Hellen Pendley, who worked in an abortion facility in Georgia, told her story at a conference called “Meet the Abortion Providers,” sponsored by the Pro-Life Action League. According to Pendley, incomplete abortions — in which the abortionist leaves part of the baby or placenta in the mother’s uterus — occurred frequently in her facility. This is a dangerous complication, because it can lead to serious infections. At best, this means a repeat aspiration procedure. At worst, it can lead to septic shock and death. But Pendley said her facility covered up these complications by hiding injured women’s charts from inspectors:
I kept a file in my office; it was separate, it was under lock and key and absolutely no one had access to that but me. Those were our “problem patients.” Those were pulled out, they were purged from the normal filing system because we did not want an inspector to come in and routinely pull records and pull those records. Those were the women that we knew we sent home bleeding, the women that we knew we sent home with a problem. They were the ones that we knew we were going to hear from again.
Both the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the CDC supposedly keep track of complications, but much has been written about the uselessness and inaccuracy of their records. As John M. Thorp, Jr. and Clarke D. Forsythe pointed out in The Washington Times, both agencies rely solely on abortion providers for their data, and reporting is completely voluntary. Only 26 states require abortion facilities to make any reports at all, and there are no guidelines in any state to ensure the reports are made accurately. Generally, abortion facilities report complications only if they choose to.
Pendley said when she began working at the facility, she asked employees how they gathered data for their statistics, and they told her, “we guess.” Pendley noted, “… [W]hen you stop and look at CDC statistics, other statistics that you come across showing just how safe legal abortion is, you need to understand who reports those statistics.”
In the chain of abortion facilities where Pendley worked, the director ordered workers not to report any complication that did not result in hospitalization:
I have a memorandum that came from our national director of this particular company, and in that memorandum she states, “You do not report it if it’s not a hospitalization. I don’t care how many times you perforate a uterus, you pack them, you massage the uterus, you give them some [medicine] and you send them home, but you don’t report it.”
Pendley describes how one of the abortionists at her facility perforated the uterus of a 14-year-old girl so severely that he pulled her bowel into it. This is a devastating complication that could easily lead to death from blood loss or massive infection. Incredibly, instead of treating the complication or even alerting the girl’s parents, he sent the girl home with her bowel in her uterus. Pendley said that she doesn’t know if the girl survived.
These complications are known possibilities in multiple abortion procedures, especially late-term abortions, like a dilation and evacuation, or D&E. A woman risks a perforated or lacerated uterus or cervix, hemorrhage, cervical damage, and scar tissue — and if she survives, these complications can negatively affect future pregnancies.
There are a lot of things that go on in a clinic that you would not tolerate if it happened in any other branch of medicine…. But it’s important that you understand to what lengths people in the industry will go to preserve their image. There is nothing that is too low…. [W]hen I worked in the industry there were no delusions of helping anyone. I helped myself to the money. I helped myself to a position of power. And I didn’t care how many dead bodies I had to crawl over to get there.
I walked into the laboratory every day. I saw dead babies every day for three years. I played with many of them. I never saw human life. And I never cared. If I could see 50 I was so happy, because you know what that meant? It meant I’m really gonna have a good bonus in my next paycheck.
The abortion industry is a dehumanizing business. Seeing the bloody bodies of dead babies does something to workers. In Pendley’s case, the grisliness of abortion eroded her ability to empathize with vulnerable women. Money became her ultimate goal, and she did not care about the suffering she was inflicting on others.