Cheryl Sullenger

Mississippi abortion clinic deceptively hides abortion abuses in court challenge

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger
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JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, June 29, 2012, (Operation Rescue) – The Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO), the last abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, filed a suit in Federal Court in an effort to block the July 1 implementation of a new law that would require all abortionists to have privileges at a local hospital. Operation Rescue has learned that the clinic’s court pleadings omit key information about their primary abortionist’s botched abortion history in a deceptive gambit to conceal the truth about his atrocious safety record.

Operation Rescue has obtained court documents filed on behalf of JWHO by the radical pro-abortion legal group, the Center for Reproductive Rights, that show dubious arguments and suspicious claims as the basis for the abortion clinic’s court challenge, including an attempt to hide the identity of their primary abortionist to keep the court from discovering his involvement in the hospitalization of three abortion patients and other abuses that led to the state ordered closure of the Birmingham abortion clinic where he worked.

[All court documents filed in this case as of this writing are available at AbortionDocs.org.]

JWHO, owned by the infamous “abortion queen” Diane Derzis, is seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the clinic open, but in court documents filed June 28, the Mississippi State Department of Health states that it plans to conduct a compliance inspection on Monday, July 2. JWHO has said that it will be impossible for them to come into compliance by that date. If it cannot comply, the abortion clinic will eventually be forced to close.

Covering Up for “Dr. John Doe”

JWHO states in court records that it employs three abortion providers. One abortionist apparently does have local hospital privileges, but only supplies abortions at JWHO on an infrequent basis.

Documents refer to “Dr. John Doe” as being “the sole physician providing abortion care on a regular basis” at JWHO until abortionist Willie Parker was hired on June 18, 2012. Parker’s declaration states that he flies to Jackson “once a month” to conduct abortions. Parker’s name is featured as a plaintiff on the law suit. “Dr. Doe” is not a named plaintiff – an intentional omission meant to conceal “Doe’s” troubled past.

“Dr. Doe” is none other than Bruce Elliot Norman, who was employed until recently at New Woman All Women (NWAW), a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic formerly owned by Derzis. Norman was the abortionist on duty on January 21, 2012, when three abortion patients were hospitalized – one in intensive care – for life threatening abortion complications. After pro-life activists filed complaints, the Alabama Department of Health (ADOH) discovered 76 pages of deficiencies and ordered the clinic closed.

An additional complaint against Norman was filed by Operation Rescue with the Medical Board. That complaint is still under investigation.

“There can be no doubt that JWHO is trying to white-wash the dangers of Norman’s abortions by putting Parker front and center in their law suit. Parker has had no complications in Jackson yet because he’s only been employed by them for eleven days,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The court is clearly being misled about the safety of abortions by JWHO staff.”

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In fact, the JWHO claims in court documents that “the Clinic has an impeccable safety record.” It further states that since Derzis took over ownership of the clinic in 2010, “the Clinic has had no major incidents, nor has a single patient required admittance to the emergency room after receiving an abortion at the Clinic.”

Yet, in Alabama, Derzis was ordered not to have any affiliation with the NWAW abortion clinic because of the appalling and dangerous way her abortion business was conducted. JWHO uses the same business model and the same primary abortionist.

Three hospitalizations in one day

Pro-life activists photographed two of Norman’s patients being hand-carried out of the Birmingham abortion clinic to gurneys waiting in a trash-strewn alley after being overdosed on Vasopressin by a clinic worker. Vasopressin is used to treat excessive bleeding. They filed complaints with the ADOH.

The ADOH discovered a third victim of Norman’s during a chart review while conducting an investigation into the abortion-related drug overdoses.

That patient reported for an abortion at 16 weeks gestation – the upper limit for abortions at JWCO – with multiple risk factors that increased her chances for serious complications. Norman took an hour to do the Dilation and Extraction (dismemberment) abortion. At one point he stopped and ordered Pitocin, a drug that increases the intensity of uterine contractions, for the patient because he was having difficulty with the procedure. The patient was not monitored while the Pitocin was given, in violation of patient standards of care. The abortion was later completed, but complications handed the patient in the hospital’s Intensive Care ward.

Norman’s “blatantly false” records

The ADOH deficiency report indicated that notations made on the patient charts were illegible, nonsensical, or just blatantly false. For example, one record showed the patient’s procedure time nearly an hour after her documented discharge.

Norman indicated on two charts that the women were “Ambulatory, d/ced [discharged] with no distress”, meaning they walked out of the clinic in good condition. However, those patients were the same ones who were transported to a local hospital in January after having suffered a drug overdose administrated by an inadequately trained nurse.

Norman made notes on some records that he performed ultrasounds on abortion patients the same day as their abortions, prior to their surgeries as state law mandates. However, the survey team discovered several ultrasound photos dated days after a patient had an abortion.

The survey team also found that records that had been forwarded to them before the investigation had been altered when they arrived on-site.

A botched abortion and other documented violations at JWHO

In 2008, an ambulance was called to JWHO to transport a critically injured abortion patient to the hospital. A pro-life activist photographed the event. A confidential source tells Operation Rescue that the abortion on duty that day was Bruce Elliot Norman, even though other records show that the clinic covered this incident by claiming another abortionist was actually on duty that day.

On August 28, 2009, the Mississippi Department of Health issued a 29-page deficiency report that included 18 violations discovered by state inspectors. The report stated that JWHO failed to ensure that all employees were trained in emergency resuscitation, failed to enforce their own policies regarding access to medications, and failed to keep the abortion suites clean and sanitary. In fact, inspectors discovered that medical waste, including aborted baby remains, were being improperly stored in cardboard boxes next to the recovery room at a temperature of 68 degrees.

Many of the clinic staff employed at the time of these incidents continue to work at JWCO today, including the clinic administrator.

“Deception is a way of life.”

“It is vitally important for the court to know the full truth about the abortionists who are working at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization,” said Newman who first recommended the hospital privilege requirement to a Mississippi pro-life lobbyist who pressed forward with the bill. “The court should also consider the fact that Derzis and Norman employed deceptive practices to cover up for abortion injuries and to avoid legal consequences. Based on what we have seen, for these people deception is a way of life.”

That deception continues by omitting Norman’s troubles from the Federal Court in Jackson, Mississippi.

“It appears that Parker was an eleventh-hour hire because the abortion clinic needed someone without Norman’s dirty record in order to portray abortions in Mississippi as being safer than they really are,” said Newman.

Dubious health endangerment claims

JWCO’s suit argues that it must be allowed to say open, even if it cannot comply with the hospital privilege safety law, because its closure would “threaten the health of women seeking abortions.”

“JWCO’s argument turns the truth on its head. In reality, with abortionists like Bruce Norman manning the abortion rooms, there is documented evidence that the health of women is in dire peril,” said Newman. “The abortion clinic and its shady abortionists are the true danger to women. Again, theirs is a smoke-and-mirrors deceptive claim with no basis in fact.”

Closure will not be immediate

As JWCO faces a July 1 compliance deadline, the Department of Health’s own procedures could delay closure for weeks or months. According to court documents filed on June 28 by Michael Lucius, the state’s Deputy Health Officer, the Health Department will have 10 working days from the inspection to file a deficiency report. JWCO will then have 10 calendar days to file a “reasonable” corrective plan. After that, the Health Department will again inspect to determine compliance. If the clinic still is in violation, a notice of intent to revoke its license will be mailed. If the clinic requests it, a hearing will be scheduled. Hearing decisions can be appealed. Mississippi law allows for the status quo of the licensee to be preserved until the final disposition of the matter, which could take several months.

“We had hoped the clinic would close on July 2, but unfortunately, that will not happen,” said Newman. “While we regret the delay, we have every confidence that the system will work and that the Jackson Women’s Health Organization will eventually close.

“The provision mandating that abortionists hold privileges at local hospitals is a reasonable and necessary safety measure that has already been upheld in court. If JWCO cannot meet this minimum safety requirement, then it is in the best interest of the public for it to close. When abortion clinics close, lives are saved. That’s not a bad thing for anyone except the abortionists.”

View Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s profile page at AbortionDocs.org (with links to court documents).

This article originally appeared on the website of Operation Rescue and is reprinted with permission.

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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 

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President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
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What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

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"It is noble to combat a deadly disease," Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that "it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the email to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in the ice bucket challenge," said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.

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Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

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By Kirsten Anderson
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Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

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But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”

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