Keisha Marie Atkins, 23, died on February 4, 2017 at University of New Mexico (UNM) Hospital following a four-day late-term abortion procedure in Albuquerque at Southwestern Woman’s Options, the nation’s largest abortion facility that openly specializes in abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Atkins went to the abortion facility on January 31, 2017 to begin a four-day late-term abortion procedure scheduled with eighty-year-old abortion facility owner Curtis Boyd. She was believed to be at least six months pregnant. Four days later, on February 3, Atkins returned to SWWO to complete the abortion displaying labored breathing and signs of sepsis, a systemic, life-threatening infection. Her condition deteriorated quickly, prompting UNM staff to perform an emergency D&E abortion procedure to remove her dead baby. During the procedure, Atkins suffered cardiac arrest and died.
The autopsy ruled the cause of death was “pulmonary thromboembolism due to pregnancy” (blood clots in the lungs). However, a review of the autopsy indicates that the cause of Atkins’ death was likely a mismanaged late-term abortion procedure. Causes of infection in late-term abortions can include unsanitary conditions and/or practices by abortion facility staff and the fact that the woman carries her dead fetus for days prior to the abortion’s completion. Atkins’ placental tissue and post-mortem tests of her uterus showed evidence of infection. Bacterial infections are known to trigger a life-threatening condition called Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), a disorder that typically results in hemorrhaging. Atkins’ autopsy report showed significant hemorrhaging and she received “multiple blood product transfusions.” It appears that Atkins’ four-day abortion process resulted in a bacterial infection that turned septic and initiated a fatal cascade of symptoms associated with DIC.
In June 2016 and December 2016, the U.S. House Investigative Panel on Infant Lives sent two criminal referrals to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas after its investigation found that SWWO and UNH were partners in the selling of aborted baby body parts. Though AG Balderas stated his office was taking action to consider the violations, no action was taken.
In early September, New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request an investigation. Pearce explains, “I’ve worked tirelessly with New Mexico officials and Members in Congress to ensure the rights and liberties of women and the unborn are protected. In 2016, an investigation by the U.S. House Select Panel on Infant Lives raised serious concerns of ethical and legal violations by the University of New Mexico and the Southwestern Women’s Options, all at the taxpayers’ expense. The violations unearthed resulted in two separate criminal referrals to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, yet to date, no action has been taken allowing multiple cases’ statute of limitations to expire. The state of New Mexico must stand for the rule of law. I believe the Department of Justice has a legal responsibility to look into these violations if the New Mexico Attorney General refuses to take action,” stated Pearce.