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Abortion Clinic in Alabama Closes for Good, Surrenders License

by Steven Ertelt | Birmingham, AL | LifeNews.com | 5/21/12 11:46 AM

State

After a back and forth with the Alabama health department, a Birmingham abortion business has closed for good and surrendered its license to operate. The New Woman All Women (NWAW) abortion facility surrendered its license to the State Health Department Friday and ceased operations.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, told LifeNews:  “This is a huge victory that would not have been possible without the dedication of pro-life activists such as Fr. Terry Gensemer of CEC for Life, who tirelessly worked with Operation Rescue, Life Legal Defense, The Survivors, and others to make sure that this dangerous abortion mill closed for good. It is an example of what can be accomplished when pro-life groups work together toward a common goal.”

“Without our combined work, this clinic would still be taking the lives of innocent babies today,” he said.

The State ordered the closure after pro-life activists filmed two women being carried out of the run-down building to awaiting ambulances on January 21, 2012, and reported the incident to authorities. A 911 call obtained by the activists revealed that the abortion clinic had overdosed the women on a dangerous drug.

When the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) investigated, they discovered 76 pages of deficiencies, including a third botched abortion victim. Many of the deficiencies were repeat violations.

Another company, Ochata Management, LLC, attempted to apply for a license to keep the abortion clinic open, however, pro-life activists discovered connections between Ochata and the NWAW owner Diane Derzis. The consent order specifically prohibited Derzis from having any connections with the new owners. The state health department rejected Ochata’s license application, citing two lease agreements that would continue to give Derzis control of the abortion business and receive all of its profits.

On January 21, 2012, two abortion patients were transported to UAB Hospital after suffering overdoses of the drug Vasopressin. The women were carried by hand out of the clinic to awaiting gurneys by emergency responders who had to negotiate a trash-strewn back alley to reach a rear entrance with several steps and a broken safety rail. Pro-life activists photographed the incident and obtained copies of two 911 calls placed by Derzis that understated the condition of the women.

“We continue to remain vigilant and will actively oppose anyone who attempts to reopen this abortion clinic,” said Newman. “But today, we celebrate.”

New Woman All Women came under scrutiny after pro-life activists documented two abortion patients being carried out of the clinic to awaiting ambulances and filed complaints. The result was an inspection that found “multiple and serious violations of State Board of Health rules” according to the ADPH, prompting the order to close the clinic. The investigation found a third abortion patient was also transported to the hospital in recent months following a failed abortion.

According to public records reviewed by Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) attorneys, there was an applicant for a new license to take over operations after the NWAW license must be surrendered. Public records show that the new applicant has ties to current clinic owner Diane Derzis, which according to the Consent Order, “the applying entity or individual must be ‘independent from and not affiliated with New Woman or its officers or directors…’.”

LLDF attorneys suspect this was a way for Derzis to continue to operate once she had surrendered her license. LLDF attorney Allison Aranda sent a letter on April 24 to the ADPH in order to be sure that the Consent Order is strictly followed.

“How can a clinic’s license be revoked by Consent Order of the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and be allowed to remain open?” Dana Cody, Executive Director, Life Legal Defense Foundation, asked. “Despite 76 pages of code violations that endanger the public safety and health of women entering the New Woman All Women (NWAW) abortion clinic, the ADPH Consent Order revoking their license does just that. If this was a restaurant with as many violations, it would have been shut down immediately.”

The Department of Public Health conducted an investigation from February 2 to March 1, 2012, that included a facility inspection and interviews with Derzis and several of her clinic employees. The DPH noted that NWAW was cited for violations in the following categories:

* Clinic staff was not properly trained to provide safe quality patient care.
* Failure to have policy and procedures related to medication errors and the administration of medications. This resulted in the hospitalization of three abortion patients on January 21, 2012, with one patient placed in ICU.
* There was no documentation that the two abortionists employed by Derzis were even qualified to do abortions.
* Abortionists made illegible notations on patient charts that made determining critical information about patient care impossible. In several cases, the abortionist’s notes about patient care and/or condition were completely false.
* Lack of documentation of medications administered.
* Inaccurate preparation and administration drugs resulting in overdoses or inadequate pain management.
* Use of equipment with inspection dates from 2007 or no inspection date at all.
* Failure of on-call nurse to return patient calls, document correct dates on reports, or notify the physician of patient problems.

Among the LLDF findings in public records, on April 7, 2012 media in Birmingham News reported that ADPH’s Brian Hale said that there were no applicants for a new license at that time. However, the LLDF found a copy of the license application from Marianne Kelley Rain-water, who is connected to Derzis dated March 30 — nearly a week before the media announcement and three days before Derzis even signed the order to surrender her license.

According to the consent order prepared by the ADPH, the entity applying for a new license must be “independent from and not affiliated with” New Woman or its officers or directors, including Diane Derzis. The LLDF letter asks, “How would Ms. Rain-water, a person who claims no previous affiliation with the mentioned parties, know to apply for the license of the New Woman facility days before Diane Derzis signed her consent agreement and ADPH notified the public?”

Rain-water’s address is listed on the application as 1316 16th St S, Birmingham, Alabama, which is a home LLDF found is owned by Diane Derzis.

The pro-life legal group says a background check on Rain-water reveals the use of multiple aliases across several different states and it says her current driver’s license uses the name M K Rain, not Rain-water.

The LLDF also says the applying LLC on the Initial Licensure Application, Ochata Management, was created by Ms. Rain-Water on March 21 — just days prior to submitting her application. The lawyer who handled the incorporation of this LLC, Steve Cochrun, also handled the incorporation of Diane Derzis’ LLC for her abortion facility in Columbus, Georgia.