Kirsten Andersen

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Botched abortion charges against unsanitary facility owner thrown out by his former mentor

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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MUSKEGON, MI, February 19, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The former owner of the unlicensed Muskegon abortion clinic shut down by authorities late last year for its unsanitary conditions has gone into hiding. Now, the Michigan Board of Medicine is facing hard questions from state legislators after a local news channel uncovered evidence that the board chairman used his position to shelter the abortionist from an investigation into a botched abortion in 2009 despite having an alleged conflict of interest.

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, a former member of the Board of Medicine who sits on the state Senate Health Policy Committee, is demanding a hearing to investigate why Dr. George Shade was permitted to make a ruling clearing the abortionist of any wrongdoing, considering his past close relationship with the accused, Dr. Robert Alexander.

Their relationship stretched back nearly 20 years, when Alexander lost his medical license in 1990 and served time behind bars in federal prison for selling illegal prescriptions. It was Shade who helped him get his license back upon his release, writing a letter on his behalf that the disgraced doctor used as “Exhibit A-1” in his licensing board hearing. Shade then took the ex-convict under his wing, serving as Alexander’s supervisor and mentor at a “training program” at Detroit Riverview Hospital.

When asked by Target 8 about the potential conflict of interest inherent to his close relationship to Alexander, Shade said, “It's a very detailed process to investigate, and that process was followed.” Shade added, “This conversation is over” before hanging up the phone.

In 2009, Dr. Michael Engel filed a complaint against abortionist Robert Alexander on behalf of patient Sheria McCloud, stating that he botched her abortion.

When McCloud went to Alexander’s clinic seeking an abortion, she was told she was about 10 weeks pregnant. He performed an ultrasound and an abortion. “When I left, I thought that the process was done, because when I came home, I was bleeding,” McCloud told local station Target 8.

But a month later, she felt pain and movement inside her stomach and went to the emergency room. There, an ultrasound revealed she was 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy. Her son, Jeremiah, is now three years old.

In his complaint, Engel wrote, “[McCloud] informed me that Dr. Alexander did do an ultrasound and then, ‘stuck something up inside her and moved it around, removing something.’” When Engel called Alexander to ask for clarification, the abortionist told him he performed a “limited ultrasound,” because it was hard to do the ultrasound properly, “due to the patient being obese.”

Wrote Engel, “He stated he saw a gestational sac and removed that.”

But Engel expressed skepticism. “What he sucked out, who knows,” he told Target 8. “He could have punctured her placenta. This was an outrageous thing he did.”

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Engel says he treated ten of Alexander’s former patients for bleeding or infections due to botched abortions over a six-year period.

In his complaint, Engel said that after Alexander tore a hole in one patient’s womb during an abortion, the patient was “unable to walk for a month due to the pain.”

Engel says that woman is lucky to be alive. “She could have bled to death,” he said.

Despite the severity of Engel’s accusations against Dr. Alexander and the preponderance of evidence, more than 10 months passed without a single word from the Board of Medicine. Then, in May 2010, Dr. George Shade, then-chairman of the state Board of Medicine finally sent Engel a letter. His decision: “No investigation needed.”

That was the end of Engel’s complaint against Alexander, who continued operating a mold-riddled, blood-spattered abortion facility until the City of Muskegon shut it down as a threat to public health.

If Shade indeed followed procedure in dismissing the case against Alexander, Sheria McCloud thinks the process is flawed. “He shouldn't have been investigating my case if he was [Alexander’s] mentor,” said McCloud. “It should have been somebody else investigating. Why would you investigate my case and you are his mentor?

Both Engel and McCloud said no one from the state Board of Medicine ever contacted them to follow up or ask questions about their complaint.

A proper investigation, Engel said, “would entail talking to [Alexander], going to his place of business, talking to me, talking to the patient, doing basic due diligence, which they didn't do.”

Instead, the state sent him a letter in May 2010 informing him that Dr. Shade had determined there was “insufficient basis to authorize investigation of your allegation.”

In a one-page response addressing the complaint, Shade wrote: “Appropriate evaluation of the patient was performed. She was outside the legal limit for voluntary termination of pregnancy and was informed of such by the licensee [Alexander]. Patient was refunded her payment. No breach of standard of care, no fraud, no unethical practice.”

But McCloud, now parenting the young child she originally paid to have aborted, said she never received a refund for the botched procedure. She also said she was unaware that the case had been dismissed until Target 8 asked her about it.

“To this day, I thought the case was still open,” McCloud said. “Nobody ever sent me no letter or nothing.”

“That's what she says,” retorted Shade. He says the state would certainly have notified the patient. “I know the process,” he said. “I was on the Board of Medicine for eight years.”

Sen. Schuitmaker said Shade’s involvement in the case was a “clear conflict of interest” and “should never have occurred.”

“This is not about pro-life or pro-choice, this is about women's safety,” said Schuitmaker. “It is extremely troubling that any person, regardless of whether they sit on any regulatory committee, would have this kind of power to really put the public at jeopardy.”

Schuitmaker wants the state to re-open the original complaint if it can. “If there is any possibility, I think it’s incumbent upon the state Board of Medicine to really examine it and go back and understand where they failed,” she said.

Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, whose group is following the case, said that this may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to medical boards covering for abortionists.

“This kind of cronyism and corruption within Medical Boards that protect abortionists from legitimate complaints is sadly not unique to Michigan,” Newman said. “We have seen similar situations in several other states, including Kansas during the [now-HHS Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius administration. These are cases where Boards create a political climate that shields abortionists from accountability no matter how egregious the offense, then turns the offending abortionists loose to continue to inflict pain and injury on women.”

“Those who will allow political ideology to trump the lives and health of women should be criminally prosecuted over this abuse of power and breach of public trust,” Newman continued. “I certainly hope heads roll in Michigan over this.”

Anyone wishing to prosecute Dr. Alexander will have to find him first. Local media report he has stopped returning calls and no longer answers the door at his Plainwell home. Target 8 reporters visited the abortion facility in Detroit where he was rumored to be working after the closure of his Muskegon clinic.

The receptionist told them, “He was working here, but he doesn't anymore.”  

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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Girls should receive contraceptive implants in school before they become sexually active: NZ academics

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

AUCKLAND, NZ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Every girl in New Zealand will be put on long-acting reversible contraceptive drugs, delivered through implants or patches, before they become sexually active, if a group of health researchers at New Zealand's Otago University gets its way. 

"I would imagine, off the top of my head, that it would happen a bit like vaccinations happen," Neil Pickering, a senior bioethics lecturer at the university, told Radio New Zealand report. “It would be a routine thing, and being done through schools would be an obvious way.”

Helen Paterson, of the University of Otago's department of women's and children's health, suggested that a contraceptive called Jadelle, which is a drug-laden plastic rod that is implanted into the girl's upper arm by a doctor, would be a good choice and should be available to the teens free of charge.

"What we want to do is make something that's universally available," Paterson said, "so that adolescents can easily access good care in terms of their contraception that's provided to them."

The Otago University group is aware that their suggestion is controversial, with Dr Pickering noting that he "would expect there to be a reaction against this because it's a fairly new suggestion that people perhaps haven't thought about previously.”

He added that "obviously” the girls' “parents and the children themselves would need to be informed that this is going to happen, and informed that they have the option not to take part if they don't wish to.”

"The idea of giving young people, teens, medication which you might say they don't need and can't benefit from," Pickering said, "all these things would no doubt come into people's minds and in addition to that people might have fears such as, 'Oh, won't that mean they'll start going out and having sex willy-nilly with everybody'."

The call for universal contraception for young girls has met with strong criticism from groups on opposite sides of the issue.

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Jackie Edmond, the director of "reproductive health" services provider Family Planning NZ said the proposal is “overkill” and goes further than necessary to reduce teen pregnancy, which is already declining.

"We're overkilling it, putting implants in people who aren't intending to or aren't having sex," Edmond told NZ Newswire.

Dave Ayling, clinical director of a youth health and counseling service in Palmerston North said, "Contraception is not a one-off task that involves sticking some rods in an arm." He warned that adverse effects of the drugs could pose a potential health risk that young girls are not prepared for.

"I also worry about ongoing costs associated with LARCs [long-acting reversible contraception] for managing potential side-effects that a lot will not be able to afford, so focusing on a sustainable equitable contraception service is more where the emphasis should go," Ayling said.

School guidance counselors are "horrified" at the idea of universal contraception, according to a report by Newstalk ZB.

"I think often it's hard enough for young women to say no to sexual advances, but if a lot of young men know that they're already on contraception, I wonder how that will be for them to actually say no," said Sarah Maindonald of the New Zealand Association of Counselors.

Pro-life group Family First NZ called the scheme a "flawed, morally bankrupt" approach that will do more harm than good.

“The decreasing proportion of teens wanting to be sexually active need parental involvement and good advice," said Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

"Contraception deals with unwanted pregnancy, but there’s no mention of the danger of sexually transmitted infections and increased sexual activity. Making it free and even more accessible is going to continue to alienate parents from the role they should be involved in. What we should be asking is, why are young teenagers becoming sexually active, what messages are teens receiving about sexual involvement, and what messages do parents actually want their children to receive,” McCoskrie said.

Noting that rates of teen abortions have fallen significantly recently, McCoskrie pointed out that "this has nothing to do with contraception, and everything to do with decreased sexual activity, and education, and awareness for teens on the actual consequences” of early sexual activity.

Family First NZ stresses that a U.S. study found increased access to emergency contraception actually increases the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, risk taking and a false sense of security while doing nothing to reduce the number of abortions, and that the side effects specific to Jadelle implants, which contain levonorgestrel, include irregular menstrual bleeding, application site reactions, dizziness, headache, vaginal discharge, breast pain, nausea, pelvic pain, urinary tract symptoms, vaginitis, and weight gain.

Levonorgestrel is also linked to increased risk of liver dysfunction and potentially deadly blood clots.

All LARCs potentially act as abortifacients, rather than contraceptives, as well.

“Teen girls deserve to be informed of the serious consequences of early sexual activity including the impact on emotional and mental welfare and academic performance, rather than given a false sense of security and being encouraged to take risks by adults who should know better,” Bob McCoskrie said.

He added that British researchers found that greater use of contraceptive implants and drugs had an almost statistically insignificant effect on teenage pregnancy rates.

“Ironically, getting a good education could be the best form of contraception for teenagers, according to a recent UK study.” 

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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