third trimester abortions

Virginia Beach Abortionist Exposed In Virginian-Pilot Article!

An explosive article on the front page of today’s Norfolk Virginian Pilot rips the cover off a Virginia Beach abortion center owned by a New Jersey doctor under investigation for a host of questionable activities. The article also reveals that doctors associated with the clinic also are on staff at Planned Parenthood centers in Virginia. The story is more evidence of the need for abortion center regulation in Virginia. The Family Foundation has informed legislators, media and the public about Dr. Steven Brigham's ties to Virginia for some time now, and reminded lawmakers last month during the General Assembly debate over abortion center regulations, which eventually passed on a historic 21-20 Senate vote. Brigham lost his license to practice medicine in New Jersey recently for beginning second and third trimester abortions in that state and then transporting the patients to his Maryland facility to complete the procedure, but his history of unethical behavior dates back at least to the early-90s.

According to NJ.com:

On Aug. 13 [2010], three women seeking second-trimester abortions followed physician Steven Brigham from his Camden County office to a Maryland clinic he owns, according to claims by the attorney general’s office. They were wracked with contractions as they traveled because Brigham had given them labor-inducing drugs a day or two earlier, the state said. In Maryland, the women met another doctor, who performed their procedures. One of the women, 18, needed emergency surgery at a hospital to treat a lacerated bowel and uterus.

Family Foundation research found that Brigham's Virginia abortion centers (Virginia Beach and Fairfax) advertised similar options on its websites, stating that they would begin the procedure in the Virginia clinics and then transport the patients to other states "for the completion of the procedure." Virginia requires second and third trimester abortions to be done in hospitals for the health and safety of the women involved.

Another op-ed on abortion center regulations by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb, in Tuesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, tells some of the story. She also published an op-ed on this issue in the Roanoke Times a few days earlier.

Today's Pilot article goes deeper, connecting doctors who worked at Brigham's Virginia Beach facilities with Planned Parenthood. Our research found that one, Dr. David Peters, lists his business address as one of Planned Parenthood's Richmond abortion centers. In the New Jersey incident, Planned Parenthood attempted to distance itself from Brigham. A spokesperson said it "had nothing to do with" Brigham. In Virginia, nothing could be further from the truth.

Peters defends the Brigham clinic in today's article, even denying that the clinic does what its website advertises. He does admit, however, that instead of referring women to a hospital for a second or third trimester abortion, as required by law for safety reasons, Brigham's abortion centers refer them to other states to avoid hospitals. Either way, it's clear that the health and safety of patients isn't paramount.

Another doctor the article named as working for Brigham in Virginia has a long history of restrictions on, and suspensions of, his license to practice medicine in Virginia, yet presently holds a current and active Virginia license. The article only touches on the mistakes made by Dr. Craig Cropp, but our research found at least 22 separate incidents since 1998 where he put the life of patients in jeopardy, from breaking instruments and losing pieces inside a woman’s abdominal cavity, to misdiagnosing ectopic pregnancies, to perforating a woman’s uterus (and blaming that one on his bifocals). Incredibly, Dr. Cropp still is licensed to practice medicine here and splits his time between Brigham's two Virginia abortion centers.

Unfortunately, the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot revoke Dr. Brigham's license to practice medicine in Virginia because he doesn't have a medical license in Virginia. In fact, without the New Jersey story and subsequent research by The Family Foundation, it is unlikely anyone would know about Dr. Brigham's Virginia abortion centers because the Commonwealth does not currently regulate or inspect abortion centers. Today's Virginian-Pilot article is the first investigative piece in the Virginia media since the New Jersey story broke in the fall.

The abortion industry claims abortion is a safe procedure in no need of oversight. Today's story about Dr. Brigham and his abortion centers is just one example of why abortion center safety regulations are desperately needed in Virginia. While Planned Parenthood, NARAL and their allies in the legislature claimed during debate that their centers are safe, they knew that Dr. Brigham was operating in Virginia. Your head has to be buried pretty deep in the sand to believe anything Planned Parenthood has to say about the safety of abortion after today’s shocking article.

Abortionist With Ties To Virginia Has Medical License Suspended

They are not "clinics" as they are commonly called. Clinics are places you go to get well. Rather, they are abortion centers. Women do not get well at a Planned Parenthood abortion center. In fact, in Virginia, a woman's health may be in danger at an abortion center, as the commonwealth enforces no safety regulations at such facilities. Recent news out of New Jersey and Maryland confirm the danger women face in these unregulated abortion centers. On Wednesday, New Jersey suspended Dr. Steven Brigham's medical license. Dr. Brigham is an abortionist who owns American Women's Services Inc., headquartered in New Jersey, but also operates abortion centers in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Dr. Brigham's manipulation of the system recently came to light (resulting in the suspension of his license) when the uterus and small intestine of one of his clients ruptured during an abortion.

This isn't the first time Dr. Brigham's license has been suspended or revoked. He was cited in two botched abortions in New York — resulting in the revocation of his New York license — and has shady standing in other states.

It was Dr. Brigham's routine to begin third trimester abortions in New Jersey (where third trimester abortions must be done in a hospital) and then caravan with his clients to Maryland (where they can be done in so-called "clinics") where he finished the procedure. In New Jersey, Dr. Brigham had no hospital admitting privileges, no OB/GYN training, and no medical permission to perform third trimester abortions (hence the get-away to Maryland).

However, Dr. Brigham was barred from practicing medicine in Maryland as the result of another botched procedure in the mid-1990s. But never mind about that. It wasn't going to stop him. He simply listed George Shepard, Jr., an 88-year-old disabled physician, as the physician of record to cover for his proceedings in Maryland — a move that is a felony under Maryland law.

Dr. Brigham rationalized his actions, stating that he believed Dr. Shepard was in the office at the time of the abortions. However, Dr. Shepard suffered a stroke some time ago, leaving him incapable of assisting in case of an emergency during Dr. Brigham's risky third trimester abortions. Medically responsible? Not at all.

According to records, Dr. Brigham's clients were not even aware that they would have to travel to Maryland for the completion of their abortions. The abortion industry has proven to be quite profitable for people who, like Dr. Brigham, routinely perform abortions, which likely explains his "creativity."

Is Dr. Brigham the only disreputable abortionist operating in Virginia and neighboring states? It's hard to tell. However, since abortion center reporting and inspections are not required here, unlike at other surgical facilities, it's virtually impossible to know for sure.

If Dr. Brigham had caravanned to Virginia instead of Maryland on this particular occasion, the chances that his client's complications would have been linked to a botched abortion are slim to none. Additionally, no emergency equipment (defibrillator, hemorrhage equipment, etc.) is required at Virginia abortion centers and therefore a Virginia facility may not have had the ability to even save the woman's life.

The health and safety of women demands the arraignment of men like Steven Brigham. Virginians must demand a higher level of professionalism and medical aptitude from abortion providers and facilities. To address this critical issue, The Family Foundation will continue to advocate for increased safety and regulation of abortion centers in Virginia in future General Assembly sessions.

When It Comes To NARAL's Report Card, Failure IS An Option For Virginia!

In some bright news amidst the regular drumbeat of negative national and state reports, Virginia earned a coveted grade from NARAL Pro-Choice America last week — an "F" in protecting abortion on demand! My message to them: You ain’t seen nothing yet!

However, just a quick glance at NARAL’s criteria for Virginia’s stellar grade conveys just how out of the mainstream NARAL actually is when it comes to abortion. For example, one strike against us is that we "ban a safe abortion procedure." That procedure is the brutal act of partial birth infanticide!

Another strike? We require "biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays" prior to abortion. That would be the vastly popular and reasonable Informed Consent law. The bias-counseling? A pamphlet that describes the gestational development of an unborn child!

It gets better. Virginia also "restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent." Imagine that, requiring a parent be involved in a medical procedure when a teenager is the patient!

They also claim that Virginia law "subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions." What would that be? We don’t allow women to be subjected to second and third trimester abortions inside unregulated and uninspected abortion centers, but instead require that they be done in hospitals.

All that before we even get to the lies. In one place they claim Virginia restricts low income women’s access to abortion when, in fact, Virginia is one of only 17 states that goes beyond federal requirements and pays for low income abortions that are "elective."

While we can all be somewhat proud of this failing grade, to me, we have a long way to go to restore a respect for human life in Virginia. That will happen when we finally require Virginia’s abortion centers to be regulated and inspected; when we no longer force taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood and low income abortions; when we bring our Informed Consent laws into the 21st century by requiring an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

So, although we don't think we truly deserve an "F," we hope you celebrate it for a moment. Then, let's all get back to work to truly earn that grade next year.