PRESS RELEASE: Patient Info and Medical Waste from Tuscaloosa Abortion Clinic Ends Up in Birmingham, Coalition Calls on State Officials to Investigate HIPAA Violations

West Alabama’s Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa seems dedicated to endangering patients. 

Last week, a coalition of national pro-life organizations, including CEC For Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation and Operation Rescue, sent newfound evidence of shocking HIPAA and medical waste violations to state officials: Lt. Governor Ainsworth, Attorney General Marshall and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).

Fr. Terry Gensemer recently found large black garbage bags left anonymously in the driveway of his Birmingham residence. When opened, he found ghastly medical waste — surgical pads soiled in blood and fluids, tubes also containing fluids, and one tube that contained what appeared to be a small piece of human tissue. There was also paperwork which included patient names and private information, ultrasound photos, and the header “West Alabama Women’s Center.” 

However this medical waste and information ended up in Birmingham, it clearly originated from WAWC in Tuscaloosa and had not been properly discarded.

ADEM is responsible for enforcing Medical Waste Management and evidence has been sent to Director Lance LeFleur.  Evidence has also been sent to the Attorney General and Lt. Governor requesting their offices to ensure that these infractions are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly, and the clinic held accountable for all wrongdoing.

In early 2020, WAWC changed ownership. In the same week, April Lowery — a patient allowed to leave while hemorrhaging — died from a perforated uterus. Last year, another woman filed suit, alleging similar injuries to Lowery and detailing a harrowing story of being left to hemorrhage until nearly dead.

WAWC has also employed a string of dangerous abortionists: Dr. Louis Payne, who was forced to surrender his license after Lowery’s death; Dr. Willie Parker, accused of sexual misconduct; Dr. Leah Torres, whose Alabama license was initially suspended for fraud and professional misconduct. 

Even the most recent inspection documents improper sanitation and rusted surgical instruments — a repeated infraction. 

The coalition has filed numerous complaints with the Alabama Department of Public Health, requesting thorough investigations and consequences for wrongdoing, but the ADPH has largely ignored these requests. Even when CEC For Life obtained April Lowery’s official autopsy, confirming she died of a perforated uterus, the ADPH refused to investigate her death further.

“We are told the ADPH is the only agency that can revoke a clinic’s license,” says Fr. Terry Gensemer, Director of CEC for Life, “but ADPH has made it clear WAWC can injure or even kill women with no repercussions. Our only recourse is to appeal to the Lt. Governor and Attorney General. Patient deaths, nefarious doctors and now HIPAA violations — what will it take for Alabama officials to shut this place down?”

LLDF Attorney Allison Aranda adds, “Though ADPH may appear to have total authority over licensure, ADEM has authority to respond to medical waste violations, and the Attorney General and Lt. Governor certainly have the authority, and hopefully the desire, to investigate a state agency refusing to do its job or a facility injuring and killing the very citizens officials are required to protect.”