Special Report: Why Virginia’s Appallingly Substandard Abortion Facilities Must Not Be Excepted from the Law

By Cheryl Sullenger

Henrico, VA – Over half of Virginia’s abortion facilities have admitted that they cannot comply with new safety regulations and have asked to be excused from compliance.

So far, ten out of Virginia’s nineteen abortion facilities have applied to the State Health Commissioner, Dr. Marissa J. Levine, for variances to the state’s abortion facility structural requirements. If granted, the variances would allow those abortion facilities to operate even though their facilities remain well below medical standards.

The requests for variances are problematic. Not only do the each of the ten substandard facilities lack proper space needs for outpatient surgical clinics, but each of them have also failed licensing inspections. Of the dozens of violations discovered, many have yet to be corrected.

Add to that the checkered backgrounds of abortionists known to work at these facilities, and the prospect of variances becomes more than troubling.

The Virginia licensing requirements are set to go into effect later this year, but have been challenged in court by Falls Church Medical Center, one of the abortion businesses seeking a variance. The variance requests would buy time for abortion clinics until after a court ruling. They are hoping that the rules will be overturned and that they will not have to make the necessary upgrades that would increase patient safety at their facilities. In some cases, abortion facilities could be forced to close because of the inability or unwillingness to come into compliance.

“Abortion facilities that cannot meet basic minimum medical standards that apply throughout the medical profession, are just too dangerous to be allowed to operate. For example, hallways that are too narrow to accommodate gurneys in the event of medical emergencies have proven fatal for women, such as Karnamaya Mongar,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Emergency workers wasted precious minutes attempting to get a gurney into Kermit Gosnell’s abortion facility in West Philadelphia while Mrs. Mongar’s life ebbed away. By the time the emergency workers were able to extract her from the maze of crowed hallways, it was too late to save her life.

Ironically, Mongar was a resident of Virginia, and could have been subjected to a lack of gurney access if her abortion had taken place in her home state.

“Abortion facilities that do not want to comply with the structural requirements of the law are gambling women’s lives on the hope that such a tragedy won’t happen that their facilities. But given the frequency with which we have documented ambulances outside of abortion centers, that’s a bet no woman should be forced to take,” said Newman.

The variance requests were made between March 14 and August 13, 2014. Most of the letters submitted by the abortion facilities contained nearly identical language, indicating that the businesses, which are usually competitors, collaborated on the content of their variance requests.

One anonymous local source has opined that the letters may have in fact been “ghost-written” by one of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s “people.” McAuliff is a pro-abortion Democrat who has attempted to repeal the abortion facility licensing requirements enacted by his pro-life predecessor.

In fact, the Virginia Department of Health website features guidelines to help abortion facilities apply for variances. This only encourages abortion businesses to continue to operate under conditions that would not be tolerated even an an animal clinic.

“Women in Virginia should be upset that the Department of Health has put the interest of abortion businesses above their lives. The term ‘war on women’ is overused today, but there is hardly a better way to describe what is happening in Virginia,” said Newman.

While eight of the facilities requested variances through April 30, 2015, two of the facilities, those affiliated with the notoriously shoddy Steven Chase Brigham, have audaciously requested variances that would exclude them from compliance for the next ten years.

“If Brigham’s outrageous demand for exemptions is granted, it is akin to signing death warrants for women who are unfortunate enough to think he is operating legitimate medical facilities in Virginia,” said Newman. “It’s only a matter of time before the substandard facilities and practices cost women’s lives, not only at Brigham’s shoddy mills, but at other abortion businesses as well. This once again illustrates that for the abortion cartel, profit margin is a top priority. Women’s health and safety takes a back seat.”

Operation Rescue evaluated the inspection reports and variance requests for all ten Virginia abortion businesses.

A Capital Women’s Health
Richmond, Virginia

A Capital Women’s Health was last inspected in July, 2012.

The report contains 16 pages of violations, including:

• Failure to conduct criminal background checks on employees, including abortionists.
• Failure to observe infection protocols; Workers wore the same bloody surgical scrubs while seeing one patient after another.
• The same dirty sponge was used to clean soiled surgical instruments and to wipe down the counter afterwards.
• Failing to wash hands between glove changes.
• Failure to wear personal protective equipment while rinsing and examining the bloody remains of aborted babies.
• Lack of equipment to suction patient airways in the event of an emergency.
• Failure to properly maintain equipment, including a rusty suction machine used for abortions.
• Multiple structural issues that posed potential health hazards.

A Capital Women’s Health employs abortionist David Reid Peters, who formerly worked for disgraced New Jersey abortionist Steven Brigham. Peters was reprimanded in 2007 for improperly prescribing drugs without having seen or examined patients – an illegal practice that was also present in Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion mill.

Meanwhile, A Capital Women’s Health’s administrator, Shelley Abrams, has requested a variance until April 30, 2015, dubiously claiming that “patient safety, patient care and services offered would not be affected adversely” if the variance was to be granted and that patients would nonsensically “be protected” by it.

Amethyst Health Center for Women
Manassas, VA

The Amethyst Health Center for Women was inspected in June and December of 2012.

The first report containing 48 pages of violations including multiple violations of infection prevention protocols that left women at risk of becoming sick.

• Staff lunches stored in the “soiled” utility room refrigerator that also contained drugs and blood samples.
• Failure to change gloves between patients.
• Failure to properly launder linens used for patients to prevent the spread of infection.
• Using expired bleach/water solution that had lost its ability to sanitize.
• Tears in recovery area stretchers that could not be sanitized.
• Recovery recliners not disinfected between patients.
• Expired drugs.
• No “clean” utility room, risking contamination of drugs and other supplies.
• Hallways too narrow to accommodate a gurney and other structural violations.

The second inspection report revealed that infection control issues discovered during the June inspection still had not been corrected six months later. In fact, Operation Rescue could find no evidence that they have ever been properly addressed.

One of the facility’s abortionist Linwood Turner, was sued for “wrongful death” in 1997. The case appeared to be dismissed following moderation, which implies that an agreement was reached with the plaintiffs.

Another of Amethyst’s abortionists, Thomas Gressinger, was reprimanded in August 2013, for allowing, (in Gosnell-like fashion), an unqualified worker to administer drugs to abortion patients. He was also sued by an abortion patient in 1993 for an abortion that was so badly botched that she required an emergency hysterectomy.

Nevertheless, Amethyst’s owner and administrator, Marie Elisabeth Beurkens VanderWoude, claimed in her variance request that it was unreasonable to ask her to bring her facility into compliance given the “pendency of an Executive Directive and litigation” that could negate the regulations. Expenditures on upgrades, she said, “undermine the principle purpose of the facility.”

Only if that purpose is to keep abortion dangerous.

Annandale Women and Family Center
Alexandria, VA

Annandale Women and Family Center was inspected in August, 2012.

The report containing 48 pages of violations included:

• Patient paperwork that omitted information about how to file a complaint.
• Failure to conduct criminal background checks on employees, including abortionists.
• Failure to have on duty during abortions staff with current CPR certification.
• Failure to provide fire safety and infection prevention training.
• Lack of documentation that patients received or understood required patient rights information.
• Dried blood, torn surface, and tape on abortion table.
• Torn surfaces on recovery room stretchers.
• Failure to clean “direct care” equipment between patients.
• Reuse of sponges that were used to clean dirty surgical equipment and no way to sterilize them.
• Failure to properly launder linens that were used on patients to prevent the spread of infections.
• No designated “clean” area for storage of drugs, supplies.
• Inadequate drug logs and improper drug storage, and handling.

Abortionist Linwood Turner is also known to work at the Annandale facility.

Annandale’s administrator, Gail Frances, complained in her variance request that the cost of bringing her facility into compliance would be $150,000 and six months of lost income.

Apparently, women’s lives are worth considerably less than that to these people.

Planned Parenthood Blacksburg Health Center
Blacksburg, VA

Planned Parenthood’s Blacksburg Health Center was last inspected in July 2012. It currently offers medical abortions and no surgical abortions.

Nevertheless, a 28-page inspection report included the following violations:

• Failure to maintain infection prevention policies.
• Staff lacked access to information about reporting health care providers.
• Abortionists often failed to provide discharge orders.
• Rusted and torn components on a procedure table used for sonograms.
• Lack of Quality Control documentation that jeopardized patient safety.
• No policy for reporting abortions as required, indicating that the facility was likely not reporting.

Walter Klausmeier, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Health Systems, which operates the Blacksburg facility, boasted in his variance request letter of a “strong safety record,” but the inspection report indicates that this facility has “jeopardized patient safety” as a matter of routine.

Falls Church Healthcare Center
Falls Church, VA

Falls Church Healthcare Center was inspected in August 2012, and December 2012.

The initial inspection report included 41 pages of startling deficiencies including:

• Inadequate infection control plan.
• Blood collection sets were bloody and not cleaned between patients.
• Dried blood found on the procedure table, including on the foot rests.
• Dust-covered and generally dirty equipment throughout the facility.
• Blood-spatter on the door to a procedure room.
• Dirty sponge used to wipe up blood spatter was never cleaned.
• Other violations of accepted blood-born pathogen protocols.
• Expired drugs, fluids, supplies.
• Failure to have a policy to report patient deaths within 24 hours as required.
• Absence of employee criminal background checks.
• Lack of employee training.
• Failure to ensure employees were properly vaccinated for Hepatitis B as required.
• Absence of policy to address complaints.

The follow-up inspection six months later found an additional six pages of violations, including:

• Lack of personnel policies including safety training and job descriptions.
• Expired medications.
• Expired IV solutions that were administered to patients.
• Lack of adherence to standard infection prevention measures.

After they filed a suit to block the Virginia abortion facility licensing rules, Operation Rescue documented two life-threatening medical emergencies at Falls Church Healthcare Center where Thomas H. Gresinger and Jan Paul Fruiterman, (who paid out $730,000 in a wrongful death suit in 2000), conduct abortions under less than ideal circumstances.

In spite of these egregious violations that endanger the lives and health of women, owner and Director Rosemary Codding had the cheek to tell the State Health Commissioner in her request for variance that her facility “takes medically appropriate measures to protect the safety of patients and ensure that a standard of high quality care is met.”

Peninsula Medical Center for Women
Newport News, VA

Peninsula Medical Center for Women was last inspected in May, 2012.

During the inspection, 31 pages of violations were discovered including:

• Unsecured sharp containers with used needles laying on the floor and on a desk.
• Improperly maintained equipment, including suction machine.
• Failed to have infection control and emergency policies and procedures in place and neglected to train employees in infection control protocols.
• Failed to ensure abortionists were competent.
• Failed to document drug usage.
• Lacked emergency supplies, such as tubing for IV’s and oxygen.
• Inadequate cleaning of abortion table between patients
• Surgical rooms were too small to be safe.
• Poor drug handling, labeling, and disposal practices.

Backgrounds of the two abortionists known to work at Peninsula should raise eyebrows.

John Harrison Baker was reprimanded by North Carolina medical board in 2013 after it was found that he altered patient medical records to state that a registered nurse was present for abortions, even though no doctor or nurse was present as required by law. He owned the troubled Baker Clinic for women, which was temporarily closed by the state after dangerous practices were discovered there that “failed to assure the health, safety and welfare of its clients.” Baker did not dispute the charges and his facility permanently closed last year. He also has a history of botched abortions, including one horrific case of a perforated uterus.

William Fitshugh is a long-time abortionist who is said to have killed over 200,000 children in the womb during his career. He is was involved in a botched abortion on Margaret Codfelter in 1989, in which he perforated her uterus and left parts of the dead baby inside. He set her home without informing her of her life-threatening condition. Margaret died two days later.

Yet, Jill C. Abby, President of W.K.G. and J. Incorporated, which operates Peninsula Medical Center for Women, ludicrously claims in her request for variance, “It would be contrary to common sense – and arguably inappropriate – to pursue an aggressive and extraordinarily expensive compliance program.”

If common sense were really the issue, the shoddy Peninsula Medical Center for Women would be immediately closed.

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington – Falls Church Center
Falls Church, VA

The Falls Church Center of PPMW was last inspected in June 2012.

The inspection report lists 10 pages of violations, including:

• Tears in the vinyl on the abortion tables that made sanitation.
• Chairs covered in soiled cloth or torn vinyl that could not be adequately cleaned.
• Missing baseboard along one wall in an exam room.
• Expired drugs and syringes.
• Improper (and appalling) drug handling practices. When one employee was questioned about her failure to clean the tops of drug vials before inserting syringes, the worker responded, “The current research says it doesn’t make any difference. You could lick the tops of the vials and the infection rate would be the same.”
• Administration of medications without documented doctor’s orders.
• Failure to conduct preventative maintenance on equipment.
• Inadequate airflow throughout the facility.
• No evidence the building met state and local codes and building ordinances.

Planned Parenthood was forced to pay out a $1.5 million settlement in 2009 after Falls Church’s abortionist Colin St. Patrick Walters conducted an abortion on a 14-year old girl, who was released and never told that she suffered serious internal hemorrhaging from a perforated uterus, a small bowel tear, and severe vaginal and cervical injuries. She was rushed to the hospital the next day where she underwent emergency surgery where a “significant portion” of her unborn baby was discovered inside her abdominal cavity. She was left completely infertile.

Planned Parenthood’s safety statistics noted in the addendum of their variance request is presented in a way that would make it appear abortions there are safer than they are. “Of 15,558 patient visits since January 2011, only .006% of them resulted in an emergency transfer to the hospital.”

Unpacking that statement, we see that 15,558 are not individual abortion patients. Planned Parenthood counts every time a patient walks through the door as a “visit.” That number would also include women who came by – perhaps multiple times in a year — for birth control, STD testing, or other services besides abortion, which would significantly water down the percentage of women requiring an emergency transfer.

Yet, the President and CEO of PPMW, Dr. Laura Myers, made the dubious claim in her variance request that at PMW, “patient safety is our top priority.”

Tell that to the young woman who will never bear another child.

Richmond Medical Center for Women
Richmond, VA

The Richmond Center for Women was inspected in May 2012, with a follow-up inspection in March 2013.

The 2012 inspection uncovered 29 pages of deficiencies including:

• Failure to have anyone with current CPR certification on duty during abortions.
• Inadequate infection control training for employees.
• Staff failed to wear proper personal protection while dumping the bloody contents of an abortion suction jar down a sink (!), then scrubbing it with a bottle brush to “remove any clotted blood.”
• Handling “clean” surgical equipment without gloves, thus contaminating them.
• Lack of a pest control.
• Dried blood on three recovery room recliners.
• Torn surfaces on procedure table and recovery stretchers that made it impossible to sanitize them.
• Improper laundering of linens used by patients.
• Failure to wash hands and a lack of hand-washing supplies.
• Failure to perform preventative maintenance of equipment.
• Using dirty sponges for “cleaning” and other cross-contamination issues.
• Blood and rust on the procedure tables.
• Surgical equipment found in “sterile” packs without any dates.
• Expired testing supplies, cleaning supplies, drugs, and other items.
• An open jar of unwrapped cookies (provided to patients) that were contaminated.
• Safety and building code violations.

Upon re-inspection in March, 2013, an additional 10 pages of violations were discovered, along with many repeat offences. Deficiencies included:
• Blood found on abortion tables and other equipment in the abortion rooms.
• Torn pads on the abortion table.
• Unwrapped contaminated cookies and crackers that were fed to patients.
• More expired drugs.
• Building codes and other safety issue were uncorrected from previous inspection.

Abortionist William Fitzhugh, who as previously mentioned was involved in an abortion-related patient death, is the primary abortionist at the Richmond Medical Center for Women, which does the largest volume of abortions in the state. It is inexplicable how Fitzhugh can tolerate such squalid conditions and substandard practices, yet be considered an “expert” abortion witness who has testified in numerous court cases.

Jill C. Abby, president of W.K.G. and J. Incorporated, which owns the Richmond abortion facility, claims in her letter requesting a variance that her clinic provides “access to high quality reproductive care.”

If the filthy conditions and practices described in the inspection reports are any indication, Ms. Abby’s idea of “high quality” deserves serious re-evaluation.

Virginia Women’s Wellness
Virginia Beach, VA

Virginia Women’s Wellness is affiliated with the notorious New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham. It was inspected in May 2012, and again in March, 2014.

During 2012 inspection, 22 pages of violations were discovered:

• Failure to disclose facility ownership.
• Failure to conduct criminal background checks on employees.
• Failure to provide patients with contact information where complaints may be filed.
• Improper handling and cleaning/sterilizing of dirty surgical equipment.
• Failure to change gloves between handling a “dirty” suction machine jar containing bloody aborted baby remains and handling a clean one.
• Four out of five recovery room recliners were noticeably dirty and broken.
• Tears were found in patient examination tables.
• Failure to properly maintain patient monitoring equipment.
• Failure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for administration of controlled substances.
• Failure to ensure that injectable drugs were mixed and labeled in accordance with regulations.
• Failure to develop a required quality assurance program.
• In 13 of 13 abortion records inspected, all patient records failed to note specific drugs administered in the local anesthetic.
• Facility failed to meet building standards.

Demonstrating a low learning curve, Virginia Women’s Wellness was actually in worse shape in the 2014 inspection, which uncovered 33 pages of deficiencies, including:

• Shoddy record-keeping is multiple areas.
• Failure to track complaints.
• Leaky ceiling and hallway strewn with trash.
• Water damage and mold in the walls.
• Failure to provide patients with prescription pain medications.
• Improper infection control practices.
• Lack of glove-wearing.
• General dirt in the procedure rooms.
• Improper drug handling.
• No written discharge criteria.
• Tears on the procedure table.
• More.

The abortionist at that facility, Craig Cropp, has a list of disciplinary action and other troubles far too lengthy to mention. The numerous adverse incidents might make referring to him as the “Gosnell of Virginia” might be an understatement. His full, sordid history can be read about on AbortionDocs.org. Suffice it to say that he has left a bloody trail of horrifically botched abortions in his wake and had clinic privileges revoked, suspended, or otherwise terminated at three VA hospitals.

Even so, Licensed Practical Nurse Michelle E. Nelson, the clinic’s administrator, had the audacity to request a 10-year variance, citing her opinion that the safety regulations were little more than an attempt to “stop women from accessing their legal right to freedom of choice.”

Virginia Health Group
Fairfax, VA

Virginia Health Group is another affiliate of the worst abortionist in America, Steven Brigham. It was last inspected in August 2012.

During that inspection, 13 pages of violations were found, including:

• Failure to provide patients with contact information where complaints may be filed.
• Failure to verify licensing or certification of health care professionals.
• Failure to clean reusable medical equipment between patients.
• Tears were found in patient examination tables.
• Failure to maintain other infection control protocols.
• Expired medications.
• Mishandled and improperly stored medications.
• Failure to note patient’s condition upon discharge in patient record.
• Failure to maintain adequate medical records with additional omissions of information.
• Facility failed to meet building standards.

Craig Cropp, the much-disciplined abortionist at Virginia Women’s Wellness, does double duty at this facility as well.

Claiming that complying with the law would pose a “hardship” in her request for variance, Clinic Administrator Krystle Mayeski asked for a 10-year exception to the legal safety requirements.

But the real hardship is put on women and their babies who are unfortunate enough to patronize Virginia Health Group.

Conclusions

Although only Virginia abortion facilities that have requested variances have been listed in this report, all of the abortion businesses in that state have similar issues. Substandard conditions and practices are a systemic problem. No abortion facility could be found that did not have safety and patient care violations or abortionists that did not have unfavorable issues in their backgrounds. A “good” abortion facility simply does not exist.

Operation Rescue urges State Health Commissioner Levine to reject all requests for variance and enforce the laws of Virginia as written. If these abortion facilities cannot meet the minimum safety standards, they the simply are not fit to be open.

“More consideration should be given to the safety of women than to the ‘hardships’ the law places on the abortion facility owners’ pocketbooks. The abortion cartel treats women as second-class citizens who don’t deserve access to high medical standards,” said Newman. “The Virginia State Health Commissioner has the duty to protect women from exploitation by corners-cutting facilities that are little better than Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors.’ The variances should be denied and facilities that cannot meet basic medical standards must be closed.”

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.