Three months after making an open records request for a 911 call originating from LeRoy Carhart’s Germantown Reproductive Health Services abortion clinic on November 26, 2013, Operation Rescue has finally received a 911 recording from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service indicating that the patient was hemorrhaging from complications to a late-term abortion.
In addition to taking weeks beyond the statutory deadlines to comply with Operation Rescue’s open record request, the recording was heavily redacted, omitting information that has previously been obtainable by the public, indicating a policy change that actively protects the abortion clinic.
“While the Maryland Public Information Act allows for the records custodian to exercise a certain amount of discretion in what is released, the redactions made in the November 26, 911 recording represent a gross abuse of that discretion at the expense of the public that has a right to taxpayer-funded 911 communications, as long as patient identifying information is removed,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The omissions of information go far beyond anything we have previously obtained from the Montgomery County Fire Department. However, there have been no changes whatsoever in the MPI or FOIA laws that would account for the policy change. It appears to be a political one meant to protect the abortion clinic from scrutiny.”
Answers to nearly identical questions posed by a Montgomery County dispatcher on a 911 recording from a similar abortion emergency at GRHS on July 9, 2013, were released in full. That recording and accompanying video, which showed Carhart escorting a woman on a gurney out of the clinic to an awaiting ambulance, was shown on Fox News.
“We suspect that the news broadcast prompted Carhart or his attorneys to intimidate the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service into covering up information that is damaging to him,” said Newman. “If that is what happened it is a complete abuse of the system.”
In spite of the over-redactions, Operation Rescue was able to determine that the patient was hemorrhaging based on the line of questions asked by the emergency dispatcher, including a question concerning whether the patient requiring emergency medical assistance was on any blood thinners.
“Questions about blood thinners are only asked if there is heavy bleeding involved,” said Newman.
The November 26 incident was videotaped by local pro-life activists. Witnesses on the scene described a visibly pregnant woman who was wheeled out of the abortion clinic completely covered in a sheet.
The patient was rushed to Shady Grove Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery, according to information received by Operation Rescue.
Germantown Reproductive Health Services is one of the few abortion clinics that openly offers abortions through all 9 months of pregnancy. It is not equipped to handle the serious late-term abortion complications that occur there.
Carhart, who lives in Nebraska, holds no hospital privileges anywhere and has not since 1982. This creates continuity of care issues for patients who routinely suffer life-threatening abortion complications at GRHS. For example, in February 2013, Jennifer Morbelli died from complications to a 33-week abortion done by Carhart who was unreachable by family and hospital staff as her condition deteriorated. However, the Maryland Board of Physicians declined to hold Carhart accountable for his failure to provide Mrs. Morbelli with the same continuity of care that is required from other physicians.
Operation Rescue documented four medical emergencies, including Morbelli’s death, involving Carhart last year alone. Three of the incidents took place in Germantown and the fourth at his abortion clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska.
“Carhart has a network of enablers that have thus far shielded him from accountability for hurting one woman after another. Now it appears that the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services has joined that network of secrecy that ensures that more women will suffer injury or even death in the future,” said Newman.