One of two abortion practitioners charged with murder in killing viable unborn children in abortions in Maryland, Nicola Riley, has been transported from the Salt Lake City Jail and is now on her way to Maryland to face charges.
As LifeNews has reported, Steven Chase Brigham and Nicola Irene Riley have been charged with murder related to the deaths of viable babies at an illegal secret abortion clinic that the pair operated in Elkton, Maryland. Brigham is currently in the custody at the Camden County Jail in New Jersey and Riley now faces charges of murder related to the killing of healthy, viable late-term babies at a secret late-term abortion business the two operated.
According to Operation Rescue, the pro-life group which exposed and is closely monitoring the case, a judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Riley was being held without bail, noted at a status hearing held this morning that Riley had been transported to Maryland, and therefore would dismiss the fugitive warrant that prompted her arrest on December 28, 2011.
“Because of the seriousness of her charges, we think bail is inappropriate. Riley has a criminal history and a history of lying. She simply cannot be trusted,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.
Riley’s employer, abortion practitioner Steven Chase Brigham, has also been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder, and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. He was arraigned in Maryland and released on $500,000 bond on January 6, 2012.
In another development, Brigham has filed motions to suppress evidence against him, including evidence obtained by search and seizure. He is asking that he and Riley be tried separately and that each offense be tried in separate trials.
“The legal wrangling and attempts at delay have already begun,” said Newman. “It is obvious that Brigham is trying to cost the state lots of money to try him. We hope the judge in this matter sees through this obstructive kind of defense and denies Brigham’s motions so that he can more forward to a speedy trial.”
Brigham was charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of second-degree murder. Riley was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. The charges are the result of a Grand Jury investigation. While late-term abortions are not illegal in Maryland, those who kill viable babies killed in the commission of crimes can be charged with murder in that state under the state’s unborn victims law.
Brigham operated a secret late-term abortion clinic in Elkton, Maryland, even though he had no license to practice in that state. He hired Riley to do late-term abortions there and at his abortion clinic in Baltimore. Brigham would start the late-term abortions at his office in New Jersey, then caravan the laboring women to Elkton where the abortions would be completed. The clandestine abortion scheme was discovered after a woman suffered a life-threatening botched abortion in August, 2010. When police raided the Elkton abortion clinic, they discovered the remains of 35 aborted babies, one of which was 33 weeks gestation.
The Times Union newspaper has dug further into the case and discovered that “state investigators discovered 17 frozen fetuses in 1996″ at a Brigham abortion facility in New York. However, charges were never bought against Brigham and John Meekins, a former assistant attorney general who worked the case, told the newspaper he “encountered political pressure against the investigation from the Albany Democratic machine, including a judge who had ties to the Colonie clinic’s landlord.”
Had the New York attorney general filed charges in connection with the apparently illegal late-term abortions, Brighman’s later exploits may have been prevented.
Brigham was released on January 6, from the Cecil County Detention Facility after posting a $500,000 bail with a combination of personal assets and the use of a bail bondsman.
Riley and Brigham were caught when Riley perforated the uterus and bowel of a late-term abortion patient. Their suspicious behavior at the hospital emergency room, where they had transported the bleeding patient in a rental car, raised red flags with ER workers who reported them to the police. Their clinic was later raided by police, who discovered the bodies of 35 aborted babies in a freezer. The babies were as old as 36 weeks gestation, according to documents seized during the raid.
At the time of their arrests, Brigham and Riley were banned from doing abortions in any state.
“We have worked for over a year to make sure Brigham and Riley were brought to justice. We kept the story in the public eye, and followed up with police and prosecutors. This is a victory for the pro-life movement,” Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said.
Brigham’s late-term abortion scheme was discovered when a patient suffered a life-threatening complication in Elkton and had to be air-lifted to Johns Hopkins Medical Center for emergency surgery.
The two abortion practitioners who have been charged with murder for doing late-term abortions in the state of Maryland had long, sordid pasts including brushes with the law and putting women’s health at risk.
Brigham is no stranger to causing problems with his abortion clinics. Brigham has had his medical license suspended in other states for killing and injuring women in botched abortions.
Back in May, inspectors found Allentown Medical Services had multiple health and safety problems that could endanger women’s health and it continues to operate amid the complaints. Officials indicated the abortion facility received citations concerning using unsterilized instruments on women, having drugs and reproductive devices on hand that were past their expiration date. Abortion clinic inspectors also found blood splattered on the walls and floor of a freezer, according to a report the Pennsylvania Health Department made public.
Newman provided more details about what was found.
“Violations found during an inspection that took place on May 26, 2011, discovered out-of-date medicine, metal instruments with a brown material in the hinges and inside the supposedly sterile packaging, surgical instruments tossed in unsterilized drawers, and surgical instruments stored in a “musty” smelling suitcase in broken wrappers – all of which were considered by employees to be ready for use on patients,” Newman said. “Also discovered was a freezer where “Infectious Waste”, (the remains of aborted babies), was stored that was smeared with what an employee acknowledged was blood and contained a thick layer of frozen blood in the bottom. Dirty recovery room blankets and a dangerous lack of patient monitoring were also documented. No plan has been to correct these egregious violations has been filed, yet the abortion clinic continues to operate.”
The abortion facility operates under the name Allentown Medical Services but it has new owners. It changed hands after Brigham was prohibited from operating in Pennsylvania because of so many botched abortions and violations of health and safety laws for medical clinics. He gave up his Pennsylvania medical licensed because of problems in 1992 but was allowed to operate abortion centers administratively until the state finally clamped down on that practice.
State officials said AMS “failed to maintain a safe and sanitary environment” and devices used in abortions had been sterilized but not wrapped to ensure they stayed that way. Several packages of surgical instruments “had an accumulation of brown debris in the hinge areas and brown staining on the inside of the packages” even though an AMS employee told officials they were sterilized and ready for use.
In July, 2010, Brigham was banned by the State of Pennsylvania from operating or controlling any abortion clinics in Pennsylvania, citing violations that endangered the public. Brigham circumvented the order by transferring ownership of his clinics to Rose Health Services, a company said to be owned by Brigham’s mother.
“There are certainly ongoing relationships between Brigham and the remaining Pennsylvania abortion clinics. We believe those relationships violate the Pennsylvania Health Department’s order,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue. “We are looking into what legal action can be taken to stop his dangerous Pennsylvania abortion mills from operating.”
He gave up his Pennsylvania medial licensed because of problems in 1992 but was allowed to operate abortion centers administratively until the state finally clamped down on that practice.
Brigham’s only current medical license is under suspension in New Jersey after Maryland authorities discovered he was operating an illegal bi-state late-term abortion scheme that landed one patient in the hospital in September of last year. Police later raided Brigham’s clandestine clinic and discovered the remains of 35 aborted babies, one as old as 31 weeks. The Elkton Police Department opened a murder investigation, which remains active.
Brigham continues to operate troubled abortion clinics under the banner of American Women’s Services in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.
His New Jersey medical license has been suspended based on allegations that he illegally began abortions well beyond the 14 week limit in New Jersey and completed them at the Elkton, Maryland abortion center. The state wants his license permanently suspended.
Brigham was cited after a botched abortion left a woman requiring emergency hospitalization, and other cases of problems later surfaced. Brigham’s attorney, Joseph M. Gorrell, argued the case should be dismissed and said that’s because Brigham has already been examined by the medical board on the same charges a decade ago.
Recently, the New Jersey attorney general’s office accused Brigham of violating standards of care for four additional women seeking abortions at his centers. One case involves a woman from Canada whose Down syndrome child was killed in a late-term abortion.