Alabama Health Board Sues to Halt Illegal Abortion Clinic

Birmingham, AL — Just one week after a coalition of pro-life groups led by Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC for Life publicly questioned why the Alabama Department of Health was allowing a dangerous illegal abortion clinic to operate in Birmingham, the State Board of Health has filed civil suit in a Jefferson County Court to permanently close the clinic.

The suit, filed against clinic owner Diane Derzis and abortionists Patrick Smith and Bruce Elliot Norman, seeks to close the New Woman All Women abortion clinic, now operating illegally as “Women’s Center,” and permanently enjoin the trio from any future involvement in abortion businesses anywhere in the State of Alabama.

“It is only because of public pressure being brought to bear that the ADPH has finally acted to enforce the laws of Alabama and protect the public from a shoddy abortion operation that poses a proven danger to the public,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “This shows that vigilance and quick action by pro-life groups working together can have a positive effect of officials who are otherwise reticent to deal with the subject of abortion.”

Operation Rescue, CEC for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, and Priests for Life, discovered that NWAW had quietly reopened and resumed abortions even though its license to operate had been revoked last year and two attempts to relicense the facility by one of Derzis’ close friends were denied.

Alabama law requires that any facility advertizing abortion services must be licensed by the State. Since its closure, NWAW has maintained its web site, which solicits abortion patients. It was the number on this site that an Operation Rescue investigator called on March 8, 2013, and scheduled an abortion with “Dr. Bruce.”

Allison Aranda of Life Legal Defense Foundation had notified ADPH Assistant General Counsel Brian Hale that the abortion clinic was operating in violation of the law. At first, Hale refused to respond, but last week, during a press conference to publicly expose the illegal abortion operation, Hale released a press statement indicating that NWAW was again under investigation.

That investigation resulted in yesterday’s filing and request for permanent injunction. The suit asked or for proceedings to be expedited, but as of this writing, no hearing date has been set.

On January 21, 2012, pro-life activists photographed two abortion patients being carried out of the abortion clinic down broken stairs to ambulances waiting in a trash strewn alley. 911 calls obtained by the groups revealed that a clinic worker had overdosed the women.

Activists filed complaints with the ADPH, which prompted a facility inspection that uncovered 76 pages of violations, many of which were repeat offenses, as well as a third botched abortion victim that was hospitalized in intensive care on the same day the other two patients were rushed to emergency rooms.

The clinic entered an agreement to close the clinic and surrender its license on May 18, 2012. The agreement prohibited Derzis and Norman from further participation in the abortion business.

Derzis has also made headlines as the owner of Jackson Women’s Health Center, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, which also faces closure for lack of compliance with a new law that requires abortionists to maintain local hospital privileges.

Read the Complaint