Six Abortion Businesses that Prove “Roe” Didn’t Make Abortion Safe

By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – Chanting the mantra of “safe and legal,” radical feminists celebrated the January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in America. But did legal really make abortion safe?

Now, 43 years later, that question has been answered.

While some may have heard of Kermit Gosnell, who is serving life in prison for murdering babies born alive at his West Philadelphia “House of Horrors,” they are generally unaware that his was far from the only abortion business to pose a grave danger to the public.

The reality is that the “safe” part of abortion never actually materialized, no matter what outdated or manufactured statistics are dishonesty spouted by the Abortion Cartel. It is a fact that abortion injuries, complications, and deaths are simply not reported in any reliable fashion. Many such episodes are intentionally concealed by a corrupt, self-imploding abortion industry that will do anything to maintain the illusion that abortion is not only necessary, but good for women.

Operation Rescue has obtained thousands of documents, available at AbortionDocs.org, that verify the business of abortion is fraught with dangers that are largely hidden from the public.

Below are six active abortion businesses that prove that Roe v. Wade did not make abortion safe – certainly not for the nearly 58 million babies who have died brutal deaths from abortions, but not for their mothers, either.

“You can consider the myth of safe abortions completely debunked,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “The documents we have acquired tell the truth that predatory and dangerous abortion practices generally characterize abortion businesses currently operating in America today. In fact, in our in-depth research on the Abortion Cartel, we have yet to find even one abortion clinic that completely complies with all state and federal laws.”

American Women’s Services/Steven Chase Brigham

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Known as one of the most deceptive and dishonest abortion providers ever to darken the doorway of any medical office, Steven Chase Brigham continues to operate a chain of an estimated 17 predatory abortion clinics in several states from New Jersey to Virginia.

Because of his lengthy record of legal and ethical issues, Brigham is now attempting to conceal his ownership in states that have otherwise banned him from holding an interest in abortion clinics or have shuttered his abortions clinics for numerous violations.

Brigham holds no active medical license. Hospitals have long ago banned him. His medical licenses have been revoked or surrendered under threat of revocation in all six states where he has held licenses.

In an example of just how bad things are at Brigham’s shoddy and deceptive abortion businesses, a New Jersey judge once ordered him to stop falsely advertising his abortions as “painless” and “safe.”

Brigham troubles began soon after he first entered the medical profession in the 1980s. Since a book could very well be written about his extra-legal escapades, a non-exhaustive summary will have to suffice.

In brief, Brigham was involved in an illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme that resulted in a woman nearly dying from a botched abortion done at his “secret” abortion clinic in Maryland. Brigham would begin second and third trimester abortions at his office in New Jersey, where he was limited by law to abortions under 14 weeks. He would then induce the women into labor in New Jersey then caravan the women to Elkton, Maryland, where he would complete the abortions.

Brigham never bothered to obtain a medical license in Maryland and used a partially senile and disabled elderly doctor to deceive authorities into thinking the Elkton abortion business was legitimate.

The local hospital reported Brigham to the police after he and his associate, Nicola Riley, behaved suspiciously when dropping off the seriously injured women at the emergency room. Police raided the clinic and found the bodies of 35 late-term aborted babies stored in a bloody freezer.

Because viable babies were killed in the commission of the crime of practicing medicine without a license, Brigham and Riley were arrested and charged with murder. Those charges were later dropped after an expert medical witness for the state withdrew from the case.

The Elkton case prompted New Jersey to revoke Brigham’s medical license, which disqualified him from owning abortion businesses in New Jersey.

Not to be dissuaded, Brigham falsely claimed he had transferred ownership of his eight New Jersey abortion clinics to his long-time employee Vikram Kajai, an abortionist convicted of sex offenses and who suffered impairment due to a stroke. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office is now seeking to shut down his operations in that state.

Brigham has a history of hiring from the bottom of the barrel when it comes to abortionists. Details related to some of them can be found here.

In order to avoid having to license some of his seedy abortion businesses in Maryland, Delaware, Brigham has halted surgical abortions, but continues to sell abortions by medication. This is troublesome since his Maryland facilities were shut down for violations which included having women dangerously drink intravenous abortion drugs.

In March 2013, inspectors discovered Brigham employee Iris Dominy was responsible for the death of patient, Maria Santiago, died during an abortion at Brigham’s Baltimore abortion facility, which is located in a residential condominium complex. [Read the CAD and Police Report]

Due to Brigham’s nearly three years of law-breaking, deception, and mayhem, Operation Rescue considers him and his seedy abortion chain among the most dangerous in America.

Read documents related to Brigham’s abortion abuses at AbortionDocs.org.

Orlando Women’s Center/James Scott Pendergraft IV

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James S. Pendergraft IV operates a chain of 11 abortion clinics in Florida from his flagship office in Orlando, according to his business web site. Due to numerous botched abortions and illegal activity, Pendergraft’s medical license has been suspended five times, and now is currently suspended.

Pendergraft has employed abortionist Randall Whitney to keep his abortion empire running during his suspension. Whitney has his own problems. He shut down his Daytona abortion business rather than comply with state safety laws. He was arrested for slapping a patient who complained he was hurting her, then was arrested again when he failed to show up for trial.

Pendergraft specializes in late-term abortions. In one highly publicized incident, a late-term baby was born alive in a toilet at one of Pendergraft’s Orlando abortion clinics. The baby’s mother called for help and when paramedics arrived, the clinic staff sent them away. The baby died in his mother’s arms. A movie, 22 Weeks, was made about this tragic incident.

On July 21, 2011, a jury of six found that Pendergraft was liable for injuries sustained by a pre-born baby during a failed abortion ten years before. The jury ordered Pendergraft to pay $36,737,660.16 in compensatory and punitive damages. He owes the Florida Board of Medicine over $120,000 in fines.

Since Florida bans abortions after 24-weeks, Pendergraft has sought other ways to profit from his so-called “expertise” in late-term abortions. He launched a suspicious website soliciting late-term abortion business at an “undisclosed location” in the Washington, DC area. Operation Rescue investigated this scam and found that Pendergraft was operating an illegal bi-state abortion business similar to that operated by Brigham. Like Brigham, Pendergraft was not licensed in Maryland, but boasted of offering expensive injections to cause “fetal demise” at his DC location. He would then risk their lives by sending women home still carrying their dead babies with instructions to report to local hospitals for the delivery of their stillborn/aborted children.

Operation Rescue discovered that Pendergraft was in cahoots with Maryland abortionist Harold O. Alexander, a shoddy provider whose license was suspended for destroying records related to his dealings with Pendergraft, among other violations. Operation Rescue filed complaints and Alexander was also disciplined for “crossing sexual boundaries” with patients and employees and for handing out large numbers of Viagra prescriptions to men who were not his patients.

With his Maryland late-term abortion scheme shut down, Pendergraft looked for other ways to make money from abortions and keep his Florida abortion businesses afloat.

In March 2015, Operation Rescue published a video taken by local activist Michele Herzog that showed Pendergraft, his head covered with a hoodie, sneaking into the back door of his EPOC abortion clinic, presumably to do abortions even though he was not legally permitted to do so. The waiting room was full of abortion patients and no other abortionist was present.

Herzog dialed the police and the news media, but before they could arrive, Pendergraft slipped out the back and fled the scene. With Pendergraft gone, a man accompanying one of the abortion customers came out of the clinic and expressed to a sidewalk counselor frustration that, “now this is going to take forever.”

Then in October 2015, Pendergraft was arrested with a female accomplice in South Carolina operating a “rolling abortion clinic” out of his vehicle. Sheriff’s Deputies discovered surgical implements that were covered in blood and human tissue from abortions he had illegally performed throughout South Carolina along with a cache of drugs.

Nevertheless, while awaiting trial, Pendergraft’s Orlando Women’s Center chain of abortion clinics continues to operate under suspicious circumstances in Florida, earning Pendergraft’s abortion business a spot near the top of the list of most dangerous abortion clinics in America.

Read documents related to Pendergraft’s abortion abuses at AbortionDocs.org.

FPA Women’s Health (Formerly Family Planning Associates)

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FPA Women’s Health operates a chain of 22 abortion clinics throughout California. This abortion chain was founded by Edward “Fast Eddie” Allred, who pioneered corners-cutting techniques to ensure the maximum number of abortions were done every day. This earned FPA the dubious title as the “McDonalds of the abortion industry.”

But the high-volume clinics with their 3-minute abortions may have been profitable, but they were anything but safe.

At least 17 women have died from negligent abortions at FPA abortion clinics — that we know about — but FPA has been known to attempt to blame the deaths of their patients on things like cardiac or respiratory arrest to make it appear they were not abortion-related. It is true that when people die, their heartbeat and breathing stop, but to leave out abortion complications that led to the cessation of vital signs is simply dishonest. There is no way to know exactly how many women have actually lost their lives due to FPA abortions. Below are listed just a few.

October 21, 1972: Natalie Meyers, 16, reported for a late-term abortion at a Los Angeles FPA clinic. She received a saline abortion, but developed problems breathing and was sent to a local hospital where she received a hysterectomy in an attempt to halt a raging infection that had developed because of the abortion. She died four days later.

March 3, 1984:
Patricia Chacon, 16, underwent a second trimester abortion in Los Angeles at an FPA facility. She received a second abortion after the first one was incomplete. She died of hemorrhage due to lacerations and a clotting disorder after being left unattended.

December 15, 1984: Mary Pena, 43, went to a Los Angeles FPA clinic for what she thought would be a first trimester abortion. But Pena was actually 22 weeks. Pena hemorrhaged to death due to cervical lacerations inflicted during her abortion, leaving five children motherless.

February 6, 1986: Laniece Dorsey, 17, lapsed into a coma after her abortion at an FPA facility in Orange County. She suffered cardio-pulmonary arrest in reaction to anesthesia and died later that day.

June 8, 1988:
Joyce Ortenzio, 31, received her second trimester abortion at an FPA abortion clinic in Los Angeles. She was found dead in her home from sepsis that developed due to an incomplete abortion.

April 9, 1992: Susan Levy, 30, underwent an abortion at FPA in Mission Hills. She was found dead in her car where she was living on May 19, 1992, from an infection due to an incomplete abortion.

September 5, 1992: Deanna Bell, 13, was 21 weeks pregnant when she went to FPA for an abortion. A non-physician inserted laminaria dilators and the abortion drug mifepristone into Bell’s cervix. After her 9-minute abortion, she suffered cardiac arrest and died as the result of the abortion.

January 26, 1995: Ta Tanisha Wesson, 24, received an abortion at an FPA in Los Angeles. She died from an overdose of anesthesia six days later on February 1, 1995, leaving a young child motherless. FPA attempted to conceal her death.

June 9, 1999: Maria Leho received a first trimester suction abortion at an FPA clinic in Chicago, Illinois. She was given a drug that was contraindicated for the seizure disorder from which Leho suffered. No one bothered to check her vital signs and she was later found not breathing and pulseless. She was eventually transported to a hospital where she died on June 11, 1999.

May 5, 2000: Kimberly K. Neil, 38, died from complications to her abortion performed by long-time FPA employee Kenneth Wright, who failed to properly treat her when she stopped breathing. She died 17 days later on May 2, 2000.

January 14, 2004: Chanelle Bryant, 22, was nine weeks pregnant when she was given the abortion drug mifepristone, or RU486 vaginally. It is meant for oral consumption. She died of infection as a result.

On July 15, 2015, Operation Rescue was able to confirm that an ambulance transported a woman to the hospital from an FPA abortion clinic in San Bernardino. She was bleeding vaginally. A security guard working for the clinic told a pro-life activist that the woman died, but Operation Rescue was unable to ever confirm or debunk that allegation.

However, as far as patient injuries go, the Bakersfield location has recorded the most of any FPA facility in recent years.

Over the years, one ambulance after another has transported FPA patients suffering life-threatening or fatal complications from FPA’s speedy abortions to hospitals. Because of this FPA is considered to be one of the most dangerous abortion clinic businesses in the nation.

Source for patient deaths: http://cemeteryofchoice.wikispaces.com/.
Read more about FPA Women’s Health at AbortionDocs.org

Planned Parenthood

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The largest supplier of abortion in the country is Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates operate 71 surgical and 186 medication abortion centers nationwide.

Planned Parenthood has had its share of scandals over the years, which are again too voluminous to list. The recent undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress have had the most success at reaching through the veil of deception that insulates Planned Parenthood, both other serious abuses have seemed to dissipate without much impact.

From an administrative standpoint, Planned Parenthood has been involved in a number of scandals.

In Kansas, the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park was charged with 107 criminal counts related to illegal late-term abortion and manufacturing evidence to cover up their crimes. That case was dismissed only because a corrupt official in the pro-abortion Attorney General’s office shredded the evidence against Planned Parenthood. Their political cronies forced the prosecutor who brought the case, Phill Kline, to pay a heavy political price for his attempt to enforce the law.

The national organization shut down its entire Golden Gate affiliate in 2011 for gross financial malfeasance. Whistleblower suits filed by former Planned Parenthood employees remain pending in California, Texas, and Iowa that allege massive billing fraud.

Planned Parenthood has also been accused of widespread non-reporting of child sex abuse while documentation by Life Dynamics, Inc. proves that Planned Parenthood specifically targets minority communities, especially African-Americans, for abortion.

In Delaware in 2013, both Planned Parenthood offices were shut down for weeks for “cleaning and restaffing” after five medical emergencies between February and March, 2013, launched an investigation. Two clinic employees came forward and describe before the Delaware Legislature the horrific conditions, negligent practices, and sexual harassment that existed at that clinic. Their abortionist, Timothy Liveright, was charged by the Board in May with multiple counts of incompetence and negligence related to the spate of botched abortions, noting that he posed a “clear and immediate danger to the public.” Other charges included over-medicating patents, doing unnecessary surgical procedures, and failing to properly monitor patients and provide appropriate emergency care. His medical license in Delaware was revoked.

But the Delaware clinics are not alone. Many Planned Parenthood facilities in states that conduct inspections have been cited for health and safety violations that pose a danger to the public. Last year in Florida, three Planned Parenthood clinics were ordered to cease and desist from conducting illegal second trimester abortions for which it was unlicensed. These violations were discovered by Health Department inspectors.

The safety of women at Planned Parenthood clinics was called into question when abortion patient Tonya Reaves died from injuries received at a Chicago Planned Parenthood facility in 2012. Planned Parenthood’s abortionist, Mandy Gittler, gave Reaves a fatal second trimester abortion during which she stabbed a hole in Reaves’ uterus then delayed calling for emergency help while Reaves hemorrhaged internally for 5½ hours. Reaves died from her injuries, leaving her young son motherless.

Operation Rescue has obtained evidence of dozens of abortion complications and injuries requiring emergency transport to hospitals from Planned Parenthood clinics. The worst offenders when it comes to hospitalizing women are the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in St. Louis, Missouri, and Houston, Texas, where multiple ambulance transports have been documented.

In Missouri, Planned Parenthood is facing contempt charges for refusing to honor a legislative subpoena related to the abortion injuries. Last year, a legislative committee discovered that Planned Parenthood’s Columbia facility had been licensed through a deceitful process in conjunction with an illegal relationship with the public-funded Missouri University.

Last summer, the biggest scandal of all broke when undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress revealed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts and the use of illegal Partial Birth Abortions to ensure fetal organs are intact so they can be sold to organ procurement companies.

This scandal has launched numerous investigations and sanctions against Planned Parenthood organizations. Planned Parenthood is under criminal investigation in Houston, Texas, and other undisclosed locations.

Planned Parenthood fought back with an expensive public relations campaign and with personal attacks on those involved with the CMP. The National Abortion Federation sued David Daleiden, the CMP, and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman block the release of videos that showed its involvement. Last week, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against David Daleiden, the CMP, and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman that was filled with falsehoods and misrepresentations meant to destroy the reputations of the pro-life activists.

Because of Planned Parenthood’s long record of financial malfeasance, botched abortions, patient deaths, hiding child sex abuse, substandard facilities, and other issues – all compounded by its willingness to lie to cover the truth about their abuses — Planned Parenthood has earned a ranking as one of the six most dangerous abortion businesses in America.

View the CMP videos.

Southwestern Women’s Options

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When the subject of late-term abortions come up, even most supporters of abortion supporters agree that these grisly procedures should be banned. But not so in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the largest late-term abortion clinic operates without accountability or oversight.

There are no laws in New Mexico that provide even modest regulation of the abortion industry, which is allowed to conduct some of the most dangerous and complicated abortion procedures in an outpatient clinic setting that is never inspected, leaving women unprotected from below-standard care and facilities.

Southwestern Women’s Options offers abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Women travel from all across America for these late-second and third trimester abortions that are illegal in their home states.

The two main abortionists that work at Southwestern Women’s Options are Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson, who were trained in the very late-term abortion process by Kansas abortionist George Tiller during their years of work at his Wichita abortion clinic that was shut down in 2009. Sella and Robinson both reside in California and fly into Albuquerque to provide abortions. Neither hold hospital privileges in Albuquerque.

Pro-life activists Bud and Tara Shaver obtained over a dozen 911 records related to life-threatening medical emergencies at Southwestern Women’s Options before the city was pressured to stop releasing the public records. They still witness ambulances transporting women to nearby a nearby hospital emergency room on a regular basis.

Documented complications at Southwestern Women’s Options include multiple cases of uterine rupture, respiratory arrest, uncontrolled hemorrhage, and fever/infection.

Once such life-threatening complication took place during an abortion done by Shelley Sella on a woman who was 35 weeks pregnant. She had a history of a previous Cesearean delivery, which should have disqualified her from a nearly full term abortion in Southwest Women’s Option’s outpatient setting, which lacks the capability to care for women suffering the serious complications that might be expected during this kind of high-risk abortion.

On the last day of the abortion, Sella administered Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec, a drug that is known to cause unpredictable and sometimes violent contractions. At the same time, Sella administered Pitocin, another uterine stimulant that is not supposed to be used simultaneously with Misoprostol.

As a result, the patient’s uterus ruptured and part of the baby was shoved into her abdominal cavity. Once Sella realized what happened, she had the patient transported to a nearby hospital where emergency surgery by another physician saved the woman’s life.

Tara Shaver and Operation Rescue field a complaint with the New Mexico Medical Board against Sella, who was charged with four breeches in the standard of care during her treatment of the seriously injured women. A dull disciplinary trial was conducted that should have resulted in suspension or revocation of Sella’s New Mexico medical license.

But Sella argued that obstetric standards and warnings issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists simply did not apply to abortions. Despite the state’s own expert witness that disagreed with that assessment, the Board surprisingly voted to drop all charges against Sella. More shocking details are available at this link.

Because of the lack of accountability, the dangerous late-term abortions done in an ill-equipped clinical setting, the frequent and dangerous medical emergencies that continue to occur, and the unwillingness of the New Mexico medical board to discipline even the most egregious of shoddy abortion practices, Southwestern Women’s Options is without a doubt one of the most dangerous abortion businesses in the country.

Read more about Southwestern Women’s Options

LeRoy Carhart’s Nebraska and Maryland Businesses

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LeRoy Carhart is a high-profile abortionist who operates a rundown abortion clinic in a former auto repair shop in Bellevue, Nebraska on the outskirts of Omaha. He also travels weekly to Germantown, Maryland, where he conducts the late-term abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy for which he is most well-known.

Like other abortion abusers, Carhart’s long history of abortion injuries and deaths along with his unfortunate slovenly-kept facility maintenance practices and penchant for acting above the law, the full extent of which cannot be fully listed here.

To illustrate the kind of person Carhart is, in August 1992, four of Carhart’s horses from his Nebraska horse farm and two of his dogs were confiscated for neglect. The following year, Carhart entered an “Assurance of Compliance” agreement with the Nebraska Department of Health, promising he would no longer engage in the following:

• Use the telephone for non-medical calls during surgical abortion procedures.
• Falsify entries on patient charts.
• Interrupt surgical abortions by falling asleep due to fatigue.
• Fail to protect patients from infection or disease.

Carhart was caught by pro-lifers in March, 2009, illegally operating his abortion clinic on a generator and extension cord after a fire caused by his own slovenly storage practices gutted the garage portion of his run-down abortion building. He was reported to authorities who immediately ordered him to close until the unsafe conditions could be addressed.

Carhart has been responsible for a number of abortion injuries and the deaths of at least two patients.
Christin Gilbert, a 19-year old with Down’s Syndrome, became pregnant in 2004 as the result of sexual assault. She was brought for a third-trimester abortion at George Tiller’s infamous (and now closed) abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, in January of 2005. Carhart was on duty when an unconscious Gilbert was brought back the clinic by her family soon after her abortion. Paramedics were called and Gilbert was transported to Wesley Medical Center, where George Tiller held hospital privileges, but Carhart did not. She died from sepsis and a blotting disorder known as DIC caused by the abortion. Gilbert died at the hospital from complications to her abortion.

Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the Kansas State Board of Medicine and helped launch a grand jury investigation into Gilbert’s death. Because of political interference and obstruction Carhart, Tiller, and the other abortion workers involved in Gilbert’s death were never held accountable.

After Tiller’s clinic closed in 2009, and Nebraska passed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks, Carhart relocated his late-term abortion business to Germantown Reproductive Health Services in Germantown, Maryland. He chose that location because at that time, like New Mexico, Maryland had no abortion regulations or oversight on the books that would impede him from conducting dangerous third-trimester abortions in an ill-equipped outpatient clinical setting.

There, he saw Jennifer Morbelli, 29, who sought an abortion of her baby at 33 weeks due to a diagnosis that the baby had health issues. After the abortion, witnesses saw Morbelli, ashen and hardly able to walk, leaving GRHS after her abortion, which took longer than normal. Carhart was seen leaving the clinic minutes after, headed for the airport for his flight back to Nebraska.

Morbelli’s condition worsened overnight and efforts by the family to contact Carhart or anyone at GRHS failed. Carhart had essentially abandoned his patient. Finally, the family put Morbelli in their vehicle and on their own drove her to the nearest hospital emergency room early the next morning.

At the hospital, a witness shared that doctors discovered that she had experienced severe internal bleeding and though that her uterine artery may have been “nicked” during the abortion. An emergency hysterectomy was considered, but the patient had experienced multiple “Code Blue” incidents and was considered to be too weak to survive the surgery. Her hematocrit numbers were reportedly “incompatible with life.” Morbelli died of her injuries.

When the autopsy report was finally released, it suspiciously noted the cause of death was Disseminated
Intravascular Coagulation due to an amniotic fluid embolism. Despite the doctor’s notation of a fatally low hematocrit level, the autopsy report indicated there was no sign of injury to the uterus and no sign of blood loss.

Carhart was cleared of all wrongdoing, but questions about Morbelli’s death remain unanswered. Carhart’s high profile and political connections appear to have insulated him from responsibility for the deaths of two abortion patients.

Carhart has also been involved in numerous botched abortions. In one of the many 911 calls obtained by Operation Rescue, an abortion patient can be heard moaning in pain in the background while the worker who placed the call is begging the dispatcher to send an ambulance with “no lights or sirens.

Substandard practices at Carhart’s Nebraska clinic led to disciplinary action against his nurse, Lindsey Creekmore, who served a license suspension in 2014 for “a pattern of negligence” and unprofessional conduct that included illegally drugging abortion patients.

Because of a pattern of shoddy and dangerous practices that have resulted in frequent injury to his abortion patients, including the deaths of two women, LeRoy Carhart’s abortion businesses in Nebraska and Maryland are listed as one of the most dangerous abortion businesses in America.

Read more documentation for LeRoy Carhart.

Of course, these six notorious abortion businesses are by far not the only ones endangering women, but this list is sufficient to show that when women walk into an abortion clinic in America, they are literally risking their lives.

In this listing, there have been included only currently operating abortion businesses and omits closed abortion clinics and abortionists who have been incarcerated or otherwise no longer practicing do to crimes or other misdeeds. Perhaps that should make this list all the more concerning.

2015: A Game-Changing Year that has Advanced the Cause of Life

2015 Game Changing Year-2

By Cheryl Sullenger

Operation Rescue Headquarters, Wichita, Kansas — Operation Rescue is wrapping up an eventful and productive year, culminating with the release of our annual survey of abortion clinics that revealed the good news that the national trend of closing abortion clinics strongly continues.

“As the old saying goes, ‘with the blessing comes the blasting.’ That was so very true for Operation Rescue in 2015,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “We made remarkable headway this year, but also endured some of the worst attacks we have seen in years, probably because we were on the cutting edge and in the headlines pushing back against the agenda of the Abortion Cartel.”

Here are some of the important developments from 2015 that put Operation Rescue in the international headlines and the Abortion Cartel on the ropes!

Center for Medical Progress’ Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos

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The Center for Medical Progress changed the game over the summer by releasing several undercover video summaries that depicted Planned Parenthood personnel at the highest levels negotiating for the sale of aborted baby body parts with undercover CMP actors posing as representatives of a biologics company.

Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, served on the Board of the CMP during the nearly three-year investigation. Because of his advisory role in the project, once the first videos were released, Newman, along with CMP head David Daleiden, was sued in Federal Court by the National Abortion Federation. The NAF is attempting to keep videos related to their role in the baby body parts scandal from being made public. That lawsuit is ongoing and continues to threaten free speech and free press rights in America.

Despite the attacks (both legal and in the pro-abortion media) that Newman and Operation Rescue have endured from a panicked Abortion Cartel as backlash to this project, and Planned Parenthood’s aggressive public relations campaign to cast doubt on the veracity of the videos, Planned Parenthood has been subject to numerous investigations, including ongoing Congressional committee hearings. The videos have led to the first-ever successful vote in both chambers of Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, and raised abortion as a major topic in the 2016 Presidential election.

It also gave Newman numerous media opportunities, including appearing in a Fox News special on the Planned Parenthood scandal.

In Missouri, a legislative investigation of Planned Parenthood due to scandal has resulted in Planned Parenthood’s Columbia abortion clinic to halt abortion services, and it is sure that impact of Daleiden’s video exposés will continue to reverberate throughout 2016 and beyond.

Watch the videos on YouTube.com.

Abortion Clinic Numbers Continue to Decline

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Just before Christmas, Operation Rescue released the results of its annual survey of every abortion facility in the nation – and the news was good!

In all, Operation Rescue documented that 53 abortion facilities either closed, halted abortion services. We received documentation of one more closure after our report was published. That brings the grand total of abortion clinics out of the killing business in 2015 to 54!

A CDC report verified that abortion numbers were down to historically low numbers in 2010 about the time when the abortion clinic closures were starting to increase. This provides additional support for Operation Rescue’s long-held assertion that closing abortion clinics decreases abortions and saves lives.

Read Operation Rescue’s full clinic survey report.

Newman Unjustly Detained and Deported from Australia

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Excited to be invited on a national speaking tour of Australia by Right to Life of Australia, Newman and his wife, Melissa, boarded the first leg of a long flight to Melbourne in late September. While in transit, Newman received a message that there was a problem with his visa but was assured that the misunderstanding would be cleared up before his plane arrived in the Land Down Under.

A pro-abortion Member of Parliament had submitted a last-minute objection to Newman’s visa based on an erroneous report that Newman advocated violence against abortion providers. The fact is that Newman has never advocated violence and instead encourages activists to use the legal system to bring an end to abortion through peaceful means.

Based on that MP’s spurious accusations and without further investigation or even minimal fact-checking, Newman’s visa was revoked. (Lies about Newman and Operation Rescue continue to multiply in pro-abortion circles, on blogs, and on social media due to the MP’s falsehoods.)

Upon landing in Melbourne, Newman was taken into custody where he stayed until finally being deported back to America three days later. Newman had appealed the decision to withdraw his visa, but unfortunately, the high cost of litigation in Australia forced him to withdraw his appeal.

Nevertheless, the international media firestorm that erupted from Newman’s detention launched a huge public dialogue about abortion in Australia, Great Britain, and beyond — perhaps more than his speaking tour may have if he had not been detained and deported.

The pro-life community in Australia was extremely supportive of Troy and Mellissa, especially the good people of Australia Right to Life, who will forever remain dear to them.

Read our archive of reports for the full story.

Newman Among Pro-Life Leaders Arrested at Speaker Boehner’s Office

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Tired of endless delays and broken promises regarding a vote on the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, eight pro-life leaders, including Troy Newman, were arrested in March while praying outside the office of Speaker John Boehner. The effort resulted in clearing the logjam. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was finally passed by the House a few weeks later.

While the Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks in all 50 states, stalled out in the Senate, it is likely we will eventually see this law enacted perhaps in 2017 — providing a pro-life Republican wins the Presidential election next fall.

While progress seems slow, pro-life efforts have finally created a climate this year in which future progress can finally be made.

Read: Pro-Life Leaders Arrested at Speaker Boehner’s Office Demanding Vote on Late-Term Abortion Ban

Supreme Court will Hear Texas Abortion Case

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When Texas passed the abortion safety law known as HB2 in 2013, many people did not realize that Operation Rescue had been working hard to expose and report abortion abuses in that state that first showed legislators the need for more abortion clinic accountability. Operation Rescue discovered widespread abortion abuses in Texas during a 2011 investigation that resulted in heavy fines against two Whole Women’s Health abortion facilities for the illegal dumping of recognizable aborted baby remains in a public dumpster.

In addition, two Whole Women’s Health abortionists, Alan H. Molson and Robert E. Hanson, were disciplined and fined thousands of dollars for violations discovered during that same investigation.

But what prompted a sense of urgency to the special legislative sessions that ultimately resulted in law was Operation Rescue’s revelation that several former abortion clinic workers provided photographic evidence to back their allegations that Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen was twisting the necks of babies born alive during illegal late-term abortions in gruesome acts similar to those that convicted Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell of murder.

The benefits of HB2 have been incredible. So far, HB2 has shut down about half of the 43 abortion clinics that were operating in Texas, and reduced abortions in that state by an impressive 13% in the ensuing 12 months.

Whole Women’s Health challenged the constitutionality of HB2 and now the U.S. Supreme Court announced this year that it will hear the case in March. If successful, this case will bolster new laws that we expect will result in more abortion clinic closures and could cast a fatal blow to the Abortion Cartel in America!

“When abortion clinics close, babies are saved,” said Newman. “Closing dangerous abortion clinics serves a two-fold purpose. It protects women from injury and exploitation while sparing babies from a brutal death.”

Read Operation Rescue’s press statement on Whole Women’s Health v. Cole.

Record Number of Medical Emergencies Exposed

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With the help of pro-life activists across the nation, Operation Rescue documented a record number of medical emergencies at abortion clinics that resulted in the emergency transport by ambulance of patients to local hospitals.

Pro-life sidewalk counselors broke out their Go-Pros and smart phones to record 52 medical emergencies at abortion clinics from coast to coast. 911 records show abortion injuries such as perforated uteri, hemorrhage, and even an incomplete abortion that resulted in a full hysterectomy and lengthy hospitalization for one woman.

Documenting these incidents helps us provide data to the public and to legislators that debunks the faulty pro-abortion mantra of “safe and legal.” This documentation of abortion dangers is also expected to play a role in the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case challenging a Texas abortion safety law that is set for oral arguments on March 2, 2016.

“We continue to file complaints with medical boards and health departments demanding investigations into abortionists who are hospitalizing women with serious injuries,” said Newman. “When abortionists hurt women, as they do on a regular basis, it must not be swept under the rug. That’s how you end up with the likes of Kermit Gosnell.”

Read more about abortion-related medical emergencies documented by Operation Rescue.

Abortionist Patel Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Serves Term in Jail

PatelArrest2

In the way of unfinished business, abortionist Naresh Patel pled guilty on October 23, 2015, in an Oklahoma City court to charges of defrauding women in a scam in which he sold abortion pills to women who were not pregnant. He was heavily fined and ordered to serve a short stint in jail.

Operation Rescue had investigated Patel and lodged a complaint against him with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office in 2014. As a result of the ensuing investigation, Patel was arrested and charged with three counts of fraud.

Today, in a case that would never have happened if not for Operation Rescue, Patel is permanently banned from the practice medicine and his Oklahoma abortion clinic remains permanently closed.

Read Oklahoma Abortionist Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Surrenders Medical License After Operation Rescue Complained

Illegal Selma Abortion Business Thwarted

Selma press conference

When Fr. Terry Gensemer, director of the CEC for Life, suspected that the Selma office of Samuel Lett, known as the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic, was illegally conducting abortions, Operation Rescue’s staff immediately went to work and obtained the evidence that Lett’s office was scheduling more abortions per month that legally allowed for unlicensed abortion facilities.

An impressive team of pro-life groups worked together to expose illegal abortions in Selma and demand the clinic’s closure:

• Life Legal Defense Foundation stepped in to assist with letters to the Alabama Department of Health calling for the immediate closure of Selma’s illegal abortion business.
• Catherine Davis, of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition led a press conference then planned a national event in Selma to draw attention to the dangerous, illegal abortion clinic that targeted primarily poor urban women of color for abortions.
• Created Equal blanked Lett’s Selma neighborhood with postcards exposing his illegal abortion business.

While waiting on the Health Department to take action, Lett underwent a number of professional setbacks, including the loss of hospital privileges. As a result of a unified pro-life team effort and prayers, Operation Rescue confirmed that Lett has changed the name of his office and halted illegal abortions in Selma, and that community is now abortion free!

“It took teamwork to drive abortions out of Selma,” said Newman. “This was a fine example of what can be accomplished with the spirit of unity and cooperation.”

Check out the evidence.

Florida’s Abortionist Pendergraft Busted in South Carolina

Penderfraft&Jackson

In October, shocking news broke that three abortionists were caught by authorities in three states operating dangerous illegal abortion schemes.

In South Carolina, a county sheriff announced, “We got a guy and a girl early in the week that was a traveling abortionist. He traveled around the state of South Carolina without a medical license, with drugs and with medical tools, performing in-home abortions. So basically we got an illegal baby killer.”

While law enforcement did not release the identity of those arrested, Operation Rescue soon discovered that it was Florida’s notorious abortionist James Scott Pendergraft and his female associate who were charged with several drug violations. Operation Rescue formally notified state Attorney General’s offices in South Carolina and Florida of Pendergraft’s arrest and long history of documented abortion abuses. Pendergraft’s criminal case is still pending.

In another notable case, the Michigan Attorney General’s office has filed a complaint against abortionist Michael Roth, for conducting illegal abortions out of his car trunk after he had been ordered not to do abortions outside an authorized clinic or hospital.

Roth had been involved in an accident in early October that left a special needs child critically injured. When authorities searched his vehicle, they discovered 14 plastic tubs containing aborted baby remains. Also found in his vehicle were medical implements and “large amounts” of Fentanyl, a drug favored by abortionists used to sedate women prior to their abortions.

Two weeks later, Federal agents raided Roth’s home and office. They executed two search warrants, removing bags full of evidence from his home. The Attorney General’s office filed the civil case against him a short time later, which could result in the revocation of Roth’s medical license.

Finally, a man with no medical background was arrested on September 30, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada, for conducting illegal abortions out of a trailer on his property. Rick VanThiel, told authorities that he learned how to do abortions and other procedures from watching Youtube videos. He advertised on seedy, adult web sites and charged what he called “unbeatable prices” of $200 per abortion.

“Getting these dangerous back-alley-style abortionists off the street is a public service,” said Newman. “We are exploring all legal options to make sure none of them ever kill another baby or exploit another woman again.”

Read about Pendergraft’s arrest.
Read about Roth and VanThiel

As for the coming New Year, Newman is optimistic.

“I have high hopes for the future. I predict that the clinic closure trend will continue through 2016 and beyond. We will see a new flood of pro-life legislation along with increased public discussion of abortion during the election year ahead, and the Texas Supreme Court case will keep abortion in the headlines. When there is a public discussion of abortion, our side always wins because killing an innocent baby and exploiting vulnerable women for profit is completely indefensible,” said Newman. “Conditions are ripe for us to see significant pro-life advances, particularly in the next two years. To that end, Operation Rescue will continue to document and expose abortion abuses, report offenders to the authorities, and demand enforcement and prosecution until America is finally abortion-free.”

Special Report: 2015 Abortion Clinic Survey Reveals 81% of Abortion Clinics Closed Since 1991

MAP-Closures 2013-2015

A Special Report from Operation Rescue
by Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC — The total number abortion clinics in America continues to decline, following a nationwide trend extending back to 1991. In 2015, abortion clinics closed at a rate of more than one per week with 53 abortion clinics shutting down or halting all abortion services.
Pie Surgical Clinics Closed Since 1981
Operation Rescue directly surveyed all abortion facilities in the U.S. from December 1-15, 2015 and found the following:

• 42 Surgical abortion clinics halted all abortion services.
• 11 Medical abortion clinics halted all abortion services.

In addition, a number of abortion facilities reduced services:

• 16 abortion clinics halted surgeries and now offer only medication abortions.
• 12 abortion clinics stopped dispensing abortion drugs and now only offer surgical abortions, noting that the abortion pill was “ineffective” or “too dangerous.”

In all, 81 abortion clinics closed or reduced services in 2015.

UPDATE 12/28/2015: After this report was published, Operation Rescue was informed that the Falls Church Health Center Planned Parenthood in Falls Church, Virginia, suddenly shut down on December 18, 2015, due to a lost lease. That brings the total number of surgical abortion clinics halting abortion services to 43 and the total abortion facilities that closed or halted abortion services to 54. View documentation.

Currently, there are 517 surgical abortion clinics and 213 medication abortion clinics remaining active in the U.S., the lowest numbers in decades.

In 1991, which is considered the high water mark for the number of abortion clinics, 2,176 surgical facilities offered abortions. Since then, 81% have closed.

In 2015, 21 new facilities began selling abortions. This includes 7 new surgical abortion clinics and 14 medication clinics that opened or converted from referral offices. Several other abortion facilities reopened after struggling with location issues or having been shut down by the state as unsafe. This represents a net loss for the Abortion Cartel of 9 abortion clinics nationwide and 219 since 2013.

This represents bad news for the Abortion Cartel: Americans are increasingly rejecting abortion in favor of life.

Abortion Clinics 2009-2015-current

The reduction in abortion clinic numbers coincides with a report released by the Centers for Disease Control earlier this month, which announced that the number of induced abortions decreased to the lowest since 1990.

“There is a direct correlation between the number of abortions and the number of abortion clinics. When abortion clinic close, abortion numbers decrease and lives are saved,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Why Clinics Close

There were a number of factors that resulted in the 53 abortion clinics going out of business or otherwise halting abortion services. Reasons for the closures include:

• The retirement of abortionists due to advanced age and declining health.
• New state laws that have flooded state houses, especially in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell murder/illegal abortion case of 2013, which have flushed out many substandard and dangerous operators.
• Declining demand for abortions, per the CDC.
• Continued strong public pro-life support as evidenced in recent polling suppressed by the pro-abortion news media.
• Public exposure of abortion abuses by pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, which have rightfully eroded public trust in abortion providers.

Trends

Certain trends were evident in the data collected this year.

Medication abortion clinics increased as surgical clinics decreased. Planned Parenthood is continuing a reorganization that involves adding money-producing medication abortions to many of its referral clinics.

There is also a trend for abortion clinics that have been shuttered by state health departments to reopen as medication abortion clinics. This allows substandard abortionists to continue profiting from abortions without having to comply with licensing requirements that usually apply only to surgical facilities. An example of this are Steven Brigham’s three Maryland abortion clinics that were shut down by the state in 2014 for serious violations and a patient death. Now as medication abortion clinics, they dangerously operate outside of any regulatory authority.

An emerging trend seen in a dozen clinics this year, is to drop medication abortions altogether. Over and over, Operation Rescue callers were told that the reason for dropping the abortion pill was because it was “too dangerous” or “too unreliable.” One office indicated that the failure rate was high, causing too many women to have surgical abortions to complete the process. This made providing the abortion pill not worth the trouble for that provider.

Also, abortion clinics were closed because facility licenses were revoked due to inability to comply with state laws. Other abortion clinics have halted abortions temporarily while they remodel their offices to comply with new safety standards. In all, abortion safety and accountability laws are closing clinics that were too dangerous to operate in the first place.

Average Waits for Appointments

Abortion Appt Wait TImes

During this year’s survey Operation Rescue staff members placed over 1,000 direct calls to abortion clinics and spoke directly with abortion clinic workers. They gathered information about appointment waiting times and abortion pricing, revealing data that refutes arguments made by abortion supporters.

Since the passage of Texas’ clinic safety law, known as HB2, opponents of abortion safety claim that the regulations responsible for closing half of the state’s abortion clinics have overwhelmed remaining abortion facilities. They argue that women are being forced to wait “weeks” for appointments and that this is driving up the cost of abortions.

However, Operation Rescue’s meticulously gathered data tells a different story. This data is especially important because the challenge to HB2 is set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next spring.

The average waiting time for abortions in the U.S. is 8.5 days. That is measured from the time a potential patient calls to schedule an appointment and the day the procedure can actually be done.

In Texas, with the new safety law, the average wait time for an abortion appointment 6.5 days – a full two days under the national average!

“It is doubtful if anyone in the Abortion Cartel ever bothered to check on actual appointment wait times or costs before claiming that the sky is falling on women in Texas,” said Newman. “The fact is that Texas falls well below the national average for wait times and surgical abortion costs, and we have the data to prove it.”

Comparing abortion appointment wait times to those for dentist appointments reveals the hype and scare tactics used by abortion supporters to oppose common-sense safety laws. While a woman might wait a little over a week for an abortion, she will wait about five weeks to see her dentist. This makes getting an abortion easier than getting a tooth filled.

comparing wait times 2015

Furthermore, wait times at for appointments at surgical abortion facilities averaged 7.5 days, whether the procedure scheduled was surgical or medication, while a woman could expect to wait 9.4 days for an abortion appointment at a medication-only abortion clinic.

“This shows that the Abortion Cartel places a higher priority on surgical abortions than on medication abortions,” said Newman. “This is probably because the surgical abortions take about five minutes and the abortionist never has to see those patients again, while the medication abortions often require more than one visit. This means there is more profit in the surgical abortions.”

Another fallacy of the Abortion Cartel that is debunked by the new data is the supposed “undue burden” of 24-72 hour abortion waiting period laws. With some exceptions, most states begin their abortion waiting periods at the time of the informed consent, which can often be when the appointment is made or an informational document is read on the internet.

“Most women will blow through their waiting periods well before their scheduled abortion appointment, so this makes the ‘undue burden’ claim as phony as a three-dollar bill,” said Newman.

Abortion Pricing

The average cost of a first trimester surgical abortion in the U.S. is $594.74, while the average cost of a medication abortion is $568.50.

Insurance and financial assistance offered by some abortion clinics can bring the price down significantly. For example, in California, it is very easy to qualify for MediCal, which will pay the total cost of the abortion.

Cost of Abortions

In Texas, where abortion supporters complain that the costs have become prohibitively expensive due to new regulations, surgical abortions cost an average of $578.47, which is $16.27 below the national average. Medication abortions cost $591.67 in Texas, slightly above the national average. However, there are 17 states that are more expensive than Texas for the abortion pill.

One of those states is Iowa, where Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s experimental webcam abortion process of dispensing abortion pills over an Internet teleconferencing system was supposed to increase access to poor rural women. However, it had the opposite effect. Planned Parenthood’s webcam pill clinics are located in communities with plenty of access to medical care, not small rural ones, and the average cost is a whopping $706.67 — $138.17 above the national average!

Notable Closures

Ocala Closed

Some notable abortion clinics that shut down this year were:

Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C. abortion facility, which was the site of regular and often significant pro-life protests over the years, shut down on June 26, 2015. It is tentatively attempting to relocate across from an elementary school, but due to slow work progress and a robust pro-life presence protesting there, it may never reopen.
• Ocala Women’s Center in Ocala, Florida, shut down within days of the South Carolina arrest of owner James Pendergraft on October 5 for drug violations and for providing illegal abortions out of his vehicle.
• Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana, surrendered its abortion facility license on November 6, 2015, after numerous and chronic violations persuaded the Health Department that it was too dangerous to operate. Owner and abortionist Ulrich Klopfer faces license revocation after pro-life groups discovered thousands of violations on reporting forms and turned him in to authorities.
• Columbia Health Center Planned Parenthood in Columbia, Missouri, was forced to halt medication abortions after its only abortionist, Colleen McNicholas, lost her dubious “refer and follow” privileges with a hospital run by Missouri University. An Interim Senate Sub-Committee investigating Planned Parenthood in response to undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, discovered the illegal association. Planned Parenthood has taken its case to court in an effort to restore medication abortions in Columbia, but has yet to find an abortionist that is qualified under the law to do them.

“After the release of the CMP videos, which showed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby organs, several states have launched investigations, which we hope will result in even further closures next year,” said Newman, who also serves as a board member for the Center for Medical Progress.

A recent poll released on December 15, 2015, shows that 68% of Americans want Planned Parenthood investigations to continue.

Laws have already been introduced in Missouri, Ohio, and elsewhere tightening loopholes on the disposal of human fetal remains from abortions while other legislation is expected to be introduced next year as a result of the CMP’s investigative journalism.

Newman concluded, “It is sure that the national trend of abortion clinic closures will continue as the Abortion Cartel implodes under its own ineptness and criminal conduct.”

A live count of abortion clinics in the U.S. can be found at AbortionDocs.org, along with documentation related to abortion abuses within the Abortion Cartel.

Read Operation Rescue’s 2014 abortion clinic survey report.
Read Operation Rescue’s 2013 abortion clinic survey report.