By Dave Andrusko
When you read the time-line written by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Marie McCullough, you instantly understand why Maryland authorities last week would charge 55-year-old Steven Brigham with murdering viable babies at his secret clinic in Elkton, Maryland.
In 1992, a few years out of medical school, Brigham “voluntarily forfeits his Pennsylvania medical license to end an investigation into his Wyomissing clinic,” according to the time-line. “The landlord had successfully sued him for concealing his plans to perform abortions. Two years later Brigham lost his New York State license for “botching late-term abortions, one begun in Voorhees [New Jersey], calling him ‘undertrained’ with ‘submarginal abilities.’”
American Women’s Services, Brigham’s Voorhees-based company, has abortion clinics in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Florida. Brigham has lost his license in five states.
The charges against Brigham and and his co-defendant, Nicola Riley come in the context of murder charges brought against West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell stands accused of eight counts of murder, seven for the deaths of unborn babies aborted alive and then allegedly murdered, and one woman, who died of a drug overdose at his Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic.
As we reported Thursday Brigham and Riley, were arrested and held in New Jersey and Utah, respectively. Riley faces one first-degree murder count, one second-degree count, and a conspiracy charge. They face extradition hearings as a result of a 16-month investigation by a Cecil County, Maryland grand jury.
The criminal investigation followed an August 2010, complaint from an 18-year-old New Jersey woman who had been critically injured during an abortion begun in New Jersey and completed in Maryland by Riley.
The woman’s cervix was dilated at Brigham’s Voorhees abortion clinic. She was told to drive to Maryland. According to Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Hermann
“After the woman suffered a ruptured uterus, state officials said Riley put the patient in Brigham’s rented Chevrolet Malibu and drove her Union Hospital in Elkton. The board said she sat in slumped in a wheelchair, nearly unconscious, outside the emergency room, while Riley argued with hospital staff, demanding their identities before treating the woman.
“The woman was flown that day to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for more treatment. State officials said Riley then returned to his clinic in Elkton to perform another abortion. The injured woman survived.”
Four days later, in an August 17, 2010, in a raid on the Elkton abortion clinic police “found 35 late-term fetuses in a freezer, several just a few weeks shy of full term,” according to McCullough.
Although never licensed in Maryland, Brigham “routinely performed abortions in Elkton, as he admitted to New Jersey regulators at his October 2010 hearing,” McCullough explained. “His claim that Maryland law allowed him to serve as an unlicensed ‘consultant’ to the clinic ‘medical director’– an 88-year-old disabled doctor hired by Brigham –was rejected by regulators in both states [New Jersey and Maryland].”
The botched 2010 abortion “led regulators to order Brigham to stop practicing medicine in Maryland without a license, and Riley’s Maryland license was suspended,” the Associated Press reported. “Brigham’s New Jersey license was also suspended, leaving him without a valid license in any state, and New Jersey authorities are pursuing revocation of his license there.”
McCullough ends her story with the contrast between Maryland prosecutors, who offered no comment on the charges against Brigham and Riley, and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It announced charges against Gosnell and eight of his employees at a news conference, and “reporters received a 260-page grand jury presentment, with evidence and fetal photos.”
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