“Safe, Legal Abortion” Renders Teen Infertile

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

(May 29, 2008) The mother of a 13 year old girl who was rendered sterile after a botched abortion is suing Planned Parenthood for $50 million dollars.

Shantese Butler was only 13 years old when she became pregnant after being forcibly raped. Her parents decided she should have an abortion and took her to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC where an abortion was performed.

According to the complaint, 24 hours after the procedure, Shantese was rushed to the emergency room at Cevista Medical Center suffering from severe abdominal pain. A CAT scan revealed abdominal bleeding and she was rushed into emergency surgery. Doctors discovered a small bowel tear, severe vaginal and cervical injuries and a significant uterine perforation. Pieces of the aborted baby were also found in her abdomen.

Because of these injuries, Shantese will be infertile for the rest of her life.

Shantese’s mother, Emma Jean Butler, is now suing Planned Parenthood for $50 million in damages. The suit charges Planned Parenthood with negligence for performing a botched abortion and for failing to notice such extensive injuries before discharging her daughter.

Although the public rarely hears about these kinds of complications, they are far more common than most people are aware of.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Complications following abortions performed in free-standing clinics is one of the most frequent gynecologic emergencies . . . encountered. Even life-endangering complications rarely come to the attention of the physician who performed the abortion unless the incident entails litigation. The statistics . . .  represent substantial under- reporting and disregard women’s reluctance to return to a clinic, where, in their mind, they received inadequate treatment.”

Another study from one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world, John Hopkins University, found that genital tract infection following elective abortion is a well-known complication. The study found infection rates at medical centers to be up to 5.2 percent for first trimester abortions and up to 18.5 percent for mid-trimester procedures. Infection rates at local free-standing clinics where the quality of care is more inferior are believed to be at least twice as high as those encountered in a medical center.  

Planned Parenthood’s answer to Butler’s complaint was to deny both the injuries and the infertility of Shantese. In addition, they state in their answer that Butler’s claims are barred by the doctrines of informed consent and assumption of risk.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, the organization that discovered the law suit, called the situation horrible. “Our thoughts go out to Shantese and her family as she recovers from her injuries both from the rape and abortion. Further, it is outrageous that Planned Parenthood thinks they are excused from being held liable because Shantese was informed of possible risks associated with abortion. In no other medical profession would this be acceptable.

“How ironic is it that the pro-abortion movement claims they want abortions to be ‘safe, legal, and rare,’ when in this poster case for abortion, Shantese was permanently injured, resulting in infertility for the rest of her life, making abortion harmful and almost deadly to the young girl.”

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In addition to physical scars, abortion leaves many women emotionally and spiritually scarred as well. Listen to experts Theresa Burke, Ph.D, David Reardon, Ph.D. and Maria Steele discuss these hidden wounds in “Healing the Pain of Abortion” available for only $5 in our store.