Family Foundation Urges State To Close Brigham Abortion Center

The Family Foundation of Virginia issued this news release today:

Family Foundation Urges State To Close Brigham Abortion Center - Center has medical abortion complication rate 4 times national average -

RICHMOND–The Family Foundation today urged the Virginia Department of Health to deny licensure to the Virginia Women’s Wellness abortion center in Virginia Beach and to prohibit its owner, abortion doctor Steven Brigham, from operating abortion centers in Virginia. The Family Foundation made its announcement at a press conference outside his Virginia Beach facility.

"Steven Brigham has an over 20 year record of not only putting women at risk, but lying under oath and disregarding the laws in multiple states," said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. "Recent inspections of his facility prove that he has no concern for the health and well-being of his patients. Steven Brigham has no business being in business in Virginia. It is time for the Commonwealth of Virginia to take immediate action and put this man out of business before Virginia has its own Kermit Gosnell."

During a recent March 2014 inspection by Virginia public health officials of Brigham's Virginia Beach abortion center, it was discovered that for 36.6 percent of patients that had medical abortions (example, the use of RU-486) in January 2014, a second medication or surgical procedure was required to complete the abortion. According to the FDA, RU-486 is only to be used until 49 days gestation and if used according to FDA guidelines has an 8 percent failure rate. The farther along in gestation a woman is, the more likely it is that RU-486 will fail. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, statistics indicate that there is a 17 percent failure rate at 50-55 days, and a 23 percent failure rate at 57-63 days. Virginia Women's Wellness' rate of 36.6 percent failure is over four times the average. Its plan to correct the problem: "These cases will no longer be documented in the complication log." The additional procedures are profitable for the center.

Brigham has had his medical license suspended, revoked, or allowed to lapse multiple times in multiple states. He has no license to practice medicine in Virginia. In October 2010, due to the discovery of a botched abortion resulting in a ruptured small intestine and uterus, New Jersey suspended his medical license. It was learned that he routinely began late term abortions in one state and caravanned with his clients to finish them in Maryland (where he had no medical license). In New Jersey, Dr. Brigham had no hospital admitting privileges, no OB/GYN training, and no medical permission to perform third trimester abortions.

Brigham also has a history of hiring doctors for his facilities that have records of malpractice and poor patient care. One, who works at the Virginia Beach facility, Dr. Craig Cropp, has faced multiple disciplinary actions since 1998, has had his license suspended in both Maryland and Virginia, much of it related to his partnership with Brigham. The list includes:

2001: Dr. Cropp perforated a patient’s uterus during a D&C in Pulaski. During the procedure, Dr. Cropp left the operating room twice and the Operative Report does not indicate whether or not there was another physician in attendance during his absences.

2001: Pulaski Community Hospital revokes Dr. Cropp's clinical privileges.

2003: Dr. Cropp receives a $250 fine and must enroll in a residency/alternative program where he shall not perform invasive procedures.

2005: Maryland suspends Dr. Cropp's license due to actions in Va.

2006: Dr. Cropp is allowed to perform OB/GYN surgeries subject to certain Board requirements (one of which requires him to practice under a mentor who must have a current and active medical license and be a board-certified OB/GYN).

2007: Dr. Cropp's Va. license is suspended mandatorily (because Md. suspended his license) and subsequently reinstated with 2006's restrictions.

2007: Dr. Cropp returned to the OB/GYN practice at a Virginia Beach center without a board-certified OB/GYN mentor and performed surgical procedures without the oversight of a mentor. "Dr. Steven Brigham, M.D., acted as Dr. Cropp's initial physician mentor for the approximate period of December 2007, through March, 2008. Dr. Brigham testified to the Board that he owns the Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but does not practice there since he is not licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Brigham holds a current and active license to practice medicine in New Jersey."

2008: Dr. Cropp changes his mentor to Dr. Richard Paver, D.O. who holds a current and active VA license, but is not a board-certified OB/GYN.

2008: Va. Board of Medicine suspends Dr. Cropp's license: "Effective immediate, it shall be unlawful for you to treat patients, prescribe medication, or otherwise practice medicine, or hold yourself out as a licensed physician in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Cropp testified to the Board that his physician mentors did not observe him perform all procedures as required by the Modified Order, and estimated that his second mentor, Dr. Paver, was only present at the Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia 25-50% of the time."

2008: Dr. Cropp is assessed a $5,000 fine and his license is reinstated on probation subject to certain Board conditions.

2009: Dr. Cropp is given a full and unrestricted medical license.

In 2011, officials in Maryland charged Brigham with ten counts of murder after authorities there discovered the remains of dozens of "advanced gestation fetuses" inside a freezer at one of his facilities. The charges were later dropped because investigators couldn’t prove the babies had been aborted in Maryland.

On his website, Brigham's two centers in Virginia (Virginia Women's Wellness in Virginia Beach and American Women Services in Fairfax) offered the following surgical abortion procedure: "Surgical abortion patients who are between 14 and 24 weeks pregnant will be referred to our Cheverly [MD] location after their first appointment for the completion of their procedure." Abortions after 13 weeks in Virginia must be done in a hospital, not a center.

In 2004, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, home of the notorious abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, banned Brigham from operating abortion centers in that state.

According to the pro-choice website RH Reality Check, "Since the early 1990s, public records show, Brigham"s patients have suffered emergency hysterectomies, severe bowel injuries, severed ureters, and sweeping lacerations to the uterus. Over a period of two decades, Brigham has been barred from practicing medicine in at least six states, sued by his landlords and business associates, and even served jail time for failing to pay taxes. And yet today, Brigham remains in control of a network of 15 abortion clinics in four states, and there appears little that most state authorities are able — or willing — to do about it."

In 2010, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia labeled some of Brigham’s actions "egregious" and "unscrupulous" and called on state officials to "ensure that Dr. Brigham is never allowed to provide services to women again," but made the inaccurate claim that laws prior to abortion center safety standards did just that. To date, Brigham is still allowed to "provide services" since he is allowed to own and operate two abortion centers. Abortion center standards adopted since 2010 have further exposed his unwillingness to provide adequate care for patients, but the Department of Health has done nothing to ensure the safety of his patients.

Added Cobb, "The abortion industry’s actions haven’t matched its rhetoric. They have worked tirelessly for more than two years to keep the Steven Brigham's of the world in business in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe and his Department of Health have a choice, side with the abortion industry and the likes of Steven Brigham, or side with the women of Virginia. With a record like Steven Brigham's, whether he’s doing the procedures or not is irrelevant. If he is running his centers like he practiced medicine, he's putting women at risk, and should be prohibited from operating in Virginia."