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Thursday July 22, 2010

Health Order Shuts Down Pennsylvania Abortion Clinics

By Peter J. Smith

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, July 22, 2010 ( – After two decades of playing fast and loose with state laws and medical licensing rules, one abortion provider in Pennsylvania has been ordered to permanently close four of his facilities; at the same time, unpaid taxes may forfeit the rest of his abortion business to pay off the Internal Revenue Service.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Pennsylvania Department of Health has ordered Dr. Steven Chase Brigham (a physician whose medical license, as the Inquirer reports “has been revoked, relinquished, or temporarily suspended in five states”) to shut down four of his abortion facilities in that state. The Inquirer reports that Deputy Secretary of Health Robert Torres has banned Brigham, 53, and any corporation he controls from operating abortion clinics in Pennsylvania, because of his persistent infractions against state medical regulations.

Brigham owns a chain of 15 abortion facilities with locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.

The pro-life watchdog group, Operation Rescue, however, says that they have confirmation that Brigham’s clinics in Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, and State College, continue to remain open in defiance of the order, and have urged individuals to support the PDH in enforcing the order.

The Inquirer reports that Brigham’s offenses are so egregious, that even the National Abortion Federation (NAF) has disavowed him and is applauding the Pennsylvania decision to shut him down.

“When the NAF won’t have you, you know it’s bad, since the NAF runs some of the nastiest, most dangerous abortion clinics in the country,” commented OR President Troy Newman.

Brigham’s latest offense in Pennsylvania happened because he again was employing unlicensed medical staff to work in his abortion clinics. In 2008, Brigham hired a woman to work as a nurse in a Pittsburgh clinic who did not have a certified nursing license.

Brigham claimed ignorance and asserted that he verified the wrong person’s license; however, he failed to give the Health Department a credible reason why he did not bother to check the woman’s name against the license number when she applied for the job.

The plea of “ignorance” also has run thin with state officials, who had been repeatedly assured by Brigham that these incidents would not happen again. The Inquirer reports that in 1997, Brigham employed an Ob/gyn doctor who was suspended for a number of issues, including sexually abusing his clients. Brigham pleaded ignorance about the suspension, and the Health Department accepted the excuse. Ignorance again was Brigham’s mantra when he had to explain why he hired an abortionist in 2004 who had already retired his license, but had performed some 1600 abortions at Brigham’s American Women’s Health Clinics.

The Inquirer says that Brigham’s attorneys plan to contest the Health Department decision in Commonwealth Court.

Brigham let his medical license lapse in Georgia, California, and was suspended permanently in Pennsylvania, Florida, and New York. His medical license is still good in New Jersey.

Brigham was run out of New York after he performed two botched abortions in which state officials found him guilty in 1994 of “gross negligence” and “inexcusably bad judgment” that threatened the lives of his clients. New York also found him guilty of tax evasion in 1995.

However, now the Internal Revenue Service is knocking on Brigham’s door, and has filed a tax lien against all his clinics for payment of $234,536 in unpaid payroll taxes for the years between 2002-2006.

“We have made a demand for payment of this liability, but it remains unpaid,” says an April IRS notice obtained by the Inquirer. “Therefore, there is a lien in favor of the United States on all property and rights to property belonging to this taxpayer for the amount of these taxes, and additional penalties, interest, and costs that may accrue.”

“Brigham isn’t the only abortionist who maintains the practice of hiring unlicensed workers. Based on our research into the shoddy practices of the abortion cartel, few of them actually have the proper staffing with the proper credentials. The practice is epidemic and puts the lives of women in grave danger,” said Newman. “Brigham is just one who has been caught.”

Pennsylvania Health Department officials have also had to take action against another abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, whose Philadelphia practice was abruptly halted in February after investigators stumbled upon the detestable conditions inside the clinic, including blood-stained floors and dozens of aborted unborn children preserved in jars. Gosnell had also employed an unlicensed assistant, with no medical training, who routinely administered prescription painkillers and performed medical examinations in the abortionist’s absence.

State officials raided Gosnell’s clinic after the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who received painkillers from Gosnell’s assistant just before she died of fatal arrhythmia last fall. Gosnell’s license has been suspended, and his clinic shut down. A local grand jury began investigating Gosnell in May for his crimes.

See related coverage by

Pennsylvania Seeks to Shut Down ‘House of Horrors’ Phila. Abortuary

Bobby Jindal Signs Landmark Abortion Reforms into Louisiana Law

Louisiana Lawmakers Clamp Down on Law-Breaking Abortionists