Fifth Circuit Opts to Aid and Abet Dangerous Abortion Business at the Expense of Women’s Lives

By Cheryl Sullenger

Jackson, MS – The Fifth Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision has issued a bizarre ruling that forces the State of Mississippi to keep open a private, for-profit abortion business even though its substandard practices admittedly pose a danger to the health and safety of women.

The Fifth Circuit decision upholds a preliminary injunction that is keeping provisions of HB 1390, an abortion law similar to one passed in Texas, from being enforced because those provisions would close the only remaining abortion facility in that state, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, owned by the notorious Diane Derzis.

The ruling stated, “Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state. Such a proposal would not only place an undue burden on the exercise of the constitutional right, but would also disregard a state’s obligation under the principle of federalism —applicable to all fifty states — to accept the burden of the non-delegable duty of protecting the established federal constitutional rights of its own citizens.”

“Mississippi’s law is not banning all abortions in that state. Surely if another facility could comply with the law, it would be allowed to stay open,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who first suggested some of the challenged provisions be included in HB 1390.

“What is being missed here is that the one facility left in the state is engaged in substandard practices that endanger women. Would the Court think that if Kermit Gosnell operated the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, that the state would be forced to keep him in business? Diane Derzis’ shoddy abortion practices that have been documented to endanger women are little better. The Court was concerned that irreparable harm would come to Derzis’ abortion business if it was forced to close, but it seems it failed to consider the irreparable harm done to women who are exposed to shoddy abortions done by her primary abortionist Bruce Norman, who has a long history of hurting women. Shouldn’t protecting women from back-alley practices by abortionist who cannot qualify for hospital privileges trump protecting Derzis’ profit margin?”

Derzis and Norman were ordered by an Alabama court to shut down their abortion business in Birmingham after it was found to pose a danger to the public, and later, to be operating illegally. Those same practices that forced Derzis’ out of Alabama, are present at her Mississippi facility.

In what amounts to gymnastics in the rules of logic, the Court admits that the Mississippi law meets constitutional requirements on its face and is not substantially different from Texas’ HB2, which was found to meet constitutional muster by the Fifth Circuit last year. Nevertheless, the Mississippi law was found unconstitutional only because Mississippi would be left with no abortion facility. While the Court ruled that traveling 150 miles inside the state borders of Texas to receive an abortion was constitutional, it ruled that women who drive shorter distances through Mississippi to obtain abortions in neighboring states is unconstitutional.

This begs the question of whether the state can be required to open an abortion business if all private abortion businesses make decisions to close.

The Court also inexplicably used a Missouri Equal Protection case that applied to a state-run university to further bolster its Mississippi ruling. That cased involved the denial of admission to the University of Missouri’s law school – a state-run institution – to a black student. Instead, the University offered the student a state-funded tuition stipend to attend law school in another state. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this practice was unconstitutional because it essentially prohibited black students from attending Missouri’s law school in that state. [Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938)]

“A situation of a state institution employing racially discriminatory practices is much different than that of a private business that poses a health risk to the public. Again, the state isn’t saying no abortions can ever take place, but only that the licenses of dangerous abortion business can be revoked in the interest of public safety. The Court is comparing apples with oranges and reaching a seriously flawed conclusion that is placing the lives and health of women at risk,” said Newman.

While yesterday’s Fifth Circuit ruling upholding the preliminary injunction keeps the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in business for now, a trial on the merits of the constitutional challenge to the law has yet to occur. Ultimately, this case is likely to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court for a final resolution.

In the meantime, there can be no doubt that women in Mississippi will continue to be placed in harm’s way due to two judges that have decided to insulate Derzis’ shoddy abortion business from culpability under the law.

Read the Decision
Read background of abuses at JWHO

Brigham Attempts to Claim Botched, Illegal Abortions Done in “Good Faith”

By Cheryl Sullenger

Trenton, New Jersey — Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham was in a New Jersey court on Friday seeking to persuade a judge to allow him to keep his last remaining medical license, which is currently under suspension after the discovery of his secret illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme in 2010.

Brigham’s attorney, Joseph Gorrell, asked Administrative Law Judge Jeff Masin to consider “good faith” motivations for Brigham’s actions that nearly cost at least one young patient her life.

“’Good faith’ and ‘Brigham’ are two terms that don’t belong in the same sentence. Brigham has such a sordid – and heavily documented — history of abortion abuses, crimes, and deceptive behavior that it’s hard to believe that any judge would need to spend more than five minutes on a decision to revoke his license,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “If you think Kermit Gosnell was bad, Brigham is much worse in many ways, because he has extended his corrupt organization and slovenly abortion practices to a chain of mills that has allowed him to exploit women in at least eight states at one time or another.”

The current case against Brigham began when he initiated a 22-week abortion on an 18-year old teenager, known in court records as D.B., at his Voorhees, New Jersey, abortion facility, even though he was not permitted to do abortions there after 14 week.

According to interview transcripts and other records obtained by Operation Rescue, Brigham then led a caravan of patients, including D.B. and her mother, to what one of his employees described as a “secret late-term abortion clinic” that he operated in Maryland even though he has never been licensed in that state. There, under his supervision and with his assistance, Brigham’s associate, Utah abortionist Nicola Riley, began a Dilation and Evacuation dismemberment abortion on D.B. that resulted in uterine perforation and a pulled bowel.

So horrific were D.B.’s injuries and so suspicious was Brigham’s behavior when they finally transported her to a nearby emergency room in the back seat of his rental car, that hospital staff notified the police and filed a complaint with the Maryland Board of Physicians. Police who raided Brigham’s “secret” Elkton abortion facility discovered the remains of 35 late-term abortion babies in a bloody freezer.

The New Jersey Board of Physicians suspended Brigham’s license, stating that his “continued practice presents a clear and imminent danger” to the public. He was arrested on murder charges in Maryland related to the late-term baby remains, but those charges were later dropped after a witness withdrew from the case.

Friday’s 2½ hour hearing was for the purpose of presenting mitigating evidence before a final ruling is made on the fate of Brigham’s license. A full disciplinary hearing lasting several days took place last October.

The State Attorney General’s office, which is seeking the revocation of Brigham’s medical license, asked Judge Masin to consider several facts about Brigham’s checkered history, including his license revocation in New York and actions in Pennsylvania, which not only revoked his license there but have also banned him from owning abortion businesses in that state.

However, in a surprising move, Judge Masin denied that request.

Masin noted that after the New York revocation, a New Jersey judge disagreed with the New York findings and allowed Brigham to keep his New Jersey license. Masin also noted that since the Pennsylvania case is still in litigation, he would not consider it in making his decision.

Gorrell attempted to downplay the Pennsylvania case as “selective enforcement,” portraying Brigham as a victim rather than a victimizer, as Operation Rescue believes the evidence overwhelmingly supports. However, Masin appropriately rejected that line of defense.

After the hearing Gorrell took the fictional victimization of Brigham to new lows when he told reporters that his client is an “easy target for pro-life advocates.”

“It is only because of Brigham’s own reprehensible behavior that he faces legal problems he has today,” said Newman. “He has no one to blame but himself. It would be a huge miscarriage of justice if he was allowed to continue inflicting his quackery on women.”

Judge Masin’s recommendation, which is expected soon, would then go to the full Board of Physicians for approval.

But unfortunately, even license revocation may not affect Brigham’s American Women’s Services chain of 11 abortion facilities currently operating in New Jersey, Virginia, and Florida. Those facilities will likely remain open and lining Brigham’s pockets with the help of other abortionists of dubious character that have been employed by Brigham.

“Brigham’s abortion business is a haven for the bottom of the barrel criminals and quacks masquerading as medical doctors, and that’s just the unvarnished truth,” said Newman. “We have reviewed hundreds of pages of disciplinary documents. Every medical misfit on the east coast that has run out of options seems to have found a welcome home in Brigham’s abortion organization.”

Whether or not Brigham’s New Jersey medical license is finally revoked, Operation Rescue vows to continue to work toward bringing Brigham’s abortion empire to an end.

“As far as we are concerned, our job isn’t done until Brigham is out of the abortion business for good and every one of his seedy abortion mills is closed through peaceful, legal means,” said Newman.

Read the Second Amended Complaint (7 counts) against Brigham

SUCCESS! Kansas Abortion Facility Subject of Operation Rescue Complaint for Failure to Report Abuse Shuts Down

By Cheryl Sullenger

Kansas City, KS — A troubled Kansas City abortion facility, Central Family Medical, also known as Aid For Women, announced on its website that it has ceased operations effective July 26, 2014, stating that its abortionist, Ronald Yeomans, and clinic administrator were “retiring.”

Pro-life activists discovered the closure when they arrived at the facility to offer help to abortion-bound women. After seeing no sign of activity on a normally busy Saturday, they checked the Aid for Women website and found the closure notice.

Under pressure from Operation Rescue’s complaint

centralmillclosedAid for Women was under pressure from a Kansas State Board of Healing Arts investigation that was based on a complaint filed by Operation Rescue in 2012. That complaint included evidence that Aid For Women pre-checked boxes on official health department Termination of Pregnancy forms to indicate that there was no suspicion of abuse for women obtaining abortions at that facility. This indicated that Aid For Women engaged in the illegal practice of never reporting abuse.

Operation Rescue was informed just last week in a letter from the Board of Healing Arts that the two-year-old case against Aid For Women’s only abortionist, Ronald Yeomans, was still ongoing.

“We are aware that Yeomans was feeling the heat from the Board on some very serious allegations, including failure to report suspected incidents of abuse,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “While Board investigations are confidential, the case was at a point in time when we would expect that Yeomans was having his legal options limited. There is no doubt that in addition to the faithful presence of local pro-life activists outside that facility, our case contributed to his decision to retire and shut down his seedy abortion operation, although I doubt that he would ever admit it.”

Informant provides evidence

Operation Rescue’s 2012 complaint was based on documents and medical refuse, supplied to Operation Rescue by a confidential informant, which were improperly dumped by the abortion facility. Those documents contained private medical information for 86 identifiable women, including at least four minors, who visited the clinic for abortions during the single month of April, 2012.

In addition to the pre-checked Termination of Pregnancy reports that concealed possible abuse, the Aid For Women papers contained the following:

• Names of abortion patients.
• Patient ages.
• Gestational ages of their pregnancies.
• Patient phone numbers.
• Photocopies of patient driver’s licenses.
• The date and cost of the abortions.
• Sonograms with information such as patient name, date, and age of the pre-born baby.
• Empty cash envelopes that indicated the names of the abortion patients, date of the abortions, how much cash was placed in the envelopes, and other medical information.
• Communications from the clinic medical director regarding a 2011 clinic licensing law that showed mocking contempt for safety regulations.
• Admission that the only suction mechanism they have to clear airways is a uterine cannula attached to the abortion suction machine that would likely injure the trachea.
• Admission that they would not intubate patients who need it out of fear of lawsuits.
• Admission that the surgical assistants have no licensing whatsoever.

Local activists also supplied Operation Rescue with incriminating video showing post-abortive women in various stages of distress being routinely released from the abortion facility before they were stabilized. Most were unable to stand or walk on their own, with some in obvious pain.

In order to protect the privacy of women that has been so completely disregarded by the abortion facility, Operation Rescue turned over the original records and other materials to the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.

Sued to stop reporting child sex abuse

Aid For Women was so defiant of the Kansas mandatory child abuse reporting law that it once sued former Attorney General Phill Kline, challenging his opinion that abortionists were mandatory reporters. A Federal Court judge known for liberal rulings originally sided with AFW, dangerously declaring that the reporting of suspected child sexual abuse should be left to the discretion of abortionists. That case was later dismissed as moot after wording in the law was modified.

Long history of sloppy practices

Operation Rescue published an exposé in May, 2012, detailing the long history of problems at Aid for Women, which is owned by convicted felon Malcom Knarr. During his tenure as abortionist there, Knarr’s license was suspended for substandard patient care issues including botched abortions, failure to maintain malpractice insurance, writing illegal prescriptions, and failure to monitor drugs resulting in the disappearance of narcotics.

According to a former employee of Knarr’s, who filed an affidavit against him in 1992, these kinds of complications were common. Knarr once left a tenaculum and speculum inside a patient and was known to come to the clinic while chemically impaired.

Should have closed 3 years ago

In 2011, the Kansas Legislature passed a sweeping abortion facility licensing law that would have placed clinics under the oversight of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It would have also required abortion facilities to submit to inspections and meet minimum safety requirements.

Aid For Women admitted in their initial license application that they were not in compliance. The facility would have been denied a license to operate and closed at that point, but a lawsuit filed by another Kansas abortionist blocked enforcement of the law. This allowed AFW to continue operations for an additional three years despite the awareness that their practices were dangerously below standard.

That case continues to languish in Shawnee County District Court with no end in sight. There has been no activity on the case whatsoever since August, 2012, despite repeated urgings by Operation Rescue that Attorney General Derek Schmidt defend the law.

“The hidden scandal in this whole affair is that a law was passed and signed that should have shut down Aid for Women and other substandard facilities three years ago because they fail to meet minimum medical health and safety standards. But because of a lack of prosecution, deficient and dangerous abortion facilities continue to defiantly operate. It is a national embarrassment for the State of Kansas,” said Newman, who strongly supports the law. “Instead, Aid For Women’s sleazy abortion business had to be closed by citizens who reported their back-alley-like behavior or stood outside the facility day after day warning and offering help to unsuspecting women who had no idea what kind of shoddy practices awaited them inside.”

Another state shows Kansas law would successfully save thousands of lives

A law similar to the 2011 Kansas abortion clinic licensing law was passed in Texas in July, 2013. Since then, over half of that state’s 41 abortion clinics have closed resulting in 9,200 fewer abortions. This represents an impressive 13% decrease in abortions in just one year. By September 1, when the remainder of the Texas provisions go into effect, only six abortion facilities are expected to remain open, which is sure to result in thousands of additional lives saved. This proves that enacting the Kansas abortion law will close substandard abortion clinics, protect women, and save lives.

“We rejoice that a horrific Kansas abortion mill has closed. We know that lives will be spared and women will be protected from abuse and exploitation, but we remain very concerned about the remaining three abortion facilities in Kansas that are currently unaccountable and daily placing women at risk simply because we have an attorney general that refuses to do his duty and defend a duly constituted law. Because of this governmental failure, women and their babies are denied the protections they deserve. We again urge Governor Sam Brownback to order the Kansas Attorney General’s office to immediately defend the 2001 abortion clinic licensing law.”

Sign the petition to Gov. Brownback asking him to order the Attorney General’s office to defend the 2011 abortion facility licensing law.