While charges have been dropped for now, the investigation of Brigham and Riley’s late-term abortion scheme continues
By Cheryl Sullenger
Elkton, MD — State Attorney Ellis Rollins told reporters on Wednesday that he withdrew murder charges against abortionist Steven Chase Brigham and Nicola Irene Riley on Tuesday because his expert witness succumbed to pressure “from [the expert’s] colleagues in the late-term abortion community.”
Brigham and Riley had been charged with the murder of viable pre-born babies under Maryland’s fetal homicide law that allows prosecutions of those who kill viable babies in the commission of a crime.
The two abortionists conducted a bi-state late-term abortion operation in which women would begin their abortions at Brigham’s main office in Voorhees, New Jersey, — where he was not licensed to do abortions past 14 weeks — then return the next day when they travelled in caravan to a clandestine abortion clinic in Elkton for the completion of the abortion. While Riley is licensed in Maryland, Brigham holds no medical license in that state. The operation was discovered when one of their patients suffered life-threatening botched abortion injuries that required her to be airlifted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for emergency surgery to save her life.
Brigham’s defense challenged the jurisdictional authority of Maryland to charge the abortionists, alleging that the deaths of the babies actually took place in New Jersey with Maryland only being the site where the remains were evacuated from the mother’s womb.
Rollins said that the Elkton police conducted their own investigation and determined that the babies died in Maryland, not in New Jersey as the defense contends. An expert witness for the state was retained, who confirmed that the deaths took place in Maryland. The witness, who Rollins has declined to identify, is considered an expert in late-term abortions.
“He led us to believe that the medical evidence pointed to the fact that both parts of the abortion process had to have occurred in Maryland. He was unequivocal,” Rollins said.
But last week, a phone call between Rollins and the expert witness indicated that the witness had been in contact with other late-term abortionists who were pressuring him to change his views. “In the phone call, he indicated that he was feeling pressure from some colleagues. We did what we could to reassure him,” Rollins said.
Then on Friday, the witness sent an “unsolicited e-mail” to Rollins indicating that he was now unsure where the deaths of the babies occurred.
“There can be no doubt that late-term abortionists fearing for their own careers applied pressure to the witness and he succumbed under the pressure. In other words, he was bullied into bowing out of the case,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We have seen some of the documents for ourselves and the evidence is strong that the babies were still alive when they were dismembered at that Elkton abortion mill.”
Since the passing of the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, late-term abortionists have adopted what has become known as the Induction Abortion method. In this kind of abortion, the living is injected through the mother’s abdominal wall with digoxin or some other drug that causes “fetal demise” or the death of the baby in the womb. The woman’s cervix is then packed with laminaria, which are thin tampon-like dilators made of seaweed that gently expand the opening of the womb. The woman is then given drugs to initiate labor. Finally, the abortionist extracts the dead baby either intact or in parts.
Brigham’s defense indicated that the fetal demise would have taken place in New Jersey. This would have been done with the lethal fetal injection.
“The injection process is a tricky one, and it is not unusual for the injection to fail. But in this case, Brigham’s own records indicate that he was cutting corners on the process and skipping the fetal injection altogether. That would mean these babies were alive at the time they were aborted in Maryland,” said Newman.
According to records obtained by Operation Rescue through open records requests, there is documented evidence that at least one baby was alive at the time of the abortion in Maryland. Brigham’s own medical records in the case of D.B., an 18-year old patient whose botched 22-week abortion first drew attention to Brigham’s illegal late-term abortion enterprise, incriminate him.
A form titled Laminaria Insertion & Induction of Fetal Demise was produced at Brigham’s Voorhees, New Jersey, facility on August 12, 2010, the day before D.B. botched surgery in Maryland. On that form, Brigham documents a pelvic exam and laminaria insertion, but the section of the form that is supposed to document an injection into the baby that would bring about fetal demise is left blank.
“Without the fetal injection, nothing in the process that took place in New Jersey could have killed the baby,” said Newman. “Given the record we have seen, that baby died in Maryland.”
“We know what they (Brigham and Riley) had done, but we can’t prove where they did it,” Rollins said.
Rollins indicated that he withdrew the charges because he did not have time to obtain another expert before next week’s scheduled motions hearing. Meanwhile Rollins told the Cecil Whig newspaper that they are still pursuing the case against the abortionists and that the investigation remains open.
“We’re still investigating. We’re going back to the drawing board and we’re starting all over,” he said.
“We have one message for Brigham and Riley,” said Newman. “Don’t lose the number to the bail bondsman.”