Abortion case points to loophole in Maryland laws

Abortion Case Points To Loophole In Md. Law
ELKTON, Md. (WJZ/AP) ―

A teen was critically injured during a failed abortion. There was a hearing Wednesday for two doctors whose licenses were suspended as a result.

Suzanne Collins explains the case points to a loophole in Maryland law meant to protect patients.

An abortion on an 18-year-old at a Cecil County clinic in August went terribly wrong. The state says Dr. Nicola Riley perforated the teen’s uterus, yet Riley and clinic owner Dr. Steven Brigham didn’t call 911. They drove her to the hospital instead.

The medical board says Riley is a danger to the public and suspended her license. She had been flying in from her Utah home to perform abortions in Maryland. She didn’t accompany her lawyers to Wednesday’s hearing.

“Dr. Riley believes she should be reinstated but as I said, we’re not going to talk about this case. As I said, we need more time. That’s what we told the board today and they gave a continuance,” said Riley’s lawyer, Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum.

The state says Brigham owns five women’s clinics in Maryland, as well as clinics in other states. Since he doesn’t have a medical license in Maryland, they’ve ordered him to cease and desist practicing here but his clinics can remain open.

This case brings up a loophole in Maryland law. While doctors are licensed and regulated, some clinics that perform surgery are not and the state can’t shut them down.

“We do not have authority to go into a facility unless we have a specific complaint against a specific doctor in Maryland,” said Irving Pinder, Physician Licensing Board.

Another doctor, 88-year-old George Shepard‘s license is also suspended. He was medical director of Brigham’s Maryland clinics but didn’t show up for the hearing.

Abortion protesters did show up, however.

“We want to make sure that Maryland women are not exposed to this butchery,” said Jack Ames.

Planned Parenthood also “condemns the actions of Dr. Brigham and any physician who practices without a license or endangers patients’ health.”

Also on Wednesday, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office filed a complaint accusing Brigham of illegally performing late-term abortions.

Brigham was not authorized to abort fetuses older than 14 weeks in New Jersey. Maryland law does not specifically restrict second-trimester abortions.

New Jersey authorities accuse Brigham of initiating abortions for three patients in Voorhees, N.J., including this teen, then leading them in a caravan to Elkton, Md., where the procedures were concluded.

N.J. seeks suspension of doctor’s license in Elkton abortion
Associated Press
8:39 AM EDT, September 9, 2010

Authorities in New Jersey are seeking to suspend or revoke the medical license of a doctor accused of ferrying patients to Maryland to complete late-term abortions.

Dr. Steven Brigham has already been cited for practicing medicine without a license in Maryland. On Wednesday, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office filed a complaint accusing him of illegally performing late-term abortions.

Brigham was not authorized to abort fetuses older than 14 weeks in New Jersey. Maryland law does not specifically restrict second-trimester abortions.

New Jersey authorities accuse Brigham of initiating abortions for three patients in Voorhees, N.J., then leading them in a caravan to Elkton, where the procedures were concluded.

Documents show another physician botched the abortion of one of those patients, forcing her to undergo emergency surgery.

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