Abortion Licensing Fiasco: No Ohio Abortion Facility is in Legal Compliance

By Cheryl Sullenger

Columbus, OH — What would you think if you were told that no abortion facility in your home state held a current facility license as required by law, yet all of them continued to do abortions that were technically illegal – with full knowledge of state authorities?

That is not simply a hypothetical situation in Ohio. It is the scandalous reality.

Operation Rescue confirmed this week that out of eleven abortion facilities in that state, none hold current, active Ambulatory Surgical Facility licenses. While applications for licensure or license renewal have been made by all but one abortion facility, the Ohio Department of Health has not approved or denied their licensing applications. Some have been pending for over a year — one facility has been waiting since 2012 for licensing renewal — even though the law requires that ASF licenses be renewed annually.

Making this even more troubling is the fact that there has been no delay in the renewal of licenses for non-abortion facilities, leading to concerns that abortion facilities are being given too much leniency when they cannot comply with licensing laws.

Meanwhile, most of the abortion facilities continue to offer surgical abortions despite not meeting the requirements for legal operation in Ohio.

“Why are abortion facilities in Ohio allowed to operate with no valid facility license? If these abortion centers cannot meet the qualifications provided by law for licensing, then they should be immediately shut down,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “There’s really no excuse for allowing substandard abortion businesses to continue operating outside the law.”

Closing: Complete Healthcare for Women

In spite of this troubling licensing fiaso, there is one bright spot. Complete Healthcare for Women in Columbus, will no longer be offering surgical abortions after Friday, August 29. The bad news is that an Operation Rescue undercover investigator was offered a surgical abortion appointment at that facility on August 27 even though the ODH website indicates that the facility is already closed and its ASF license is no longer in effect.

That would make surgical abortions done there illegal.

Complete Healthcare for Women is telling callers it plans to stay open but will no longer be offering abortions either by surgery or by the abortion pill.

Complete Healthcare for Women has a documented history of OSHA violations and botched abortions.

However, other abortion facilities operating on expired license or none at all continue doing surgical abortions — some openly and some under the regulatory radar.

Below is a summary of the licensing situation at each Ohio abortion facility. Curiously, the ODH lists many of the facilities with expired licenses as having “active” license statuses, creating a logical paradox. It really is really possible to have an active license that is expired as well?

Akron Women’s Medical Group

Located on E. Market Street in Akron, the Akron Women’s Medical Group is affiliated with the Cleveland Surgi-Center that recently relocated to Shaker Heights. It openly provides both surgical and medication abortion via the abortion pill. However, its facility license expired on April 30, 2013.

This abortion facility has a history of willingness to not report suspected child sex abuse along with botched abortions.

Cleveland Surgi-Center (aka Cleveland Women’s Medical Group)

The Cleveland Surgi-Center was forced to move from its Pearl Road office in Cleveland in June after the property manager refused to renew its lease. Two months after moving out, it is now operating under three different names on Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights, an exclusive suburb of Cincinnati. The Cleveland Surgi-Center is also calling itself Cleve-Surgi Center, Inc. and Cleveland Women’s Medical Group – none of which are currently licensed as an ASF. In fact, there is no evidence that even an application for licensure has been made.

Even so, the Cleveland Surgi-Center’s website is actively advertising surgical abortions at their new facility on Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights and currently booking surgical appointments. However, according to Operation Rescue’s research, the abortion facility is giving out conflicting information to callers about whether abortions are actually being done at the new office. They appear to be sending at least some women to their affiliated abortion facility in Akron, which is currently operating under an expired AFS license.

Operation Rescue documented two recent medical emergencies by Cleveland Surgi-Center at its Pearl Road location, raising serious safety concerns about this facility’s operators.

Founder’s Women’s Health Center

Founder’s Women’s Health Center in Columbus is affiliated with the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, in Cuyahoga Falls. According to the ODH Ambulatory Surgical Facilities listing, Founder’s ASF license has been expired since March 31, 2014. It remains open for business and conducting surgical abortions in violation of the law while it awaits notification of its license renewal or denial from the Ohio Department of Health.

Founder’s abortionist, Harley Blank, has been sued for malpractice.

Northeast Ohio Women’s Center

The Northeast Ohio Women’s Center (NEOWC) recently bought out the old Capital Care Network abortion business in Cuyahoga Falls and began operations under the new owner, abortionist David Burkons. Its ASF license status is listed as “pending,” indicating that an application has been made but licensing has not yet been approved.

Denise Leipold, Director of Northeast Ohio Right to Life, told Operation Rescue that she was able to schedule a surgical abortion at the Cuyahoga Falls facility about two months ago despite the lack of licensure. She notified the ODH that NEOWC appeared to be illegally conducting surgical abortions.

Then on July 30, 2014, former interim ODH Director Lance Himes, sent a letter to Burkons notifying him of the ODH’s intent that deny his license application. Serious violations were discovered during an inspection at the facility, including a lack of required policies and procedures, no emergency care plan, inadequately trained staff, drug violations, and more.

However, a NEOWC receptionist told an Operation Rescue undercover investigator that the clinic still has plans to offer surgical abortions in the future, but failed to mention that their license application has been denied.

Burkons continues to dispense the abortion pill at NEOWC even though he has no ability to conduct surgical abortions when the pill fails in 7-20 percent of cases, depending on gestational age when the pills are prescribed. While this practice is not illegal, it essentially abandons women suffering from incomplete medication abortions, leaving them on their own to seek emergency care that Burkons cannot legally provide.

To make matters worse, Burkons is responsible for 41 percent of all complications from medication abortions in Ohio – the highest in the state – according to reporting forms filed with the Medical Board of Ohio. That fact does not bode well for Ohio women.

Toledo Women’s Center (AKA Capital Care Network)

In a letter dated August 2, 2013, the Toledo Women’s Center, also known as the Capital Care Network, was informed of the ODH’s intent to shut down the clinic due to a failure to obtain a hospital transfer agreement. The abortion facility’s ASF license expired on April 30, 2013, but it continued to operate, business as usual.

CCNToledo-FeaturedIn February, 2014, an administrative hearing was held and the hearing officer rejected the abortion business’ proposed transfer agreement with a Michigan hospital, fifty miles away. After a series of legal maneuvers, the ODH finally issued a closure order and gave the facility until August 12 to shut down.

The following day, the Toledo Women’s Center received a stay from a judge. Even though it has no required hospital transfer agreement or valid license, and has known for over a year it is in violation of the law, the abortion center remains open for business conducting surgical abortions with no arrangement for emergency care in the event of abortion complications.

Toledo Women’s Center is Affiliated with abortionist David Burkons and the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center.

Preterm

The Preterm abortion facility in Cleveland was the site of a botched late-term abortion that resulted in the death of Lakisha Wilson in March. Pro-life groups called on the ODH to shut down the obviously dangerous abortion facility. As the groups addressed the media at an April 2 news conference, ODH representatives were inside Preterm conducting a facility inspection.

What was unknown at the time is that Preterm’s ASF license had expired on March 31, 2014, just two days before. Nevertheless, the ODH has taken no known measures to halt abortions there despite Preterm’s expired license and at least one patient death.

“If the law says that an abortion facility requires a license in order to operate, then if the license has expired, it should be closed down. If my driver’s license were to expire, I would not be allowed to legally drive until I got it renewed. If I was pulled over by police with an expired license, I would be ticketed. Yet nothing is happening to these abortion centers when their licenses expire. They just continue to operate in spite of the law,” said Newman. “If they can’t meet licensing requirements or their licenses expire, these facilities must be shut down in the interest of public safety and the rule of law. What good are laws if no one will enforce them?”

Preterm is also the site of a Buffett family-funded Ryan Residency Program, which trains new doctors to do abortions.

Women’s Med Center

The notorious late-term abortionist Martin Haskell operates the Women’s Med Center in Dayton, which is known for specializing extremely late-term abortions of the kind done by LeRoy Carhart in Maryland and Shelley Sella and Susan Robinson in Albuquerque, New Mexico, all former associates of the infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller.

Women’s Med Center in Dayton was operating under a “variance” which allowed it to forgo the required hospital transfer agreement as long as it maintained an approved agreement with two physicians to provide hospital care to abortion patients suffering serious complications.

In 2012, Haskell sought renewal of his ASF license, which expired on August 31, 2012. The ODH has not approved or denied his applications. In 2013, Haskell requested a renewal of his variance, which allowed him to operate his abortion facility with out a required hospital transfer agreement. The Women’s Med Center has continued supplying abortions over the past two years – including the more risky second and third trimester variety – despite having no active ASF license or approved hospital transfer agreement or variance as required by law.

“What happened to the requirement that an ASF license be renewed each year? While we appreciate the ODH revoking Haskell’s Sharonville ASF license, the Dayton facility seems to be getting away with the very behavior that cost his Sharonville abortion business its license,” said Newman. “The Dayton abortion center should be closed immediately as well.”

Haskell’s Sharonville Women’s Med Center location was denied a similar variance and license renewal by the ODH after years of legal wrangling. Haskell agreed to halt surgical abortions as of last Friday, August 22, but had none-the-less operated without an active variance or ASF license at that facility for about two years. That facility is temporarily closed.

Planned Parenthood – Campbell Medical Center

Planned Parenthood’s abortion facility in Cincinnati continues to offer surgical abortions today, boasting of being the Cincinnati area’s last surviving abortion facility.

However, Planned Parenthood’s ASF license expired on May 31, 2013, and has never been approved for renewal, placing its abortion operations outside the law.

Planned Parenthood – Bedford Heights Health Center

The Bedford Heights Planned Parenthood abortion center, located in an eastern suburb of Cleveland, is simply an abortion referral center, according to information on Planned Parenthood’s web site. However, Operation Rescue confirmed that this facility operates a heavy schedule of surgical abortions.

Why list the Bedford Heights facility as only offering abortion referrals?

Perhaps because its ASF license expired on December 31, 2013, and has not been approved for renewal, an inconvenience hasn’t stopped this abortion center from operating outside Ohio law.

This Planned Parenthood abortion facility was fined $25,000 on July 30, 2014, for violating state code and operating an unsanitary clinic. Why it was not shut down remains a mystery.

Planned Parenthood – East Health Center

This Columbus abortion facility operated by Planned Parenthood conducts surgical abortions but does so without the legally required ASF license. Theirs expired on December 31, 2013. The ODH has taken no action to approve or deny its renewal application in at least eight months, during which time the abortion business has been allowed to operate in violation of state laws.

Who is responsible?

Certainly the abortion facilities in Ohio are more than willing to continue selling and supplying abortions whether they have a license or not. These businesses are more than willing to push the legal envelope as far as possible in order to keep their money stream intact even if it is at the expense of the lives and health of their patients.

However, the Ohio Department of Health must shoulder a portion of the blame. It has been their policy of delaying action on Ambulatory Surgical Facility applications and renewals that has allowed abortion facilities to continue operating on long-expired or inactive licenses.

The ODH’s willingness turn a blind eye to facilities that are operating without proper licensure is a failure of the ODH’s enforcement duties.

While the ODH has worked tirelessly to shut down Martin Haskell’s Sharonville abortion mill and is now attempting to close the substandard Toledo center, it simply isn’t doing all it should to protect women and their babies from abortion facilities that can’t or won’t obey the law.

In addition, Ohio law contains a huge loophole that the State Legislature must address. Currently, non-licensed facilities that fall outside the ODH’s oversight authority are allowed to freely dispense abortion drugs without any capacity to treat incomplete abortions, a common complication that requires surgical completion. This omission in the law leaves women exposed to inadequate or delayed treatment for a potentially life-threatening complication that occurs at a minimum in seven percent of all medication abortions.

We urge the Ohio Legislature to seal up that legal loophole before someone dies from this lapse in continuity of care.

We also urge the Ohio Department of Health to act immediately to clear up the licensing fiasco that is allowing abortion facilities to thumb their proverbial noses at the law.

“If an abortion facility’s AFS license is expired or inactive, shut it down until it can meet the legal requirements for licensure. It’s really as simple as that,” said Newman.

TAKE ACTION!

Please contact the Ohio Department of Health and demand that abortion facilities with expired or inactive licensed be immediately shut down.

Ohio Department of Health
Richard Hodges, Director
Phone: (614) 466-3543
E-mail: Director@odh.ohio.gov

Who Is Mississippi’s Abortionist “Dr. Doe” and Why is Willie Parker Covering for Him?

By Cheryl Sullenger

Jackson, MS – The State of Mississippi filed an appeal to the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday seeking a reversal of a last month’s ruling by a three member panel that has blocked implementation of a 2012 law that requires abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facilities. If allowed to take effect, the law would close the last remaining abortion facility in that state.

Since that ruling, abortionist Willie Parker has recently dominated abortion-related news coverage as the face of Mississippi’s Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Those who follow such news are now familiar with affable Parker and his inspiration to become an abortionist supposedly taken from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as his claim that his alleged Christianity serves as the motivation for his abortion practice.

What people do not know is that Parker is a shill for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s owner, “Abortion Queen” Diane Derzis, who hired him specifically to be the lead plaintiff in her challenge of the Mississippi law that requires abortionists to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their abortion facility.

“I seriously doubt if Willie Parker ever does abortions in Mississippi unless it is for the benefit of gullible reporters who are writing up puff-pieces in support of keeping abortion facilities open even if they cannot meet the safety requirements in the law,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Strategy of Smoke and Mirrors

Hiring Parker was a strategic move that would accomplish at least three goals.

Parker would become the front-man in a propaganda media campaign to elicit public support for unregulated abortion. With the popularity of abortion waning and calls for more accountability increasing, a publicity campaign featuring Parker desperately needed by the abortion industry reeling from recent revelations of abortion abuses at Kermit Gosnell’s Pennsylvania “House of Horrors” abortion facility, which has prompted a wave of pro-life legislation on the state level.

In court, Parker, who is among the few abortionists in the nation without an extensive record of malpractice cases and disciplinary records, could persuade a judge that abortion’s safety record is actually better than it really is, despite increasing documentation that women are being rushed from shoddy abortion facilities to emergency rooms in much larger numbers than anyone cares to admit. His squeaky-clean record would give support to the false notion that abortionists are denied hospital privileges for purely political reasons.

But the most important reason to keep Parker up front in the public eye is to deflect attention from JWHO’s primary abortionist, listed in court records only as “Dr. Doe.”

“Hiring Willie Parker and putting him up front as a plaintiff was a smoke and mirrors tactic meant to obscure the horrific history of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s main abortionist. If Dr. Doe’s background was the topic of discussion, the public would be crying for that abortion facility to shut down,” said Newman.

Who is Mississippi’s “Dr. Doe?”

Just who is “Dr. Doe” and why does Diane Derzis and her attorneys at the pro-abortion legal group, the Center for Reproductive Rights, want to hide his identity?

“Dr. Doe” is none other than Bruce Elliot Norman.

Norman, 65, and JWHO’s owner, Diane Derzis, have a long history together, partnering at number of abortion facilities in communities throughout the South, including Columbus, Georgia; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Birmingham, Alabama.

But it was in Birmingham, at Derzis’ New Women All Women (NWAW) abortion facility, that the true nature of Norman’s propensity for deception and his eagerness to operate dangerously outside the law were fully manifested.

Pro-Life Activists Uncover the Truth

It began in January 21, 2012.

Pro-life activists, who often protested and prayed outside New Women All Women ran video cameras as two ambulances pulled up to the back entrance of the abortion facility and unloaded their gurneys into a trash-strewn alley. However, the gurneys would not fit up the narrow stairs with a broken railing.

Instead, emergency responders carried two women out by hand and rushed them to a nearby hospital. The abortionist on duty that morning was Bruce Norman, who held no hospital privileges in Birmingham.

A 911 recording obtained by Operation Rescue revealed the voice of Derzis informing a dispatcher that the two abortion patients had been overdosed by a clinic staff member on Vasopressin, which is used to treat low blood pressure that results from heavy blood loss.

Operation Rescue worked with CEC for Life to file complaints against the abortion facility and Norman. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) responded with an inspection of New Women All Women and discovered 76 pages of violations so serious that it ordered the facility to close.

Included in that 76-page deficiency report, that detailed such serious violations as untrained staff, poorly maintained equipment and dangerously sloppy recordkeeping, was the revelation that at least eight women were hospitalized after receiving abortions at NWAW – and most were patients of Norman.

In fact, out of 44 total medical records inspected during that survey that took place on March 1, 2012, 18% of all women represented in those records were hospitalized for abortion complications.

This is a far cry from testimony given on behalf of JWHO that indicated only 0.3 percent of women receiving abortions require hospitalization.

Abortion Complications Abound

A closer look at the complications discovered at Derzis and Norman’s Alabama abortion mill sheds light on practices that are replicated in Mississippi and dramatically illustrate the need for hospital privileges in order to hold abortionists to a higher medical standard than is currently met in Mississippi.

Out of the eight women who received hospital treatment after abortions at Derzis’ abortion facility, all but one can be ascribed to Norman. In each case, the hospital that patients were transferred or referred to were not notified by Norman or clinic staff that a patient was on the way. The hospitals in all eight cases were forced to cope with what proved to be in many cases serious, life-threatening abortion complications where the time needed to problem-solve a patient’s condition could mean the matter of life or death.

Medical Record #1 received an abortion on November 11, 2011, in her seventeenth week of pregnancy. The patient weighed 230 pounds, suffered from hypertension, and had a history of two previous caesarean section deliveries in addition to recent surgery to remove one of her ovaries. This patient should have been considered a “high risk” abortion patient.

Nevertheless, Norman “attempted with difficulty” a one-day Dilation and Extraction dismemberment abortion on her at 17 weeks. The first mistake was that Norman failed to sign the medication order and the patient was given an incorrect dose by a nurse.

At some point after the abortion began, Norman halted the procedure and ordered a pitocin drip to “bring down” the fetus. During the administration of pitocin, the patient she was unmonitored in violation of patient care standards. Norman then supposedly completed the abortion “with forceps and suction” sometime later.

Two days after the abortion, the patient called the clinic complaining of “unbearable pain.” A nurse referred her to the emergency room without informing Norman of the complication or notifying the hospital that a patient that had suffered a difficult second trimester abortion with the administration of Pitocin was on the way.

The patient reported to the hospital emergency room where she received a Dilation and Curettage procedure — or a second abortion — to remove tissue that Norman failed to.

Following the procedure, the patient commented, “I wish it could have been more private…I needed to be more relaxed.”

Patient Care Nightmare

January 21, 2012, was a patient care nightmare, according to ALPH documentation. Out of 25 abortions done that day by Norman, three women — or 12 percent of his patients — were hospitalized.

Other patients had medical records that were illegible and/or had been signed by a nurse that was not even on duty that day. Many patients received injections of drugs by unqualified staff and/or had dosages arbitrarily changed by unknown individuals who may not have been legally allowed to do so.

Patient records were falsified in that they indicated an ultrasound was conducted on the day of the abortion and the patient was given the opportunity to view the ultrasound. However, none of the ultrasound images found in the files were dated on the day of the abortion. In one case, the date on one ultrasound image was altered by hand to appear it was done on the day of the abortion.

The two women who pro-life activists photographed being removed from the facility for transport to the hospital were overdosed by an unqualified staff person and experienced nausea and vomiting during surgical abortions. This was serious because that could have resulted in aspiration of the vomitus.

Medical Record #4 indicated that there was no record of the patient’s discharge condition and that her vital signs had been scribbled over and were illegible. After her abortion, patient called back later in the day complaining of heavy bleeding. There was no documentation that her call was returned. She called again 13 days later and left her name and phone number, but again, no one returned her call. Later, a hospital contacted Norman to inform him that his patient had made her own way to the hospital and was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.

Drug Allergy Ignored

One patient who suffered an allergy to an antibiotic had a notation of the allergy on her chart. Nevertheless, she was given a perscription for the drug to which she was allergic and sent home. The patient called back later and informed the clinic that she needed a different prescription due to her allergy. If she had not notice that she had been given the wrong information, she could have suffered serious health consequences.

Coerced Abortion Victim Ignored

Perhaps more troubling was the case of Medical Record 43. A 17-year old girl was brought to the abortion facility by her mother. Inspectors noted that the patient answered “no” to the following questions:

  • Do you think having this abortion is in your best interest?
  • Are you sure you want to have an abortion?
  • Do you think you will most likely be able to go on with you normal activities without emotional or psychological problems because of your abortion?
  • When asked why she wanted an abortion, the teen replied, “Because my mother wants me to.”

    There was no indication that anyone at the abortion facility ever discussed her reluctance about the abortion.

    To add insult to injury, the patient suffered complications, was misdiagnosed as Rh positive when she was actually Rh negative, and eventually ended up in the Emergency Room four days later suffering from severe cramping and nausea.

    To ignore the patient’s comments that she really did not want an abortion was to ignore perhaps her only mechanism of reaching for help in a situation where she was being coerced by someone that she did not have the power to oppose. The long-term effects on this teenager’s life could be devastating.

    Emergency Calls Unreturned

    Another disturbing practice discovered by investigators was that emergency calls from women suffering abortion complications inflicted by Norman and two others were going unreturned by abortion staff.

    Medical Record #11 showed that a patient who received a surgical abortion on November 30, 2011, called back to the abortion facility complaining of severe abdominal pain. The patient was referred to the hospital ER, but no one called to notify the hospital that a patient suffering complications was enroute. The patient suffered an ectopic pregnancy that should have been detected when the pre-abortion ultrasound was done. This negligent failure to notice the ectopic pregnancy or realize that the uterus was empty placed the woman’s live in danger.

    Patients calling in after surgical abortions complained of complications such as abnormally heavy bleeding and cramping, abdominal pain, fever, severe headache, and other maladies, either did not have their calls returned or there was a delay in returning the calls due to improper logging of the calls. This deficiency delayed emergency care to several patients suffering serious abortion complications.

    Hospital Privilege Safety Net

    When abortionists have hospital privileges, they are forced to meet basic medical standards or risk losing those privileges. They act as a safety net to maintain a higher standard of care by physicians than they might deliver if there was no accountability.

    Because Norman worked at more than one abortion facility, he was often not available to handle medical emergencies when they arose. Sloppy practices tolerated by Norman by his staff essentially ensured that women suffering abortion complications were essentially on their own when it came to emergency care.

    Closure Orders

    Unsatisfied with Derzis and Norman’s unwillingness to fully correct the violations, the ADPH found that NWAW posed a danger to the public and ordered it closed. Derzis appealed and lost. Derzis signed a consent order agreeing to close NWAW. She also agreed that neither Norman nor she would have anything to do any future abortion business in Birmingham should another party apply to relicense the facility.

    But that wasn’t the end of the story.

    One of Derzis’ associate, Kelly Rain Water, applied to reopen NWAW under another name. The catch was that Derzis would receive “all profits” from the new abortion business and would make all financial decisions. It appeared that Norman would again act as the facility’s abortionist.

    That license was denied due to the fact that it violated the consent agreement signed by Derzis.

    Again Rain Water attempted to relicense the abortion facility under false pretenses and again the license was denied by the ADPH.

    Finally, Norman reopened NWAW and resumed abortions under the guise of a “doctor’s office” and with-out proper licensure. Operation Rescue documented the fact that Norman was operating an illegal abortion business.

    Life Legal Defense Foundation, representing Operation Rescue and CEC for Life, turned the evidence over to the ADPH, which filed suit against Norman and Derzis.

    Finally, in August, 2013, Judge Joseph L. Boohaker issued a permanent injunction barring abortionist Bruce Norman from operating an abortion clinic at the location of the former New Woman All Women abortion facility. In October, the judge denied the clinic’s motion to lift the closure order, ending efforts to keep the clinic open.

    The facility was placed up for sale in March, 2014.

    Facing certain discipline for incompetence, negligence, and unprofessional conduct, Norman allowed his Alabama medical license to lapse. The inactive status places Norman outside the regulatory authority of the Alabama Board of Medicine allowing him continue to ply his grisly incompetence on the women of Mississippi.

    Meanwhile, Norman seriously botched yet another abortion at Jackson Women’s Health Organization on August 18, 2013, sending yet another woman to the hospital where he holds no privileges. It is doubtful if the hospital was ever alerted that the patient was on the way, leaving ER staff completely unprepared and in the dark.

    Based on his behavior in Alabama, it is likely that the woman is only one of many who end up in the ER as a result of Norman’s shoddy abortion practices.

    “Deception is a way of life.”

    “It is vitally important for the court to know the full truth about the abortionists who are working at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization,” said Newman who first recommended the hospital privilege requirement to a Mississippi pro-life lobbyist who pressed forward with the bill. “The court should also consider the fact that Derzis and Norman employed deceptive practices to cover up for abortion injuries and to avoid legal consequences. Based on what we have seen, for these people deception is a way of life.”

    That deception continues by omitting Norman’s troubles from the Federal Court in Jackson, Mississippi.

    “It appears that Parker was an eleventh-hour hire because the abortion clinic needed someone without Norman’s dirty record in order to portray abortions in Mississippi as being safer than they really are,” said Newman.

    To further illustrate Norman’s propensity for deception, Operation Rescue has confirmed that the address listed on Norman’s Georgia medical license is actually an empty lot in Ft. Mill, South Carolina, a state where Norman holds no medical license.

    There can be no doubt that Parker is part of an effort to sanitize Derzis’ dangerous abortion operation and cover up for Bruce Elliot Norman’s substandard practice that continues to land women in Emergency Rooms at an astonishing rate.

    The practices documented in Birmingham reflect bad habits that are still in practice in Jackson, Mississippi. The hospital privilege requirement is desperately needed there in order to protect women from Derzis and Norman’s exploitive and incompetent behavior. No amount of smoke and mirrors will protect women without it.

    Planned Parenthood Abortionist Evaded, Blame-Shifted in Death of Tonya Reaves, Deposition Shows

    An Operation Rescue In Depth Analysis

    By Cheryl Sullenger

    Chicago, IL – With the assistance of the Thomas More Society, Operation Rescue has obtained a copy of the sworn deposition of Planned Parenthood abortionist Mandy Gittler, who was responsible for inflicting a fatal second trimester abortion on Tonya Reaves on July 20, 2012. Gittler’s deposition gives horrific new insight into Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices and events that led to Reaves’ avoidable death.

    It also reveals that her testimony was inconsistent with the conclusion of the Medical Examiner, the nurse’s observations recorded in the patient medical record, and with an early news report that relied on medical documents provided to a reporter by a confidential source.

    Gittler’s 165-page statement was taken under oath on August 22, 2013, as part of the discovery process in a civil suit filed against Planned Parenthood on behalf of Reaves’ young son, Alvin.

    Her inconsistent, evasive statements, defensive tone, and remarkable lapse of memory as recorded in the deposition may have contributed to Planned Parenthood’s agreement to pay out $2 million in compensation for Reaves’ death. That settlement agreement stipulates that attorneys will received over a half million in fees and expenses, leaving the just under $1.5 million to be paid out in a structured settlement to Alvin when he reaches the age of 18.

    15,000 abortions

    Gittler is a single mother of two children who is the sole owner of All Women’s Health Clinic in Chicago where she has just three employees. She said that she splits her time almost equally between that clinic, Planned Parenthood in Chicago, and National Healthcare, an abortion clinic in Peoria, Illinois.

    Gittler admitted that sixty to seventy-five percent of her “practice” consists of abortions. However, Gittler is not a certified Ob/Gyn. Instead her specialty is “family medicine.”

    “I consider myself more knowledgeable than most family medicine and/or obstetric physicians in abortion care,” she boasted.

    After graduating from Rush Medical College in 1998, Gittler claims to have done 15,000 abortions in her career. She indicated that about 12,000 of those abortions were done in the first trimester, between 1,000 and 2,000 abortions were 14-15 week procedures, and 200-250 were abortions done at 15-16 weeks. She noted that only about 40-50 of the procedures done over her 11-year career were completed at 16 weeks. Gittler said that she has never done an abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy.

    In fact, Gittler said that she does not do abortions after 16 weeks due to “my own comfort and skill set.”

    “The fact that Gittler has a 16-week cut-off point for abortions is crucial information since Tonya Reaves was 16 weeks pregnant at the time of her abortion. That’s a gestational stage for which Gittler is least experienced and least comfortable,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

    Complications rate?

    Of the 15,000 abortions done by Gittler, she told attorneys during her deposition that she could only remember two complications: a case of “persistent bleeding” and a case where she could not “dilate the cervix,” which is necessary before abortion instruments can be introduced into the womb.

    “This might have been a case of whitewashing the facts on Gittler’s part. Using very conservative complication rate estimates used by the abortion industry, Gittler could have experienced at least 375 abortion complications during her career. But she is under deposition in a very serious lawsuit that could cost her and Planned Parenthood a lot of money. I’m surprised she admitted to any complications at all,” said Newman. “Throughout the deposition, she attempts to evade questions that might present herself in a negative light.”

    Further evidence of her selective memory was exhibited in her response to a question about her hospital privileges.

    Q. Have you ever applied for privileges at any hospital and been denied?
    A. Not that I recall.

    Reaves’ abortion begins

    Gittler’s deposition sheds light on Reaves’ final day of life, which began when she reported to a Planned Parenthood office located at 18 South Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, on the morning of July 20, 2012.

    While the autopsy report confirms the South Michigan location, there is some concern that Reaves’ abortion did not take place there because there is no indication that surgical abortions are done at that location. In any case, the address of the Planned Parenthood facility where Reaves had her abortion is not mentioned in her deposition.

    However, the cost of Reaves’ second trimester abortion was mentioned in the deposition. She was charged just $459 for a procedure that often costs upwards of $1,000. It is possible that the rest of Reaves’ abortion fee was subsidized by an abortion fund.

    A news report based on a confidential hospital source filed by Steve Miller of News Radio WBBM and the First Call Sheet included with Reaves’ autopsy report both indicate that her 16-week Dilation and Extraction abortion began at 11:00 a.m. However, Gittler testified that she did not begin Reaves’ abortion until 12:51 p.m. This represents a large discrepancy in the time-line of events that lead to Reaves’ death.

    Gittler said that she hardly spoke to Reaves prior to the abortion, except to ask four questions that she asks of every patient related to their confidence in their decision to abort. She indicated that she could not remember Reaves’ responses, but that they were, in her words, “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

    Procedure 1

    Reaves was first sedated for her 16 week Dilation and Evacuation abortion. Gittler inserted the speculum, which opened the birth canal so she could see the cervix, which is the neck of the womb. She pulled the cervix down with scissor-life grasping instrument called a tenaculum then injected the cervix with an anesthetic. She then began inserting dilators into the opening of the cervix in order to make it big enough to accommodate the 16 mm rigid cannula, which is a clear plastic tube attached to a suction machine.

    Gittler then inserted the 16 mm rigid cannula and began to suction. At some point, ring forceps were used to grasp and remove parts of the baby.

    It was 1:04 pm when Gittler finished, removed the speculum, and rectally administered 800 micrograms of Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec, a drug that causes the uterus to contract and seal off blood vessels for minimal bleeding.

    Blood on the chuck

    Gittler had just begun to fill out her paperwork when she noticed blood dripping onto the blue chuck pad underneath Reaves. It was enough blood that Gittler began to investigate. First she abdominally massaged Reaves’ fundus, or the top of the uterus, and noticed that instead of being firm, it felt “boggy,” a condition known as “atony.” This caused her to do a bi-manual uterine massage in order to help the uterus begin to contract.

    Procedure 2

    With the uterus still atonic, or “boggy,” Gittler conducted a second aspiration of Reaves’ uterus using a 7 mm flexible cannula with which she said she removed “less than a teaspoon” of blood. That procedure took about four minutes.

    Reaves’ medical records show that she left the procedure room at 1:07 p.m. and taken to recovery while Gittler continued doing abortions on an unknown number of other patients.

    Soaked Pad

    At 1:41 p.m., just over a half hour from when Reaves’ second aspiration was completed, the nurse noticed that her sanitary “pad was soaked,” indicating that Reaves was experiencing “excessive bleeding.”

    At 2:00 p.m., the nurse noted that Reaves was passing a blood clot. She notified Gittler, who at some point evaluated Reaves.

    Implausible two-chambered uterus theory

    Fifty-five minutes later, at 2:55 p.m., Reaves was back in the procedure room.

    At 3:02 p.m., anesthesia was administered, an ultrasound exam was done. Gittler said she was confused by what she saw on the ultrasound, which to her appeared to be a mass next to the uterus. She concluded somehow that she could be looking at a bicornuate (two-chambered) uterus, an unusual deformity that she opined might have accounted for Reaves’ abnormal bleeding.

    It was more likely that the second mass was instead blood accumulating in Reaves’ abdominal cavity due what was later confirmed to be a uterine perforation. The fact that Reaves had an uncomplicated abortion in 2010 made Gittler’s two-chambered-uterus theory implausible. Gittler admitted that she never reviewed the medical record from Reaves previous abortion at Planned Parenthood, even though it was available to her and could have shared light on what Gittler referred to as Reaves confusing anatomy.

    Blaming the woman

    Why did Gittler favor the idea that Reaves had a deformed uterus over the more probable explanation that she had ruptured Tonya’s uterus?

    “Abortionists commonly try to make complications appear to be the fault of the woman who had the abortion. It always has to be her fault. Grasping onto the deformed uterus theory put the blame on Reaves whereas a uterine perforation would put the blame on the abortionist. This is all about shifting the blame,” said Newman.

    Procedure 3

    Using ultrasound guidance for the first time on Reaves, Gittler suctioned the uterus again using a 7mm flexible cannula. A 20 cc clot was removed, which is a little larger in size than a tablespoon. This procedure represented Reaves’ third abortion that day at Planned Parenthood.

    Gittler said that she has changed her practice and now does all second trimester abortions with ultrasound guidance, at the advice of her attorney.

    Ten minutes later, 10 units of Pitocin was administered to Reaves through her IV. Pitocin is a drug that is used in hospitals to induce labor. Gittler presumably used it to help Reaves’ uterus to contract. Three minutes after that, Reaves was given a shot of Methergine, a drug that is used to control or prevent post-partum hemorrhage.

    At 3:35 p.m., the nurse noted in Reaves’ chart that the bleeding had slowed, but not stopped, and her uterus remained tender.

    By 3:53 p.m., the nurse noted on Reaves’ chart that her bleeding continued to be heavy. Gittler disagreed and insisted that the bleeding was light. At that time, Reaves was administered Toradol, an NSAID pain reliever used to manage moderately severe acute pain.

    Decision to transport

    Gittler said she spoke with Tonya and her mother and told them she wanted to transport Tonya to the hospital. She said that Tonya told her that she felt fine and did not want to go.

    According to Gittler, she then contacted her medical director, Carolyn Hoke, who told her that if Reaves’ bleeding was under control, there was no need to transport her.

    Portraying herself as the hero of the story, Gittler testified that she ordered someone to call an ambulance “sometime before”4:00 p.m., supposedly over the objections of Reaves and her supervisor.

    A note in Reaves’ chart indicated that 911 was called and that a Chicago Fire Department ambulance responded, but Gittler indicated that the ambulance may not have been a CFD vehicle.

    Documents obtained by Operation Rescue indicate that 911 was not called despite a non-medical incident at that clinic earlier in the day when an employee was instructed by a 911 dispatcher that the fastest way to get help was to call 911 instead of the 311 non-emergency number, as had been Planned Parenthood’s practice.

    “Giggling” with her mom?

    At 4:17 p.m. the ambulance arrived. Gittler related the following story:

    When Tonya was being transferred in the ambulance chair, so she was up and alert sitting in the — they — instead of a gurney, they have the gurneys that sit up. She was with Ms. Joyce, [Reaves’ mother] and she was kind of giggling that she didn’t want to go and who would watch the car.

    “Women suffering from hemorrhage are often transported in a sitting position. This is to minimize bleeding. Yet Gittler relates this as if it means that Tonya was doing great and didn’t need to lay down,” said Newman. “It’s hard to imagine that Tonya would have been giggling with her mother about not wanting to go to the hospital. That comment seemed to be a strangely inappropriate attempt to make it appear that Reaves was in good condition and spirits when she left Planned Parenthood, when it is now obvious that her condition was actually life-threatening.”

    Monitoring vs. emergency

    In a critically important move, Gittler contacted an emergency room resident and noted that Reaves suffered from a “boggy uterus” with post-procedure bleeding that had subsided after re-aspiration. She noted that Reaves’ uterus was then “clamping down fine,” and she was being transported for further monitoring because of confusion about the patient’s anatomy.

    Gittler downplayed the seriousness Reaves condition and never mentioned the possibility of a uterine perforation to the hospital resident, even though she admitted that she was aware that uterine perforation was a possibility.

    Given that information, emergency room personnel had no reason to believe that Reaves’ condition was serious, much less life-threatening.

    The transcript is clear about Gittler’s awareness that she may have perforated Reaves’ uterus:

    Q. Prior to the third procedure on July 20th, you couldn’t rule out a uterine perforation in Ms. Reaves. Correct?

    A. I couldn’t rule it out? I couldn’t rule it out.

    Q. Okay. And even up until the time Ms. Reaves left Planned Parenthood on July 20th, you couldn’t rule out the fact that she had a perforated uterus. Correct?

    A. I couldn’t rule it out.

    Steve Miller’s news report indicated that Reaves was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital at 4:30 p.m.

    Meanwhile, Gittler continued to do at least two more abortions after Reaves left Planned Parenthood by ambulance.

    At the hospital

    Once at the hospital emergency room, it took time for the doctors there to understand the full nature of Reaves’ condition.

    In an attempt to control her heavy bleeding that Gittler insisted had “subsided,” Reaves was given her fourth abortion of the day at 5:30 p.m. where retained “products of conception” were removed.

    Gittler called the hospital at 7:30 that evening and spoke with an Ob/Gyn intern who told her Reaves had just gotten out of the operating room where an aspiration had removed “placental tissue.”

    “It’s appalling to hear that Reaves still had tissue inside her after three previous suction procedures,” said Newman. “While an incomplete abortion can cause a patient to hemorrhage, the records are clear that Tonya continued to deteriorate even after all the tissue was removed. This was an indication that something else was seriously wrong.”

    Uterine perforation discovered

    Reaves then underwent a series of tests that finally uncovered the source of her problems: a uterine perforation in two places that involved the left board ligament with a possible transection of the left uterine artery. Reaves had been bleeding internally for between nine and eleven hours, depending on when her first abortion began.

    At 10:12 p.m., Reaves was rushed back in to the operating room for an emergency hysterectomy, but she coded during the procedure and the surgeons were unable to resuscitate her. She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m. while still in the operating room.

    According to the autopsy, her abdomen was filled with 1.5 liters of blood and clots. The human body holds roughly five liters of blood. Reaves bled about 30 percent of her total volume of blood into her abdomen, and that does not account for the amount of blood lost through what was likely substantial vaginal bleeding due to the retained tissue.

    Planned Parenthood informed of Reaves’ death

    The following day, Gittler was called by Planned Parenthood’s medical director, Carolyn Hoke in the evening and informed that Tonya Reaves had died. Hoke said she learned about it from a reporter and at first was confused about which patient the reporter meant.

    Gittler told Hoke that when she had called the hospital at 7:30 p.m. the previous evening, Reaves was stable. She asked Hoke when Reaves died. Hoke, who seemed to have scant information, indicated that she believed Reaves passed between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.

    Autopsy results

    Gittler denied that she ever read Reaves’ autopsy report and remained evasive about any knowledge of injuries she inflicted upon Reaves.

    When the autopsy was conducted, the medical examiner noted that he received the uterus in a separate container. Upon evaluation, he observed that the uterus was had a “boggy appearance,” not clamped down as Gittler told the emergency room resident. There was a 3/16-inch hole “adjacent to forcep impression marks” on the interior of the womb, which is consistent with the use of ring forceps that dismember the baby during a D & E procedure.

    There was no evidence that the uterus had the two-chambered anomaly on which Gittler had attempted to blame the abortion complication.

    The medical examiner diagnosed that Reaves suffered from “hemorrhage due to a cervical dilation and evacuation procedure.” The only person that did that procedure on Reaves was Mandy Gittler.

    Planned Parenthood and Gittler sued

    On January 3, 2013, a lawsuit was filed by Alvin Jones, Jr. on behalf of Tonya Reaves surviving son, Alvin Jones III. That lawsuit precipitated Gittler deposition taken on August 22, 2013. On January 22, 2014, a petition was filed to settle the wrongful death case against Planned Parenthood.

    Unfairly, there is no mention of Gittler in the settlement documents and so far a complaint filed with the Illinois Medical Licensing Board by the Thomas More Society has yielded not discipline. She appears to have gotten away scot free with the killing of Tonya Reaves.

    “As long as medical boards continue to ignore complaints about abortionists who inflict injuries on women, we will only see more of these tragedies,” said Newman. “One would think that boards around the country would have learned a lesson from the Pennsylvania case of Kermit Gosnell, where the medical board turned a blind eye to complaints about him, and because of that Karnamaya Monger and a host of late-term babies needlessly died. Apparently the Illinois authorities didn’t learn a thing from that. At this point, we are left to wait and wonder who Gittler’s next victim will be, because it’s only a matter of time before she kills again.”

    Read the full deposition of Mandy Gittler