A 25-year-old New York woman is suing Planned Parenthood, claiming the facility botched her abortion and then abandoned her afterwards, leaving her with weeks of pain and blood loss — and then, a premature delivery of her baby.
In 2020, Nakara Alston tried to undergo an abortion at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in Albany, when she was eight weeks pregnant. At the time, she was living in a domestic abuse facility with her two daughters, having just escaped a violent relationship. After the abortion, a physician’s assistant examined the supposed fetal remains, and said the abortion had been completed. Alston was sent on her way — but she was still pregnant.
Over the next three months, Alston frantically tried to get help as her bleeding worsened, all the while with no idea that she still had a living baby in her womb. Alston’s attorney Lewis B. Oliver said staff at Planned Parenthood, St. Peters Health Partners, and Albany Medical Center failed to give Alston proper health care.
“Ms. Alston was bounced around from one medical provider to another, and none of the medical providers took responsibility for her condition for months,” he said. “This appears to be an aspect of medical services these days, where medical care is divided up into specialties, and no one provider takes overall care of patients.”
After realizing she was still pregnant, Alston reached out to Planned Parenthood again, but only got their voicemail. When they did call her back, they told her it wasn’t possible for her to be pregnant, because the abortion had been committed successfully.
Later, she visited Albany Med and St. Peter’s emergency rooms multiple times, complaining of constant bleeding, numbness, dizziness, and pain. Her concerns were repeatedly shrugged off. “I thought I was going crazy,” she said. “I thought the questions I would ask wasn’t making sense. I told them, I was literally bleeding out, but … they told me ‘it’s fine, just wear a pad’ or something.”
At 22 weeks pregnant, she came back to the emergency room again at St. Peter’s, and an ultrasound showed that her amniotic fluid had drained completely — her water had broken. She was then told that doctors at Albany Med could commit abortions, but that no doctors at St. Peter’s would deliver a baby that premature, so she was transferred to Albany Med. A dilation and evacuation (D&E) was recommended; in this procedure, the cervix is forcibly dilated over one to two days, before the preborn child is torn apart limb from torso.
But then, Alston was told there were no doctors on-call at Albany Med available to begin the abortion process. Eventually, dilators were placed to start the D&E, but Alston went into labor at 23 weeks pregnant. She delivered her daughter, Sumeria Ln’Anna Nammu, and doctors claimed the baby girl was stillborn. It was only earlier this year that she finally learned through her medical records that Sumeria actually survived for nearly an hour after birth.
“I was hurt,” Alston said. “If I knew she was alive for a little bit of time, I would have spent time holding her until she passed.” But Alston had lost so much blood at the time that she had trouble staying conscious, and needed blood transfusions.
“I wasn’t really focused because I was losing so much blood,” she said.
Afterwards, Alston was sent home with her daughter Sumeria’s ashes, and a photo. Since then, she and her two remaining daughters are in a more stable situation, and she gave birth to a son, who she named Sumerian, with Sumeria’s name tattooed on her arm in remembrance. She is hoping now that her lawsuit will prevent other women from experiencing similar suffering.