Erie, Pennsylvania Abortion Facility One Step Closer
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 24, 2003
Erie, PA (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life activists in Pennsylvania are outraged that the state has awarded a contract to an abortion practitioner with a long history of license suspensions and health violations.
Steven Brigham, who was forced to give up his PA medical license several years ago, has opened an office in downtown Erie to test and treat patients for sexually transmitted diseases. As a result of a contract signed with the state Department of Health, the state will reimburse Brigham for services for patients who meet certain income guidelines.
"I’m all for more STD testers, but not for the state subsidizing abortionists and/or agencies run by disreputable people who have violated basic standards of good medicine," said Tim Broderick, a board member of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and a leader of the Erie-based pro-life group People For Life.
Brigham has had his license to practice medicine taken away in several states as a result of his questionable medical practices. He was also convicted for failing to file his income tax return.
While Brigham is not performing abortions in the STD screening office, he does plan to open up an abortion operation in other office suites owned by his company. Abortions have not been performed in Erie for more than 20 years.
However, Brigham has run into a number of roadblocks in his efforts to open the Erie abortion center.
No hospital has agreed to provide emergency services for the facility. Such an agreement is required by the PA Health Department. The proposed building lacks a sprinkler system and other necessary safety equipment. In addition, health department inspectors have not yet approved the building as an abortion center.
Brigham also faces some severe financial problems. He owes more than $40,000 in dues and utility payments for six office suites. The issue is now in litigation.
For years, pro-life activists have been urging the state to stop Brigham from opening up an abortion center in Erie. While Erie still remains an abortion-free zone, pro-life leaders are disappointed that the state has sanctioned Brigham’s STD clinic.
"Any state funding of abortion facilities, direct or indirect, is absolutely outrageous," Broderick said. "Such funding pays for office space, office and medical equipment and supplies, office and medical staff, telephone systems, and advertising, and creates the perception of state endorsement of abortion."