By Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Vice President of Operation Rescue
Washington, DC – Chanting the mantra of “safe and legal,” radical feminists celebrated the January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that decriminalized abortion in America. But did legal really make abortion safe?
Now, 43 years later, that question has been answered.
While some may have heard of Kermit Gosnell, who is serving life in prison for murdering babies born alive at his West Philadelphia “House of Horrors,” they are generally unaware that his was far from the only abortion business to pose a grave danger to the public.
The reality is that the “safe” part of abortion never actually materialized, no matter what outdated or manufactured statistics are dishonesty spouted by the Abortion Cartel. It is a fact that abortion injuries, complications, and deaths are simply not reported in any reliable fashion. Many such episodes are intentionally concealed by a corrupt, self-imploding abortion industry that will do anything to maintain the illusion that abortion is not only necessary, but good for women.
Operation Rescue has obtained thousands of documents, available at AbortionDocs.org, that verify the business of abortion is fraught with dangers that are largely hidden from the public.
Below are six active abortion businesses that prove that Roe v. Wade did not make abortion safe – certainly not for the nearly 58 million babies who have died brutal deaths from abortions, but not for their mothers, either.
“You can consider the myth of safe abortions completely debunked,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “The documents we have acquired tell the truth that predatory and dangerous abortion practices generally characterize abortion businesses currently operating in America today. In fact, in our in-depth research on the Abortion Cartel, we have yet to find even one abortion clinic that completely complies with all state and federal laws.”
American Women’s Services/Steven Chase Brigham
Known as one of the most deceptive and dishonest abortion providers ever to darken the doorway of any medical office, Steven Chase Brigham continues to operate a chain of an estimated 17 predatory abortion clinics in several states from New Jersey to Virginia.
Because of his lengthy record of legal and ethical issues, Brigham is now attempting to conceal his ownership in states that have otherwise banned him from holding an interest in abortion clinics or have shuttered his abortions clinics for numerous violations.
Brigham holds no active medical license. Hospitals have long ago banned him. His medical licenses have been revoked or surrendered under threat of revocation in all six states where he has held licenses.
In an example of just how bad things are at Brigham’s shoddy and deceptive abortion businesses, a New Jersey judge once ordered him to stop falsely advertising his abortions as “painless” and “safe.”
Brigham troubles began soon after he first entered the medical profession in the 1980s. Since a book could very well be written about his extra-legal escapades, a non-exhaustive summary will have to suffice.
In brief, Brigham was involved in an illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme that resulted in a woman nearly dying from a botched abortion done at his “secret” abortion clinic in Maryland. Brigham would begin second and third trimester abortions at his office in New Jersey, where he was limited by law to abortions under 14 weeks. He would then induce the women into labor in New Jersey then caravan the women to Elkton, Maryland, where he would complete the abortions.
Brigham never bothered to obtain a medical license in Maryland and used a partially senile and disabled elderly doctor to deceive authorities into thinking the Elkton abortion business was legitimate.
The local hospital reported Brigham to the police after he and his associate, Nicola Riley, behaved suspiciously when dropping off the seriously injured women at the emergency room. Police raided the clinic and found the bodies of 35 late-term aborted babies stored in a bloody freezer.
Because viable babies were killed in the commission of the crime of practicing medicine without a license, Brigham and Riley were arrested and charged with murder. Those charges were later dropped after an expert medical witness for the state withdrew from the case.
The Elkton case prompted New Jersey to revoke Brigham’s medical license, which disqualified him from owning abortion businesses in New Jersey.
Not to be dissuaded, Brigham falsely claimed he had transferred ownership of his eight New Jersey abortion clinics to his long-time employee Vikram Kajai, an abortionist convicted of sex offenses and who suffered impairment due to a stroke. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office is now seeking to shut down his operations in that state.
Brigham has a history of hiring from the bottom of the barrel when it comes to abortionists. Details related to some of them can be found here.
In order to avoid having to license some of his seedy abortion businesses in Maryland, Delaware, Brigham has halted surgical abortions, but continues to sell abortions by medication. This is troublesome since his Maryland facilities were shut down for violationswhich included having women dangerously drink intravenous abortion drugs.
In March 2013, inspectors discovered Brigham employee Iris Dominy was responsible for the death of patient, Maria Santiago, died during an abortion at Brigham’s Baltimore abortion facility, which is located in a residential condominium complex. [Read the CAD and Police Report]
Due to Brigham’s nearly three years of law-breaking, deception, and mayhem, Operation Rescue considers him and his seedy abortion chain among the most dangerous in America.
Orlando Women’s Center/James Scott Pendergraft IV
James S. Pendergraft IV operates a chain of 11 abortion clinics in Florida from his flagship office in Orlando, according to his business web site. Due to numerous botched abortions and illegal activity, Pendergraft’s medical license has been suspended five times, and now is currently suspended.
Pendergraft has employed abortionist Randall Whitney to keep his abortion empire running during his suspension. Whitney has his own problems. He shut down his Daytona abortion business rather than comply with state safety laws. He was arrested for slapping a patientwho complained he was hurting her, then was arrested again when he failed to show up for trial.
Pendergraft specializes in late-term abortions. In one highly publicized incident, a late-term baby was born alive in a toilet at one of Pendergraft’s Orlando abortion clinics. The baby’s mother called for help and when paramedics arrived, the clinic staff sent them away. The baby died in his mother’s arms. A movie, 22 Weeks, was made about this tragic incident.
On July 21, 2011, a jury of six found that Pendergraft was liable for injuries sustained by a pre-born baby during a failed abortion ten years before. The jury ordered Pendergraft to pay $36,737,660.16 in compensatory and punitive damages. He owes the Florida Board of Medicine over $120,000 in fines.
Since Florida bans abortions after 24-weeks, Pendergraft has sought other ways to profit from his so-called “expertise” in late-term abortions. He launched a suspicious website soliciting late-term abortion business at an “undisclosed location” in the Washington, DC area. Operation Rescue investigated this scam and found that Pendergraft was operating an illegal bi-state abortion business similar to that operated by Brigham. Like Brigham, Pendergraft was not licensed in Maryland, but boasted of offering expensive injections to cause “fetal demise” at his DC location. He would then risk their lives by sending women home still carrying their dead babies with instructions to report to local hospitals for the delivery of their stillborn/aborted children.
Operation Rescue discovered that Pendergraft was in cahoots with Maryland abortionist Harold O. Alexander, a shoddy provider whose license was suspended for destroying records related to his dealings with Pendergraft, among other violations. Operation Rescue filed complaints and Alexander was also disciplined for “crossing sexual boundaries” with patients and employees and for handing out large numbers of Viagra prescriptions to men who were not his patients.
With his Maryland late-term abortion scheme shut down, Pendergraft looked for other ways to make money from abortions and keep his Florida abortion businesses afloat.
In March 2015, Operation Rescue published a video taken by local activist Michele Herzog that showed Pendergraft, his head covered with a hoodie, sneaking into the back door of his EPOC abortion clinic, presumably to do abortions even though he was not legally permitted to do so. The waiting room was full of abortion patients and no other abortionist was present.
Herzog dialed the police and the news media, but before they could arrive, Pendergraft slipped out the back and fled the scene. With Pendergraft gone, a man accompanying one of the abortion customers came out of the clinic and expressed to a sidewalk counselor frustration that, “now this is going to take forever.”
Then in October 2015, Pendergraft was arrested with a female accomplice in South Carolina operating a “rolling abortion clinic” out of his vehicle. Sheriff’s Deputies discovered surgical implements that were covered in blood and human tissue from abortions he had illegally performed throughout South Carolina along with a cache of drugs.
Nevertheless, while awaiting trial, Pendergraft’s Orlando Women’s Center chain of abortion clinics continues to operate under suspicious circumstances in Florida, earning Pendergraft’s abortion business a spot near the top of the list of most dangerous abortion clinics in America.
FPA Women’s Health (Formerly Family Planning Associates)
FPA Women’s Health operates a chain of 22 abortion clinics throughout California. This abortion chain was founded by Edward “Fast Eddie” Allred, who pioneered corners-cutting techniques to ensure the maximum number of abortions were done every day. This earned FPA the dubious title as the “McDonalds of the abortion industry.”
But the high-volume clinics with their 3-minute abortions may have been profitable, but they were anything but safe.
At least 17 women have died from negligent abortions at FPA abortion clinics — that we know about — but FPA has been known to attempt to blame the deaths of their patients on things like cardiac or respiratory arrest to make it appear they were not abortion-related. It is true that when people die, their heartbeat and breathing stop, but to leave out abortion complications that led to the cessation of vital signs is simply dishonest. There is no way to know exactly how many women have actually lost their lives due to FPA abortions. Below are listed just a few.
October 21, 1972: Natalie Meyers, 16, reported for a late-term abortion at a Los Angeles FPA clinic. She received a saline abortion, but developed problems breathing and was sent to a local hospital where she received a hysterectomy in an attempt to halt a raging infection that had developed because of the abortion. She died four days later.
March 3, 1984: Patricia Chacon, 16, underwent a second trimester abortion in Los Angeles at an FPA facility. She received a second abortion after the first one was incomplete. She died of hemorrhage due to lacerations and a clotting disorder after being left unattended.
December 15, 1984: Mary Pena, 43, went to a Los Angeles FPA clinic for what she thought would be a first trimester abortion. But Pena was actually 22 weeks. Pena hemorrhaged to death due to cervical lacerations inflicted during her abortion, leaving five children motherless.
February 6, 1986: Laniece Dorsey, 17, lapsed into a coma after her abortion at an FPA facility in Orange County. She suffered cardio-pulmonary arrest in reaction to anesthesia and died later that day.
June 8, 1988: Joyce Ortenzio, 31, received her second trimester abortion at an FPA abortion clinic in Los Angeles. She was found dead in her home from sepsis that developed due to an incomplete abortion.
April 9, 1992: Susan Levy, 30, underwent an abortion at FPA in Mission Hills. She was found dead in her car where she was living on May 19, 1992, from an infection due to an incomplete abortion.
September 5, 1992:Deanna Bell, 13, was 21 weeks pregnant when she went to FPA for an abortion. A non-physician inserted laminaria dilators and the abortion drug mifepristone into Bell’s cervix. After her 9-minute abortion, she suffered cardiac arrest and died as the result of the abortion.
January 26, 1995: Ta Tanisha Wesson, 24, received an abortion at an FPA in Los Angeles. She died from an overdose of anesthesia six days later on February 1, 1995, leaving a young child motherless. FPA attempted to conceal her death.
June 9, 1999: Maria Leho received a first trimester suction abortion at an FPA clinic in Chicago, Illinois. She was given a drug that was contraindicated for the seizure disorder from which Leho suffered. No one bothered to check her vital signs and she was later found not breathing and pulseless. She was eventually transported to a hospital where she died on June 11, 1999.
May 5, 2000: Kimberly K. Neil, 38, died from complications to her abortion performed by long-time FPA employee Kenneth Wright, who failed to properly treat her when she stopped breathing. She died 17 days later on May 2, 2000.
January 14, 2004: Chanelle Bryant, 22, was nine weeks pregnant when she was given the abortion drug mifepristone, or RU486 vaginally. It is meant for oral consumption. She died of infection as a result.
On July 15, 2015, Operation Rescue was able to confirm that an ambulance transported a woman to the hospital from an FPA abortion clinic in San Bernardino. She was bleeding vaginally. A security guard working for the clinic told a pro-life activist that the woman died, but Operation Rescue was unable to ever confirm or debunk that allegation.
However, as far as patient injuries go, the Bakersfield location has recorded the most of any FPA facility in recent years.
Over the years, one ambulance after another has transported FPA patients suffering life-threatening or fatal complications from FPA’s speedy abortions to hospitals. Because of this FPA is considered to be one of the most dangerous abortion clinic businesses in the nation.
Source for patient deaths: https://cemeteryofchoice.wikispaces.com/.
Read more about FPA Women’s Health at AbortionDocs.org
The largest supplier of abortion in the country is Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates operate 71 surgical and 186 medication abortion centers nationwide.
Planned Parenthood has had its share of scandals over the years, which are again too voluminous to list. The recent undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress have had the most success at reaching through the veil of deception that insulates Planned Parenthood, both other serious abuses have seemed to dissipate without much impact.
From an administrative standpoint, Planned Parenthood has been involved in a number of scandals.
In Kansas, the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park was charged with 107 criminal counts related to illegal late-term abortion and manufacturing evidence to cover up their crimes. That case was dismissed only because a corrupt official in the pro-abortion Attorney General’s office shredded the evidence against Planned Parenthood. Their political cronies forced the prosecutor who brought the case, Phill Kline, to pay a heavy political price for his attempt to enforce the law.
The national organization shut down its entire Golden Gate affiliate in 2011 for gross financial malfeasance. Whistleblower suits filed by former Planned Parenthood employees remain pending in California, Texas, and Iowa that allege massive billing fraud.
Planned Parenthood has also been accused of widespread non-reporting of child sex abusewhile documentation by Life Dynamics, Inc. proves that Planned Parenthood specifically targets minority communities, especially African-Americans, for abortion.
In Delaware in 2013, both Planned Parenthood offices were shut down for weeks for “cleaning and restaffing” after five medical emergencies between February and March, 2013, launched an investigation. Two clinic employees came forward and describe before the Delaware Legislature the horrific conditions, negligent practices, and sexual harassment that existed at that clinic. Their abortionist, Timothy Liveright, was charged by the Board in May with multiple counts of incompetence and negligence related to the spate of botched abortions, noting that he posed a “clear and immediate danger to the public.” Other charges included over-medicating patents, doing unnecessary surgical procedures, and failing to properly monitor patients and provide appropriate emergency care. His medical license in Delaware was revoked.
But the Delaware clinics are not alone. Many Planned Parenthood facilities in states that conduct inspections have been cited for health and safety violations that pose a danger to the public. Last year in Florida, three Planned Parenthood clinics were ordered to cease and desist from conducting illegal second trimester abortions for which it was unlicensed. These violations were discovered by Health Department inspectors.
The safety of women at Planned Parenthood clinics was called into question when abortion patient Tonya Reaves died from injuries received at a Chicago Planned Parenthood facility in 2012. Planned Parenthood’s abortionist, Mandy Gittler, gave Reaves a fatal second trimester abortion during which she stabbed a hole in Reaves’ uterus then delayed calling for emergency help while Reaves hemorrhaged internally for 5½ hours. Reaves died from her injuries, leaving her young son motherless.
Operation Rescue has obtained evidence of dozens of abortion complications and injuriesrequiring emergency transport to hospitals from Planned Parenthood clinics. The worst offenders when it comes to hospitalizing women are the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in St. Louis, Missouri, and Houston, Texas, where multiple ambulance transports have been documented.
In Missouri, Planned Parenthood is facing contempt charges for refusing to honor a legislative subpoena related to the abortion injuries. Last year, a legislative committee discovered that Planned Parenthood’s Columbia facility had been licensed through a deceitful process in conjunction with an illegal relationship with the public-funded Missouri University.
Last summer, the biggest scandal of all broke when undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress revealed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal sale of aborted baby body parts and the use of illegal Partial Birth Abortions to ensure fetal organs are intact so they can be sold to organ procurement companies.
This scandal has launched numerous investigations and sanctions against Planned Parenthood organizations. Planned Parenthood is under criminal investigation in Houston, Texas, and other undisclosed locations.
Planned Parenthood fought back with an expensive public relations campaign and with personal attacks on those involved with the CMP. The National Abortion Federation sued David Daleiden, the CMP, and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman block the release of videos that showed its involvement. Last week, Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against David Daleiden, the CMP, and Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman that was filled with falsehoods and misrepresentations meant to destroy the reputations of the pro-life activists.
Because of Planned Parenthood’s long record of financial malfeasance, botched abortions, patient deaths, hiding child sex abuse, substandard facilities, and other issues – all compounded by its willingness to lie to cover the truth about their abuses — Planned Parenthood has earned a ranking as one of the six most dangerous abortion businesses in America.
Southwestern Women’s Options
When the subject of late-term abortions come up, even most supporters of abortion supporters agree that these grisly procedures should be banned. But not so in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the largest late-term abortion clinic operates without accountability or oversight.
There are no laws in New Mexico that provide even modest regulation of the abortion industry, which is allowed to conduct some of the most dangerous and complicated abortion procedures in an outpatient clinic setting that is never inspected, leaving women unprotected from below-standard care and facilities.
Southwestern Women’s Options offers abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Women travel from all across America for these late-second and third trimester abortions that are illegal in their home states.
The two main abortionists that work at Southwestern Women’s Options are Shelley Sellaand Susan Robinson, who were trained in the very late-term abortion process by Kansas abortionist George Tiller during their years of work at his Wichita abortion clinic that was shut down in 2009. Sella and Robinson both reside in California and fly into Albuquerque to provide abortions. Neither hold hospital privileges in Albuquerque.
Pro-life activists Bud and Tara Shaver obtained over a dozen 911 records related to life-threatening medical emergencies at Southwestern Women’s Options before the city was pressured to stop releasing the public records. They still witness ambulances transporting women to nearby a nearby hospital emergency room on a regular basis.
Documented complications at Southwestern Women’s Options include multiple cases of uterine rupture, respiratory arrest, uncontrolled hemorrhage, and fever/infection.
Once such life-threatening complication took place during an abortion done by Shelley Sella on a woman who was 35 weeks pregnant. She had a history of a previous Cesearean delivery, which should have disqualified her from a nearly full term abortion in Southwest Women’s Option’s outpatient setting, which lacks the capability to care for women suffering the serious complications that might be expected during this kind of high-risk abortion.
On the last day of the abortion, Sella administered Misoprostol, also known as Cytotec, a drug that is known to cause unpredictable and sometimes violent contractions. At the same time, Sella administered Pitocin, another uterine stimulant that is not supposed to be used simultaneously with Misoprostol.
As a result, the patient’s uterus ruptured and part of the baby was shoved into her abdominal cavity. Once Sella realized what happened, she had the patient transported to a nearby hospital where emergency surgery by another physician saved the woman’s life.
Tara Shaver and Operation Rescue field a complaint with the New Mexico Medical Board against Sella, who was charged with four breeches in the standard of care during her treatment of the seriously injured women. A dull disciplinary trial was conducted that should have resulted in suspension or revocation of Sella’s New Mexico medical license.
But Sella argued that obstetric standards and warnings issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists simply did not apply to abortions. Despite the state’s own expert witness that disagreed with that assessment, the Board surprisingly voted to drop all charges against Sella. More shocking details are available at this link.
Because of the lack of accountability, the dangerous late-term abortions done in an ill-equipped clinical setting, the frequent and dangerous medical emergencies that continue to occur, and the unwillingness of the New Mexico medical board to discipline even the most egregious of shoddy abortion practices, Southwestern Women’s Options is without a doubt one of the most dangerous abortion businesses in the country.
LeRoy Carhart’s Nebraska and Maryland Businesses
LeRoy Carhart is a high-profile abortionist who operates a rundown abortion clinic in a former auto repair shop in Bellevue, Nebraska on the outskirts of Omaha. He also travels weekly to Germantown, Maryland, where he conducts the late-term abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy for which he is most well-known.
Like other abortion abusers, Carhart’s long history of abortion injuries and deaths along with his unfortunate slovenly-kept facility maintenance practices and penchant for acting above the law, the full extent of which cannot be fully listed here.
To illustrate the kind of person Carhart is, in August 1992, four of Carhart’s horses from his Nebraska horse farm and two of his dogs were confiscated for neglect. The following year, Carhart entered an “Assurance of Compliance” agreement with the Nebraska Department of Health, promising he would no longer engage in the following:
• Use the telephone for non-medical calls during surgical abortion procedures.
• Falsify entries on patient charts.
• Interrupt surgical abortions by falling asleep due to fatigue.
• Fail to protect patients from infection or disease.
Carhart was caught by pro-lifers in March, 2009, illegally operating his abortion clinic on a generator and extension cord after a fire caused by his own slovenly storage practices gutted the garage portion of his run-down abortion building. He was reported to authorities who immediately ordered him to close until the unsafe conditions could be addressed.
Carhart has been responsible for a number of abortion injuries and the deaths of at least two patients.
Christin Gilbert, a 19-year old with Down’s Syndrome, became pregnant in 2004 as the result of sexual assault. She was brought for a third-trimester abortion at George Tiller’s infamous (and now closed) abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, in January of 2005. Carhart was on duty when an unconscious Gilbert was brought back the clinic by her family soon after her abortion. Paramedics were called and Gilbert was transported to Wesley Medical Center, where George Tiller held hospital privileges, but Carhart did not. She died from sepsis and a blotting disorder known as DIC caused by the abortion. Gilbert died at the hospital from complications to her abortion.
Operation Rescue filed a complaint with the Kansas State Board of Medicine and helped launch a grand jury investigation into Gilbert’s death. Because of political interference and obstruction Carhart, Tiller, and the other abortion workers involved in Gilbert’s death were never held accountable.
After Tiller’s clinic closed in 2009, and Nebraska passed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks, Carhart relocated his late-term abortion business to Germantown Reproductive Health Services in Germantown, Maryland. He chose that location because at that time, like New Mexico, Maryland had no abortion regulations or oversight on the books that would impede him from conducting dangerous third-trimester abortions in an ill-equipped outpatient clinical setting.
There, he saw Jennifer Morbelli, 29, who sought an abortion of her baby at 33 weeks due to a diagnosis that the baby had health issues. After the abortion, witnesses saw Morbelli, ashen and hardly able to walk, leaving GRHS after her abortion, which took longer than normal. Carhart was seen leaving the clinic minutes after, headed for the airport for his flight back to Nebraska.
Morbelli’s condition worsened overnight and efforts by the family to contact Carhart or anyone at GRHS failed. Carhart had essentially abandoned his patient. Finally, the family put Morbelli in their vehicle and on their own drove her to the nearest hospital emergency room early the next morning.
At the hospital, a witness shared that doctors discovered that she had experienced severe internal bleeding and though that her uterine artery may have been “nicked” during the abortion. An emergency hysterectomy was considered, but the patient had experienced multiple “Code Blue” incidents and was considered to be too weak to survive the surgery. Her hematocrit numbers were reportedly “incompatible with life.” Morbelli died of her injuries.
When the autopsy report was finally released, it suspiciously noted the cause of death was Disseminated
Intravascular Coagulation due to an amniotic fluid embolism. Despite the doctor’s notation of a fatally low hematocrit level, the autopsy report indicated there was no sign of injury to the uterus and no sign of blood loss.
Carhart was cleared of all wrongdoing, but questions about Morbelli’s death remain unanswered. Carhart’s high profile and political connections appear to have insulated him from responsibility for the deaths of two abortion patients.
Carhart has also been involved in numerous botched abortions. In one of the many 911 calls obtained by Operation Rescue, an abortion patient can be heard moaning in pain in the background while the worker who placed the call is begging the dispatcher to send an ambulance with “no lights or sirens.
Substandard practices at Carhart’s Nebraska clinic led to disciplinary action against his nurse, Lindsey Creekmore, who served a license suspension in 2014 for “a pattern of negligence” and unprofessional conduct that included illegally drugging abortion patients.
Because of a pattern of shoddy and dangerous practices that have resulted in frequent injury to his abortion patients, including the deaths of two women, LeRoy Carhart’s abortion businesses in Nebraska and Maryland are listed as one of the most dangerous abortion businesses in America.
Of course, these six notorious abortion businesses are by far not the only ones endangering women, but this list is sufficient to show that when women walk into an abortion clinic in America, they are literally risking their lives.
In this listing, there have been included only currently operating abortion businesses and omits closed abortion clinics and abortionists who have been incarcerated or otherwise no longer practicing do to crimes or other misdeeds. Perhaps that should make this list all the more concerning.
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue® recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become perhaps the most visible voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.