Authorities: Abortion doctors charged with murder
By BEN NUCKOLS | AP – 12/30/2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two out-of-state doctors who traveled to Maryland
to perform late-term abortions have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder under the state's viable fetus law, authorities
Dr. Steven Brigham, of Voorhees, N.J., was taken into custody Wednesday night and is being held in the Camden County jail, according to police in Elkton, Md. Authorities also arrested Dr. Nicola Riley in Salt Lake City and she is in jail in Utah. Each is awaiting an extradition hearing. The two doctors were indicted by a grand jury after a 16-month investigation, police said.
The investigation began in August 2010 after a botched procedure at Brigham's Elkton clinic. An 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant had her uterus ruptured and her bowel injured, and rather than call 911, Brigham and Riley drove her to a nearby hospital, where both were uncooperative and Brigham refused to give his name, authorities said. A search of the clinic after the botched abortion revealed a freezer with 35 late-term fetuses inside, including one believed to have been aborted at 36 weeks, authorities said.
Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count. The procedure authorities say was botched resulted in the murder case against Riley and three of the 11 murder charges against Brigham, prosecutors told the Cecil Whig in Elkton, Md. The other charges against Brigham relate to four other illegal abortions he performed there, prosecutors added. Deputy State's Attorney Kerwin A. Miller did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
An attorney for Riley said she had not seen the indictment, but said her client had been inappropriately charged. "We believe the charges are without legal merit," said Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum. "We believe it's inappropriate for her to be held without bond. She is not a flight risk and she should be released on her own recognizance." Krevor-Weisbaum said Riley's legal team would comment further after they had seen the indictment. A message left for an attorney for Brigham wasn't immediately returned.
Maryland is one of 38 states with a law that allows murder charges against someone accused of killing a viable fetus. The 2005 law has so far only been used for cases in which defendants were accused of assaulting or killing pregnant women.
The botched 2010 abortion led regulators to order Brigham to stop practicing medicine in Maryland without a license, and Riley's Maryland license was suspended. Brigham's New Jersey license was also suspended.
According to regulators, Brigham would begin abortions in New Jersey and have his patients drive themselves to Maryland to complete the procedures, taking advantage of Maryland's more permissive laws. Brigham was not authorized to perform abortions in New Jersey after the first trimester, and regulators called his actions manipulative and deceptive.
The allegations are similar to those against Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, who faces trial in 2013 on charges that he killed seven newborn babies by having their spinal cords severed with scissors. Authorities described Gosnell's clinic as a filthy "house of horrors," and his wife has pleaded guilty to performing an illegal late-term abortion.
Anti-abortion activists hailed the arrests of Brigham and Riley. "These two individuals are now where they belong and should be in jail for the rest of their lives," the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in a statement. "Even those who believe abortion should be legal can join with us to stop the out-of-control practices of people like Brigham and Riley."
(** Pendergraft is the Owner of the Ocala Women's Center, located at 108 N. Pine in Ocala.)
- Written by Operation Rescue
- Posted January 30, 2011
Operation Rescue has filed complaints in the District and two states to stop Pendergraft from endangering women by killing their babies and forcing them elsewhere for completion of late-term abortions.
Washington, DC – Operation Rescue has learned that disgraced late-term abortionist James S. Pendergraft, IV, whose only active medical license remains under a double-suspension order in Florida, has set up shop in a secret late-term mill that can only be described as a “Fetal Lethal Injection Center” in the Washington, D. C. metro area where late-term abortions are being only partially completed.
Pendergraft has put himself in direct competition with another late-term abortionist, Nebraska’s LeRoy Carhart, who also recently relocated is late-term abortion business to nearby Germantown, Maryland, to evade new laws in his home state.
But Pendergraft’s late-term abortion scheme is unique.
Pendergraft has recently launched a web site called LateTermAbortion.net that describes in detail how his new office is soliciting women from all over the nation and from other countries for “intracardiac injection of medication into the fetal heart.”
This process entails the injection of the heart-paralyzing drug Digoxin or an air bubble through the woman’s abdomen into the heart of the pre-born baby for the purpose of killing him or her. The process is guided by live ultrasonic imaging.
“On one hand, Pendergraft says on the web site that the process is completely safe, then discusses how a mistake during the process can be ‘catastrophic,’” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “It is evident even from his own writings that Pendergraft’s new operation is dangerous in that it places women in a life-threatening condition only to send them on their way where someone else must clean up the mess.”
Pendergraft makes it very clear that he does not complete the abortion process at his secret office, but discharges patients within 10 to 15 minutes of the injection, after which they are forced to rush back to their personal physicians in their home states or other facilities for the removal of the dead baby before infection sets in. Without treatment women in this condition can die.
The notorious abortionists Steven Chase Brigham and Kermit Gosnell shocked regulators who discovered each of them committing late-term abortions that began in one state and ended in another. Brigham would illegally begin late-term abortions in New Jersey then ferry women to a secret late-term mill in Elkton, Maryland, for the removal of the dead baby. Gosnell was known to begin late-term abortions at an abortion mill in Wilmington, Delaware, and later finish them at his “house of horrors” clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Of dangerous bi-state abortion plans, New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners stated, “Brigham’s treatment of patients S.D. and N. C. and all unidentified New Jersey patients whose terminations of pregnancies began in New Jersey and concluded out of State constitutes acts of gross and/or repeated negligence…Brigham’s conduct constitutes a clear and imminent danger to the public and warrants immediate temporary suspension of [his] license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of New Jersey.”
Maryland is considering legislation to ban the dangerous practice of starting late-term abortions in one state and ending them in another.
During testimony in his criminal trial, the late George R. Tiller admitted that on rare occasions he would fatally inject a fetal heart, after which he would send the woman back to her home state where her private physician would finish the abortion. After his death in 2009, all investigations into Tiller’s dubious abortion practices ceased. It is more than likely that Pendergraft is now trying to cash in on part of the lucrative late-term abortion market suddenly available after the closure of Tiller’s infamous Wichita, Kansas, abortion mill.
Pendergraft also makes it clear in the defiant text of his new web site that he is engaging in this multi-state late-term abortion scheme to evade the laws of Florida and compel the participation of others in the abortion process.
“Once the fetal heart beat has stopped, the process of removing the fetus from the mother’s womb is no longer defined as an abortion,” stated Pendergraft. He offers this as a way to force hospitals and physicians that otherwise may balk at abortion to finish the abortion process since the woman now faces a serious life-threatening condition.
“Pendergraft is using women by placing them in harm’s way in order to make a political point in states that ban his pet procedure,” said Newman. “As despicable as this is, he is also apparently charging them exorbitant prices to do it. He says the process is ‘not inexpensive’ but does not list his fees. Secrecy shrouds his entire illicit operation.”
That includes the location of his Washington, D.C. area mill. In cloak-and-dagger fashion, Pendergraft describes how women will be told over the phone to meet at a specific location, where they and only one other friend or family member will be met and escorted to the secret facility for their baby’s fatal injection.
“While Pendergraft attempts to convince the reader this is about security, it is more likely about evading law enforcement, because this dangerous process is highly unethical and likely illegal since he holds no active medical license whatsoever,” said Newman.
While it remains unknown the exact location of this new mill, descriptions on the website would place it in the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia. Pendergraft’s license in the District of Columbia expired in 1998, his Maryland license expired in 1999, and he has never been licensed in Virginia.
Operation Rescue has filed complaints in the District and both states asking for immediate investigations into Pendergraft’s dangerous late-term abortion operation.
Pendergraft has a long history of legal issues that have included four suspensions of his medical license. In his latest suspension issued on August 7, 2010, the Board found that Pendergraft had allowed an unlicensed employee to order and administer drugs even though she was unqualified and had a known history of drug abuse. He also was disciplined for prescribing steroids to her for unknown reasons.
Another suspension, issued on January 26, 2010, alleges additional drug violations and includes discipline for a horrifically botched abortion.
After inadequately dilating Patient S.B.’s cervix for a D&E abortion, Pendergraft ruptured her uterus and shoved the pre-born baby’s body into the abdominal cavity. She was rushed to the hospital where she received an emergency hysterectomy along with the removal of the dead fetus, which was missing an arm. The arm was later found at Pendergraft’s EPOC abortion clinic. His not reporting that he had removed the arm caused a delay in her care at the hospital as surgeons futilely attempted to locate the missing appendage.
Pendergraft’s Florida medical license was also suspended in 2006 for doing illegal late term abortions.
“Pendergraft is a proven danger to the public. It is to their shame that the Florida Medical Board has not permanently revoked his license. The fact that he continues to operate five abortion mills there and now one in the Washington metro area is not only disturbing, but unacceptable,” said Newman. “This is another example of authorities willing to look the other way and abortionists who are willing to endanger women and violate laws because they believe they are somehow above them. We pray our complaints will help stop this abuse and bring Pendergraft to justice.”
March 9, 2011: Oklahoma House Passes Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
On Wednesday, Oklahoma moved one important step closer to becoming the second state to enact a law that would ban abortions of babies 20 weeks or older, based on strong scientific evidence that these children can feel pain.
House Bill 1888, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, passed by a vote of 94-2 -- a “mandate,” in the words of National Right to Life Committee Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch. The bill now goes to the state Senate. The bill is modeled after Nebraska’s historic “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”
“We believe Oklahoma has a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn babies who are capable of feeling pain, and we think the U.S. Supreme Court will agree,” said Oklahomans For Life Chairman Tony Lauinger.
Oklahoma joins Kansas in having passed such a measure this session in at least one House. On February 24, Kansas’’ House of Representative passed HB 2218, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, 91-30.
“People on both sides of the abortion debate should agree that gratuitous suffering of an unborn child is really incompatible with a decent and humane society,” Rep. Pam Peterson (R-Tulsa), the bill's author, said in an interview with newsok.com. “That's what this bill does; it shows the humanness of that unborn child.”
Under the bill, abortionists would be required to determine the baby’s age before proceeding with an abortion.
Balch said that just before the bill was brought up for consideration, Rep. Peterson made available to each of the legislators an ultrasound of a 20-week unborn baby that they could watch on their computers. “It brought home the reality of the living unborn child in a clear and unambiguous way, Balch said.
Eight other states have comparable bills. In addition to Oklahoma and Kansas, there is Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, and Oregon. Georgia was holding hearings yesterday and today.
Delray Beach, FL – The notorious Florida abortionist Harry Perper was arrested and charged with racketeering, conspiracy and drug trafficking for his part in the operation of a “pill mill” where he recklessly prescribed OxyContin and other powerful pain medications.
Perper is known in the pro-life community as the abortionist who botched an abortion at James Pendergraft’s EPOC abortion mill that resulted in Baby Rowan being born alive. While the baby struggled for life, clinic staff turned away emergency workers that had been summoned to save him. Baby Rowan died in his mother’s arms. Operation Rescue worked to expose the wrongdoing that led to this horrific tragedy. The film “22 Weeks” was produced about this incident. Perper was never disciplined for his part in Baby Rowan’s death.
Perper is the son of respected Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper, yet is no stranger to trouble. Perper was disciplined by the Florida Medical Board for a botched abortion on M.R. at another of Pendergraft’s abortion mills, the Orlando Women’s Center. Perper perforated M.R.’s uterus and bowel, shoved the remains of the pre-born baby and the placenta into the abdominal cavity but did not detect the injury. The patient lay bleeding and in agonizing pain for hours. Finally she received an emergency hysterectomy to save her life.
The Medical Board gave Perper a virtual slap on the hand when it issued a “Letter of Concern” ordered Perper to pay a total of $12,589.30 in fees and costs.
Authorities said that Perper made $8,000 a week at the pill mill.
This time, Perper’s legal troubles will likely earn him more than a wrist slip. In all, he faces 490 years in jail if convicted on all charges. He was released on $900,000 bail, placed on house arrest, and ordered to surrender his passport and stop the practice of medicine.
“The Perper arrest is yet another example of rampant illegal activity present in the abortion industry,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Perper is not the only abortionist caught running a pill mill as a side business to the abortion mill. Philadelphia accused murderer Kermit Gosnell first came to the attention of authorities for operating a pill mill out of his abortion ‘house of horrors.’ When the authorities take a hard look at these people, they inevitably find gross violations of the law.”
- Written by Operation Rescue
- Posted March 10, 2011
In addition, petition to revoke was recently filed by Medical Board against yet another abortionist who once worked there.
Chula Vista, CA — A troubled abortion clinic near the U.S./Mexico border in Chula Vista, California, has opened and closed numerous times as one by one each abortionist who worked there lost medical licenses or was incarcerated for criminal activity and other abortion abuses. Now, it has reopened again with yet another disgraced abortionist, W. Constantine Mitchell at the helm.
This clinic’s history is among the worst in the nation and Mitchell only adds to that sordid legacy.
One reporter described the clinic as a “shop of horrors.”
It started in 1999, when a business woman named Bertha Bugarin opened an abortion clinic on H Street and called it “Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy,” one of a chain of eleven abortion clinics she ran with abortionist Nicholas Braemer throughout Southern California.
A business card obtained upon the opening of the clinic by Cheryl Sullenger, then the director of the California Life Coalition, listed three abortionists who were involved with the business: Braemer, Mohamed Dia, and a “Dr. Reish.”
Later that year in 1999, Mohamed Dia surrendered his medical license after the Medical Board filed accusations of botched abortions, incompetence, corruption, and billing fraud.
Nick Braemer surrendered his license in 2000 after the California Medical Board filed a petition against him for two seriously botched abortions that landed patients in the hospital, and for aiding in the unlicensed practice of medicine. Braemer routinely had unlicensed workers perform pregnancy tests and conduct ultrasound examinations then interpret the tests for patients, which was against the law.
“Dr. Reish” was discovered to be the notorious sex offender Laurence Reich, who used the abortion business as a means of accessing victims, and would sexually assault women in the examination or procedure rooms. After he was was convicted of sex crimes in the 1980′s. When he resurfaced in the 1990′s, Sullenger strenuously complained to the Board of Osteopathy about Reich being allowed to resume his abortion/rape career for fear that he would again abuse his patients. As predicted, Riech was again caught and convicted of sex abuse against his abortion patients in 2005, and was forced to surrender his license in April of 2006. During a 2007 raid on Bugarin’s abortion chain in Los Angeles County, Reich was discovered to still be working as an abortionist even though he had not had a license for over a year. Remarkably, Reich received no jail time and remains on probation.
But despite the representations of the Chula Vista clinic, it was Phillip Rand who more often than not showed up twice a week to do abortions there. Rand was a well-known San Diego area abortionist who had and extensive history of multiple license suspensions and other problems, including 45 malpractice judgments against him. His coup de grace came in Santa Ana in 2004, when he spent five minutes aborting a baby at 20 weeks gestation, then left to return to Chula Vista where more abortion appointments awaited. He refused to return to the clinic after he was informed that his patient was bleeding and needed attention. When the ambulance crew arrived, they discovered a hemorrhaging patient, two unlicensed workers, and no crash cart. He was 83 years old at the time he was finally forced to permanently surrender his medical license.
The H Street property owners had originally leased the space to Bugarin without being told it would be an abortion clinic. They refused to renew the lease on the clinic in 2002, so it closed for about six months, reopening in 2003 at an office located at 1550 Broadway in Chula Vista, where abortions are still done today. After Rand could no longer work, Bugarin had a string of shoddy abortionists in and out of the Broadway location, all of which had their own encounters with the Medical Board and/or law enforcement.
In fact, just recently (February 14, 2011), the Medical Board filed a petition to revoke the medical license of one of those abortionists, George Dalton Flanigan III, for probation violations. He worked for Bugarin’s abortion chain, including the Chula Vista location from 2002-2008. Flanigan’s original case involved a botched delivery that resulted in a dead infant, keeping inadequate records, and Medi-Cal fraud. [Read the Medical Board Accusation for the sad details of the baby’s completely avoidable death.]
Finally, to keep the clinic open, Bertha Bugarin began doing abortions herself even though she had no license or medical training. After years of pro-life protests, complaints, and warnings to the public about this shoddy business, Bugarin was finally arrested in 2008 and convicted in two counties of practicing medicine without a license. The District Attorney called her a “predator” and a danger to the public. She is currently serving a sentence of 6 years, 8 months in a California State Women’s prison.
Yet that was not enough to keep the clinic closed permanently.
Three new business partners, Nolan Jones, Andrew Rutland, and W. Constantine Mitchell soon took over the Broadway clinic and renamed it A Woman’s Choice Family Planning Clinic.
But if anyone expected changes for the better, they were sadly mistaken. If anything, under the new ownership the abortion abuses escalated.
Nolan Jones was the first to take over the abortion operations in Chula Vista. He had a long and checkered history that included multiple suspensions for botched abortions and other problems. He was known for preying on vulnerable Hispanic woman who were less likely to report his shoddy brand of medicine to authorities. His financial woes were so acute that Jones was evicted from his residence and was known to sleep in his car or at the abortion mill. Jones’ medical license was finally revoked in 2009 for falsifying medical records and violating his probation.
Jones was immediately replaced by his business partner, Andrew Rutland, an abortionist who had recently been granted a new medical license after his old one had been revoked in 2002, because of the deaths of at least two babies during their deliveries. Rutland’s problems reached a crisis when he killed Ying Chen with an overdose of drugs at an unlicensed and ill-equipped acupuncture clinic in San Gabriel. Chen’s death was later reclassified as a homicide. There questioning of the Medical Board as to why his license was reinstated. Rutland claimed all his problems were the result of an anti-abortion conspiracy. Nevertheless, he surrendered his medical license on February 11, 2011, but could still face murder charges in Chen’s death.
Now, W. Constantine Mitchell, the last of the three business partners, is doing the abortions on Broadway in Chula Vista. Mitchell and Rutland go way back. In 1977, Mitchell gave Rutland a substantial loan to help him start a medical practice. Mitchell was also one of the physicians who was supposed to supervise Rutland when the Medical Board thought it was too dangerous for him to engage in the solo practice of medicine.
Mitchell was himself disciplined by the California Medical Board in 1983 for billing and insurance fraud. Women paid cash in advance for their abortions, but Mitchell would then also file claims with the insurance companies for up to 160% more than the abortion cost. Sometimes Mitchell would reimburse the woman from the insurance money, and sometimes he would simply keep all the money himself, but in any case, Mitchell would always pocket a few extra bucks for each abortion gouged from pockets of the insurance companies.
Since then, Mitchell has tried to keep a low profile. He operates out of unregistered clinics that are uninspected and have little accountability, such as the one in Chula Vista.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Mitchell is any better than Rutland, Jones, Bugarin, or any of the rest,” said Sullenger. “There is an old saying that birds of a feather flock together. There is no doubt in my mind that Mitchell is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before Mitchell runs afoul of the law again or kills someone during an abortion. It is tragically inevitable.
“That abortion mill resembles a crack house more than a medical office. It has a revolving door of abortion quacks killing and maiming women and children and posing a hazard to the community at large. It needs to be permanently closed, and the entire pack of offenders, including Mitchell, needs to be rooted out and brought to justice. But the system is slow, and criminal punishment is lax and often does not fit the severity of the crimes.”
In the meantime, pro-life sidewalk counselors continue to warn women of the clinic’s dangers as they have since 1999. And they watch and wait for the next botched abortion, for the next patient death, for the next human tragedy.
“The best advice I have for those sidewalk counselors is to keep a camera handy and the number for the medical board on speed dial,” said Sullenger. “They are going to need both.”
Former Planned Parenthood manager tells all in new book!
During the 40 Days for Life campaign in the fall of 2009, the director of the Planned Parenthood abortion center in Bryan/College Station, Texas watched an ultrasound abortion. She was stunned. Within a matter of days, Abby Johnson quit her job and went to the local organization that sponsored 40 Days for Life, seeking help.
Abby Johnson now works to end abortion. As part of her effort, she's written a book called Unplanned that unveils the truth about the inner workings of Planned Parenthood.
She spoke at the opening rally for 40 Days for Life in Bryan/College Station – outside the abortion center where she worked for eight years – just months after she'd left the director's position. Here's a short video of that amazing presentation.
Monday, February 21, 2011
NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE MOURNS
THE DEATH OF DR. BERNARD NATHANSON
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) joins its state affiliates all across America in mourning the loss today of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the former abortionist whose conversion to the pro-life cause was major news at the time and whose impact reverberates to this day. Dr. Nathanson, 84, died earlier this morning after a long battle with cancer.In the early 1970s Dr. Nathanson was director of the largest abortion facility in the world, New York City's Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health. He wrote that he was “personally responsible” for 75,000 abortions, and performed about 5,000 abortions.
In his 1979 book, “Aborting America,” Dr. Nathanson gave an insider’s account of the creation of what was then called the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), since rebranded as Naral Pro-Choice America. In that classic Dr. Nathanson explained how he and others cynically fabricated and exaggerated statistics about the number of abortions and the number of deaths from illegal abortions at the same time they consciously adopted a strategy of systematically vilifying the Catholic Church hierarchy.
As a fellow New Yorker, Jeanne Head, NRLC Vice President for International Affairs and United Nations Representative, knew Dr. Nathanson first as a foe and then as a friend. “Dr. Nathanson was probably one of the individuals most responsible for Roe v. Wade and, once he realized his error, he dedicated the rest of his life to reversing it,”Head said. She explained that she heard about “Aborting America" when it was in galley form and may have been the first pro-lifer to speak to him after he had finished co-writing the book with Richard Ostling.
In 1984 Dr. Nathanson unveiled “The Silent Scream,” a mesmerizingly powerful video which shows sonogram images of an unborn child frantically trying to avoid the abortionist’s instruments. Former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey, told Time Magazine at the time that the film represented “A high technology Uncle Tom's Cabin, arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.”
Head added, “It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of his book, “The Silent Scream,” and his later video, “Eclipse of Reason” in driving home the sheer horror and brutality of abortion.”
For many years Dr. Nathanson described himself as a Jewish atheist, but in 1996 Nathanson was baptized a Catholic by Cardinal John O’Connor.