“It’s time for the City to call a duck a duck. They must reconsider their decision to accept Whole Women’s Health’s bogus designation as a doctor’s office and shut down this illegal abortion clinic.” — Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue
By Cheryl Sullenger
Las Cruces, NM – Last month, Operation Rescue published a report with documentation that showed a new abortion facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, operated by the Texas-based Whole Women’s Health abortion chain, had opened illegally and was conducting abortions in an area that was not zoned for clinics.
Now the Las Cruces Code Office has confirmed to reporters what Operation Rescue reported on October 29. When the Whole Women’s Health abortion facility opened quietly on October 13, it did so without having obtained the necessary business license. When a code officer warned that they had until October 21 to make an application, the abortion business simply ignored him.
Finally, on October 23, Whole Women’s Health, operating under “William H. Richardson, MD, P.C.” finally applied for and received a license – but only after the Code Office issued a citation.
Furthermore, public records provided to Operation Rescue from the Thomas More Society, who made the request on behalf of local pro-life activist Martha Beasley, shed additional light on what happened.
In a series of e-mails involving several Las Cruces city officials, the issue of zoning was discussed, noting that the property the clinic has occupied is zoned with the “O-2” designation.
That zoning designation would not mean much but for an e-mail sent on September 17 by Robert Kyle, Building & Development Services Administrator for the City of Las Cruces.
Kyle’s message was addressed to Ceil Levatino, City Councilor for the district in which the clinic is located, in response to her queries about the clinic. This conversation took place just two days after Whole Women’s Health’s planned opening that had failed to materialize.
“Although it may be an issue of semantics as proposed a health care “clinic” is not a permitted land use within the O-2 zone. A doctor’s office is allowed and of course procedures can be performed at a Dr.’s office but as a “clinic it is prohibited,” Kyle stated.
Councilor Levatino, who opposes abortion, responded, “You have just made me a very happy person. Thank you!!”
But Kyle responded, “Don’t get too happy. They will revise the request for a dr.’s office.”
And apparently that is what they did.
“The zoning code designation clearly prohibits a clinic, yet, by calling their clinic a ‘doctor’s office,’ Whole Women’s Health has been allowed to continue operating their abortion business, which they repeatedly and clearly refer to as a ‘clinic.’ The City is essentially allowing an illegal clinic to operate by calling it something it really isn’t,” said Newman. “This is just bad public policy and decision-making.”
An abortion clinic does not maintain long-term relationships with most of its customers. Abortionists may only see a woman for 5 minutes, then never see her again. This practice is completely different than the long-term doctor-patient relationships established at legitimate doctors’ private practices.
In fact, Whole Women’s Health’s Las Cruces abortionist, William H. Richardson, does not even live in New Mexico. Richardson resides in Tuscon, Arizona, where he operates his own abortion clinic. He only travels to Las Cruces on abortion days, leaving questions about follow-up care, especially for women suffering complications after Richardson has left the state.
Over and over, Whole Women’s Health refers to its offices as “clinics.”
On October 13, the first day of business for the clinic, according to a Facebook posting. Mary Frank, Project Manager for the Whole Women’s Health abortion business notified police via e-mail that they would be “holding our first clinic on Thursday 10/16 and Sat. 10/18.” [Emphasis added]
Frank then made an unusual request, given the publicity over Whole Women’s Heath’s previous and very public announcement that it had targeted September 15 as its original open date.
“We will not be doing a press release so I hope that it will stay under the radar for now,” Franks wrote.
That missive was sent ten days before they ever applied for a business license, and Whole Women’s Health clearly refers to their abortion business as a “clinic.”
When Whole Women’s Health finally got around to applying for a business license, they filled out one form referring to the facility manager as “clinic administrator.” Another form bore the note, “Please call on-site clinic admin [sic] first.”
Even the Whole Women’s Health web site states that its offices are clinics, not “doctor’s offices.”
Whole Woman’s Health is a privately-owned feminist organization, committed to providing holistic care for women. We are a group of women’s clinics providing comprehensive gynecology services, including abortion care. [Emphasis added]
So, if Whole Women’s Health in Las Cruces is not a clinic, but a doctor’s office, why do they keep referring to their own business as a clinic?
“It is very clear from the paper trail that Whole Women’s Health in Las Cruces is actually an abortion clinic deceptively masquerading as a doctor’s office for the purpose of evading zoning laws. While this seems like a distinction without a difference, in this case, it actually makes all the difference in the world,” said Newman. “Clinics cannot legally operate within the O-2 zoning designation. Therefore Whole Women’s Health continues to operate illegally in Las Cruces – but with the blessing of city officials who have had the wool pulled over their eyes. It’s time for the City to call a duck a duck. They must reconsider their decision to accept Whole Women’s Health’s bogus designation as a doctor’s office and shut down this illegal abortion clinic.”
But deception seems to be standard operation procedure with the Whole Women’s Health abortion business.
In September, 2011, two Whole Women’s Health abortion clinics in Austin and McAllen, Texas, were fined for illegally disposing of aborted baby remains. Operation Rescue has discovered that recognizable human tissue was being discarded in an open, overflowing dumpster behind the McAllen facility.
Nevertheless, Whole Women’s Health continues to blame Stericycle for their own non-compliance.
“I doubt that Stericycle made them dump the bloody remains of aborted babies in that back-alley dumpster,” said Newman. “It’s just more deception coming from a chain of abortion clinics known to cut corners on women’s health.”
Newman also pointed out that due to Operation Rescue’s 2011 investigation and complaints, two Whole Women’s Health abortionists, Alan Molson and Robert Hanson, were also fined thousands of dollars for failing to comply with patient care standards by skipping important practices such as examinations prior to abortions and regularly monitoring vital signs. In addition, Molson was cited for allowing unqualified workers to conduct follow-up exams and prescribe birth control without his presence.
“Shoddy, deceptive practices and an unwillingness to comply with even the most basic rules and standards makes the Whole Women’s Health abortion clinics dangerous,” said Newman. “Given this pattern of behavior, how can they be trusted to meet standards of patient care and safety? They can’t.”
Operation Rescue is calling on the City to reconsider its decision to allow Whole Women’s Health to operate in their current Las Cruces location as a “doctor’s office” and will make a formal request for reconsideration and closure of the abortion clinic in the coming days.