Complex Financial Shell Game, Horrific Patient Care Violations Revealed in Brigham’s Default $6.5 Million Judgement & Bankruptcy Docs

frederick

By Cheryl Sullenger

Frederick, Maryland – You walk into a medical office, but almost immediately something doesn’t seem quite right. Later you learn that poorly trained staff conducted faulty ultrasounds, filed negligent result reports, and injected you with cut-rate drugs that most legitimate doctors refuse to use due to unacceptably high risks. Then you find out that when you were told more efficient drugs weren’t available in the U.S., it was an outright lie.

Such betrayal and more is experienced daily by women who are lured into Steven Chase Brigham’s American’s Women’s Services abortion facilities. But for one woman, the consequences of Brigham’s substandard staff, policies, and practices will impact her world, and that of her son, for the rest of their lives.

Court documents obtained by Operation Rescue show that abortionist Steven Chase Brigham and his associates Vikram Kaji and Mansour Panah have been hit with a default judgement of $6.5 million in a malpractice case involving a failed methotrexate abortion on Christy O’Connell.

While that may sound like a lot of money, the cost of providing life-time care for her son, which was severely disabled by the abortion drug Methotrexate, will be at least that, or more.

When O’Connell first filed her civil suit in Federal Court, Brigham, Kaji, and Panah never bothered to hire attorneys or respond to the complaint. They simply ignored it and allowed it to default.

Iris Dominy

Iris Dominy, who actually conducted the methotrexate abortion on Christy O’Connell in July 2012, at Brigham’s “Frederick Primary Care,” also known as American Women’s Services in Frederick, Maryland, was not listed on the default judgement and was the only one of the defendants represented by counsel. However, that does not mean she is any more competent than the rest, as an expert witness report and deposition in this case notes.

“Brigham and his associates, Kaji, Panah, and Dominy are among the worst of the worst and pose a very real danger to the public. It is beyond any reason that Brigham is allowed to continue running his abortion businesses,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “States have been far too lenient for far too long. Their leniency has enabled Brigham and his lackeys to continue their reign of terror over women who are injured, exploited, and abused while their babies are killed or maimed.”

Operation Rescue reported on this Federal civil case in March 2016, focusing on the corners-cutting and dangerous aspects of the use of methotrexate in abortions, which is known to fail in 1 out of 5 cases. It is used by the most disreputable abortion providers, such as Brigham and his cohorts, to cut costs and increase profits at the expense of the life and health of their patients. [Read that full report.]

Culpability

Brigham Kaji Panah Dominy 600 pixels wide

The court case focused on who was ultimately culpable for O’Donnell’s failed abortion. The plaintiff presented expert testimony from low-volume abortion provider, Daniel Small, MD, to show that Brigham, Kaji and Panah were primarily responsible and that Dominy, while certainly not blameless, followed protocols set up by them, her employers.

Each of the four abortionists have abysmal track records:

Brigham, a discredited abortionist with revoked medical licenses in every state he has ever held one, is the owner of the American Women’s Services, including the Frederick, Maryland, facility where Dominy administered the abortion medication. He was ultimately responsible as the owner of the business, even though he often attempts to conceal his ownership and his culpability in order to keep his second-rate business afloat and his money stream intact.
Kaji, is an 80-year old abortionist with a lengthy disciplinary record — including numerous sexual offenses — who serves as Medical Director for all 14 abortion facilities in the American Women’s Services chain.
Panah served as the Medical Director of Brigham’s four Maryland abortion facilities at the time of O’Donnell’s ordeal.
Dominy worked at Brigham’s Maryland abortion facilities and answered to Brigham, Kaji, and Panah. She was thus employed when the surgical licenses of all four clinics were revoked after inspectors uncovered evidence of dangerous abortion practices and a patient death.

O’Connell’s expert witness, obstetrician and gynecologist Daniel Small, notes in his deposition (worth the read) and report that it is his opinion that Brigham and Kaji violated the standard of care by implementing dangerously substandard policies.

Unqualified Utrasounds

For example, office managers with no formal training in ultrasonography were tasked with performing and reading ultrasound examinations. Dominy never looked at the pictures captured during the ultrasound examinations, but relied solely on the unskilled conclusions of the office manager.

Small noted in his report that the practice of using unqualified office managers to perform and interpret ultrasound results without requiring the physicians to approve them resulted in Dominy failing to realize that the attempted methotrexate abortion had failed and that O’Connell was still pregnant with a baby who was now 10.5-11.5 weeks gestation.

Small stated he believed that “the combination of methotrexate and misoprostol is not sufficiently effective in inducing a complete abortion in women who are approximately 8 weeks pregnant.”

Lying to Women

O’Connell was told that mifepristone, also known as the RU486 abortion pill, which has a higher rate of success, was not available in the United States, leaving O’Connell to believe that methotrexate with its abysmally low efficacy rate was her only medication option for abortion. This deception, according to Small, violated her ability to make informed consent.

Mansour Panah

Panah was Dominy’s immediate supervisor in Frederick and was therefore responsible for ensuring company policies were enforced. He is a prime example of the type of otherwise unemployable and desperate abortionists that Brigham seeks out to manage his abortion facilities, since no reputable physician would ever work for him.

Panah was a frightening bottom-of-the-barrel provider. He was disciplined in 1988 for sexually assaulting one patient, and sedating and raping another. Then in 1995, he was suspended for 30 days, fined, and placed on probation for sexually abusing more patients. Nevertheless, he was showed leniency and his medical license was restored. In 2011, he was again placed on probation for patient care issues.

Avoidable Death

In 2013, Panah’s license was suspended then restored after licensing inspectors discovered that his employee, Iris Dominy, severely botched an abortion that killed Maria Santiago.

Dominy was not certified in CPR at that time and failed to use a defibrillator on Santiago, who suffered cardiac arrest. Inspectors later discovered that the defibrillator did not work and staff had not been trained in its use. Disgracefully, Dominy received only a reprimand for her fatal negligence.

Short time later, Maryland revoked the surgical facility licenses for all of Brigham’s Maryland abortion business, but not because of Santiago’s death. The licenses were revoked due to the misuse of methotrexate. Women were made to drink the drug, which was supposed to be administered through injections only. Because of that practice, the state found the facilities too dangerous and unqualified for licensing.

It is no small irony that once Brigham’s Maryland facilities lost their surgical licenses in 2013, they quietly reopened offering the very same abortion drug that made them unfit for licensure!

In October 2013, Panah failed to appear for a disciplinary and once again had his medical license suspended. A year later, he finally surrendered his license to avoid the expense of the disciplinary action, which he was sure to lose.

Since his license surrender, Panah has been reported missing on April 26, 2014, and again on January 19, 2015, prompting the issuance of “Silver Alerts” in Maryland. Both times, he eventually turned up, but his mysterious disappearances leave questions about the stability of his mental state.

Vikram Kaji

While Kaji is the medical director of Brigham’s disreputable abortion empire, he is a pawn used by Brigham to satisfy certain legal requirements, especially in New Jersey where medical facility owners must be licensed physicians. Kaji is cut from the same cloth as Panah, and has been disciplined for sexual offenses against his patients as well as patient care issues.

Last year, Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office challenging the transfer of ownership to Brigham’s New Jersey abortion facilities to Kaji after Brigham’s New Jersey medical license was revoked. Instead, Operation Rescue argued that Kaji was unfit to execute his duties as the owner of a large abortion chain, given his checkered disciplinary history, and sought the closure of the New Jersey abortion facilities since they are not in compliance with the law.

Brigham recently reorganized and launched a corporation that would allow him to provide administrative duties for the New Jersey clinics, but the Attorney General’s office has disallowed that arrangement because it left Brigham still in control.

“We are arguing that the transfer of ownership was a sham and that through the management services agreement, Brigham is still exerting control over the practice that ought to be exercised by an owner,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, according to a recent news report.

Now Kaji faces yet another disciplinary hearing on September 12-13, 2016, in New Jersey where he could lose his medical license due to his sketchy business relationship with Brigham and his substandard medical practices. It is unknown how the default judgment in the O’Connell case will impact that hearing.

If Kaji were to lose his New Jersey Medical License, it is likely that Maryland and others could follow suit. That would leave Brigham without any licensee under his control that could feign ownership of American Women’s Services on paper in order to satisfy New Jersey regulations.

Shell Game with a House of Cards

It is possible that Brigham’s abortion house of cards could finally tumble down. Without a licensee as owner of American Women Services, the eight New Jersey locations should be forced to close. That would represent a great victory for women and babies.

Brigham is appealing his New Jersey license revocation, but it does not appear the Attorney General’s office is in any hurry set a hearing for that appeal. In the meantime, Brigham still owes the over a half-million dollars to the state in fines.

Bankruptcy documents filed in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Maryland on May 12, 2016, months before the default judgement, also show that Brigham is playing a complex shell game in order compensate himself for several abortion clinic failures in recent months that have severely impacted his income.

Those documents show that Brigham, who owns multiple business entities and is always creating more, lists two of his own corporations as creditors when he filed for Chapter 11 protection for his Advanced Professional Care,LLC. One is Integrity Medical Care, LLC, which operates one an abortion business in Pensacola, Florida, and Advanced Professional Services, Inc., a known Brigham entity. Between the two, they account for more than half of the debt Brigham is seeking to reorganize.

“It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul,” said Newman. “His financial dealings are just as disreputable as his abortion practices.”

Brigham’s abortion facility in Fairfax, Virginia, was shut down by the state earlier this year for repeated health and safety deficiencies. Last year, another in Wilmington, Delaware, was forced to halt surgical abortions, the majority of that facility’s income, and is now doing only medication abortions. Another setback for Brigham came when an illegal abortion facility he was operating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was forced to close.

Brigham has also shuttered his Paramus, New Jersey, abortion facility along with three locations in Maryland, including the Frederick facility where Christy O’Connell had her failed methotrexate abortion.

Just after the default judgement was entered in the O’Connell case, Brigham also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for his Abortion Center of Englewood, which is $51,847 behind on rent with eviction proceedings in progress.

But before there can be too much celebrating, an attorney representing the Abortion Center of Englewood, Donald T. Bonomo, told a news organization that the facility “will continue to operate” during the Chapter 11 reorganization.

In the meantime, at Brigham’s 12 remaining abortion facilities in five states, women who are unaware of just how bad things are at American Women’s Services continue to seek substandard abortions from his shameful corners-cutting abortion businesses.

“I have no doubt that Brigham will survive this scandal as he has all the others over his three decades of quackery, exploitation, and killing – unless he is criminally charged and incarcerated. He is one of the most devious abortionists we have ever encountered, and the only way to stop him and his cohorts from committing further atrocities against women and their babies is to lock them all up and throw away the key,” said Newman.

Federal Suit Against Disgraced Abortionist Reveals Dangers of Corners-Cutting Methotrexate Abortions

Bottom-of-the-barrel abortionists use this cheap, ineffective abortion drug to financially exploit poor women at the cost of their safety

METHO-BANNER

By Cheryl Sullenger

Frederick, Maryland — When Christy O’Connell reported to one of Steven Chase Brigham’s Maryland abortion facilities on July 26, 2012, she had no idea how that visit would alter her life.

According to court documents obtained by Operation Rescue, O’Connell’s experiences with Brigham’s notoriously shoddy abortion businesses resulted in the filing of three Federal Court lawsuits against Brigham and his medical director, Vikram Kaji, and two other abortionists then in his employment, Iris Dominy, and Mansour Panah.

It began in June 2012, when O’Connell first discovered that she was pregnant. A visit to her primary care provider on July 16, 2012, confirmed her pregnancy though a blood pregnancy test and a vaginal ultrasound, which determined that her baby was 8 weeks, 2 days (58 days) gestation.

Ten days later, on July 26, 2012, O’Connell reported to one of Brigham’s “American Women’s Services” abortion facilities in Frederick, Maryland.

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It is doubtful that O’Connell was aware of Brigham’s abysmal reputation as a shoddy provider or that two years earlier, Brigham and his associate, Nicola Riley, had been caught conducting an illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme in Maryland that nearly cost one patient her life, and resulted in the revocation of Riley’s Maryland medical license and Brigham’s last medical license in New Jersey.

Brigham himself never held a medical license in Maryland. Most of the time, when he wasn’t conducting illegal abortions without a license at his secret Elkton facility, Brigham depended on abortionists he hired to run his abortion businesses in Maryland. Those four facilities were part of a chain of 15 cut-rate abortion centers he operated in least four states from his headquarters in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Incompetent and unqualified

O’Connell consulted with Brigham employee and abortionist Iris Dominy during her visit to the Fredrick location.

There, O’Connell received a second ultrasound conducted by the “office manager,” who determined that O’Connell was only 7 weeks, 4 days (53 days) along, a completely inaccurate determination made by an employee who was not properly trained or qualified to conduct ultrasound examinations, much less interpret them, according to her suit.

Dominy completely depended on the ultrasound results provided to her by the unqualified staffer and never bothered to interpret or approve them.

After a discussion with Dominy, O’Connell decided to try a non-surgical abortion option. O’Connell’s abortion would involve two drugs, methotrexate and misoprostol, neither of which are approved by the FDA for use in abortions.

Dangerous drug

Methotrexate-Misoprostol failure

Methotrexate is a dangerous chemotherapy drug that carries with it a long list of serious side effects. It was used by abortionists in an off-label application to induce early abortions before the FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, or RU486, in 2001. Since the mifepristone/misoprostol regimen has a slightly lower failure rate, methotrexate soon fell out of favor with all but the most disreputable abortion businesses in America.

Even according to the ever-dubious protocols developed by the National Abortion Federation, the continued use of methotrexate to induce abortions carries grave concerns and is not recommended for abortions beyond 56 days gestation. The NAF notes that due to the high failure rate, the few NAF abortionist that will actually still use methotrexate will not use it after 50 days gestation.

Just how high is the failure rate? The NAF indicates that for women 49 days pregnant or earlier, only 67% will abort within one week after one dose of methotrexate and misoprostol. It would take a second dose of misoprostol, a stomach ulcer drug that causes unpredictable and sometimes violent uterine contractions, in order for 80-85% of women to abort within two weeks.

But it gets worse. The failure rate of methotrexate and misoprostol actually doubles when used after 49 days of pregnancy. The dangers are so severe that the NAF advises that patients must have “ready access” to a telephone, emergency medical care, and transportation. The facilities administering the abortion drugs must also be capable of conducting surgical abortions in the likely event that the medications should fail.

O’Connell was actually 68 days pregnant when Dominy administered methotrexate and misoprostol to end her abortion. A failed or incomplete abortion was nearly assured.

O’Connell didn’t know that. She signed a consent form that indicated the drugs had only an 8% failure rate. That same consent form erroneously informed O’Connell that the more effective drug, mifepristone, was not yet available in the US, when in fact it had been in regular use for eleven years. The consent form went on to explain methotrexate can cause severe birth defects, which was about the only true thing she was ever told.

Profit over safety

So why even use methotrexate if it is so dangerous and ineffective? O’Connell’s complaint against Brigham and Kaji bluntly answers that question.

It is asserted that American Women’s Services, acting through its agents, Drs. Brigham and Kaji, prescribed methotrexate and misoprostol as therapy for medical abortions instead of other FDA-approved regimens in order to cut costs and maximize profits. In fact, one pill of mifepristone costs approximately $95, whereas one dose of methotrexate costs between $5 and $25. [Emphasis added.]

O’Connell paid just $310 for her abortion, a price Operation Rescue has confirmed AWS patients still currently pay. This is far below the national average cost for medication abortions of $568.50 and below the average cost in Maryland of $404.33. Brigham can afford to set his prices so low because he pays next to nothing for substandard, ineffective drugs. This undercuts the competition while maintaining a hefty profit margin. This cut-rate, predatory pricing primarily targets the poor for financial exploitation.

In addition, a predatory profit motive led Brigham and his associates to further cut corners on patient safety. Methotrexate is sold for intramuscular injection. There is a reference in the court documents that indicates O’Connell may have “ingested” the methotrexate drug orally. A health inspection of all four of Brigham’s Maryland abortion facilities discovered that oral administration of injectable methotrexate was standard procedure even though medical literature indicates that oral consumption only further increases the failure rate of the drug.

“Not only was Brigham too cheap to use approved drugs, he was too cheap to even by hypodermic needles so that the inferior drugs he bought could be properly injected. Cutting corners to maximize profits at the expense of women’s health and lives is a signature of Brigham abortion businesses. There is just no way that Brigham’s abortion chain should be allowed to continue to exploit women in this dangerous and despicable way,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Too dangerous to operate

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene agreed with Newman, and in March 2013, it issued an order immediately suspending the licenses of all four of Brigham’s known Maryland facilities after they refused to submit an acceptable correction plan for egregious violations discovered during inspections.

Those violations included:

• Failure to ensure all staff were trained in basic life support.
• Failure to ensure sonographers were properly trained and certified.
• Failure to maintain working emergency equipment.
• Failure to maintain a sanitary environment.
• Unlicensed workers dispensing misoprostol to abortion patients without doctor supervision and before the patient had been seen by a licensed physician.

The facility licenses were permanently suspended on May 9, 2013, and Brigham’s four Maryland abortion facilities were forced to shut down.

However, Brigham later quietly reopened at least three of them as medication-only abortion facilities, which allows them to operate without licensing, without inspection, and without accountability.

This is extremely problematic since medication abortions done at these facilities are dangerous, do not comply with FDA protocols, and are prone to complications such as those experienced by O’Connell.

Still pregnant

After receiving the abortion drugs on July 26, O’Connell returned to Brigham’s Frederick abortion clinic on August 17, 2012, for a follow up appointment. At that visit, she indicated she was still experiencing symptoms of pregnancy.

She was given a trans-abdominal ultrasound, (once again by an unqualified clinic worker), and told that no intrauterine pregnancy could be detected. She was told there was “no need” for a blood or urine pregnancy test because the ultrasound exam was “conclusive evidence” that she was not pregnant. O’Connell was told to visit her primary care provider in three months, handed a prescription for birth control pills, and sent on her way.

O’Connell continued to live her life believing she was not pregnant. She stayed on all her prescription medications, which included anti-depressants, asthma medication, and other drugs.

On October 5, 2012, O’Connell visited her primary care physician for a routine “well-woman” check-up. That was when her doctor discovered that O’Connell was still pregnant – now more than 18 weeks along.

Her prescriptions were immediately altered for the sake of her baby and she was designated a “high-risk” obstetrical patient. She saw her obstetrician almost every week.

Joseph’s suffering

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When O’Connell reached about 28 weeks into her pregnancy, she was admitted to the hospital suffering from preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition involving extremely high blood pressure that can only be cured by the delivery of the baby.

On December 19, 2012, Joseph O’Connell was born and rushed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unity where he remained for almost two months. Joseph suffers several medical conditions, some of which are due to his prematurity and some to the dangerous abortion drugs given his mother. He continues to be treated for hearing loss, developmental delays, heart defects, and “other problems.”

Now O’Connell is seeking damages against Brigham, Dominy, Vikram Kaji, and Mansour Panah in a Health Claims Alternative Dispute Resolution. Arbitration has been waived and the three initial complaints filed last year were combined into one case by the Federal Court in February, 2016.

Business as usual

Today, Brigham continues to operate his chain of 15 abortion offices in at least four states, even though his medical licenses in six states have been revoked or surrendered under threat of revocation. He has repeatedly, completely, and publicly been disgraced as an incompetent provider that poses a grave danger to the public, whose profit motives have always trumped patient safety.

Like his Maryland facilities, Brigham was forced to halt surgical abortions at his Delaware abortion office or risk being shut down after it was discovered that he failed to obtain the accreditation required of abortion businesses in that state. That office continues to sell medication abortions, thereby evading regulatory oversight.

If he is too dangerous to practice medicine, why is he allowed to manage and control medical protocols and policies at his shoddy abortion centers? Why is he allowed to operate medication abortion facilities that fly below the regulatory radar when his medication abortion protocols have been proven to be just as dangerous as surgical abortions at his facilities?

Patient death

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Less than two months after the birth of Joseph O’Connell, while he still lay in the NICU struggling for life, Iris Dominy’s incompetent abortion practices were responsible for yet another tragedy. Maria Santiago, 38, underwent a surgical abortion by Dominy at Brigham’s Baltimore office on February 13, 2013.

Santiago was left unattended and unmonitored while still under anesthesia. No one noticed when Santiago stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. By the time anyone checked on her, Santiago was motionless and not breathing at all. She was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

In May 2013, the Maryland State Board of Physicians suspended Dominy’s medical license. It was later restored with a reprimand and placed on probation. She was ordered not to commit any procedures that required sedation. Less than three months later, Dominy’s probation was terminated, but the sedation restriction still remains in effect.

The Frederick abortion facility where O’Connell received her “abortion” has since closed. While an AWS receptionist still tells callers that the facility is “undergoing “renovation,” the closure appears permanent. However, the three other Maryland American Women’s Services abortion facilities dangerously continue to offer methotrexate as an abortion option.

As for Kaji and Panah, who are also defendants on O’Connell’s suit, they have each had their own troubles.

Panah’s sex abuse and other problems

Mansour Panah has a disciplinary history going back to 1988 when his license was temporarily suspended after the Board determined that he had sexually assaulted three patients. In 1995, again fined for sexually abusing patients. Panah’s license was once again suspended in 2011 on charges related to a botched cosmetic surgical procedure and illegally transporting medical waste in his private vehicle.

In May, 2013, Panah’s license was suspended once again due to violations and the abortion-related death of Maria Santiago at Brigham facilities in Maryland where he served as the medical director. His license was reinstated only to be suspended again when he failed to show up for a disciplinary hearing.

Thankfully, on October 31, 2014, Panah sent a letter to the Maryland Board of Physicians permanently surrendering his medical license to avoid further disciplinary action and due to health issues, but this does not absolve him of responsibility for his part in the harm that was inflicted upon O’Connell and her son.

Kaji’s sex charges and incompetence

brigham-kajiVikram Kaji, the medical director for Brigham’s abortion chain, also has a history of improper sexual conduct with his patients and had been disciplined in 2013 for failing to properly supervise Brigham’s New Jersey clinics.

Once Brigham lost his New Jersey license in 2015, he supposedly transferred ownership to Kaji. But Kaji denied he owned the clinics and insisted Brigham was still in charge. That prompted the New Jersey Attorney General’s office to file a complaint against Kaji in 2015 for going along with Brigham’s “sham” transfer. Finally, Brigham’s attorney was able to convince the Attorney General’s office that Brigham only administers the business end of the New Jersey American Women’s Services abortion facilities through his management company and has no medical duties or responsibilities.

“I don’t believe Brigham and don’t trust him to ever tell the truth. From our long dealings and research on him and his unscrupulous business practices, we know Brigham to be a man that will say whatever he thinks people want to hear. He is by definition a silver-tongued devil who cannot be taken at his word,” said Newman. “I have no doubt that Brigham is just as involved with his abortion business as he ever was.”

Despite Kaji’s documented incompetence, he continues as Medical Director for Brigham’s New Jersey abortion facilities, enabling Brigham’s bad behavior — all at great risk to women.

Lessons

As O’Connell’s lawsuit continues to wind its way through the system, several lessons should be learned from it.

• The use of methotrexate to induce abortions should be banned. It poses far too many risks to women and their babies in the all-too-likely event that the abortion drugs fail.*
• Maryland and other states should implement new laws to establish licensing and oversight for abortion facilities that provide medication-only abortions. These often-dangerous facilities are falling through the regulatory gaps and women are paying the price by suffering complications from corners-cutting and greed of unaccountable abortionists.**
• Given the decades of deception, disciplinary actions, and patient harm caused by Brigham’s American Women’s Services abortion chain, immediate steps should be taken by authorities in Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia, to shut down this chain of predatory, substandard abortion mills in the interest of public safety.

In addition, Operation Rescue has reason to believe that Steven Chase Brigham may still be illegally engaged in conducting abortions and is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest and conviction. [Learn more here.]

“The only thing that will protect women and their babies from further exploitation and injury is to put Brigham behind bars where he belongs and shut down all of his abortion operations,” said Newman. “That seems to be just common sense. But don’t look for it to happen any time soon. Brigham has spent the better part of four decades learning new ways to violate the law and evade enforcement. In the meantime, women beware!”

Read O’Connell v. Brigham & Kaji
Read O’Connell v. American Women’s Services & Dominy
Read O’Connell v. Panah
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*This is not to say that any other method of abortion is “safe” or acceptable. They are not. All abortions are immoral because they take an innocent human life, and all carry inherent and unacceptable risks to the lives and health of women.

**Operation Rescue works to end the barbaric practice of abortion in America. While regulation may not ban abortion, passing laws that establish regulatory oversight on all abortion businesses and limit certain abortion methods can lead to the closure of facilities that cannot or will not obey the law. This is proven to save lives by lowering abortion numbers and sparing women from at least some of the dangerous abortion businesses that are currently inflicting harm.

Number of Late-term Abortion Facilities in the USA May Surprise You

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, D.C. — When Marist polled the American public on the subject of late-term abortion in November 2015, the results were striking.

A full 81% of Americans support banning abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy. Even among those who identify themselves as “pro-choice,” two-thirds oppose second and third trimester abortions to the extent that they agree they should be illegal.

Clearly, based on the unpopularity of late-term abortions, one might conclude that the number of abortion facilities that conduct these abortion procedures would be very small.

However, according to a survey conducted by Operation Rescue in December 2015 through January 2016, the actual number might be surprising.

First, however, it is important to clarify terms.

A human pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. A baby in the womb is considered to be full-term at 37 weeks.

The first trimester of pregnancy extends through the first 12 weeks of gestation. Surgical abortion facilities often classify first trimester abortions as those done through the end of 13 weeks. Surgical abortions within this time frame can be done using a one-day procedure.

Abortions done after this time usually require a two day procedure or more depending on the size of the pre-born baby. (Read a description of the late-term Induction Abortion method.)

The term “late-term abortion” can refer to all second and third trimester abortions, but since there is currently a Congressional effort to ban abortion after 20 weeks, references here to “late term abortion facilities” will mean those that conduct abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and later.

Surgical Abortion Facilities

In the United States, as of this writing, there are 511 active surgical abortion facilities.

Of those, 162 surgical abortion clinics conduct abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later. Out of the 162 late-term facilities, 122 facilities, about 76%, will not provide abortions after 24 weeks.

Despite research that shows viability may occur as early as 22 weeks, abortion businesses consider viability at 24 weeks of pregnancy. There are 40 abortion facilities in America that openly do abortions at 24 weeks or later.

It may be surprising to know that the vast majority of abortion facilities that offer abortions at 20 weeks or later are not affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Only 18 out of 162 late-term facilities are Planned Parenthood facilities. The remainder, 144 facilities, are independent or have other affiliations.
Late-term by Week
Five abortion facilities openly conduct abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. These extreme late-term abortion facilities include:

Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pro-Choice Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California
Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colorado
Germantown Reproductive Health Services in Germantown, Maryland
Women’s Med Center in Kettering, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton

Late-term by Affiliation

Since abortion risks to women increase for each week of pregnancy it is important to note that all five of these facilities are not equipped to deal with those consequences, which are all-too frequently life-threatening in nature.

Thus, late-term abortions pose a grave public safety risk to women in this country, who often don’t find out until they are on a gurney in the back of an ambulance just how dangerous late-term abortions can be.

But the risks only increase when the abortionists operate under the radar – some illegally — quietly doing late-term abortions that are not publicly advertised.

Such was the case with Kermit Gosnell, a West Philadelphia abortionist who quietly conducted illegal late-term abortions throughout the evening and into the early morning hours, unbeknownst to the general public, at his “House of Horrors” abortion facility. Gosnell was caught and convicted not only of illegal late-term abortions, but also three counts of first degree murder for “snipping” the necks of babies born alive during late-term abortions.

But Gosnell certainly is not the only abortionist to play fast and loose with the legal limits on late-term abortions.

Steven Chase Brigham made a practice of committing illegal late-term abortions. He used a bi-state abortion scheme in an attempt to circumvent gestational limits on abortion in his home state of New Jersey. This dangerous behavior cost him medical licenses in New York and later in New Jersey, but that hasn’t stopped New Jersey residents from spotting him at his clinics on abortion days. Is Brigham still conducting abortions illegally? It would not be surprising to find out that he was.

Also known for illegal late-term abortions is James Scott Pendergraft IV, who was caught by Operation Rescue operating a bi-state late-term abortion scheme similar to Brigham’s, but with a twist. Pendergraft, who lives in Florida, advertised that he would fly to Maryland where he would oversee the injection of late-term babies with a drug called Digoxin to stop their hearts. He was then willing to send women home while dangerously still carrying their dead babies, which could then be “delivered” at a local hospital of their choice.

But what Pendergraft never told his patients was that he was not licensed to practice in Maryland. While the Maryland Board of Physicians broke up Pendergraft’s illegal late-term operation and put his accomplice, Harold O. Alexander, on a short suspension, it didn’t stop Pendergraft or Alexander from conducting late-term abortions illegally.

Pendergraft was arrested in October, 2015, in South Carolina – when he is also unlicensed – operating an illegal rolling abortion business out of his vehicle. Authorities discovered drugs and bloody surgical instruments in his possession that were caked with fetal tissue. His criminal case is pending.

Meanwhile, Operation Rescue has confirmed that Alexander continues to do late-term abortions through 26 weeks even though the Maryland Board of Physicians filed an Administrative Complaint against him for this illicit practice in July, 2015, and is seeking to revoke his medical license in that state.

From this we can conclude that there are an unknown number of abortionists in American who offer late-term abortions in secret and perhaps illegally at great risk to the lives of women and their babies that the laws of our nation should protect.

While the public soundly rejects late-term abortions, the number of late-term abortion facilities that openly commit such barbaric procedures certainly does not reflect that sentiment. Worse yet is the fact that the number of known late-term facilities is low compared to what actually transpires in the shadows of the secretive American abortion industry.

This problem is a case in point for a Federal ban on late-term abortions, tight abortion restrictions, greater oversight of abortion facilities, and strict enforcement of abortion laws.

On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is conducting a hearing on entitled “Late-Term Abortion: Protecting Babies Born Alive and Capable of Pain.” That testimony will be of great interest to those of us who work to expose late-term abortion abuses and halt that grisly practice as we move toward the goal of building an abortion-free America.

View the live stream beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern on March 15 of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on late-term abortions.

Note: Karen Myers contributed to this report.