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Doctor who performed 1,200 abortions: Late-term abortions ‘neither simple nor safe’

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Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortionist who now supports the right to life, is warning that late-term abortion is “neither simple nor safe.” He made the comments in response to news that the Whole Women's Health abortion franchise is about to open an office in his hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, that will offer abortions up to the 18th week of pregnancy.

“The standard procedure for accomplishing an abortion at 18 weeks is a suction D&E [dilation and extraction],” he wrote. “In the early part of my career, I performed approximately 1,200 abortions up to 24 weeks gestation. I have considerable experience in this arena.”

“Once while performing a suction D&E at, coincidentally 18 weeks, I was unaware that I had perforated the uterus until I pulled my patient's intestines out through her cervix and vagina,” he remembered.

Other risks “include infection, hemorrhage, damage to the uterus (including perforation and laceration of major blood vessels), bladder, vagina, intestine and other structures.”

“It is well known that any abortion performed at or after 16-18 weeks carries the same degree of risk of death as childbirth,” he added. “Imagine delivering a child in a clinic.”

Due to the potential dangers it posed, Dr. Levatino said he only performed these procedures in a hospital setting. “It is my professional opinion that late-term abortion should never be performed outside of a hospital,” he said.

Yet the new abortion office, which was to open on September 15 but has not apparently begun operations, has made no arrangements with area health care providers in the event of a botched abortion, he said. “To date, three weeks after this abortion clinic was to open, no physician from Whole Women's Health has applied for admitting privileges to either Las Cruces hospital.”

Whole Women's Health – which promises on its website to give women a “fabulous abortion experience” – was cited last year by the State of Texas for using rusty suction machines at their Beaumont office, which the state deemed were likely to cause infection.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) also fined Whole Women's Health facilities in Austin and McAllen, Texas, more than $40,000 in 2011 for illegally disposing of aborted babies' remains. They threw the bloody body parts into the trash, which Stericycle then transported to a normal municipal landfill. Complete medical records, bearing the name and address of the women who came in for abortions, were also thrown into the dumpster, officials said.

Dr. Levatino offered powerful testimony about what it is like to perform a late-term abortion before the House Judiciary Committee last May during a hearing on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

“The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head,” he said. “You know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you.”

“Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion,” he said sarcastically. 

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The abortion chain is opening the New Mexico office to attract women from west Texas who are without an abortion facility thanks to the Lone Star State's new pro-life law.

Whole Women closed, then reopened, then again closed it offices in McAllen, Texas, rather than obtain admitting privileges and meet the new, stricter health and safety standards required of other ambulatory surgical centers.

“Whole Woman's Health of New Mexico not only opens up access to abortion care in southern New Mexico and Juárez, but it also gives access to women in El Paso and the swaths of west Texas,” the business wrote on its blog. 

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