SELMA, AL, February 10, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Citizens of Selma, Alabama, have seen the harm that comes when law enforcement turns a blind eye to human rights violations. Now, the state is ignoring an abortion facility that is operating illegally in the historic civil rights site, a coalition of national right to life groups warned at a press conference this morning.
The Central Alabama Women's Clinic, run by Dr. Samuel Lett, has violated Alabama law by performing abortions without a proper license, they say.
Under Alabama law, any facility performing more than nine abortions a month must have a state license. But undercover investigators say they scheduled 10 abortions within a matter of weeks at the facility, located at 1013 Medical Center Parkway.
“During these calls, a woman answered the phone and confirmed that the individuals could obtain an abortion at the clinic. More than 10 appointments for abortions were scheduled between July 1, 2014 and July 22, 2014,” Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) Senior Staff Counsel Allison Aranda wrote in a letter to ADPH Deputy General Counsel Brian Hale. “The evidence obtained during the investigation strongly suggested that Dr. Lett was operating an illegal abortion clinic in Selma.”
Aranda took that evidence to state health officials, and waited.
“We implored the ADPH to act swiftly and efficiently to confirm our evidence and shut down the illegal abortion clinic. Yet, eight months have passed and it is unclear if the ADPH has even begun an investigation into Dr. Lett’s illegal activities,” Aranda wrote in a follow-up letter sent last Tuesday, when she also alerted the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners to Letts' activities.
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Aranda was outraged the state had not acted sooner.
“The women of Alabama are entitled to quality medical services that are provided by licensed medical professionals, not questionable care provided by an unlicensed abortionist operating an unregulated back alley abortion clinic. We have given the ADPH ample time to conduct a thorough investigation and to take action,” she wrote. “The citizens of Alabama have a right to know that Dr. Lett is not an authorized abortion provider and that his actions have gone unregulated by the ADPH.”
To amplify that sentiment, representatives of LLDF, Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), Operation Rescue, and the National Black Pro-Life Coalition held a press conference outside the alleged abortion facility this morning.
Rev. Terry Gensemer, director of CEC For Life and a resident of Alabama, wondered why the state would ignore a doctor who preys on poor people and minorities.
“Agencies like the ADPH are put in place to ensure the highest standard of safety for every patient. Months of inaction on a case like this imply targeted apathy towards the lives of Alabama women, while also bringing into question the intentions of the Department of Public Health,” Fr. Gensemer said. “Is this women's clinic, whose main clientele is low-income minorities, somehow exempt from state laws and regulations?”
Concerned citizens and LLDF attorneys have been asking that question for some time. They noted that the New Women, All Women abortion facility in Birmingham operated illegally without a license until it was finally closed by a state judge's order.
Catherine Davis of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition stated that “Alabama has joined a number of states in turning a blind eye to violations of the law by abortionists.”
“Women – mostly black and mostly poor – are being subjected to substandard medical care that has left them physically and psychologically injured, and sometimes dead. We demand justice for the babies that are being ripped apart, illegally, every day. We demand justice for the women that have suffered botched abortions in this center,” she said.
Troy Newman of Operation Rescue said ADPH's indifference is encouraging abortionists to evade the law statewide.
“It is imperative to note that this is the second illegal clinic our organizations have uncovered in Alabama within the last three years,” he said. “With such a slow reaction from state agencies in both cases, we cannot help but express overwhelming concern that these two clinics are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg.”