Tuesday September 7, 2010

Four-State Abortion Empire Crumbles Following Botched Abortion

By Kathleen Gilbert

VOORHEES TWP, New Jersey, September 7, 2010 ( – The empire of a troubled New Jersey abortionist who headed a four-state abortion ring is slowly crumbling after Maryland began investigating the setup following a teenager’s botched abortion. In addition to unveiling the illegality of the setup, the investigation resulted in one raid where police discovered a gruesome display of 35 frozen unborn children preserved in jars.

Stephen Chase Brigham is the owner of American Women’s Services, which operated 15 abortion facilities in states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. Brigham’s operation involved at least two other abortionists, George Shepard, Jr., of Delaware and Nicola I. Riley of Utah, whose Maryland licenses have both been suspended for their role in Brigham’s business.

The Maryland Board of Physicians issued a cease and desist order against Brigham August 25 after concluding that the abortionist had been routinely skirting New Jersey law by bringing clients to his facilities in Maryland, where he does not have a license to practice. According to the Board, Brigham was in the habit of performing the first phase of the procedure, dilating the patient’s cervix, in New Jersey; however, because his clinics did not meet safety standards to perform the whole procedure there, Brigham would then direct the patients to drive down to Maryland to have the abortion completed.

The setup was discovered after Brigham was forced to bring one of his teenage patients to a Maryland hospital after a botched abortion last month, according to the medical board’s documents.

The 18-year-old was one of several Brigham had directed to drive in a car caravan from Voorhees, New Jersey to Elkton, Maryland in order to complete the abortions. After abortionist Riley accidentally cut through the patient’s uterus and lacerated her bowel and vagina, Brigham refused to call an ambulance, and put the teen in the back of his Chevrolet Malibu to bring her to the local hospital. There, he and Riley dodged questioning on “who they were, what had happened, and from where they had come.” The patient’s injury was so severe she had to be flown to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

The Board found that Brigham had performed surgical procedures in Elkton as regularly as four to six times per week for several months. “The health of Maryland patients is being endangered by the Respondent’s unlicensed practice of medicine in this State,” stated the cease and desist order.

Prior to the Board’s order, Elkton police had removed the remains of 35 “late-term fetuses and fetal parts” from Brigham’s office in that town. His office in Voorhees, New Jersey was also raided by police.

In July, the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered Brigham to shut down his abortion facilities in the state for allowing unlicensed employees to give medical care. Brigham is appealing the decision.

While the abortionist has served jail time and paid thousands in fines for failing to pay taxes, his run-ins with the law do not stop there: Brigham was once licensed to perform abortions in New York, but had that license revoked in 1994 for “gross negligence” and “inexcusably bad judgment” in the case of a woman’s botched abortion. The same incident caused Brigham to lose his license in New Jersey, but he fought successfully to have it restored three years later.

Operation Rescue reports that Brigham has been under investigation and discipline throughout his entire 20-year career: he voluntarily retired his medical license in Pennsylvania while under investigation just six years after graduating from medical school. Since then, Brigham had medical licenses revoked in New York and Florida, and received disciplinary action in California and New Jersey, and has served 120 days in jail in 1998 for Medicaid fraud.

In addition, according to the group, a judge once ordered him to stop advertising his abortions as “painless” and “safe.”

Operation Rescue has sent a letter to Maryland’s Attorney General urging that criminal charges be brought against Brigham.

“There is a largely unspoken crisis in this country brought on by abortionists who insist that they are above the law,” said Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye to these abortion abuses and pretend that things like this can’t happen in a nation where abortion is legally permissible. Brigham is just one example in an industry where this kind of behavior is the norm and not the exception.”

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