Last February, pro-life volunteers praying outside Little Rock’s surgical abortion clinic posted pictures and video on Facebook of an ambulance visiting the clinic and transporting a woman away.
A few weeks later, pro-life volunteers praying outside the same clinic as part of 40 Days for Life shared videos and photos on Facebook of another ambulance transporting another woman away.
Although many people might assume an ambulance at an abortion clinic is indicative of a botched abortion, we wanted to investigate the matter further before jumping to any conclusion. Recently we sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Little Rock Ambulance Authority and Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) asking for any and all documents and files related to the two incidents.
In response, we received two heavily redacted 911 recordings; redacted recordings of the dispatchers sending emergency personnel to the scene; redacted ambulance trip details; and redacted screenshots of the 911 operators’ computer screens at the times each of the calls was made.
According to attorneys for the City of Little Rock, medical information recorded on a 911 tape is exempt from disclosure under Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act and must be redacted. As a result, the city redacted all information related to each patient’s condition–including information about what prompted the calls and any injuries the patients had suffered.
We spoke with multiple attorneys of our own, and not all of them agree that the redactions were appropriate. However, we have decided to share what little bit of information we were able to glean from the redacted files.
The first call to 911 was placed on the morning of Saturday, February 7. The redacted “Trip Details” sheet and screenshots we received from the Little Rock Ambulance Authority list the nature of the call as “[A] Sick Person” and “[A] Medical Emergency.”
The second call to 911 was placed on the morning of Wednesday, March 11. The redacted files we received from the Little Rock Ambulance Authority list the nature of the call as “Hemmorhage/Lacerations [sic].” The files and 911 tape both note that the patient was in the clinic’s OR Room at the time of the call.
Both calls request the patients be transported to UAMS in Little Rock for emergency evaluation.
Due to the extensive redaction of the calls and documents, it is impossible to determine anything certain about either situation other than they were both emergencies involving women at the abortion clinic. It is well documented that abortion can lead to many complications, including, among other things, infection, hemorrhaging, and even death. Given the circumstances, a person might reasonably assume the two emergencies were related to abortion. However, with so little information, we cannot even determine if either woman was seeking an abortion, much less that these two situations were complications resulting from abortion.
However, there are three things I believe everyone can do in response to this information:
- The first is pray for these women.
- The second is continue to pray that abortion in Arkansas will end.
- And the third is continue to support efforts to make Arkansas a more pro-life state.
Updated 4:15 PM, 4/13/2015: Officials from the Arkansas Department of Health inform us the woman transported from the abortion clinic on March 11 was taken to a local hospital where she was observed overnight before being released. We do not have any information regarding the woman transported to the hospital on February 7 at this time.