again, and evidently was able to re-open and stay open after they got rid of a questionable doctor.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Care Center in Providence, Rhode Island, doesn't appear to actually exist. The website is just a clearinghouse for obstetric care, evidently run by people who want to be affiliated with the National Abortion Federation for some ungodly reason.

Paley Family Planning evidently is a part of Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, which is the website linked at the NAF page.

AbortionDocs has nothing at all on Red River Women's Clinic.

Safe and Sound only opened in 2014, and their only cited deficiency in 2018 (the only inspection report on AbortionDocs after the original licensing inspection) was leaving medications and syringes where they can be accessed by patients.

Tampa Women’s Health Center doesn't seem exemplary, but not particularly bad either.

There are several university medical centers in the U section, the first of which is UCLA Hospital and Clinics. AbortionDocs has nothing on them at all.

Wasatch Women's Center seemed to have gone through a rough spot with paperwork.

My recommendation is that you pick and choose a few facilities from the NAF site and check what you can find on AbortionDocs. This brief survey should reassure the abortion rights supporter that AbortionDocs isn't just picking on people but actually does include copies of inspection reports where no deficiencies were found.

So is NAF home to seedy abortionists? In some cases I'd certainly say yes, in others no, and in others the jury is still out. But the main lesson is that the NAF sticker is no guarantee of quality care. Do your homework before you trust them.