Still Vanishing: 73 Abortion Facilities Shut Down in 2014

An Operation Rescue Exclusive Special Report
By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – A new survey conducted by Operation Rescue of all abortion facilities in the United States has confirmed that the abortion clinic closure trend continued strongly in 2014. Operation Rescue is the only pro-life organization that maintains a listing of abortion facilities and tracks clinic closures and its extensive research has provided the most accurate accounting of abortion facilities known to exist.

In all, 73 abortion facilities shut down for all or part of the year. The total number of all remaining abortion clinics in the US is currently 739. Surgical abortion facilities account for 551 of that total while the number of medication-only abortion facilities stands at 188.

Out of 60 surgical abortion clinic closures, 47 were permanent. This represents a 23% decline in surgical abortion facilities over the past five years.

Thirteen surgical facilities were allowed to reopen after initially closing, primarily due to court action that enjoined abortion safety laws that had shut down the substandard facilities.

Thirteen facilities that provided only medication abortions account for the remaining closures in 2014. That more than doubles the number of medication abortion facilities that closed in 2013 when six were shuttered.

While the abortion clinic closures did not eclipse the high water mark of 93 total closures in 2013, the 73 closures this year far exceeds the two dozen closures recorded in 2012.

The 2014 figures represent a net decrease of 31 surgical abortion facilities nationwide. even though the number of medication abortion facilities increased by 11 over 2013 numbers, they still remain below the high of 196 facilities in 2012.

“We are continuing to witness the implosion of the abortion cartel in America,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The only things that are preventing total collapse are court injunctions that are blocking several state abortion safety laws from being enforced. Once those laws clear the courts, we expect to see even more dangerous abortion facilities close. This is great news for women and babies because when abortion clinics close, lives are saved.”

The greatest number of closed facilities took place in Texas as the result of the 2013 abortion law known as HB2. Eleven surgical and three medication-only facilities shut down permanently over the course of 2014.

Closures far outpaced clinic openings. Fifteen facilities either added surgical abortions or opened for the first time. Thirteen clinics, primarily Planned Parenthood centers, added medication abortions to clinics that previously did not provide them. Eight clinics that formerly provided surgical abortions made the decision to halt those procedures, but continue to sell medication abortions.

“As new states laws add safety standards for surgical abortions, we are seeing the beginnings of a new trend. Abortion providers who cannot or will not comply with the higher standards have, in some cases, dropped surgical abortions in favor of medical abortions so they did not have to become licensed,” said Newman. “This allows incompetent abortionists to continue exploiting women for money while evading the need to increase patient safety.”

Some of the more notable abortion facility closures included:

Outpatient Services for Women, Oklahoma City, OK: This surgical clinic shut down after the arrest on December 9 of clinic owner and operator Naresh Patel on charges of fraud and racketeering after Operation Rescue filed complaints. Patel had been caught selling abortion pills to women who were not pregnant.
All Women’s Health, Chicago, IL: Clinic owner, abortionist Mandy Gittler, closed this facility after local activists protested there over the death of Tonya Reaves, which was killed by Gittler in 2012 at a Chicago Planned Parenthood clinic.
Novi Laser and Aesthetic Center, Novi, Michigan: This facility shut down after being evicted from two locations this year. After the last eviction in November, owner Michael Arthur Roth had nowhere to go.
Aid for Women, aka Central Family Medical, Kansas City, KS: Operation Rescue discovered evidence of multiple abortion abuses and lodged complaints. This facility was best known for suing in court for the right to stop reporting child sex abuse. Under pressure from the medical board and struggling for business, Aid for Women, finally shut down.
Affiliated Women’s Services, Indianapolis, IN: This facility, associated with the infamous late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart shut down in July due to financial woes and a lack of demand for abortions.
Femcare, Asheville, NC: Its shut down earlier this year for two dozen serious health and safety violations caused an outcry from abortion supporters since it was thought to be the only facility that could pass new safety standards. It reopened briefly before permanently closing after its abortionist, Lorraine Cummings, announced her retirement and placed the building for sale.

There are several primary reasons why abortion facilities continue to close. Those reasons include:

• The enactment and enforcement of new state laws.
• Increased reporting by pro-life activists of incompetent and/or criminal behavior committed by abortionists.
• Financial struggles within the abortion cartel due to decreased demand for abortions.
• The retirement of abortionists who are not replaced.

In 1991, there were 2,176 surgical abortion facilities operating in the U.S. Since then, a full 75% of those facilities have closed.

As abortion facilities continue to close, abortion numbers continue to fall. While national abortion numbers remain incomplete, the average number of abortions decreases by about 3% annually. However, state statistics show that the drop in abortions that is more pronounced in areas where there are abortion clinic closures.

For example, in Ohio, four abortion facilities closed in 2013, the most recent year for which abortion figures are available. During that year, the number of abortions dropped by nine percent – three times the average national drop in abortion numbers.

“No matter how one views the numbers, they show that we are winning,” said Newman. “As the truth about abortion abuses and other dangers become public and are followed by new laws that increase protections for women and their babies, we can only expect the decline of the abortion cartel to continue until it collapses altogether.”

Please visit for a listing of all abortion facilities in the U.S. and documentation of their known abuses. A listing of closed abortion facilities is also available there.

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 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.


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.


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.


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