Cheryl Sullenger

2013 was banner year for discipline of abortion abusers

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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December 18, 2013 (Operation Rescue) - This year was a banner year for abortion-related discipline. Several abortionists came to the attention of regulators due to complaints and publicity from Operation Rescue, which took their complaints to medical boards, health departments, and even to the Federal Election Commission and into court to shut down shoddy or illegal abortion businesses.

“We are especially excited when one of our complaints, or a situation that we helped uncover results in closed clinics and disciplined abortionists. That always means that innocent lives will be saved,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

The Eastern Seaboard has been most active during 2013 in disciplining abortionists who endanger women and break the law.

Maryland led the nation in abortion-related discipline with actions against the licenses of five abortion providers and the closure of at least three abortion clinics – all affiliated with the notorious New Jersey abortionist Steven Chase Brigham.

Brigham, who Operation Rescue has worked for years to expose, has also experienced trouble with regulators in his home state of New Jersey, where a complaint has been filed by the Attorney General’s office that is attempting to permanently revoke his last remaining medical license. Brigham is accused of illegally starting late-term abortions at his office in New Jersey, then transporting women to Maryland to complete the abortions, even though he has no medical license in that state. He also is accused of falsifying medical records to hide his abortion crimes and lying about his lack of malpractice insurance by providing a false certificate from a fraudulent insurance company in the Bahamas, which was previously closed for insurance fraud.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, the state closed Integrity Family Health after pro-life complaints that this abortion clinic was affiliated with Brigham, who was ordered not to have any part in abortion businesses in that state. Operation Rescue lodged a formal complaint against Brigham’s Pennsylvania accomplice, Eric Kfir Yahav, with the Pennsylvania authorities requesting Board discipline.

Brigham’s associate, Nicola Riley, was also disciplined in Maryland and her home state of Utah in 2013. She helped Brigham run an illegal bi-state abortion business that resulted in at least 50 illegal late-term abortions, 30% of which were done on babies beyond 20 weeks. Two of the babies aborted at Brigham’s secret Maryland abortion clinic were 31 and 33 weeks.

Maryland revoked Riley’s medical license for gross negligence and “fraudulent and deceptive” behavior after she botched a late-term abortion that brought attention to their illicit late-term abortion scheme. Maryland also found that Riley lied about a felony criminal conviction in order to gain licensure in that state, a charge that was discovered and reported by Operation Rescue. Later, Utah reprimanded Riley for unprofessional conduct for failing to call an ambulance for the woman injured during an abortion in Maryland.

In action also related to Brigham’s shoddy abortion clinic operations, the licenses of three abortionists were suspended in Maryland after an inspection discovered that a woman, Maria Santiago, had died from a botched abortion at a Brigham-affiliated facility located in a residential condo complex. One of them, Michael Basco, faces possible license revocation.

Also in Maryland, Harold O. Alexander was ordered to stop all surgical abortions after it was discovered that he was using unqualified employees to administer sedation. This followed on the heels of a license suspension due in part to a complaint by Operation Rescue. Further investigation discovered that Alexander was illegally operating his Integrated OB/GYN Services abortion clinic without a license. Operation Rescue alerted authorities and that case is pending.

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In Birmingham, Alabama, Diane Derzis’ New Woman All Women abortion clinic was ordered to close after pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, documented that the clinic was operating illegally in violation of a previous closure order. The documentation was turned over to the Alabama Department of Health, which sued to once again halt Derzis’ illegal abortion operation. In October, a judge denied the clinic’s motion to lift a previous closure order, shutting the clinic down for good. Life Legal Defense Foundation filed an Amici Curiae brief on behalf of Operation Rescue and CEC for Life that contributed to the ruling. This clinic had a history of botched abortions and 72-pages worth of health code violations.

Operation Rescue helped expose five medical emergencies that took place at a Wilmington, Delaware, Planned Parenthood and published a video taken by sidewalk counselor Rae Stabosz that showed her being attacked as she filmed one of those emergencies. That video when viral and was featured on Fox News before Youtube.com removed it. That publicity prompted two former nurses to come forward and blow the whistle on horrific conditions at the Wilmington and Dover Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. The abortionist, Timothy Liveright, who faced multiple negligence charges, entered into a consent agreement with the Delaware Board of Licensure and Discipline last month. The conditions of the agreement are set to be made public in January.

Robert L. Alexander, the Muskegon abortionist who was caught running a squalid, Gosnell-like abortion mill that was closed by the fire marshal late last year, now formally faces medical board discipline based on a complaint filed by Operation Rescue based on information provided by a confidential informant. Conditions at his abortion clinic were among the worst we have seen.

In Florida, James Pendergraft stood by earlier this year while the furnishings at his Orlando Women’s Center were hauled away to pay a multi-million dollar court judgment against him while his associate, abortionist Randall Whitney was fined $7,500 and reprimanded by the Florida Medical Board after slapping a patient during an abortion as the result of an Operation Rescue complaint. Pendergraft was able to reopen his abortion clinic but still faces mountains of legal troubles.

An unusual case of disciplinary action came as the result of a Federal Election Commission complaint filed by Operation Rescue against Julie Burkhart, who operates South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas. Burkart forked over $3,000 in fines from her Trust Women PAC, which Operation Rescue discovered was improperly funding Burkhart’s abortion operation. Burkhart remains under investigation for shoddy bookkeeping that shows over $37,000 in missing political action committee money.

In addition to the disciplinary actions taken this year, Operation Rescue staff members filed numerous complaints in 2013, which could lead to more clinic closures and disciplinary action in the future. One of the more high-profile cases that remain unresolved at this time includes an ongoing criminal investigation against Houston abortionist Douglas Karpen, who has been accused by former employees of murdering late-term babies born alive after illegal abortions. Operation Rescue worked with the women to obtain documentation of Karpen’s actions, including photographs taken on clinic workers’ cell phones of late-term aborted babies showing that their throats had been cut.

Operation Rescue works to research, document, report, and expose abortion abuses in order to save lives, spare women from exploitation at the hands of abortionists, and bring the abusers to justice. OR’s work also helps the public understand the truth behind the so-called “safe and legal” abortion trade that regularly maims women and kills babies — often illegally — in dangerous abortion mills across the nation.

“We have yet to find an abortionist that completely complies with the law. This makes the abortion industry very dangerous. When we can document abuses, we consider it a public service to report these shady abortionists to the authorities,” said Newman. “It’s gratifying to know that our work has helped save lives and has protected women from shoddy or abusive abortion practices. It’s an incentive to work even harder to end abortion altogether.”

Source documents of abortion abuses are maintained at AbortionDocs.org, a searchable database that includes every abortion clinic and known abortionist in America.

Reprinted ith permission from Operation Rescue

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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