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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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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