Operation Rescue assisted Abortion Free New Mexico with the initial investigation and exposure of this tragedy.
By Cheryl Sullenger, (Republished with the permission of Operation Rescue)
Albuquerque, NM – Southwestern Women’s Options, a full-term abortion facility located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has settled a major medical malpractice/wrongful death suit for $900,000. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the settlement agreement was reached with the abortion facility last fall.
“Southwestern Women’s Option clinic, in settling its part of the lawsuit, sought a confidentiality provision to bar the parties from discussing the settlement. They are specifically not permitted to disparage the clinic or its doctors, according to the settlement agreement, which was filed as an exhibit in the lawsuit,” the newspaper reported.
Last month, the University of New Mexico agreed to pay the family of Keisha Atkins $365,000 to settle their part of the lawsuit that alleged UNM negligently referred Atkins to Southwestern Women’s Options where Atkins received a fatal multi-day abortion. That settlement resulted in a full dismissal of the wrongful death suit in April.
That brings the total payout to Atkins’ mother, Tina Atkins, and her sister, Nichole, to over $1.26 million.
Southwestern Women’s Options’ owner, Curtis Boyd, reached the settlement during mediation in relation to allegations that “its subsequent treatment of Atkins fell below the standard of care and was negligent,” according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Atkins was 23 years old and six months pregnant when she sought an abortion at the UNM Center for Reproductive Health early 2017. That abortion facility determined that Atkins was too far along for a procedure there, so she was referred to Southwestern Women’s Options, which is one of the few abortion facilities in the U.S. that openly conducts abortions through all trimesters of pregnancy.
Once at SWO, Atkins underwent a multi-day late-term abortion. Before the process could be completed, Atkins was taken to UNM Medical Center where she died on February 4, 2017.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that Tina Atkins described during a deposition meeting her daughter in the hospital that fateful day when Keisha was still alive and talking.
Keisha was combative, and 'a little bit delirious,' Atkins said. But she could still talk. "The first thing that came out of her mouth was, ‘Mom, I’m going to die.'"
An autopsy was done at the University of New Mexico that listed Atkins’ cause of death as “Pulmonary Thromboembolism due to Pregnancy.”
Tara Shaver of Abortion Free New Mexico, who was initially tipped to Atkins’ death, was among the first to receive a copy of the autopsy report. Suspicious that the cause of death blamed Atkins pregnancy instead of the abortion, Shaver asked Operation Rescue to review the autopsy results.
Operation Rescue’s staff, which is experienced in analyzing autopsy reports, found that the listed cause of death was untrue, and suspected that UNM was attempting to cover up the liability of UNM and SWO in Atkins’ death.
Operation Rescue discovered that the autopsy report itself noted that Atkins developed an infection during the multi-day abortion that turned septic. As a complication of the septicemia, she developed a clotting disorder. It was a blood clot found in her lung caused by the abortion process that eventually took her life – not her pregnancy.
At the time, Curtis Boyd commented in the Albuquerque Journal attacking Operation Rescue’s discovery:
For those who oppose women’s reproductive justice to exploit this sad event by putting forward lies about abortion and the patient’s care is sickening. We trust the citizens of New Mexico to be compassionate and understanding of the needs of women and to see through this inflammatory attack on women’s reproductive rights and on us.”
In the end, the settlements vindicated Operation Rescue’s findings and proved that it was Boyd who was lying to cover up his clinic’s negligence in Atkins’ death.
We are glad that the Keisha Atkins wrongful death case is now closed and that her family will receive a large settlement. I know that no amount of money will compensate them for the death of their loved one, but I pray it will bring closure to the family,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
The case was handled by Abortion on Trial. More information about this case is available on their website.
Tara Shaver, spokeswoman for Abortion Free New Mexico issued the following statement:
"Abortion Free New Mexico is thankful for the collaboration with Operation Rescue who assisted us with the initial investigation and exposure of this tragedy. Our hope is that the family of Keisha Atkins can find closure and peace and that her death will help serve to deter other women from choosing abortion. This $1.26 million dollar settlement should set a precedent that late-term abortions pose serious life threatening risks to women and that UNM should refrain from their participation in referring and providing abortion services. New Mexico tax dollars are funding these risky procedures through medicaid and now the tax payers are footing the bill for the abortion deaths of women.
Bud & Tara Shaver
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