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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Newsbusters Staff

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Disney ABC embraces X-rated anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage in new prime time show

Newsbusters Staff
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March 30, 2015 (NewsBusters.org) -- Media Research Center (MRC) and Family Research Council (FRC) are launching a joint national campaign to educate the public about a Disney ABC sitcom pilot based on the life of bigoted activist Dan Savage. MRC and FRC contacted Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, more than two weeks ago urging him to put a stop to this atrocity but received no response. [Read the full letter]

A perusal of Dan Savage’s work reveals a career built on advocating violence — even murder — and spewing hatred against people of faith. Savage has spared no one with whom he disagrees from his vitriolic hate speech. Despite his extremism, vulgarity, and unabashed encouragement of dangerous sexual practices, Disney ABC is moving forward with this show, disgustingly titled “Family of the Year.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:

“Disney ABC’s decision to effectively advance Dan Savage’s calls for violence against conservatives and his extremist attacks against people of faith, particularly evangelicals and Catholics, is appalling and outrageous. If hate speech were a crime, this man would be charged with a felony. Disney ABC giving Dan Savage a platform for his anti-religious bigotry is mind-boggling and their silence is deafening.

“By creating a pilot based on the life of this hatemonger and bringing him on as a producer, Disney ABC is sending a signal that they endorse Dan Savage’s wish that a man be murdered. He has stated, ‘Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.’ ABC knows this. We told them explicitly.

“If the production of ‘Family of the Year’ is allowed to continue, not just Christians but all people of goodwill can only surmise that the company Walt Disney created is endorsing violence.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacts:

“Does ABC really want to produce a pilot show based on a vile bully like Dan Savage?  Do Dan Savage’s over-the top-obscenity, intimidation of teenagers and even violent rhetoric reflect the values of Disney?  Partnering with Dan Savage and endorsing his x-rated message will be abandoning the wholesome values that have attracted millions of families to Walt Disney.”

Dan Savage has made numerous comments about conservatives, evangelicals, and Catholics that offend basic standards of decency. They include:

  • Proclaiming that he sometimes thinks about “f****ing the shit out of” Senator Rick Santorum

  • Calling for Christians at a high school conference to “ignore the bull**** in the Bible”

  • Saying that “the only thing that stands between my d*** and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper” when expressing his feelings on Pope Benedict’s opposition to gay marriage

  • Promoting marital infidelity

  • Saying “Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.”

  • Telling Bill Maher that he wished Republicans “were all f***ing dead”

  • Telling Dr. Ben Carson to “suck my d***. Name the time and place and I’ll bring my d*** and a camera crew and you can s*** me off and win the argument.”

Reprinted with permission from Newsbusters

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Jacqueline Harvey

Ending the end-of-life impasse: Texas is poised to ban doctor-imposed death by starvation

Jacqueline Harvey
By Jacqueline Harvey

AUSTIN, Texas, March 30, 2015 (TexasInsider.org)  After five consecutive sessions of bitter battles over end-of-life bills, the Texas Legislature is finally poised to pass the first reform to the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) in 12 years. An issue that created uncanny adversaries out of natural allies, and equally odd bedfellows, has finally found common ground in H.B. 3074 by State Rep. Drew Springer.  

H.B. 3074 simply prohibits doctor-imposed euthanasia by starvation and dehydration.

Since H.B. 3074 includes only those provisions and language that all major organizations are on record as having deemed acceptable in previous legislative sessions, there is finally hope of ending the end-of-life impasse in the Texas Capitol.

Many would be surprised to learn that Texas law allows physicians to forcibly remove a feeding tube against the will of the patient and their family. In fact, there is a greater legal penalty for failing to feed or water an animal than for a hospital to deny a human being food and water through a tube.

This is because there is no penalty whatsoever for a healthcare provider who wishes to deny artificially-administered nutrition and hydration (AANH). According to Texas Health and Safety Code, “every living dumb creature” is legally entitled access to suitable food and water.

Denying an animal food and water, like in this January case in San Antonio, is punishable by civil fines up to $10,000 and criminal penalties up to two years in jail per offense. Yet Texas law allows health care providers to forcibly deny food and water from human beings – what they would not be able to legally do to their housecat. And healthcare providers are immune from civil and criminal penalties for denial of food and water to human beings as long as they follow the current statutory process which is sorely lacking in safeguards.

Therefore, while it is surprising that Texas has the only state law that explicitly mentions food and water delivered artificially for the purpose of completely permitting its forced denial (the other six states mention AANH explicitly for the opposite purpose, to limit or prohibit its refusal), it is not at all surprising that the issue of protecting a patient’s right to food and water is perhaps the one point of consensus across all major stakeholders.

H.B. 3074 is the first TADA reform bill to include only this provision that is agreed upon across all major players in previous legislative sessions.

There are irreconcilable ideological differences between two major right-to-life organizations that should supposedly be like-minded: Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life. Each faction (along with their respective allies) have previously sponsored broad and ambitious bills to either preserve but reform the current law (Texas Alliance for Life’s position) or overturn it altogether as Texas Right to Life aims to do.

Prior to H.B. 3074, bills filed by major advocacy organizations have often included AANH, but also a host of other provisions that were so contentious and unacceptable to other organizations that each bill ultimately died, and this mutually-agreed-upon and vital reform always died along with it.

2011 & 2013 Legislative Sessions present prime example

This 2011 media report shows the clear consensus on need for legislation to simply address the need to protect patients’ rights to food and water:

“Hughes [bill sponsor for Texas Right to Life] has widespread support for one of his bill’s goals: making food and water a necessary part of treatment and not something that can be discontinued, unless providing it would harm the patient.”

Nonetheless, in 2013, both organizations and their allies filed complicated, contentious opposing bills, both of which would have protected a patient’s right to food and water but each bill also included provisions the rival group saw as contrary to their goals. Both bills were ultimately defeated and neither group was able to achieve protections for patients at risk of forced starvation and dehydration – a mutual goal that could have been met through a third, narrow bill like H.B. 3074.

H.B. 3074 finally focuses on what unites the organizations involved rather than what divides them, since these differences have resulted in a 12 year standoff with no progress whatsoever.

H.B. 3074 is progress that is pre-negotiated and pre-approved.

It is not a fertile springboard for negotiations on an area of mutual agreement. Rather it is the culmination of years of previous negotiations on bills that all came too late, either due to the complexnature of rival bills, the controversy involved, or even both.

On the contrary, H.B. 3074 is not just simply an area of agreement; moreover, it is has already been negotiated. It should not be stymied by disagreements on language, since Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life (along with their allies) were able to agree on language in 2007 with C.S.S.B. 439. C.S.S.B. 439 reads that, unlike the status quo that places no legal conditions on when food and water may be withdrawn, it would be permitted for those in a terminal condition if,

“reasonable medical evidence indicates the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration may hasten the patient’s death or seriously exacerbate other major medical problems and the risk of serious medical pain or discomfort that cannot be alleviated based on reasonable medical judgment outweighs the benefit of continued artificial nutrition and hydration.”

This language is strikingly similar to H.B. 3074 which states, “except that artificially administered nutrition and hydration must be provided unless, based on reasonable medical judgment, providingartificially administered nutrition and hydration would:

  1. Hasten the patient’s death;
  2. Seriously exacerbate other major medical problems not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  3. Result in substantial irremediable physical pain, suffering, or discomfort not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  4. Be medically ineffective; or
  5. Be contrary to the patient’s clearly stated desire not to receive artificially administered nutrition or hydration.”

With minimal exceptions (the explicit mention of the word terminal, the issue of medical effectiveness and the patient’s right to refuse), the language is virtually identical, and in 2007 Texas Right to Life affirmed this language as clarifying that “ANH can only be withdrawn if the risk of providing ANH is greater than the benefit of continuing it.”

Texas Right to Life would support the language in H.B. 3074 that already has Texas Alliance for Life’s endorsement. Any reconciliation on the minor differences in language would therefore be minimal and could be made by either side, but ultimately, both sides and their allies would gain a huge victory – the first victory in 12 years on this vital issue.

It seems that the Texas Advance Directive Act, even among its sympathizers, has something for everyone to oppose.

The passage of H.B. 3074 and the legal restoration of rights to feeding tubes for Texas patients will not begin to satisfy critics of the Texas Advance Directives Act who desire much greater changes to the law and will assuredly continue to pursue them. H.B. 3074 in no way marks the end for healthcare reform, but perhaps a shift from the belief that anything short of sweeping changes is an endorsement of the status quo.

Rather, we can look at H.B. 3074 as breaking a barrier and indicating larger changes are possible.

And if nothing else, by passing H.B. 3074 introduced by State Rep. Drew Springer, we afford human beings in Texas the same legal access to food and water that we give to our horses. What is cruel to do to an animal remains legal to do to humans in Texas if organizations continue to insist on the whole of their agenda rather than agreeing to smaller bills like H.B. 3074.

The question is, can twelve years of bad blood and bickering be set aside for even this most noble of causes?

Reprinted from TexasInsider.org with the author's permission. 

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I can’t believe how quickly our annual Spring campaign has flown by. Now,with only 3 days remaining, we still have $96,000 left to raise to meet our absolute minimum goal.

That’s why I must challenge you to stop everything, right now, and make a donation of whatever amount you can afford to support the pro-life and pro-family investigative reporting of LifeSite!

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I want to thank the many readers who helped bring us within striking distance of our minimum goal with their donations over the weekend. 

But though we have made great strides in the past few days, we still need many more donations if we are going to have any hope of making it all the way by April 1st.

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