New Abortionist with Old Problems Takes Over California “Shop of Horrors”

In addition, petition to revoke was recently filed by Medical Board against yet another abortionist who once worked there.

Chula Vista, CA — A troubled abortion clinic near the U.S./Mexico border in Chula Vista, California, has opened and closed numerous times as one by one each abortionist who worked there lost medical licenses or was incarcerated for criminal activity and other abortion abuses. Now, it has reopened again with yet another disgraced abortionist, W. Constantine Mitchell at the helm.

This clinic’s history is among the worst in the nation and Mitchell only adds to that sordid legacy.

One reporter described the clinic as a “shop of horrors.”

It started in 1999, when a business woman named Bertha Bugarin opened an abortion clinic on H Street and called it “Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy,” one of a chain of eleven abortion clinics she ran with abortionist Nicholas Braemer throughout Southern California.

A business card obtained upon the opening of the clinic by Cheryl Sullenger, then the director of the California Life Coalition, listed three abortionists who were involved with the business: Braemer, Mohamed Dia, and a “Dr. Reish.”

Later that year in 1999, Mohamed Dia surrendered his medical license after the Medical Board filed accusations of botched abortions, incompetence, corruption, and billing fraud.

Nick Braemer surrendered his license in 2000 after the California Medical Board filed a petition against him for two seriously botched abortions that landed patients in the hospital, and for aiding in the unlicensed practice of medicine. Braemer routinely had unlicensed workers perform pregnancy tests and conduct ultrasound examinations then interpret the tests for patients, which was against the law.

“Dr. Reish” was discovered to be the notorious sex offender Laurence Reich, who used the abortion business as a means of accessing victims, and would sexually assault women in the examination or procedure rooms. After he was was convicted of sex crimes in the 1980’s. When he resurfaced in the 1990’s, Sullenger strenuously complained to the Board of Osteopathy about Reich being allowed to resume his abortion/rape career for fear that he would again abuse his patients. As predicted, Riech was again caught and convicted of sex abuse against his abortion patients in 2005, and was forced to surrender his license in April of 2006. During a 2007 raid on Bugarin’s abortion chain in Los Angeles County, Reich was discovered to still be working as an abortionist even though he had not had a license for over a year. Remarkably, Reich received no jail time and remains on probation.

But despite the representations of the Chula Vista clinic, it was Phillip Rand who more often than not showed up twice a week to do abortions there. Rand was a well-known San Diego area abortionist who had and extensive history of multiple license suspensions and other problems, including 45 malpractice judgments against him. His coup de grace came in Santa Ana in 2004, when he spent five minutes aborting a baby at 20 weeks gestation, then left to return to Chula Vista where more abortion appointments awaited. He refused to return to the clinic after he was informed that his patient was bleeding and needed attention. When the ambulance crew arrived, they discovered a hemorrhaging patient, two unlicensed workers, and no crash cart. He was 83 years old at the time he was finally forced to permanently surrender his medical license.

The H Street property owners had originally leased the space to Bugarin without being told it would be an abortion clinic. They refused to renew the lease on the clinic in 2002, so it closed for about six months, reopening in 2003 at an office located at 1550 Broadway in Chula Vista, where abortions are still done today. After Rand could no longer work, Bugarin had a string of shoddy abortionists in and out of the Broadway location, all of which had their own encounters with the Medical Board and/or law enforcement.

In fact, just recently (February 14, 2011), the Medical Board filed a petition to revoke the medical license of one of those abortionists, George Dalton Flanigan III, for probation violations. He worked for Bugarin’s abortion chain, including the Chula Vista location from 2002-2008. Flanigan’s original case involved a botched delivery that resulted in a dead infant, keeping inadequate records, and Medi-Cal fraud. [Read the Medical Board Accusation for the sad details of the baby’s completely avoidable death.]

Finally, to keep the clinic open, Bertha Bugarin began doing abortions herself even though she had no license or medical training. After years of pro-life protests, complaints, and warnings to the public about this shoddy business, Bugarin was finally arrested in 2008 and convicted in two counties of practicing medicine without a license. The District Attorney called her a “predator” and a danger to the public. She is currently serving a sentence of 6 years, 8 months in a California State Women’s prison.

Yet that was not enough to keep the clinic closed permanently.

Three new business partners, Nolan Jones, Andrew Rutland, and W. Constantine Mitchell soon took over the Broadway clinic and renamed it A Woman’s Choice Family Planning Clinic.

But if anyone expected changes for the better, they were sadly mistaken. If anything, under the new ownership the abortion abuses escalated.

Nolan Jones was the first to take over the abortion operations in Chula Vista. He had a long and checkered history that included multiple suspensions for botched abortions and other problems. He was known for preying on vulnerable Hispanic woman who were less likely to report his shoddy brand of medicine to authorities. His financial woes were so acute that Jones was evicted from his residence and was known to sleep in his car or at the abortion mill. Jones’ medical license was finally revoked in 2009 for falsifying medical records and violating his probation.

Jones was immediately replaced by his business partner, Andrew Rutland, an abortionist who had recently been granted a new medical license after his old one had been revoked in 2002, because of the deaths of at least two babies during their deliveries. Rutland’s problems reached a crisis when he killed Ying Chen with an overdose of drugs at an unlicensed and ill-equipped acupuncture clinic in San Gabriel. Chen’s death was later reclassified as a homicide. There questioning of the Medical Board as to why his license was reinstated. Rutland claimed all his problems were the result of an anti-abortion conspiracy. Nevertheless, he surrendered his medical license on February 11, 2011, but could still face murder charges in Chen’s death.

Now, W. Constantine Mitchell, the last of the three business partners, is doing the abortions on Broadway in Chula Vista. Mitchell and Rutland go way back. In 1977, Mitchell gave Rutland a substantial loan to help him start a medical practice. Mitchell was also one of the physicians who was supposed to supervise Rutland when the Medical Board thought it was too dangerous for him to engage in the solo practice of medicine.

Mitchell was himself disciplined by the California Medical Board in 1983 for billing and insurance fraud. Women paid cash in advance for their abortions, but Mitchell would then also file claims with the insurance companies for up to 160% more than the abortion cost. Sometimes Mitchell would reimburse the woman from the insurance money, and sometimes he would simply keep all the money himself, but in any case, Mitchell would always pocket a few extra bucks for each abortion gouged from pockets of the insurance companies.

Since then, Mitchell has tried to keep a low profile. He operates out of unregistered clinics that are uninspected and have little accountability, such as the one in Chula Vista.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Mitchell is any better than Rutland, Jones, Bugarin, or any of the rest,” said Sullenger. “There is an old saying that birds of a feather flock together. There is no doubt in my mind that Mitchell is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before Mitchell runs afoul of the law again or kills someone during an abortion. It is tragically inevitable.

“That abortion mill resembles a crack house more than a medical office. It has a revolving door of abortion quacks killing and maiming women and children and posing a hazard to the community at large. It needs to be permanently closed, and the entire pack of offenders, including Mitchell, needs to be rooted out and brought to justice. But the system is slow, and criminal punishment is lax and often does not fit the severity of the crimes.”

In the meantime, pro-life sidewalk counselors continue to warn women of the clinic’s dangers as they have since 1999. And they watch and wait for the next botched abortion, for the next patient death, for the next human tragedy.

“The best advice I have for those sidewalk counselors is to keep a camera handy and the number for the medical board on speed dial,” said Sullenger. “They are going to need both.”