Earlier this year, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) issued a final order revoking the license of the American Family Planning abortion business in Pensacola, Florida. The facility faced a fine of $343,200 and the state determined that the business posed an immediate threat to the health, safety, or welfare of its patients.
The closure came after three women had to be hospitalized within nine months and American Family Planning failed to report any of the injuries as required by law. But the shuttering of the notorious facility wouldn’t have happened without the dedication of three pro-life organizations working together.
In a video regarding the pro-life victory, members of the three pro-life organizations — Sidewalk Advocates for Life, Reprotection, and Emerald Coast Coalition for Life — explained how the hard work of pro-lifers paid off and protected women and children from the dangerous abortion business.
“In 2014, I heard about Sidewalk Advocates for Life,” explained Ernie Cyr, Founder of Emerald Coast Coalition for Life. “As the new ministry was being launched, I was like, this is what we need to do as an organization. This is the direction we need to head in.”
Sidewalk Advocates for Life helped to train the members of Emerald Coast Coalition for Life on how to speak with women who were vulnerable to abortion. But the sidewalk counselors also became the eyes and ears for Reprotection. Cyr had information that they had collected about how American Family Planning was breaking the law and Reprotection knew they had to use that information to shut the facility down.
“This facility had a history of sending women home with unlabeled prescription bottles, of using untrained physicians and medical staff. They had a 60-page report of violations from the health department,” said Missy Martinez-Stone, CEO of Reprotection. Still, American Family Planning was allowed to remain open.
“Things went from bad to worse,” explained Lauren Muzyka, president and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life. “Not only did this facility kill countless children, but they almost killed three women. There were three clients that needed major medical intervention in order to survive.”
One of those women nearly bled out in the facility’s parking lot.
In addition, hospital transfer agreements are required by Florida, which means in order to operate, abortion facilities must have a transfer agreement with a local hospital to protect women and ensure they receive prompt and proper care in the event of an emergency. But, said Martinez-Stone, “American Family Planning lied on their application to the state, saying they had one of these agreements, when in fact, they didn’t.”
Reprotection was able to take all of this information about American Family Planning’s illegal and dangerous activity to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration to force the agency to hold the facility accountable for violating laws and basic medical standards. The investigation took more than two years because health agencies don’t typically want to regulate or investigate abortion businesses, said Martinez-Stone. But Reprotection didn’t let up and kept on top of the agency to continue investigating.
“Then it was such an incredible victory when in January of 2023 we received the news that American Family Planning was being shut down by the state of Florida. Sidewalk advocates were not only able to help at least 161 women turn away [from abortion] but there are countless more that were saved because [the sidewalk counselors] were the ears and eyes of this community,” said Muzyka.
Now that the facility is shut down, the pro-life groups are focused on making abortion unthinkable in Pensacola.
Nate Robertson, Vice President of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, believes that such success is possible in every community when pro-lifers work together.