Woman's Death in 4-Day Late-Term Abortion Is Being Covered Up, Pro-Life Groups Say

(Photo: The Christian Post/Samuel Smith)Participants in the 2017 March for Life hold up their pro-life signs in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2017.

Pro-life groups are alleging that the death of a 23-year-old woman during a four-day abortion procedure is being covered up by the clinic and the University of New Mexico.

Keisha Marie Atkins died on Feb. 4 at Southwestern Women's Options, a late-term abortion clinic in Albuquerque, an autopsy report by Abortion Free New Mexico has revealed.

Operation Rescue, which is assisting the pro-life group with its investigation, said in a press release on Wednesday that Atkins' death was listed as a result of "pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy," or blood clots in the lungs.

"A careful review of the autopsy findings indicates that this cause of death is a whitewash meant to blame Atkins' pregnancy for her death instead of what appears to be a mismanaged late-term abortion procedure," Operation Rescue said.

It added that Atkins' death is "particularly troubling," given that a criminal investigation is currently underway by the New Mexico Attorney General's Office into Southwestern Women's Options and the University of New Mexico.

A U.S. House investigation has found that Southwestern Women's Options is the University of New Mexico's largest provider of aborted baby tissue and organs, which is an arrangement that violates state and federal law.

Atkins, believed to have been six months pregnant or more, reportedly arrived at the clinic on Jan. 31 for a four-day late-term abortion procedure. On Feb. 3 she returned for the completion of the procedure, but had trouble breathing, and had signs of sepsis, a systemic, life-threatening infection.

Later the same day, an ambulance was called to transport Atkins to the hospital, but upon arriving at the UNM Medical Center, the young woman's condition deteriorated rapidly, prompting an emergency D&E abortion procedure to remove her baby through dismemberment.

"During the procedure, Atkins suffered cardiac arrest. Efforts to revive her were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. on Feb. 4," the press release said.

"There is evidence that Atkins suffered from sepsis, a bacterial infection caused by the four-day abortion process, which brought about symptoms consistent with Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. Atkins suffered hemorrhaging in her brain, a buildup of fluid around her lungs, and other symptoms of DIC that the autopsy ignored," it added.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said that UNM is a "biased promoter of abortion that is attempting to shift blame onto Atkins' pregnancy, instead of the abortion, where the blame rightfully belongs."

Newman continued, "Keisha Atkins and her family deserve the truth, not a cover-up. But with UNM and SWO, covering up their misdeeds has become standard operating procedure."

Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico said that Atkins' life was tragically cut short.

"For years we have worked to expose the barbaric nature of late-term abortion in New Mexico and sought to bring accountability to the unregulated and unaccountable Abortion Cartel," Shaver said.

"Now more than ever, we need leadership in our city and state to take a bold stand and the necessary steps to prevent the needless deaths of women and their children through late-term abortion."

Operation Rescue has led several investigations into botched abortions carried out in the United States, including one at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Michigan in June 2016.

The pro-life group released part of a "chilling" 911 call placed in May by the mother of Cree Erwin-Shepard, the 24-year-old woman who died following the abortion procedure.

"My daughter is cold. My daughter, I think she's dead," the mother can be heard sobbing in the call.

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