Markethia Clark will never forget that day. Looking across the table at a young lawyer named Mike Johnson, she shudders. "It was unusually bad," she told him. Denise had been the last patient of the night, so everyone was tired and anxious go home. Markethia wasn't in the surgery room when the screaming started. Looking at her coworkers in horror, they froze. "We were all alarmed," she said, "because screaming out loud like that is unusual." The abortion, they knew, had gone terribly wrong. But calling an ambulance, the doctor barked, was out of the question.
Denise survived because her mom rushed her to the hospital. About three months later, when lawyers and state officials started sniffing around the case, the doctor, Leroy Brinkley, ordered his staff to "fabricate some records to make it look like everything was done properly." "We made [them] up," Markethia admitted. It was the last she or anyone else knew of the case. But it wasn't the end of the nightmares.
When the inspectors came, Sandra Price said, "We stalled them" while other employees "quietly gathered together the unsterilized hoses and re-packaged cannulas (labeled 'For One Use Only') and hid them... The only things they looked at were what we voluntarily showed them." Like a lot of abortion centers, Delta Women's Health was filthy. The equipment was so disgustingly dirty, Markethia testified, that the "dilators had dried crusted blood down in the crevices of the numbers engraved on the side... The surgical tools were so rusted that if you rubbed your hand down it, it would leave a rusty, orange streak on your palm. Those were the same tools used on Denise and all the other girls at the clinic." There was "dried up blood on the floor, in the old recliners in the recovery room, and rust on the insides of the surgical trays," she shakes her head.
Louisiana's Brinkley, it turns out, was quite a fan of Kermit Gosnell. He even hired the abortion monster to work for him in Delaware (before Gosnell went to prison for killing patients and snipping the spinal cords of perfectly healthy newborns). And the similarities didn't end there. Brinkley ran his "clinic" in Baton Rouge just like Gosnell's house of horrors. Allyson Tunnard was just 19 when she worked there -- and saw things that will scar her for life. She remembers holding down patients who were yelling in pain during late-term procedures, watching how rough and abusive the doctors were, and the day she wasn't allowed to call 911 when a woman started gushing blood because the abortionist had carelessly sliced through her uterus. "She passed several blot clots as large as my head... but [Dr.] Whitmore refused to let anyone call [an ambulance] because he was afraid the media would find out." Later, her charts said there had been no complications.
These are the stories that sealed the deal for Louisiana. Mike and I joined forces. In the state legislature, I showed an undercover video of the atrocities taking place behind clinic doors -- the stomach-churning, third-world conditions -- which, as even the liberal media points out, silenced all the critics. But now, 20 years later, much more needs to be done. Abortion businesses, Delta worker Lisa Teegarden warned, "are much more concerned with making money than with providing safe health care." And so they've found a way around the regulations -- putting women's lives on the line with shoddy care.
Just last March, a young mom -- barely 15 weeks pregnant -- went into the same Delta Women's Clinic and had her abortion botched so badly that she had to have a complete hysterectomy, sterilizing her for life. Turns out, when she started bleeding profusely, the nurse went to give her emergency saline -- only to find that the crash cart didn't have any! To her horror, the other medicine she needed to save her life was expired.
When the U.S. Supreme Court convenes Wednesday morning, let's hope they see these real victims of a ruthless, money-hungry abortion industry. The liberal media will scream that the Louisiana law before these nine justices is about shutting down clinics. It's not. It's about forcing an industry that claims to put women first to prove it. If businesses like Delta Women's Health want to stay open, it's up to them. They can abide by Act 620 that requires them to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (which, based on these accounts, they need), or they can refuse to make the changes that protect mothers and close their doors.
The Left will argue that this is about abortion access. But who wants access to an unsafe abortion? We don't care if it's "inconvenient" for these businesses to file the paperwork for admitting privileges. We care that women don't get hurt more. And everyone in this country -- liberal or conservative -- should too. There's one casualty from every abortion already. There shouldn't be two. "Look, I'd love it if the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade," Rep. Johnson said all those years ago. "That would be the greatest day of my life. But until we can do that, I accept the fact that they can perform abortions legally, and I just want them to do it under the same health and safety standards that any other medical professional has to adhere to." That's what we said in 1999, when Mike and I fought for Louisiana first abortion clinic regulation law -- and it's what every justice should say now.
To check out the amicus brief that FRC filed in the case, click here. Also, don't miss my brand new Washington Times op-ed with that young attorney-turned-congressman, Mike Johnson, "Supreme Court should put a stop to the abortion industry getting a free pass."