Blog Post

Mother Seeks Justice for Daughter Who Died After Abortion

                                               Keisha Marie Atkins

The mother of a young woman who died during a late-term abortion procedure last year is now pursuing a wrongful death investigation into exactly what happened to her beautiful young daughter.

The New Mexico Alliance for Life is reporting on the investigation into the death of 23-year-old Keisha Atkins of Albuquerque who died from complications of a late-term abortion that took place at Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO) in February of 2017.

Keisha’s mother, Tina, hired attorney Michael Seibel who is now subpoenaing all records pertaining to the actual procedure at SWO as well as at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Hospital where she died and the autopsy report that was conducted on her body.

"All I want is justice for my baby and my grandbaby and every other woman who has put her life and health at risk to endure this brutal procedure," Tina Atkins said. "My grandbaby would have been a year and 3 months now, but instead I have to deal with the constant pain of two deaths, my daughter and grandbaby, as well as the injustice."

According to the Alliance, Keisha was a healthy young woman with no prior medical history who was 24 weeks pregnant when she went to the clinic to secure an abortion. Because the pregnancy was so advanced, she underwent a highly dangerous late-term abortion procedure known as a third-trimester induction abortion.

The procedure, which takes several days to complete, begins with an injection of Digoxin into the baby which stops its heart. The abortionist then inserts laminaria into the cervix which prepares the mother for delivery of the stillborn child. On the second day, the abortionist changes the laminaria and may do an ultrasound to determine if the child has died. If not, a second injection of Digoxin is given to the child. The woman is then sent to wherever she is staying during the procedure to await the beginning of labor. If it begins and she is unable to make it to the clinic in time, she is often advised to deliver the child into a toilet. The abortionist then comes to collect the baby. Otherwise, the child is delivered at the clinic.

Late-term abortion procedures have a very high risk of complications from hemorrhage, lacerations and uterine perforations which can lead to death.

“A study published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists indicates that compared to abortion at eight weeks gestation, the relative risk of mortality increases by 38 percent for each additional week of gestation,” the Alliance reports. “This translates to a woman seeking an abortion at 21 weeks or more, she is 91 times more likely to die from abortion than she was in the first trimester.”

In spite of these facts, the Office of the Medical Investigator, located at the UNM School of Medicine, found Atkins' "manner of death is natural” and was due only to a pulmonary thromboembolism that traveled to her heart and killed her.

Investigators aren’t buying it, especially because of the cozy relationship that exists between UNM and the clinic.

"It is well established that UNM Hospital and Medical School have a deeply-aligned collaboration with Southwestern Women's Options abortion center, whether it's conferring faculty appointments for Southwestern abortion doctors or the free supply of aborted baby body parts for UNM's experimentation," said Elisa Martinez, Tina Atkins' spokesperson. "We want to ensure no conflict of interest played a role in the handling of Keisha's situation, however serious questions remain surrounding Keisha's cause of death."

Therefore, Mr. Seibel has subpoenaed internal notes, memorandum, photographic evidence and all documents relating to Atkins' autopsy performed by the Office of the Medical Investigator at the UNM School of Medicine. Additionally, Seibel has requested a complete history of all medical records for Keisha Atkins from both SWO and UNM Hospital where she was given emergency care just prior to her death.

Seibel will also file a formal complaint on behalf of Keisha Atkins, complete with eyewitness accounts, expert witness testimony, and the complete medical file, with the New Mexico Medical Board.

"It's important that the board have a complete and accurate record of all the facts surrounding the death of Southwestern Women's Options patient, Keisha Atkins,” Seibel said.

The family will leave no stone unturned in the search for justice for their beloved daughter and grandchild.

“For justice to be served, the Atkins family expects complete transparency as to what transpired, including how the cause of death was determined and to what degree the conflict of interest between UNM and Southwestern Women's Options abortion business come into play,” Martinez said. “No family should have to go through what the Atkins family has suffered,” Martinez added.

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