Kansas lags behind other states in dealing with problem abortionists
Ever concerned about its image, Kansas proudly claims the titles of the Sunflower State and Air Capital of the World. However, this proud prairie state continues to live in denial about the one distinction it is perhaps best known for and most hates: that of the Abortion Capital of America.
Why such a designation in a state where there are only four active abortion mills? Obviously the presence of George R. Tiller, the nation’s largest late-term abortionist accounts for most of the well-earned reputation.
But there is more to it than that. Beneath the fragile fasade of Red State politics and Bible Belt morality, there exists a quiet circle of political corruption in Kansas that protects the nation’s most notorious abortionist even when the violations of the law are obvious and egregious.
“We are convinced that Tiller would not be able to operate in any other state,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Other states may be slow to discipline abortionists, but they do discipline them. When they violate the laws, other states prosecute. In Kansas, the authorities not only look the other way when wrong-doing occurs at abortion mills, but they engage in active efforts to protect abortionists from having to be held accountable to the law.”
This aggressive protection of the abortion industry truly earns Kansas the distinction of being the state where anything goes when it concerns the Kansas Abortion Cartel.
To understand what’s wrong with Kansas, it is necessary to look at how other states have responded to similar abortion-related problems.
Illegal late-term abortions
James Pendergraft is Tiller’s Florida counterpart, supplying late-term abortions at five Orlando area abortion clinics. Florida is considered a solidly liberal, pro-abortion state where abortion mills proliferate. However, when Pendergraft was suspected of committing illegal late-term abortions in August, 2006, the Florida Department of Health issued an emergency order suspending Pendergraft’s medical license and closing all five of his abortion mills. Two mills remain closed pending further investigation. Pendergraft is still under suspension, meaning he is not allowed to practice in Florida.
In contrast, thirty criminal counts related to the commission of illegal late term abortions were filed against George Tiller in December, 2006, by the former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. In less than 24 hours after their filing, the charges were dropped at the request of pro-abortion District Attorney Nola Foulston on dubious jurisdictional grounds. A motion to the Kansas Supreme Court requesting that the charges be reinstated was withdrawn by the newly-sworn in Attorney General Paul Morrison, also a staunch abortion supporter who accepted campaign help from hundreds of thousands of dollars in political mailings linked directly to Tiller.
When Sharon Hamptlon walked into a Moreno Valley, California, abortion mill in December, 1996, little did she know it would be the last thing she ever did. So badly was Hamptlon’s abortion botched that abortionist Bruce Steir was arrested and charged with her murder. Through a plea bargain, he was sentenced to a year in jail with six months suspended for “community service.” While he only served four months in jail for killing Hamptlon, the California Medical Board has made sure he will never practice medicine again. Today, the abortion mill where Hamptlon was butchered is closed.
Abortionist Suresh Gandotra fled the country in fear of murder charges after he killed Magdalena Rodriguez at his San Ysidro, California, mill in December, 1994, during a botched second-trimester abortion that shocked even emergency room workers. Gandotra insisted he did not violate the “standard of care,” but the evidence found in the mulitilated body of his dead patient said otherwise. Operation Rescue was holding a prayer vigil at the Gandotra mill when the receptionist turned the final key that closed the clinic for good.
If an abortionist kills a woman in the pro-abortion bastion of California, he may fear retribution by the State, but not so in Kansas.
Christin Gilbert, a 19-year old Downs syndrome teen, was in her third-trimester of pregnancy when her family brought her to Wichita for an abortion. Gilbert was a healthy young lady who participated in the Special Olympics and served as bat-girl on her high school soft ball team, but a botched abortion at the hands of Tiller employee LeRoy Carhart cost Gilbert her life. As in the case of Magdalena Rodriguez, emergency room workers were shocked at Gilbert’s condition. The Kansas State Board of Healing Arts determined that the “standard of care” had not been violated, even though information in the autopsy report indicated that Gilbert’s death was completely avoidable.
A grand jury was convened at the request of a citizen’s petition to investigate Tiller for Gilbert’s death, but the grand jury failed by only one vote to indict Tiller on four counts. A confidential source inside the grand jury told Operation Rescue of actions by the District Attorney’s office that prevented them from getting the information they needed to hand down indictments. To this day, neither Tiller nor Carhart have had to face any consequences for Gilbert’s tragic death.
While clinic regulations are not the end goal of the pro-life movement, they can be useful tools to stop predatory abortionists until complete abolition of the abortion trade can be accomplished.
Springfield Health Care Center, the only abortion clinic in Springfield, Missouri, voluntarily closed in October of 2005, after new state regulations made it impossible to continue operations.
A defiant abortionist, Randall Whitney, stopped abortions at Family Planning Center in Daytona Beach, Florida, in September, 2006, rather than comply with state regulations governing his abortion business.
That same month, the Ohio Department of Health ordered a late-term abortion clinic to close due to “over a dozen code violations.” Abortionist Martin Ruddock, who conducted partial-birth abortions through the second trimester of pregnancy, did not believe his clinic should have been subject to the state laws that regulate ambulatory surgical care facilities, even though his ads described his clinic as such.
Meanwhile, back in Kansas, abortion mills remain completely unregulated and uninspected. Efforts over four consecutive years to pass minimum safety standards for abortion mills finally passed in 2005 with over two-thirds of the vote in both the House and the Senate — a very difficult accomplishment — only to be vetoed by pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who rode into the governor’s mansion on massive campaign contributions from abortionist George Tiller.
Inspections Work — Anywhere but Kansas
A New Jersey abortion mill was in the news last week when a hospital turned them in for seriously botching a second trimester abortion on a woman that resulted in a 4-week coma, a hysterectomy, and other problems. The Department of Heath and Senior Services closed Metropolitan Medical Associates after discovering it posed an “immediate and serious risk of harm to patients,” then kept it closed when the mill failed a second inspection two weeks later.
In Kansas, Central Women’s Services was bought by Operation Rescue in the spring of 2006. Inside that clinic, OR discovered filthy and unsafe conditions, including roach and mold infestations, out-of-code plumbing and electrical, filthy carpets and leaky toilets. Also discovered was a business card from a Kansas Health Department official. A call to his office revealed that neither he, nor any of his staff had ever set foot inside that abortion clinic in the 23 years it was open.
When representatives from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts finally inspected the Kansas City mill of Krishna Rajanna, it was only after ignoring evidence of filth and rodent infestations for over 2 years after the conditions had been brought to their attention. At first the Board quietly fined Rajanna $1000 and sent him happily on his way. However, an outraged public forced reconsideration, and Rajanna’s medical license was eventually pulled.
“I personally believe that the only reason Rajanna was disciplined was so that the KSBHA could give the appearance of having done their job, while letting Tiller off the hook in the death of Christin Gilbert,” said OR spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who testified to a State Senate committee about the botched abortions she had documented at Tiller’s Wichita abortion mill. “Rajanna had no political clout, so he became the fall guy for a corrupt and dangerous abortion industry.”
It is little wonder that the KSBHA was ranked 30th in the nation in a report issued in May, 2006, by the public interest group Public Citizen and was given a failing score of 44.1 out of 100 possible points.
Kansas’ four remaining abortion mills remain uninspected and unaccountable.
“The KSBHA has oversight of the physicians, but not the clinics themselves,” said Sullenger. “In fact, we can find no agency in the entire state that has any oversight capacity over abortion clinics. Laws that would have given oversight to the Health Department have been vetoed. The dangerous conditions that have been documented to exist at Kansas abortion mills are actually protected and encouraged by the actions of the current governor, attorney general, and the KSBHA.”
Abortionist Harvey Brookman had his Pennsylvania medical license revoked after a number of botched abortions one where he perforated the uterus and bowel of a woman who later was forced to undergo emergency surgery at a hospital in Philadelphia.
Back in Wichita, ambulances reported to Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services at least nine times in an 18-month period to transport women to the hospital who had suffered from life-threatening abortion complications. Despite the fact that each incident is well documented, Kansas authorities did nothing to hold Tiller accountable for injuring so many women. Today, Tiller no longer calls for ambulances, but transports women suffering from botched abortions to the hospital in private vehicles.
Misuse of RU486 and Unqualified Workers
Summit Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, was closed by the State in May, 2006, after an investigation into a botched abortion involving the delivery of nearly full-term dead baby. Off the label use of RU486, a first trimester abortion drug, contributed to the incident, which was described by Alabama authorities as “egregious.” Abortionist Deborah Levich’s medical license was suspended and clinic administrator Janet Onthank King was arrested for aborting the baby without a medical license.
In Kansas, Operation Rescue discovered that the misuse of RU 486 may have contributed to the complications that resulted in the death of Christin Gilbert. That fact has been completely ignored.
In addition, Operation Rescue also discovered that the only licensed medical personnel employed by Tiller are three out-of-town abortionists. None of his so-called “nursing staff” have ever obtained any form of licensure anywhere in the United States. Nevertheless, these unqualified employees oversaw the overnight medical care of patients, including late-term labor — and sometimes delivery of dead fetuses — and the dispensing of drugs at a local hotel that was used as an annex of Tiller’s abortion clinic for years while authorities looked the other way. Tiller’s employees continue to engage in activities, including assisting with surgeries, that they are unqualified to do.
Born Alive Babies
A 22-week baby was born alive at a Hialeah, Florida, abortion mill in July, 2006. With the abortionist absent, panicked workers cut the umbilical chord, shoved the baby in a biohazard bag, and tossed her on the clinic roof. On a tip, police retrieved the baby’s body eight days later. The clinic was immediately closed and abortion personnel remain under investigation for the murder of that baby girl.
While there is still hope of justice for that Florida baby, there was none for a Kansas baby born alive after an abortion attempt. Baby Sarah was born to a 15-year old mother in the emergency room parking lot of a Wichita hospital after a failed abortion by George Tiller. It was 1993. Not having yet perfected his induction method of abortion, according to accounts, Tiller injected the baby’s head with Potassium Chloride instead of her heart. Remarkably, Sarah survived and was placed with a loving family who adopted her. Tiller’s attack on Sarah impaired her growth and left her brain-damaged, blind, and unable to walk. Nevertheless, her family members never viewed her as a burden and were blessed to be a part of her short life. She succumbed to her injuries at the age of 5, but Tiller was never disciplined or held accountable for her injuries in any way.
California Osteopath and abortionist Laurence Riech, lost his license in April, 2006, after having been found guilty of sexually molesting his patients. Arizona abortionist Brian Finkle was convicted in 2002 of raping patients at his Phoenix area abortion mill, and is currently serving a 35-year prison term after over 80 women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.
Sexual exploitation took another form in Kansas when an 11-year old girl was taken to Central Women’s Services in Wichita for an abortion of a baby conceived during sexual attacks by her step-father. Kansas Abortionist Sherman Zaremski aborted the girl then returned her to her abuser without filing a report of suspected sexual abuse as required by law. By neglecting to report, Zaremski condemned the girl and her sister to years of rape that resulted in a total of four pregnancies. District Attorney Nola Foulston refused to prosecute Zaremski for his violation of Kansas law that resulted in years of sexual exploitation.
Crisis In Kansas
Kansas is in crisis. Abortionists in that state are not being held accountable to the law or reasonable medical standards that other doctors must meet. Other states, even the most abortion-friendly ones, revoke licenses, close clinics, and arrest abortionists and their employees for similar offences that occur regularly in Kansas without consequence.
“Women are being injured and killed, and babies that should have the protection of Kansas law are being needlessly and brutally murdered, while authorities stand by and concoct the lamest excuses for not pursuing disciplinary action and criminal prosecutions,” said Newman.
“Until the political corruption that protects Tiller and other abortionists is exposed and purged, women and babies will remain at serious risk at Kansas abortion mills. Operation Rescue has asked for federal investigations, we have filed formal complaints, and we are considering all legal options to hold the above-the-law Kansas abortion cartel accountable for their crimes.”