Maryland State Senator calls for AG to charge abortion clinic owner with felony

Doctors cited in Elkton abortion probe skip hearing
1 wins continuance, 1 has license revoked

This photo purportedly shows Dr. Stephen Chase Brigham, who has been ordered to stop performing abortions in Maryland, where he does not hold a medical license.
Related Documents

Riley Investigation Report
Shepard Investigation Report

Posted: Friday, September 10, 2010 2:15 By Jacob Owens jowens@cecilwhig.com

The Maryland Board of Physicians upheld the suspension of a medical license held by an 88-year-old obstetrician who has been linked to an investigation into an Elkton abortion clinic.
Dr. George Shepard Jr. served as the medical director for the American Women’s Services‘ five abortion clinics in Maryland. However, neither he nor his lawyer appeared at the post-deprivation hearing in Baltimore on Wednesday.

American Women’s Services is a chain of 15 abortion clinics in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia owned by Dr. Steven Chase Brigham, who previously had his medical licenses suspended in three states.

Shepard’s role at Brigham’s five Maryland clinics in was to order medications that were then dispensed to the managers at each location, according to the board’s summary suspension report.

The board also maintains that Shepard’s responsibilities included ensuring that aborted fetuses were properly refrigerated and patients left the facilities in good health following their procedures.

Last month, the board began an investigation into the AWS clinic in Elkton after an 18-year-old patient who was 21 weeks pregnant was badly injured during a procedure and required emergency surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to repair her perforated uterus.

C. Irving Pinder Jr., the executive director of the state medical board, told the Baltimore Sun this week that Shepard was not thought to have been directly involved in that botched abortion procedure, but he was “aiding and abetting the practice of medicine by an unlicensed professional.”

Dr. Nicola Riley, the 45-year-old obstetrician who allegedly punctured the patient’s uterus during the Aug. 13 procedure, also did not appear before the board for a scheduled hearing Wednesday.

However, her lawyers, Christopher Brown and Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, were granted a continuance.

“The board will reschedule the hearing for a future date, but their immediate schedule looks jammed,” Brown said. “We asked for the continuance because of the short turnaround time with the holiday.”

Brown said Riley would seek to keep her state medical license, which she obtained July 20.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office also filed a complaint Wednesday accusing Brigham of illegally performing late-term abortions.

Officials in that office said they would seek to revoke or suspend Brigham’s New Jersey medical license for trying to circumvent state laws by taking patients to other states for abortions. A cease-and-desist order issued by the Maryland medical board alleges Brigham and Riley began the procedures in New Jersey, before requiring patients to drive their own vehicles to Maryland, where the abortions were completed.

In New Jersey, abortions cannot proceed if the fetus is older than 14 weeks, while Maryland does not specifically restrict second-trimester abortions.

Brigham’s New Jersey medical license is the only one he currently holds after forfeiting his Pennsylvania license in 1992 and his New York license was revoked in 1994. Subsequently, Florida revoked his medical license for failing to inform them of New York’s actions. He also chose to not renew his medical licenses in California and Georgia in the early 1990s.
According to state medical officials, Brigham does not possess a medical license in Maryland.

Since the allegations of botched abortions and questionable medical practices came to light, local politicians have gotten into the debate over Brigham’s clinics and the status of abortion in the state today.

On Thursday, Andy Harris, a Republican state senator and congressional candidate, said he believes the state should take additional and immediate action in regards to Brigham’s practices.

He said, the state’s attorney general’s office should launch an investigation into the four other AWS clinics to see if there are any other unlicensed physicians working at those locations.
“Second, in a clear signal that this type of shoddy medical practice is unwelcome in Cecil County, the Cecil County State’s Attorney office in should immediately charge Dr. Brigham … with a felony,” Harris, himself a medical doctor, said in a press release. “Practicing medicine without a license in Maryland is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.”

Finally, Harris said the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene should begin inspecting, licensing and regulating all clinics in Maryland where late-term surgical abortions are performed because those procedures should legally be considered surgeries.

Delegate Michael D. Smigiel Sr. (R-Upper Shore) said he plans to introduce legislation next year to ensure abortion clinics hire only licensed physicians. He also said he would like to see sanctions against abortion clinics that perform late-term abortions

“Maryland law doesn’t even allow us to track the number of abortions in the state,” Smigiel said. “We need legislation that allows us to track abortion rates as well as keep basic info, like the age of patients, in order to protect our citizens.”

One Response to “Maryland State Senator calls for AG to charge abortion clinic owner with felony”

  1. It’s a hoot that National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta called Brigham’s record “the most egregious” she’s seen.

    During a National Abortion Federation Risk Management Seminar, one attendee admitted that when he did to a patient what Brigham’s employee Riley did to hers — pull bowel into the vagina through a hole in the uterus — he’d just stuff the bowel back in through the hole, administer extra medications to contract the uterus, watch her a bit more carefully in recovery, and send her home none the wiser. Moderator Michael Burnhill (who defended Brigham) chewed the guy out, he asked for a show of hands for how many did this. SIX raised their hands after Burnhill had chewed the first one out. Brigham at least stuffed his patient into her clothes, carried her to a rental car, and dumped her at an emergency room. Hardly exemplary behavior — until you compare him to his NAF fellows.

    Brigham’s got nothing on them.

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