NicholeWilliamsTimeline.jpgSUMMARY: Nichole Williams, age 22, died April 25, 1997 after an abortion performed by Robert Crist at Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis, MO.

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Robert Crist

Twenty-two-year-old Nichole Lachea Williams was the third patient known to have died of safe and legal abortion complications under the dubious care of Dr. Robert Crist. The others were Latachie Veal and Diane Boyd. Nichole, a mother of three (ages 7, 3, and 1), lived with her boyfriend and after an abortion at Reproductive Health Services, run by Planned parenthood, in St. Louis, MO.

Some of the cost of Nichole's $550 abortion came from a national foundation which Planned Parenthood refused to name.

Crist started the first-trimester abortion at 2:00 on Friday, April 25, 1997, administering lidocaine and vasopressin for a procedure expected to last about five minutes. "Seconds" before finishing the abortion, he noticed that Nichole had breathing problems, finished the abortion, and instructed staff to call 911.

The 911 transcript indicates that Nichole was having difficulty breathing and was conscious but not alert.

RHS staff began resuscitation, but Nichole was in full cardiac arrest when medics arrived fifteen minutes later. Efforts to revive her continued in the ambulance and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, to no avail, and she was pronounced dead at 3:12 p.m.

There were questions raised after Nichole's death about why it took so long for the ambulance to arrive. Even more bewildering, the ambulance crew spent 20 minutes at RHS trying to revive Nichole, rather than transporting her immediately to a hospital. It somehow also took medics three minutes to get to the patient after arriving at the facility. The fact that it was not the city ambulance -- accustomed to emergency calls -- but rather a private service only used as a back-up when a city ambulance isn't available, might have been a factor.

Nichole's death was officially attributed to disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC), a clotting disorder that can be triggered by trauma, illness, or foreign material in the blood stream. Hers is the only case I've ever read of linking DIC with first-trimester abortion. Prolifers were skeptical about the reports of DIC, and say that they believe Nichole's uterus was ruptured.

In addition to her children and boyfriend, Nichole was survived by the grandmother who raised her, Mildred Savage. Her mother, Dorothy Williams, commented to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the death of the youngest of her six children, "I'm just feeling pain. That's all I can say. I'm just hurting, hurting, hurting."

naflogo.jpgReproductive Health Services, a National Abortion Federation member facility, is operated by Planned Parenthood of St. Louis. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is an organization of abortion facilities and practitioners, and promises that its members adhere to the highest standards of care. This claim seems remarkable when one considers that Dr. Abu "The Butcher of Avenue A" Hayat was an active NAF member when he performed the abortions that killed Sophie McCoy and maimed Ana Rodriguez. Other dubious NAF members include Family Planning Associates Medical Group, a clinic chain with at least sixteen dead abortion patients to its discredit, and Abraham Alberto Hodari, whose Detroit clinic is responsible for at least three abortion deaths including an illegal third-trimester abortion on an underage girl at the behest of her abuser's sister.

Crist serves as medical director of Reproductive Health Services.

Another death blamed on RHS is that of 14-year-old Sandra Kaiser, who committed suicide after a 1984 abortion at RHS, performed without her mother's knowledge or consent.


NicholeWilliamsCityStLouisPostDispatch13June1997.pngSources:
  • "Transcript Of Call For Ambulance," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Apr. 29, 1997
  • "Abortion-Related Death Spurs Activists Pleas," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Apr. 27, 1997
  • "Woman's Death After Abortion Under Scrutiny," Louis Post-Dispatch, Apr. 29, 1997
  • "Abortion Doctor Much Despised, Much Praised," Louis Post-Dispatch, Apr. 29, 1997
  • "Drug Was Fatal In '88 Abortion," Louis Post-Dispatch, Apr. 30, 1997
  • "Woman dies following abortion at St. Louis clinic," Associated Press, Apr. 1997
  • "Death is third connected with abortion doctor," Associated Press, 1997
  • "Abortion Doctor's Allies, Critics Agree: He's Committed To Work," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4 May, 1997
  • "Death Didn't Spur Action, Abortion Foes Say," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11 May, 1997
  • "State Reports - Missouri I: Physician Cleared in Abortion Death," Kaiser Daily Reports, Jun. 13, 1997
  • "City's Examiner Clears Doctor In Abortion Death," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jun. 13, 1997

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