An anti-abortion group protested outside the UNM Center for Reproductive Health after an ambulance was called to the Center in February, and center physicians responded by saying patients’ rights are being violated.

Lauren Cruse, Public Affairs representative for UNM Health Sciences, said Defending Life violated patient privacy when it posted a recording of the 911 call on its website.

“It is unfortunate that organizations use situations without knowing the facts, especially when discussion and public disclosure may violate the right of all patients to maintain the confidentiality of their medical information,” Cruse said in an e-mail.

An ambulance was dispatched to the UNMCRH Feb. 15 for a patient who was “unresponsive” after receiving a sedative medicine during an abortion, the group claimed.

Tara Shaver of Defending Life, the group responsible for the protesting and a pregnancy resource center set up across the street from UNMCRH, said an eyewitness saw the ambulance, prompting Shaver to request a recording of the 911 call.

“Someone saw the ambulance, and we got the recording because these clinics are really just abortion clinics,” Shaver said. “No other procedures require a sedative like that. We want to inform women of the dangers of abortion.”

The Daily Lobo obtained a recording of the call July 7 from Melissa Romero, media contact for the Albuquerque Fire Department.

Tony Ogburn, a physician at UNMCRH and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, said organizations like Defending Life interfere with health care.

“What they have is not a medical clinic, and they have no licensed health care professionals,” he said. “They have an agenda, and their goal is not to provide legal healthcare.”
Ogburn said it is unfair for UNMCRH patients to be harassed by protesters.

“It really hasn’t impacted our operation, but I would prefer that patients didn’t have to be bombarded by protesters,” he said.

Ogburn and Cruse said the 911 call was standard procedure given the situation but that the patient was not transported to the hospital and was released that day.

He and Cruse would not give the nature of the patient’s problem.
“People don’t need to know,” Ogburn said.