Defense Begins for Abortionist Accused of Abusing Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 17, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Defense Begins for Abortionist Accused of Abusing Women

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 17, 2003

Phoenix, AZ ( — During the prosecution’s phase of the trial of Phoenix abortion practitioner Brian Finkel, a vast number of women took to the stand to describe the various ways he inappropriately touched them during abortions and exams. This week, the defense began its effort to defend Finkel against more than 60 counts of abuse by more than 35 women.

In addition to the abuse, the women say Finkel performed unnecessary rectal exams, and made lewd remarks about their bodies, including women who had breast implants.

Richard Gierloff, Finkel’s attorney launched the defense’s testimony. He spent much of his time calling character witnesses and attempting to poke holes in the testimony of the women who allege abuse, in part by suggesting that testimony given to police and that given on the stand are inconsistent.

Gierloff this week also suggested that two of the women were drug addicts who retaliated against Finkel because they were angry when he refused to write prescriptions.

According to the Arizona Republic newspaper, Dr. Bernice Roberts of Tucson, who treats drug-addicted patients, never mentioned any of Finkel’s patients but said some patients who have invasive surgeries such as abortion often call back seeking pain relief medication.

If denied the drugs, patients can become angry and retaliate Roberts says.

However, under cross-examination, Roberts admitted she hadn’t read any of the police reports and said that not all drug users would retaliate.

Gierloff also called an expert witness who claimed that the women were prompted by prosecutors to embellish stories of abuse against Finkel.

During the prosecution phase, a doctor testified that Finkel’s fondling of women’s breasts was improper. Dr. Sidney Weschler of South Dakota said tugging on women’s breasts during an examination was offensive and akin to "milking a cow" he said. "It’s never done."

A former staff member also testified that Finkel frequently inappropriate touched women’s reproductive anatomy and fondled their breasts. Rene Imrisck also said she grew tired of Finkel’s crude remarks She urged one woman to contact the police following Finkel’s abuse of her. The woman said Finkel jerked her hard down into the stirrups.

"As the trial continues, a much darker side of the abortion industry is being revealed through the deed of Brian Finkel," Shane Wikfors, director of Arizona Right to Life, told

"Finkel’s pattern of abusive behavior once again demonstrates the callous disregard for women and human life that has shrouded the abortion industry in darkness," Wikfors added.

Wikfors also expressed dismay that the media, both in Phoenix and nationwide, are essentially ignoring the trial.