The pro-life organization Operation Rescue has raised concerns about the health and safety of women seeking abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Flossmoor, Illinois, after two consecutive medical emergencies occurred there.
Operation Rescue, one of the nation’s leading activist groups opposing abortion, reports that one of the two emergencies occurred when an abortionist tore a woman's uterus during an abortion.
The life-threatening incident that occurred on May 8 resulted in a call to 911 and an ensuing dispatch of an ambulance to the clinic.
Operation Rescue obtained the May 8 911 call recording and a document showing that it took an ambulance about seven minutes to arrive at the scene.
According to the audio recording of the 911 call, a Planned Parenthood employee told a 911 dispatcher that the facility needed a medical transport for a woman with a possible “uterine perforation.”
“We have a patient during a procedure. Possible Perf,” the employee told the dispatcher.
Operation Rescue contends that the employee’s use of the slang term for the injury suggests that it might be a frequent occurrence.
“The use of the abbreviated term for ‘perforation’ seems to imply that this kind of injury has happened often enough that a slang term was developed for it,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said in a statement. “In fact, I have seen this injury mentioned frequently in many 911 records that have crossed my desk.”
According to Operation Rescue, a uterine perforation is a “life-threatening injury that occurs when the abortionist pushes abortion instruments through the womb and into the abdominal cavity,” which causes a hole or tear in the uterus that needs surgical repair at a hospital.
A perforation can result in hemorrhaging and damage to other organs, according to Operation Rescue.
As for the reported emergency that occurred at the Flossmoor facility on May 7, a private ambulance service was called.
Video provided to Operation Rescue by a local pro-life advocate shows a woman being removed from the clinic’s rear entrance on a gurney before being loaded into an ambulance operated by Bud’s Ambulance Services.
No 911 records from the May 7 incident are available. Operation Rescue Senior Vice President Cheryl Sullenger believes that the lack of 911 records for the incident is probably because employees for the clinic likely called the private ambulance service directly.
According to Operation Rescue, Bud’s Ambulance Services is located about 10 miles from Flossmoor.
“Normal driving time without lights and sirens, which appeared not to be in use during the emergency, is 22 minutes — a long time to wait for help,” Sullenger wrote in a report.
The Flossmoor Planned Parenthood facility opened in January 2018. According to Operation Rescue, at least four emergencies have led to women being hospitalized since the clinic opened.
“No matter what Planned Parenthood says, abortions are not safe,” Newman added in his statement. “We have documented hundreds of life-threatening injuries at abortion facilities and dozens of maternal deaths that prove abortion is not safe for women. Planned Parenthood needs to stop lying about the dangers of abortion to the American people.”
Among women who have died from botched abortions include 24-year-old Cree Erwin Sheppard, a single mother who died in 2016 a few days after having an abortion in Michigan.
Her family later said doctors failed to recognize or treat her perforated uterus.
According to MLive, Erwin-Sheppard was sent home after her procedure with instructions to follow-up with a doctor or Planned Parenthood after a long weekend. However, she died before she could make it to an appointment.
A study released in 2018 found that about 5,500 women are hospitalized each year or sent to emergency rooms after complications from an abortion. The study was led by Ushma D. Upadhyay, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Science, who's an advocate for abortion.
The finding comes as hundreds of thousands of abortions are conducted each year in the U.S. despite falling abortion rates.
While pro-life advocates contend that the study shows the dangers of abortions, the pro-choice researchers concluded that safety regulations on abortion are "unlikely to have any impact on women's health outcomes” because the "rate of major incidents is very low."
Pro-life advocates have urged some states to pass legislation that would require abortion doctors to have to admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and require abortion facilities meet the same health and safety standards as surgical centers. However, abortion-rights advocates often argue that abortion clinic owners should not be required to make changes to their facilities to meet code requirements, and note that many abortion doctors are not able to qualify for hospital admitting privileges.
In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against two similar provisions in Texas law.