Ignore Them and Suppress the Evidence: How the “Pro-Choice” Movement Deals with Women Harmed by Legal Abortion

A patient at the Albany Medical Surgical Center abortion facility in Chicago is loaded into an ambulance on July 30 

A patient at the Albany Medical Surgical Center abortion facility in Chicago is loaded into an ambulance on July 30

On Tuesday, July 30, we got a call from Andrew S., who regularly sidewalk counsels outside Albany Medical Surgical Center, an abortion facility operated by Family Planning Associates on Chicago’s Northwest Side, about a mile from the Pro-Life Action League’s office.

He called to tell us that a woman had just been taken out of the clinic and placed in an ambulance.

It’s certainly not the first time this has happened. Albany specializes in late-term abortions, and it’s anything but safe. In fact, four women — Maria Rodriguez, Maria Leho, Nakia Jorden, and Deanna Bell (who was only 13 years old) — have actually died there.

Andrew always has a camera with him whenever he sidewalk counsels—just as every sidewalk counselor and pro-life prayer partner should—so he was able to take several pictures.

Although it’s surely obvious enough that it goes without saying, pictures of a woman being taken out of an abortion clinic and loaded into an ambulance provide compelling evidence that said abortion clinic is not a safe place.

Indeed, the whole purpose of the Chicago Method of sidewalk counseling is to meet women where they’re at and warn them about the dangers that abortion poses to them in hopes that they will change their mind and choose life for their babies instead.  And pictures of an ambulance outside an abortion clinic go a long way toward helping change the mind of a woman who is having second thoughts about abortion.

Abortion Clinic Escort Tries to Prevent Sidewalk Counselor from Taking Pictures of Woman Being Loaded into Ambulance

A pro-choice escort tries to prevent a pro-life sidewalk counselor from taking pictures of an ambulance outside the Albany Medical Surgical Center abortion facility in Chicago, July 30

Notice, however, the picture to the right. When Andrew started taking pictures of the ambulance that pulled up to Albany’s back door last week, one of the Illinois Choice Action Team (ICAT) escorts tried to block the view of his camera.

This speaks volumes.

ICAT calls itself “a group of volunteers committed to advancing NARAL Pro-Choice America’s mission.” Like other pro-choice organizations, NARAL is, in their own words, all about “keeping abortion safe and legal.” But that’s not, of course, what they’re really all about, which is merely keeping abortion safe and legal.

To NARAL, and to the pro-choice movement as a whole, women who are hurt or even killed following a legal abortion don’t fit the increasingly absurd narrative of “Illegal Abortion = Unsafe; Legal Abortion = Safe,” so they simply must be ignored.  Or worse: as this ICAT escort demonstrated, he actively tried to prevent someone standing on public property from obtaining photographic evidence of a woman being transported out of a legally operating abortion clinic and into an ambulance.

The “Back Alley” Has Moved to Main Street

Finally, consider the cruel irony pointed out by a commenter when we first posted the ambulance picture on Facebook earlier this week. You’ll notice that the ambulance pulled up not to the abortion clinic’s front door, but to the back door, which opens out onto the alley.

The alley.  As in, “back alley.”

For the woman who went to Albany Medical Surgical Center in Chicago last week and left in an ambulance, the “Keep abortion safe and legal” rhetoric rings hollow.  Yes, abortion is legal.  No, it is not safe.

As Ryan Bomberger has pointed out, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, “the ‘back alley’ simply moved to Main Street.”

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