Investigative

‘Paranoid’ abortionist on trial for leaving skull fragment in late-term abortion patient

Warren Hern, after tiller, late-term abortion

In 2015, Live Action News reported that notorious late term abortionist Warren Hern was being sued for a botched abortion which ended in the patient becoming sterile after part of the baby’s skull was left behind and “because lodged in [the mother’s] uterus, causing severe pain, bleeding, and mental distress,” and eventually, the removal of her uterus. The baby’s parents chose to abort at 25 weeks “after their wanted child was diagnosed with major cerebral defects that made it unlikely the child would survive a year past birth.” Since that report, new details have emerged regarding the allegations from the patient.

According to the Journal Star, this skull fragment was found more than a year after the woman’s abortion, which was in December 2013. “Their attorney, Terry Dougherty of Lincoln, alleges Hern had failed to warn her of the increased risks and negligently misrepresented that the fetus had been entirely removed,” the news site claims.

In September, U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer denied a defense motion for summary judgment, allowing the case to move toward trial, and the trial began on Monday. It is expected to last a little over a week.

Live Action News has documented multiple times how babies born at 25 weeks, and sometimes sooner, can survive outside the womb. Taking an innocent human life, especially in such a violent and inhumane manner, cannot be justified.

25 weeks.

According to the federal lawsuit, “On or about November 21, 2013,” Jennifer and Jason DeBuhr found out via MRI results that their baby had life expectancy-reducing abnormalities, and decided “it was in the best interest of [the mother’s] health” to abort their baby. But as far along as she was, she “could not have an abortion in her home state of Nebraska.” The suit notes that the couple contacted Hern’s Boulder Abortion Clinic and made an appointment for December 2, 2013:

The assistant who talked with Jennifer on the phone informed her that she should expect that her procedure would take at least four days, and that Jennifer would need to make arrangements to stay at a local hotel through December 7, 2013…. On the morning of December 3, 2013, Jennifer and Jason were required to wire $7,500 to the Boulder Abortion Clinic before the multi-step procedure could begin.

But things did not go smoothly. Jennifer experienced severe vomiting after laminaria was inserted, and Hern’s staff were unable to get her to dilate to more than one to two centimeters. But Hern still went ahead with the abortion. The lawsuit continued:

During the D&E procedure, although numbing cream had been placed along her cervix, Jennifer could feel a lot of pulling from the lower half of her body all the way up to her chest. Jennifer experienced intense pain, and as a result of this pain, at some point during the procedure, she blacked out.

After the procedure, the clinic staff took Jennifer into a post-operating room where her vital signs were checked, and Dr. Hern performed a visual external examination of her body and indicated that the operation was successful. She was monitored for a couple hours. Jason was able to visit Jennifer at this time.

D&E abortion, also known as dismemberment (dilation and evacuation) abortion is the most common form of late-term abortion during the second trimester. In this abortion procedure, the child is torn apart one limb at a time. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes this in the video below:

According to the the Journal Star report, Jennifer DeBuhr went to her regular doctor the following spring after suffering “break-through bleeding.” She eventually had an ultrasound which revealed part of the baby’s skull was cutting into her uterine wall.

Dougherty alleges Hern breached his standard of care by not warning her of an increased risk that fragments of bone could be left behind if he proceeded even though she failed to dilate more than 1 or 2 centimeters. He says it was medical malpractice.

The woman’s doctor performed a hysterectomy to remove the skull fragment, which now makes it impossible for the couple to have children.

Hern’s attorney, Amy Cook Olson, has denied the claims and is requesting that jurors be questioned on their stand on abortion, writing, “Abortion is a controversial issue in United States culture and politics. The right to an abortion in the second term of pregnancy is of particular controversy … resulting in various state legislative restrictions.”

The couple is seeking $75,000 in damages from Hern.

In 1972, Hern “learned to perform abortions at PRETERM Clinic, the first non-profit abortion clinic in the nation’s capital,” according to his online bio. He founded his late term abortion facility in Colorado called Boulder Abortion Clinic in 1975. Hern claims there is no justification for any abortion limits and is considered an expert in late-term abortions. Hern prepared for publication the first version of the National Abortion Federation Program Standards for Abortion Services, released in 1981. He has also authored several NAF studies and has written an entire book on how to commit abortions. In 1976, Hern was one of the founding institutional members of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and served on its Board of Directors for four years. He also served on NAF’s Standards Committee and then chaired that Committee for two years.

Hern once authored a study on the effects of D&E abortion on abortion staff. According to this study, abortion workers are often ambivalent about the gruesome dismemberment procedure and often refuse to look at the “fetus.” Some claim to have had nightmares following participation in the abortions. Below are some excerpts from the study:

Image of Hern Study

Warren Hern Study, staff reactions to D&E

 

Image of Hern Study

Hern Study, staff reactions to D&E

 

Image of Hern study

Hern Study, staff reactions to D&E

In 2015, a woman who sought a late-term abortion from Hern claims she paid $25,000 to end the life of her baby at 36 weeks. She claims Warren Hern’s Colorado facility told the woman they would “euthanize” her baby:

The whole first day was counseling and testing to make sure it was safe to do the procedure. They want to make sure you completely understand what is going to happen and that no one is pressuring you into the decision. At the end of the day, I signed all the paperwork, and the doctor injected the baby with a drug that, over a few hours, slowed her heart to still. It was a very, very difficult day. Euthanizing the baby is, obviously, a very hard thing to do. After the injection, he asked how I was feeling, and I just said, “I feel so sad. I’m going to miss her.”

In 2016, the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, investigating possible instances of illegal fetal tissue trafficking, issued subpoenas for information from fetal tissue procurement companies as well as from several abortionists, including Hern. In response, Hern took out a full page ad criticizing the request.

However, in a 1989 interview with the New York Times, Hern claimed there are ethical issues with the way fetal tissue is procured. According to the article, “Hern said that although he favors the use of fetal tissue in research, he has lingering ethical questions about the way it is procured. He said that a couple of years ago he was repeatedly asked to supply the tissue by a group that has since stopped procuring fetal tissue.” Hern claims to have thrown the letters away unanswered, because “… the group suggested that he vary the amount of suction he used in abortions, which bothered him,” because he didn’t want the abortions to be longer or more uncomfortable.

In addition, Hern told the New York Times that an overriding reason why he does not want to procure fetal tissue is the “unbelievable harassment” he gets from “anti-abortion” groups. So, although Hern had ethical questions about “procuring” aborted babies for medical research he had no qualms about killing those same children.

In 2017, Live Action News published several reviews of Hern and his late term abortion facility.  One online review, published by an alleged patient, on the website Vitals.com, states that Hern’s tone was “very condescending and suspicious.” The woman wrote, “I didn’t feel comfortable in his care and opted out.”

Warren Hern patient review, Vitals

The alleged patient in that April 2016 review described the late-term abortionist as a “very rude and paranoid doctor,” claiming she was “scolded” by him for “wearing lipstick” to his abortion facility. She claims she was not told about this “rule” by Hern’s staff but Hern refused to believe the patient and “went off on a rant.”

When the late-term abortion patient, who flew to Boulder from California for the procedure, asked why Hern was so upset that she wore lipstick, she claims Hern arrogantly told her, “When you put your life in my hands, you better be careful about doing as I say.”

For years, Hern has put himself out as an expert on abortion. He even worked as an “expert witness” in medical malpractice abortion cases, according to a report by the New York Times. According to the article, Hern claimed that “5 to 10 percent of first-trimester abortions are incomplete, leaving behind a few grams of tissue, or even the whole fetal sac. More rarely, abortion causes perforation of the uterus, hemorrhage or infection. Without proper follow-up care, such complications can cause serious injury.”

“There’s a lot of bad medicine being practiced out there in the name of choice,” Hern told the New York Times.

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