Medical Board revokes license of notorious abortionist for severely injuring 18-year-old woman
Updated on October 9 at 11:15 a.m.
On Wednesday, the New Jersey state Board of Medical Examiners in Trenton unanimously voted to revoke the license of a notorious late-term abortionist for operating a multi-state late-term abortion franchise that killed one woman, injured another, stashed the bodies of aborted babies in freezers, and operated in the shadows of the law across the Atlantic seaboard.
The board also ordered Steven Chase Brigham to pay fines amounting to more than $140,000.
The fine exceeds the recommendations Administrative Law Judge Jeff S. Masin in August that Brigham have his state license revoked. The action means that Chase has no remaining medical license and must give up his eight abortion facilities in the state of New Jersey.
Chase said after the ruling that he is a "good doctor."
"I have a passion for women's rights," he said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He added that paying the fines would be hard, since the IRS already garnished his wages for not paying employees' taxes between 2001 and 2006.
Deputy Attorney General Jeri Warhaftig said Chase is "not entitled to pity," because "he breached patients' trust in his flimflam scheme."
Brigham's New Jersey medical license was suspended on October 13, 2010, for more than 45 months for a botched two-state abortion that severely injured an 18-year-old woman.
The late-term abortionist would begin abortions in New Jersey, where he could only legally perform abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy. Then he would transport his patients to a facility one of his employees referred to as a “secret late-term abortion clinic” in Elkton, Maryland, where he had no medical license at all.
He claimed that he merely acted as a “consultant” to George Shepard, 88, an OB/GYN from Delaware, but Judge Masin wrote that “was simply a pretense to provide cover for Brigham to maintain a Maryland practice” without a license.
One of his patients was an 18-year-old woman, who was 21-and-a-half weeks pregnant at the time of her abortion, referred to in court documents as “D.B.” Abortionist Nicola Riley injured the woman, leaving her with a lacerated uterus and bowel. “D.B.” was transported in a private car to a nearby hospital, and Riley reportedly argued with officials who wanted the abortionists' names before treating the patient.
Hospital personnel reported the injury, triggering a raid from local authorities.
Officials found the remains of 35 aborted babies in Brigham's freezer in Elkton. One of them appeared to have been aborted at 36 weeks.
Maryland officials believed some of these were aborted after the point of viability and initially charged Brigham and Riley with murder, but the charges were dropped because prosecutors could not prove the unborn children had been killed inside the state.
Brigham’s attorney, Joseph Gorrell, told Judge Masin that Brigham carried out the two-state scheme in “good faith,” out of his concern for suffering poor women unable to access late-term abortion. In his ruling, Masin accepted that Brigham “had a sincere desire to provide a service to women...limited by legal and possibly financial considerations.”
But he found that Brigham “demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with the law in Maryland that governed his right to practice medicine,” and concluded, “Dr. Brigham has finally cut enough corners.” Officials say Brigham also lied about being insured by a Bermuda-based company that actually stopped issuing insurance policies in 2006.
State officials should have had ample warning from Brigham's past, including disturbingly similar actions in neighboring New York state.
Investigators in New York said they had evidence that Dr. Mark Binder was performing illegal late term abortions at Brigham’s American Women’s Services Clinic in Colonie, New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo's “Women's Equality Act” would remove such time limits.
Officials say they uncovered the frozen bodies of 17 aborted babies on the premises in 1996. But the state attorney general's office told them to confine themselves to investigating charges that his facilities demanded that indigent women pay cash, even though their procedures were entirely covered by Medicaid.
Brigham's New York license was revoked in January 1994, and he was sentenced to 120 days in jail for two misdemeanor counts.
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Brigham permanently lost his right to practice or own any abortion facility in the state of Pennsylvania in July 2010 but evaded that law by transferring ownership of his facilities into his mother's name.
Three abortionists associated with Brigham – Iris Dominy, Michael Basco, and Mansour Panah who work at Brigham's OB/GYN Care in Baltimore – received disciplinary action after a 38-year-old woman died during an abortion in their care.
Until the ruling, Brigham operated abortion facilities in New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia in his own name.