By Cheryl Sullenger
Baltimore, MD – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed an appeal on behalf of Maryland pro-life leader Andrew Glenn in a pivotal case related to that ability to access to public records.
The case began with a simple request for public documents under the Maryland Public Information Act. Such laws are meant to ensure governmental accountability and transparency, which can only be achieved when the public can freely access records. However, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sued Glenn over his request and sought to block him –and anyone else — from obtaining information related to abortion facilities in that state.
After reading hair-raising accounts of a horrific late-term abortion scheme perpetrated illegally in his home state by the notorious late-term abortionist Steven Chase Brigham, Glenn decided to request copies of abortion facility license applications to see if any other abortionists in Maryland had tainted histories of similar abortion abuses.
Brigham had been clandestinely operating an illegal late-term abortion clinic in Elkton, Maryland, even though he had no license to practice in that state. Discovery of the illicit operation led to Brigham’s license revocation in New Jersey as well as the Maryland license revocation of Brigham’s two cohorts.
But more significantly, it prompted Maryland to pass a very modest set of abortion clinic standards and required abortion businesses to be licensed.
It was this first round of clinic license applications that Glenn sought.
However, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDMH) ruled that Glenn was not entitled to any information about those who ran the abortion facilities and provided him only heavily redacted copies that left out the information in which Glenn was most interested. The department then sued him to ensure that the information was never released.
Glenn was acting as a public watchdog, a role that has previously been considered an important function of the public that has a long and distinguished history of exposing wrongdoing.
But when it came to abortion, the veil of secrecy that so often protects abortion providers from accountability came crashing down on Glenn’s right to inspect the public records.
In fact, it appeared that the MDMH was concealing the information at the behest of Planned Parenthood, which wrote on the top of one application form a request that information about the clinic administrator and provider be redacted in the event of a public information request such as Glenn’s.
The MDMH also took up the abortion cartel’s victimhood mantra, claiming that there was some unspecified threat of violence should the requested information be released. However, the State finally admitted that Glenn posed no such threat, yet argued that he should be denied the information nonetheless.
Having lost the first round in court, Glenn’s ACLJ attorney, Frances J. Manion, filed an appeal, which is expected to be heard early next year.
“It is crucial that we aggressively defend our rights to access public information on the abortion cartel,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “It is foundational to the work of pro-life advocates in ending abortion in our country.”
Public records reveal everything from whether or not a particular abortionist is even licensed to what kind of injuries women experience at abortion clinics when 911 is called. They reveal if a particular facility has failed health and safety inspections and whether abortionists have a history of discipline or malpractice. Getting this documented information into the hands of the public has served as the basis for new laws that have served to protect women and their babies from abuse.
Operation Rescue has filed a separate suit in St. Louis, Missouri, after a series of public records requests related to over two dozen emergency calls placed by Planned Parenthood were answered with documents so heavily redacted that event the dates were missing from the records.
Meanwhile, in Maryland, information about abortionists that were obtained through other public records shows Glenn had every reason to be concerned about shoddy abortion providers in his state.
Details of the abortion-related death of Denise Crow in February, 2006, were garnered from the disciplinary documents of Romeo Ferrer, the abortionist responsible for her fatal botched abortion. Ferrer’s medical license was revoked in 2010, but only after news of Brigham’s illegal abortion business in Maryland became public.
The public first learned of abortionist Iris Dominy after a facility inspection report became public. It revealed that she was responsible for the death of Maria Santiago during a 13-week abortion at a run-down Baltimore abortion facility that was later shut down by the state.
Then there were the shocking 911 tapes that originated from LeRoy Carhart’s Germantown Reproductive Health Services, one of which made it onto Fox News. These 911 records documented the fact that Carhart has bungled one abortion after another, including one that resulted in the death of Jennifer Morbelli during a 33-week abortion in February, 2013.
Information about Maryland abortionist Harold O. Alexander and the discipline he received was documented in public records that served to warn women of his shoddy, illegal abortion practices and penchant for crossing “sexual boundaries” with staff and patients.
Operation Rescue’s allegations that abortionist Mehrdad Aalai was illegally operating an unlicensed abortion facility were confirmed by public records that documented Aalai’s agreement to surrender his license and close his abortion clinic rather than face revocation proceedings.
Most recently, public records revealed that Maryland abortionist Abolghassem M. Gohari was forced by the California Medical Board to surrender his California medical license last year over patient abuse issues for which Maryland authorities only issued a reprimand.
These public documents served the public interest in exposing the dangerous character of abortion providers in Maryland — information that is vital to women who may be struggling over an abortion decision.
So important is information in public records that Operation Rescue created the website AbortionDocs.org, where close to 6,000 records related to the abortion cartel have been archived, with more added nearly every day.
“AbortionDocs.org can be considered the public’s virtual filing cabinet on the abortion cartel,” said Newman. “But without people like Andrew Glenn, who are willing to fight to protect our right to this information, Americans would live in a fool’s paradise, wrongly believing abortion was much safer than it really is. We pray that Glenn and his attorneys at the ACLJ will be successful in their appeal so the truth about abortion dangers can continue to be told, because we know that the truth will eventually lead to an end to abortion in our nation.”
Read the appeal brief in Glenn v. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene