Abortion Clinic Probe Makes Patient's Information Public

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A New York woman traveled to New Mexico to receive a late-term abortion, and is upset to discover her personal information has been revealed nearly two years later.

The woman, 26, went to one of the four late-term abortion clinics in the US after she learned the fetus had severe brain abnormalities. During the abortion, however, there were complications and she was rushed to an emergency room with a ruptured uterus.

Now, intimate details about her treatment have been revealed. Information about her mental state, her religion and family status have also been made public.

The release of this information stems from a state medical board probe initiated by anti-abortion activists with Operation Rescue. The group is known for aggressively monitoring 911 calls made from abortion clinics.

This event has sparked debate on whether these anti-abortion tactics invade patient privacy.

It also highlights the sensitivity around late-term abortion, a practice that has been made illegal in several states. Though supporters of abortion say the procedure is rare and is only performed during cases where the mother or child’s health is in danger, anti-abortionists say they are dangerous and painful to the baby.

Late-term abortions are performed by injecting the fetus with a drug to stop its heartbeat. Days later, the fetus is removed after drugs are administered to induce labor.

The New Mexico Medical Board is to decide Thursday whether they should revoke the license of Dr. Shelley Sella, or discipline her. Sella performed the late-term abortion and is a former colleague of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, who was killed by an anti-abortion zealot.

While Sella did everything a doctor usually does to perform a late-term abortion, and had warned the patient of the dangers, board prosecutor Daniel Rubin argued that proper standards of care were not followed.

Rubin argued that abortion providers should determine whether a procedure should be done in a hospital rather than a clinic, especially if it’s risky, as late-term abortions are.

Operation Rescue filed a complaint against Sella, and member Cheryl Sullenger said determining if abortions should be performed in hospitals will “dramatically impact the ability of these abortionists to do these dangerous procedures on women.”

But President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta, said this is all a ploy in the group’s ongoing campaign against abortion doctors.

“This is a medical board,” Saporta said. “This is certainly not a standards-setting body for the rest of the United States. So while Operation Rescue would love for their complaints to have national scope, they really don’t, and they haven’t had much success in having medical boards agree with their complaints.”