Huntsville Abortion Business Puts Move on Hold, Shuts Down

By Cheryl Sullenger

Huntsville, AL – A Huntsville, Alabama, abortion business that has failed to meet new licensing regulations, will shut down today. Meanwhile, efforts to move the facility to a location near a middle school have been placed on hold.

The Alabama Women’s Center submitted plans to the Alabama Department of Public Health for a new facility that was to have been located near Ed White Middle School in the heart of a predominately African-American community. There was vocal opposition to the move.

“Abortion is a scourge,” said Catherine Davis, a member of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, at a recent press conference held by national and community leaders opposed to the abortion facility. “And I, for one, am tired of them targeting the black community for destruction. They have indeed targeted us. They have indeed targeted us for abortion. You look around and you see they are going to every black media outlet that will help them and talking about reaching into the black community for reproductive abortion care.”

However, the move now has been put in limbo indefinitely. The ADPH responded to the plans with questions that have yet to be addressed by the abortion business. A move will not be possible without the approval of the ADPH, which does not appear to be forthcoming at this time.

“This abortion facility may never open because Alabama’s laws mandate that abortionists must meet minimum safety standards in their practices and facilities. Most abortion businesses cut so many corners on the abortion process that they are operating well below those minimum safety standards, which never should have been allowed in the first place,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “It is only right that the Alabama Women’s Center be permanently closed for the public welfare. A new building simply won’t rectify decades of shoddy medical practices.”

Alabama Women’s Center employs abortionist Raymond Lopez, who was incarcerated at the Madison County Jail for 23 consecutive weekends between November 2013, and April 2014, serving time on a “domestic relations” case. In Alabama, “domestic relations” violations can range from non-payment of alimony to violation of a protection order, raising questions about Lopez’ fitness to practice medicine on women and his willingness to obey abortion laws.

The closure of the Alabama Women’s Center will leave just three remaining abortion facilities in Alabama.

Earlier this year, the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Birmingham closed under suspicious circumstances. Last year New Woman All Women, an abortion facility operated by Diane Derzis and her notorious partner, abortionist Bruce Norman, was ordered by a judge to close after Operation Rescue, CEC for Life, and Life Legal Defense Foundation documented and reported that it was operating illegally.

With the closure of the Huntsville facility, Operation Rescue has documented the closure of a total of 24 abortion facilities nationwide so far this year, continuing a trend that has seen over 74% of all abortion clinics in the nation permanently close since 1991.

Florida Abortionist Harms Two Abortion Patients on Same Day, One Hospitalized

Azima’s history of substandard abortion practices makes another case for greater oversight

By Cheryl Sullenger

Port Charlotte, FL — An ambulance as called to the Venice Women’s Health Center in Port Charlotte, Florida, last week to transport an abortion patient to the hospital for emergency care.

The patient, who was described as a Caucasian woman in her early 30’s, was removed from the abortion clinic completely covered with a blanket on June 3, 2014. Pro-life activists who witnessed the incident told Operation Rescue that one of the emergency medical technicians who responded to the abortion business’ call for emergency assistance indicated that the patient was going to be “okay.”

“Certainly there are degrees of ‘okay’ and this doesn’t negate the fact that the patient suffered from a serious complication that could not be handled at the clinic,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Pro-life sidewalk counselors also noted that another abortion patient was seen earlier in the day leaving the clinic in poor condition and unable to walk on her own. No clinic staff assisted as that woman was held up by a male companion who helped her into a car. She appeared to be in significant pain, and left the scene fully reclined in her seat.

The abortion business is owned and operated by abortionist Ali Azima, who has operated in the Ft. Myers/Port Charlotte area for over 30 years.

The Venice Women’s Health Center was involved in an incident in 2012, where Azima allegedly began a late-term abortion there even though the facility wasn’t licensed for those procedures. The patient was referred to Azima’s other clinic, the Southwestern Florida Women’s Clinic (SFWC) in Ft. Myers, where the abortion was completed. A citation was issued to the SFWC over the incident.

SFWC was also cited in 2012 for multiple health and safety violations. A deficiency report indicated that the autoclave was not being properly cleaned, which made it impossible to properly sterilize surgical instruments. Inspectors also found that first trimester surgical abortion practices fell below the standard of care for such procedures. A secondary inspection found that the facility was still not in compliance with autoclave sterilization protocols.

In 1985, Azima had his medical license suspended for one year and was placed on probation for three years after a Florida Medical Board inquiry found that Azima failed to take a medical history or properly examine an abortion patient, prior to an abortion, then failed to have a pathologists examine the remains to ensure that everything had been removed. Without examining her, Azima continued to insist during subsequent visits with the patient that she was not pregnant. The woman eventually suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that caused her to undergo emergency surgery and hospitalization.

“Once again, we have a woman who walked into a troubled abortion business only to be carried out on a gurney,” said Newman. “Azima and his troubles are all-too-typical of abortion providers in America today and is a case in point for tighter oversight and regulation of the abortion cartel. Instead, abortionists like Azima resist laws to protect women because they know their shoddy abortion operations are incapable of meeting acceptable medical standards and practices.”

Operation Rescue has used official abortion statistics in several states to document the fact that when abortion clinics like Azima’s close, the number of abortions is reduced.

“We urge Florida to enact regulations such as those passed last year in Texas,” said Newman. “If we can pass rules that will save lives now and spare women from suffering live-threatening injuries, it is our moral duty to do so.”

Operation Rescue continues to investigate the June 3 incident.

Alabama Abortionist Jailed 23 Weekends Since November, Subject of 14 Court Cases

By Cheryl Sullenger

Mobile, AL – As a Federal Court hears arguments challenging an Alabama abortion law one abortionist from that state highlights the need for hospital privileges and state oversight.

Abortionist Raymond Lopez, from Huntsville, Alabama, checked in to the Madison County Jail for 23 consecutive weekends between November 2013, and April 2014, serving time on a “domestic relations” case.

In Alabama, “domestic relations” violations can range from non-payment of alimony to violation of a protection order.

Since 1996, Lopez has been the subject of 14 court cases, including two criminal cases filed in 1998 and 2008.

The abortion clinic where Lopez works, the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (AWCRA), has been cited for serious health code violations at least seven times between 2001 and 2013, with multiple violations for each deficiency report filed.

Most recently, a survey of AWCRA was conducted on January 8-9, 2013, where inspectors found unsanitary conditions, expired drugs, and an uncalibrated ultrasound machine. AWCRA failed to clean medical equipment – including procedure tables – between patients. One abortionist failed to provide women with an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their babies prior to an abortion, as required by law.

Other violations dating back years included:

• Staff giving injections without wearing gloves.
• More expired drugs.
• Failure to properly prepare IV medications in accordance with medical standards. (Multiple occurrences.)
• Improper labeling and storage of pre-drawn drug syringes. (Multiple occurrences.)
• Administration of controlled substances without specific doctor’s orders.
• Failure to implement a required Quality Improvement Program.
• No documentation that three abortionists had the required training and experience to conduct abortions.
• Failure to properly monitor women in recovery.
• Failure to document fetal age or possibility of viability prior to abortions.
• Women calling back with complications (such as heavy bleeding) did not have access to professional staff members.
• Lack of a required infection control committee.
• Missing drugs
• Failure to log complications, such as possible perforations, heavy bleeding, or hospitalizations that resulted from an abortion procedure.
• A botched 28-week abortion — misdiagnosed as 20 weeks — that required emergency hospitalization.

[View all AWCRA inspection reports.]

The new Alabama clinic licensing law, H.B. 57, also known as the Women’s Health and Safety Bill, is being challenged by Planned Parenthood Southeast, which operates abortion facilities in Montgomery and Mobile, and Reproductive Health Services in Mobile.

No stranger to controversy, Planned Parenthood Southeast recently closed its Birmingham abortion clinic after one of its abortionists, Yashica Robinson-White, was charged with Medcaid billing fraud and another employee was caught illegally selling drugs in the facility’s parking lot.

The new law requires that abortionists maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of the abortion clinic where they work. The abortion businesses are fighting the law by arguing that abortion facilities are safe, meet high standards, and rarely have abortion complications.

However, the inspection records from Lopez’ abortion clinic say otherwise. In addition to routine substandard practices, the records indicate that there appears to be a routine failure to log complications and incidents where women require emergency hospitalization.

“One simply cannot take the abortionist’s word for the number of abortion complications at any particular abortion facility since they are notoriously poor at keeping records of such incidents,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Surprisingly, Lopez actually is one of the few Alabama abortionists that maintains hospital privileges. His affiliation is with Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.

However, it is doubtful that the hospital that granted Lopez privileges was even aware of his criminal record, series of incarcerations, or the abysmal safety history of the abortion clinic where he works.

Operation Rescue staff has recently apprised Crestwood Medical Center of Lopez’ record and requested that his privileges be terminated. If Lopez loses his hospital privileges, as he should, this will validate the benefits of the new law.

Certainly hospital privileges have not prevented Lopez from being arrested and jailed on multiple occasions, nor has it kept the abortion clinic where he is employed from committing years of violations of patient care and safety standards.

Thankfully, Lopez’ hospital privileges may not be enough to keep AWCRA open because it cannot meet the facility requirements that are also found in Alabama’s new abortion law. Currently, AWCRA is seeking to relocate to a new building that it hopes will comply with the new safety standards. Disturbingly, one building that is under consideration is located adjacent to a Middle School. Local activists are protesting the move in order to protect young students.

But even a new building will not solve AWCRA’s penchant for shoddy medical practices that have racked up years of health code and patient care violations. It is sure to take those with it.

“The hospital privilege requirement is a very necessary regulation that can weed out abortionists that cannot qualify for hospital privileges or that do not live locally and cannot provide a continuity of care for abortion patients that require emergency hospitalization,” said Newman. “Lopez is a case in point for why abortion clinics require greater oversight and accountability. The hospital privilege requirement simply adds another layer of protection of women from substandard abortion practices which are prevalent in Alabama abortion clinics today.”