Birmingham, AL — After weeks of silence, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has finally responded to concerns expressed by a coalition of state and national pro-life groups and said it is investigating possible illegal operations at the New Woman All Women abortion clinic in Birmingham.
The pro-life groups held press conference yesterday led by Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC for Life, who shared with the media documentation that NWAW had begun illegal abortion services after being closed down by the ADPH last year for massive health and safety violations.
The ADPH responded by releasing a statement that said in part, “The Alabama Department of Public Health is conducting an ongoing investigation into whether an unlicensed abortion/reproductive health center is being operated at 1001 17thSt. S. in Birmingham… ADPH does not comment on the status of open investigations.”
In addition, Fr. Gensemer was also contacted by Kevin Turner, a representative of the State Attorney General’s office, to convey that “Attorney General Strange and his office are actively looking into the matter.”
“It is encouraging that the ADPH and the Attorney General’s office are both engaged on this matter, but the fact remains that New Woman All Women is continuing its dangerous criminal abortion business, and as of today, no action has been taken to protect the public and close it down,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Derzis and Norman have the attitude that they are above the law. The only way to make sure people like them comply with it is to lock them in jail.”
On January 21, 2012, pro-life activists photographed two women being carried out of the clinic’s back door to ambulances waiting in a trash-strewn alley, and obtained the 911 recordings that indicated both women had been overdosed by clinic staff. Pro-life groups filed a complaint with the ADPH, which conducted an inspection and discovered that a third woman was also hospitalized on that same day suffering from abortion complications and 76-pages of other deficiencies, many of which were repeat violations.
In a Consent Order entered on April 3, 2012, owner Diane Derzis and her associate Norman were ordered not to have any further involvement in the Birmingham clinic. Two attempts by a close associate of Derzis’ to relicense the clinic failed. The most recent application for licensure was denied just last month. Ignoring the law and the closure order, Derzis reopened her abortion clinic illegally without proper licensing.
Pro-life activists have witnessed abortionist Norman at the NWAW clinic in recent days. An undercover phone call made on March 8, 2013, by an Operation Rescue investigator to the number on the New Woman All Women web site confirmed that NWAW and Norman were illegally providing abortions in violation of the consent order and Alabama law that requires abortion businesses and offices that advertise abortions to be licensed by the state.
In addition to CEC for Life and Operation Rescue, groups working to keep NWAW closed include Life Legal Defense Foundation, Priests for Life, Samford Students for Life, Bama Students for Life, and others. All groups have vowed to maintain public pressure on Alabama officials until the dangerous and illegal abortion operations NWAW are stopped for good.