By Cheryl Sullenger
Annapolis, MD — Operation Rescue has uncovered another surgical abortion facility in Maryland currently operating illegitimately without a required facility license. This is the third unlicensed abortion facility uncovered by Operation Rescue in that state this year.
This discovery comes just weeks after the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene chose to ignore evidence submitted by Operation Rescue that Harold O. Alexander continues to unlawfully conduct late-term surgical abortions without a surgical abortion facility license at Integrated Ob/Gyn of Forestville, Maryland.
This week, a recorded telephone conversation with an abortion office worker confirmed that Women’s Health Care Center, located in Bethesda, Maryland, is currently conducting surgical abortions even though there is no evidence that it has ever been licensed to do so.
Women’s Health Care Center does not appear on the most recent lists of licensed surgical abortion facilities released in April and May of 2016. The DHMH website page that lists licensed surgical abortion facilities and links to their inspection reports dating back to 2013, when surgical abortion facilities were first required to be licensed in Maryland. It also is not listed on the DHMH’s current roster of licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers.
While the Women’s Health Care Center refuses to say how late surgical abortions are done there, women are charged $120 for an examination and consultation, then $250 and up for a surgical abortion.
Records reviewed by Operation Rescue indicate that the Women’s Health Care Center may not have been inspected since 1993, after a patient death, raising questions about the safety of the facility.
Alan J. Ross, who conducts the abortions, is seen in a video on the Women’s Health Care Center website carefully avoiding the word “abortion.” The video refers instead to “pain-free surgical and non-surgical procedures.”
“We provide all services related to gynecological and pregnancy care,” Ross assures viewers in the video.
Ross says he runs facilities in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, but Operation Rescue confirmed that the Gaithersburg site was closed in 2015. All patients are now seen at the Bethesda location.
In 1993, Ross’ medical license was suspended and he was later placed on probation for breaching the standard of care for a 28-year old abortion patient who died after Ross failed to realize she suffered from an ectopic pregnancy that was not removed during the abortion procedure. The pregnancy ruptured her fallopian tube, which resulted in a fatal heart attack.
Maryland Board of Physicians a found that Ross’ overall practice was “deficient.” His medical records were illegible and inadequate. His staff disposed of aborted baby remains in the regular trash. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases were done in Ross’ office and not a lab. The Board found he was not even proficient in performing such tests.
“It is unconscionable that a man like Ross is allowed to operate outside the protective oversight that licensing is supposed to provide,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Women’s lives and health are being placed at risk every day at his illicit facility, which appears never to have been inspected for over two decades.”
Operation Rescue has submitted evidence of the violation to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Board of Physicians.
Earlier this year, the Hillcrest Clinic in Baltimore had been caught illegally dumping patient records while it was closed for renovations. Operation Rescue discovered that when it reopened in April 2016, it had not yet been licensed to conduct surgical abortions. As in the case of Integrated Ob/Gyn, a complaint filed against the Hillcrest Clinic pertaining to the operation of an unlicensed abortion facility was also ignored by the DHMH.
“Maryland has a huge illegal abortion problem. We can only hope that the Department of Health takes these complaints more seriously than they did our complaints against the Integrated and Hillcrest abortion businesses,” said Newman. “Why the authorities won’t shut down these illegal and dangerous abortion facilities is a mystery. It is the responsibility of the Department of Health to protect the public and it is high time for them to do their duty.”
Operation Rescue has been examining inspection reports for the eleven licensed surgical abortion facilities in Maryland. Watch for the release of those disturbing findings soon!