City’s Only Abortion Clinic Closes

Operation Rescue President Troy Newman says, “This is a Christmas present to the babies!”

By JENNETTE BARNES, Standard-Times staff writer
December 14, 2004

NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford’s only medical practice specializing in abortion appears to have closed, and an entire chain of abortion providers may be shutting down.

Dr. Howard J. Silverman, who runs Alternatives WomanCare and owns the 12 Brigham St. building, could not be reached for comment, but in December 1995 he confirmed to the Associated Press that his chain of for-profit clinics in New Bedford, Brookline, Shrewsbury and Hyannis was the subject of an FBI probe.

The investigation stemmed from the practices’ allegedly telling women their pregnancies were further along than they really were, in order to perform more complex and expensive abortion procedures.

Yesterday, telephone numbers for the New Bedford office, for a practice where he worked in Brookline, and for a Shrewsbury practice operating under the name WomanCare had been disconnected. The Standard-Times could not definitively connect Dr. Silverman with the Shrewsbury location.

On Brigham Street in New Bedford, a sign on the door said the office was open by appointment only, but the telephone number on the sign was disconnected.

No activity has been visible at the New Bedford office in a few weeks, according to staff at two other physicians’ offices on the street. A yellowed newspaper was stuck in the door handle.

Despite the closing, New Bedford obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Kerry Gowell said women’s access to abortions would not be compromised. Many SouthCoast women prefer to travel to Providence or Boston.

“Most patients would like to do it outside the community,” he said. “It’s a private thing.”
But if access becomes difficult for women who rely on public transportation in the city, Dr. Gowell said he believes some of the physicians in his practice would be willing to staff a clinic locally.

Dr. Gowell works at New Bedford’s only obstetrics practice, Healthcare for Women on Brigham Street. A secretary at his practice said the office refers women to abortion providers in Attleboro or Providence and Cranston, R.I. She did not mention Alternatives WomanCare, but Dr. Gowell said patients would have been referred there as well.

Other obstetricians in the region might perform abortions in their offices, Dr. Gowell said, but Healthcare for Women does not.

Although the New Bedford office specialized in abortion, it was legally a physician’s office, not a clinic, and as such was not regulated by the Department of Public Health, DPH spokeswoman Nicole St. Peter said.

The office was the target of countless protests over the years, including one in April 1989 in which 200 protesters, mostly from the Boston-based anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, staged a surprise takeover of the building. Protesters pushed their way into the office, and 78 were arrested.

Today, Operation Rescue’s Web site hails the closing of the Brookline office. Photos on the group’s Web site show a sticker for an undelivered UPS package on the office door. “Perhaps baby killing instruments,” the caption says.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine disciplined Dr. Silverman 20 years ago for placing his mouth on a female patient’s breast. State documents show Dr. Silverman admitted to the behavior.

No reason for the closings was clear yesterday.

  • anthony

    “The investigation stemmed from the practices’ allegedly telling women their pregnancies were further along than they really were, in order to perform more complex and expensive abortion procedures.”

    say it isn’t so!

    i’m absolutely shocked.

    to think that these noble people who slaughter babies every day would actually lie to a woman….

  • jackO

    Satan is a liar and a murderer from the very begining. Murder, destruction and lies go hand in hand. (see John 10:10)

  • lime5

    YES, YES, YES!!!

    Do read Schiedler’s book; it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

    And if you’ve got the spare change and haven’t read it, a good companion volume and extremely valuable read is Mark Crutcher’s “LIME5”, available at and elsewhere.

    Anthony, have you heard or read former death camp director Carol Everett testify as to the women given false pregnancy test results so they could sell the procedures to women who weren’t even pregnant, thus visiting upon them the grief and guilt of abortion, and injury to their reproductive systems…May be a good idea to revive the practice of periodically taking men’s urine samples into abortion mills for pregnancy testing…

    Of course they lie! Why else do you think they go so postal over stuff like graphic photos and informed consent legislation?!

    Cheers, everybody, and keep pressing the gates!

    LIME 5 (sometimes inspired by, but not related to, the book)

  • anthony


    i have actually met carol and heard her speak
    at a couple of CPC banquets….she’s good, and definitely related that info about the lies that abortion mills tell women. i’m sure you know i was being sarcastic – abortionists lie easily because it goes hand in hand with their bloody work.

  • lime5

    Yes, anthony, I picked up on the note (symphony?!) of irony in your post…just wanted to magnify it a bit, and add another example of the killing industry’s abuse of women’s trust/credulity!


  • I am a historian. One of the things that strikes me about history is that people keep on making the same mistakes and then being surprised we they achieve the same results.

    In ancient Israel God actually “divorced” his people because they had forgotten whom they had married. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.” Hosea 4:6-7

    They subsequently lost their nation. i.e. they were carried away into captivity. There are many details of said events that strike me… but one relevant to this discussion stands out! It is given as the identifiable example forgetting God as a people throughout Isaiah. That example is failing to plead the cause of the helpless. “How the faithful city has become a harlot, She {who} was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers.” Isaiah 1:21

    Matthew 7:1 “Judge not” is often touted (and more often misunderstood by those touting it)as a proof text for Christians looking the other way when evil comes. If you read the next few verses of the discussion in Matthew you’ll find that Jesus is actually commanding you to judge the very heart of your neighbor.

    He is only saying before you render this judgement apply it to yourself first. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6

    My question is… Can we as a people, knowing how God reacted in the past, fail to plead the cause of the helpless? Will we not lose our nation as the Israelites lost their’s?

    Can we afford to fail to apply the standards of Christ to ourselves? Then, can we afford to refuse to indentify swine?

    It’s harsh but this is the close of the sermon on the mount! It is the core of Jesus’ teaching on earth. The famous comments concerning the broad and narrow road follow. Can we afford to rush headlong down the broad road following the whims of our society?

    Killing babies in the name of public good is very similar to killing in the name of racial purity. Let’s now consider secular history…

    I don’t blame Tiller any more than I blame Hitler. Evil will be in the world till the end comes. The real blame lies with Christians in both times who just pull their window shades down and look/or looked the other way.

    Christians are to be a people without fear! “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” I Peter 3:14 Out of all the world when right is at stake… it is we who are to have the courage to speak.

    Character is not indentified by taking a stand when everyone agrees with you. It is identifified when the narrow road of truth pinches hard.
    Jerry Blount
    El Dorado,Kansas 67042