Report: New Illegal Abortion Cases Surface While Brigham Denies Board Can Discipline

New documents released this week and obtained by Operation Rescue paint a picture of back-alley-style quackery committed by an arrogant, defiant huckster who acts as though no authority can bind him.

Trenton, New Jersey – As new allegations of negligence and illegal abortions surfaced this week in New Jersey, troubled abortionist Steven Chase Brigham filed a tersely worded reply to the serious charges against him asserting that the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners, (NJBME), has no authority to discipline him for a bi-state late-term abortion scheme designed to circumvent abortion safety laws.

“Brigham is an abortionist with a virtually unparalleled history of abortion quackery and medical corruption that would make turn-of-the-century snake oil salesmen seem like paradigms of virtue,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Amended Complaint Adds Charges

Last week, the NJBME amended a complaint against Brigham to include two additional counts of illegal abortions. His medical license remains suspended at this time. (Read Amended Complaint)

New Jersey law requires that abortions after 14 weeks can only be done in licensed ambulatory surgical centers or hospitals. Abortions can be done in those facilities only up to 18 weeks gestation.

Brigham’s clinics are not licensed to legally do abortions after 14 weeks. He has no hospital privileges anywhere. Brigham also lacks the necessary credentials required for those doing abortions after 14 weeks. In fact, he cannot even qualify for such credentials because he is not an ObGyn, a prerequisite for such certification.

However, records show that Brigham has a long pattern of starting abortions well beyond 14 weeks in New Jersey, and completing them in other states in order to avoid the restrictions in New Jersey law, which was enacted for safety reasons.

“The risks of abortion are indisputable”

“Rules surrounding the performance of abortions are not ministerial,” stated Deputy Attorney General Jeri L. Warhatfig in a letter brief sent to the NJBME on September 20, 2010. “They regulate a potentially dangerous medical procedure” for the benefit of patient safety.

The brief goes on to state, “The risks of abortion are indisputable.”

Quoting from Planned Parenthood v. Verniero, the brief states, “…the risk of death from abortion increased about thirty percent (30%) with each week of gestation from eight weeks lmp to twenty weeks lmp… the risk of major medical complications increases about 20 percent (20%) with each week of gestation from seven weeks lmp to full term.”

Included with Warhatfig’s letter brief is a report assessing the quality of medical care provided by Brigham prepared by Dr. Gary Brickner, who the state considers a well-qualified expert in obstetrics and gynecology.

Brickner’s report takes Brigham to task on several points. It states that Brigham’s disregard for the law “exposed his patients to considerable risk of harm” and that his acts were grossly negligent, and in some cases illegal. The report also states that there is “compelling evidence” to believe that Brigham’s horrific conduct has likely been repeated on other patients under his care. It is a strongly worded indictment of Brigham and his shoddy and dangerous abortion business.

(Read Warhatfig’s Brief and Brickner’s Report)

New Cases and Complications

The new cases involve abortions at 24 weeks and 33 weeks. At 24 weeks, a baby has a 50% chance of survival if born at that time, and is considered “viable.” A baby at 33 weeks has a 90% chance of survival.

J.P., a 20-year old woman who was 24 weeks pregnant on June 9, 2010, when her abortion began at Brigham’s Voorhees, New Jersey, abortion mill. He injected digoxin into the baby’s heart in order to kill the baby in utero and packed her with laminaria. She returned to the Voorhees clinic the next day for additional laminaria insertion, which slowly opens the neck of the womb. Records show that she was to return to the Voorhees mill on June 11 for transport to Maryland where she would undergo a D&E dismemberment abortion.

However, J.P. called Brigham’s after-hours number to report that she was having problems urinating. Brigham tried to treat her at her hotel room without proper supplies or emergency equipment. She was taken to Virtua West Jersey Hospital in Voorhees where her abortion was completed.

Everything about J.P.’s abortion was illegal in New Jersey. Brigham is not certified or qualified to do abortions that late. His abortion mill is not licensed for abortions past 14 weeks, and the abortion itself exceeded the upper gestational limits allowed in New Jersey.

33-weeks and healthy

The other new case involved a 35-year old woman, M.L., who was 33 weeks pregnant when her abortion was started by Brigham at his Voorhees, New Jersey, abortion mill. M.L.’s baby had no “fetal anomaly” nor did her pregnancy present any danger to her. On August 3, 2010, he injected her healthy baby with a fatal dose of digoxin, packed her with laminaria and told her to return the next day when an ultrasound revealed that her baby was dead. She was repacked with laminaria and told to return to Voorhees the following day for transport to Maryland.

The records seized from Brigham’s offices reveal that M.L.’s abortion was completed in Elkton, Maryland, with a doctor “Sheppard” listed as the physician of record.

“Sheppard” is actually George Shepard, Jr., 88, who told the Maryland Board of Physicians that he is unable to do abortions anymore because of a disability. Shepard said he saw Brigham doing abortions in Elkton, Maryland, twice a week for several months. It appears that, because Shepard had a valid Maryland medical license, he was used on the records to make it appear that the abortions done at Elkton were legitimate. However, Brigham is not licensed in Maryland, and never has been, making all the abortions he did at Elkton illegal.

Shepard’s Maryland medical license was suspended on September 8, 2010, for aiding and abetting Brigham’s unlicensed practice of medicine.

Point of no return

The New Jersey case against Brigham hinges on the fact that the abortion process reaches the “point of no return” while the patient is still in New Jersey. That is where dilators are inserted that would make carrying to full term impossible, where the pre-born baby is killed, and where the drug Cytotec is administered to induce uterine contractions. At that point, there is no turning back. The part of the process that actually “aborts” the life in the womb is completed illegally in New Jersey.

The rest of the abortion completed in Maryland entails the dismemberment and removal of the dead baby, a dangerous process since the bone fragments of babies that old are sharp and prone to cause lacerations and perforations of the cervix and uterus. However, Brigham associate Nicola Riley told the Board that the first abortion she helped with in Elkton was a 33 week abortion done on July 30, 2010, on a woman identified only as S.F., which according to Riley was a “partial delivery.” (Read Riley’s MDBP Interview)

Lax Maryland laws create safe haven for unscrupulous abortionists

Maryland abortion laws are lax and have provided abortionists a safe haven for unregulated abortion activity until recently. With the revelation of Brigham’s misdeeds and the discovery of a secret late-term abortion mill operating under the radar and above the law, the Maryland Board of Physicians appears to be cracking down.

They have suspended the licenses of Brigham associates Riley and Shepard, and in an unrelated case, suspended a third abortionist, Romeo Ferrer, who killed a woman during a botched abortion in 2006. The MDBP also issued a cease and desist order to Brigham to stop the unlicensed practice of medicine in Maryland, where such behavior is a felony.

Ongoing criminal investigations

In fact, several law enforcement agencies are engaged in pursuing a criminal case against Brigham.

In addition to possible criminal charges and licensing revocation in New Jersey, C. Irving Pinder Jr., executive director of the Maryland Board of Physicians, says that Brigham is not out of the woods in Maryland.

“He hasn’t been charged by the board because he’s not licensed by the board. But there are criminal investigations going on. We’ve been in touch with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies,” Pinder told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Can’t touch this

Brigham’s response to the Maryland charges was a series of admissions and denials. He admitted the non-incriminating statements, and denied all the accusations.

In a brief statement that showed a flash of Brigham’s arrogance, his response asserted that the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners had no jurisdiction over anything he did in Maryland, and perhaps prematurely boasted that no criminal accusations have been made against him there.

But most interesting was Brigham’s assertion that the Board had no right to discipline him in New Jersey, either.

“The Complaint is barred by the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata,” his response read.

In other words, Brigham is insisting that the Board has been barred from disciplining him for the accusations listed in the petition because those issues were already judged, and cannot be relitigated.

Nightmare in New York

Brigham is referring to problems he had in the early 1990s that led to the revocation of his New York medical license. Brigham had been involved in a number of horrifically botched late-term abortions, including one that left a 10 cm tear in the back of one woman’s uterus and caused damage to several other internal organs. Brigham delayed emergency care for this patient for hours.

In New York, he was also involved in a fraudulent billing scheme at a “Smoke Stop Program” where he would conduct shoddy exams and reach unsupported diagnoses. He apparently did not know how to properly use an electrocardiogram, because his tests, most of which were unnecessary, were never done right, but he billed for them anyway, knowing the results were useless. In addition, Brigham was caught engaging in quackery, by misprescribing unnecessary medications to two elderly women, both in their 90s, after inadequate examinations.

But in at least one instance, according to his 1994 New York revocation documents, Brigham started a late-term abortion in New Jersey and completed it in New York. While New York revoked Brigham’s medical license in that state, eventually Brigham’s New Jersey medical license was restored, leading Brigham to claim he is now immune from discipline. (Read NY 1994 Revocation Documents)

Defiance grows

Certainly discipline has never hindered Brigham or even slowed him down even though he has had licenses revoked or surrendered under pressure in California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and New York. He has a history of discipline in New Jersey where a judge once ordered him to stop advertising his abortions as “safe” and “painless.”

In 1988, he spent 120 days in a New York jail for billing fraud.

In April, Brigham was slapped with more than $234,000 in IRS liens for non-payment of payroll taxes. State tax liens to which he is subject, could amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

It seems that Brigham’s defiance only grows with discipline.

“Go directly to jail”

Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the State Attorney in Elkton asking for a criminal investigation of Brigham. Several pro-life groups have joined together, most recently at a press conference held on September 17, 2010, in Annapolis, Maryland, demanding criminal charges for Brigham and all his associates.

“Brigham is a charlatan who will only stop his dangerous flim-flam activities if he is locked up. He’s been disciplined over and over. His reputation is gone. He is so far in debt that fines are meaningless. Nothing works on this guy,” said OR’s Newman. “At this point the only solution to keeping Brigham from hurting more people is to lock him up. Revocation in New Jersey, while necessary, simply is not good enough. We need criminal charges that will incarcerate him for a significant period of time, and we need them now, or else Brigham will simply jump to another state and start his back ally butchery all over again, as he has so many times before.”

  • Juliann McHann

    If this were a church (Christian), there would be locks on the door, and yellow crime tape surrounding the building. Why can’t the authorties do that to this criminals’ “businesses”?

  • This introduces a plseainlgy rational point of view.