By Kathleen Gilbert
VOORHEES, New Jersey, September 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A New Jersey abortionist under criminal investigation has made an attempt to slip out of prosecutors' grasp by claiming that neither New Jersey nor Maryland, where he ferried his clients mid-abortion to complete the late-term procedures, are in a position to sue him.
Stephen Chase Brigham, who once operated an empire of abortion clinics in four states, has come under scrutiny after a botched abortion last month led government officials to uncover his practice of starting late-term abortions in New Jersey and completing them in Maryland. The abortionist is not licensed to conduct late-term abortions in New Jersey, nor is he licensed to practice medicine in Maryland.
But in documents filed earlier this week, Brigham claims that New Jersey is not able to prosecute him, because he won a similar New Jersey suit and kept his license following a 1994 botched abortion. That incident led to the loss of his license in New York, where officials condemned his "inexcusably bad judgment" for slicing a woman's uterus, cervix, and uterine artery and failing to realize it until hours later.
Joseph Gorrell, Brigham's attorney, told the Courier Post that all the abortionist's actions "complied with applicable law and was in conformance with accepted standards of medical practice." Brigham also claims that New Jersey has no jurisdiction regarding the Maryland abortions, and that state had launched "no disciplinary or criminal action" against him.
However, officials dispute the claim that Brigham's case can be so easily discarded.
C. Irving Pinder Jr., executive director of the Maryland Board of Physicians, said regulators are cooperating with criminal investigators, adding that Brigham is "playing a word game."
"He hasn't been charged by the board because he's not licensed by the board. But there are criminal investigations going on. We've been in touch with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies," said Pinder, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The New Jersey Attorney General's office says that Brigham's activities "flagrantly" disregarded medical rules, and jeopardized patients' health.
The scheme was uncovered when one of the abortionists under Brigham, Nicola Riley, cut the uterus and bowel of an abortion patient so badly that she had to be flown from Elkton Md. to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
The case is reportedly slated to go before the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners on Oct. 13.
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Four-State Abortion Empire Crumbles Following Botched Abortion