A few dozen protestors, faith leaders and anti-abortion activists gathered outside the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa Saturday morning to call for an investigation into the facility after a woman died shortly after visiting the clinic in May.

The press conference featured Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen, speakers from the Charismatic Episcopal Church's, CEC For Life, Ashley Wright of the Students for Life of America and Ellen Hermann, a registered nurse who is anti-abortion.

CEC pastor Terry Gensemer said he traveled to the clinic on Jack Warner Parkway from Birmingham because people need answers about what happened to the woman who died in May, who was referred to during the event only as Jane Doe.

"We’re here today because we know that a woman died after leaving this abortion clinic and there are a lot of questions about what happened to her and whether or not protocol was followed in the clinic," Gensemer said. "We’re here to ask the Alabama Department of Public Health to do a more thorough investigation and make public what happened, how it happened and why this woman died so that someone can be held accountable for her death."

Police in Tuscaloosa have confirmed that on May 7, a woman died shortly after leaving the WAWC. They did not release her identity or the details of her death, but said investigators have found no evidence of a criminal act, and that the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners is conducting their own investigation into the matter.

Hermann, a registered nurse and longtime anti-abortion activist, accused the WAWC of regularly sending women to area emergency rooms following procedures at the clinic.

"One to two women leave this clinic, every month, and are transported in cars to the emergency rooms here in this town," Hermann said. "These women are dropped off on the doorsteps drugged, groggy, bleeding, and it's all up to them to get the care that they need, and to communicate to the hospital staff what just happened to them."

Sen. Allen told protestors he also wants to see the ADPH open an investigation into the case.

"The Alabama Department of Public Health is charged with making sure that [abortion clinics] follow the law, and do what they're being charged to do by the Alabama Legislature and signed by the governor," Allen said. "I'm glad to be here today, and to be a supporter of pro-life."

Amanda Reyes has operated the clinic since the abortion rights Yellowhammer Fund purchased the WAWC from its longtime operator Gloria Gray. Reyes was on-site Saturday to make sure protestors followed city code and did not trespass onto the center's private property but declined to comment about their allegations.

Stay tuned to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more information on this case as it develops.

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