Muskegon abortion doctor hearing soon


March 2013

Two state senators say they expect a hearing in two weeks over the state’s handling of complaints against a doctor who operated an abortion clinic in Muskegon.

The complaints against Dr. Robert Alexander were dismissed by his former mentor without investigation.

Alexander continued to operate until the City of Muskegon recently shut down his clinic after finding what it called unsafe and unsanitary conditions.


“Whether it be an abortion clinic or whether it be a plastic surgery clinic, the public needs to be protected with inspections and proper oversight,” said Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Jones and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) say they plan to invite the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to the hearing before the judiciary committee.

The hearing, they say, is in response to a Target 8 investigation that found the then-Chairman of the state Board of Medicine, Dr. George Shade Jr., closed out a complaint in 2010 against Alexander. Shade found there was no need to investigate.

That complaint was filed by a Muskegon OB/GYN who said Alexander put women’s lives at risk.

Schuitmaker says her office has since learned that Shade also closed out a complaint against Alexander in 2006, again without investigation. That complaint was filed by a pro-life group and involved a clinic Alexander was operating in Ypsilanti.

“Whatever the medical procedure out there, you certainly want to make sure there’s no conflict of interest in that one person does not have sole discretion in order to play God,” Schuitmaker said.

Target 8 found that Shade had helped Alexander get his medical license back, working as his mentor after Alexander got out of federal prison for selling illegal prescriptions.

It’s not clear if Alexander is still practicing medicine. He has said he won’t reopen the Muskegon clinic.

Schuitmaker says LARA is defending the handling of the complaints.

“They didn’t find anything wrong with what the doctor (Shade) did,” she said. “I take issue with that and expressed that to them.”

She and Jones say this could lead to a conflict of interest law. They say complaints filed against doctors should be handled by more than one member of the Board of Medicine.

“We want to make sure that there’s no conflict of interest on boards, to make sure that there will be more eyes seeing it so one person doesn’t have sole discretion,” Schuitmaker said.

Jones said the findings at the Muskegon clinic show why the state needed the law that was passed last year, which requires licensing and inspections of clinics performing at least 120 abortions a year. That law goes into effect March 31.

“Certainly, with this law that passed, if you’re going to have inspections, they’re going to have to be clean, or they’re going to get shut down,” Jones said.

2 Responses to “Muskegon abortion doctor hearing soon”

  1. […] 2012, Alexander’s clinic in Muskegon was shut down for multiple health and safety violations. State records show he is still licensed to […]

  2. […] Alexander, 59, had faced earlier allegations of botched abortions in Muskegon that put women’s lives at risk, but those were dismissed by the state Board of Medicine without investigation. […]

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