Alaska Abortion Advocate’s Medical License Suspended

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alaska Abortion Advocate’s Medical License Suspended Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 8, 2005

Anchorage, AK ( — A well-known abortion advocate in Alaska had her medical license suspended by the Alaska State Medical Board. The board said she failed to meet minimum standards for obstetric care.

Dr. Colleen Murphy presented such a "clear and immediate danger to the public health and safety" that the board suspended her license at an emergency meeting without first granting a hearing on the matter. The board was not legally obligated to tell her beforehand.

According to an Anchorage Daily News report, the board removed her license after receiving a report from Alaska Regional Hospital. The hospital terminated Murphy’s obstetric privileges after reviewing records for 10 patients for whom she failed to meet the minimum standard of care.

The hospital said she used inappropriate techniques for vaginal delivery, delayed patient care, and presented other concerns. According to the Alaska newspaper, Murphy was told to voluntarily stop practicing obstetrics while the hospital reviewed her records. She refused.

Murphy claims the medical board’s decision was politically motivated.

"I’m not afraid to speak up," she said. "Some people admire me for it, and some people don’t like me for it. I guess some people don’t like me right now."

Paul Stockler, Muphy’s attorney, told the Anchorage paper she knew she was under investigation, but was unaware that the medical board was planning to review suspending her license.

Murphy has long been involved in abortion activism in Alaska. She has been outspoken about getting the dangerous RU 486 abortion pill distributed and spearheaded a campaign to stop a state web site giving women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.

Murphy has also lobbied to get the morning after pill, which sometimes causes an abortion, to be sold over the counter without a doctor’s visit.

The Daily News reports that Murphy has received mixed reviews as a doctor since she was licensed in 1993 and was "let go from key medical positions."

In early 1999, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium terminated Muphy’s position as its statewide consultant for women’s health. Administrators would not say why, stating only that it was a personnel issue.