Alabama Abortion Advocates Target Pro-Life Lawmakers After Centers Closed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alabama Abortion Advocates Target Pro-Life Lawmakers After Centers Closed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 18, 2006

Montgomery, AL ( — Abortion advocates in Alabama have announced a new campaign to target pro-life lawmakers. The effort is a reaction to the state health department shutting down abortion businesses in Birmingham and Montgomery that were putting women’s lives and health at risk.

The Montgomery chapter of the National Organization for Women has started the "Turn on the Lights Campaign" in an effort to keep the rest of Alabama’s abortion facilities open.

The campaign includes targeting pro-life state lawmakers and the group is distributing a list of legislators who backed pro-life bills in the 2006 legislative session to its members.

According to the Associated Press, Cheryl Sabel, president of the pro-abortion group, spoke at a news conference at the R-S-A Tower building, where the Alabama Department of Public Health is located.

NOW criticized the state health department for shutting down two abortion centers.

Earlier this week, it suspended the license of a Montgomery, Alabama abortion business that lacked proper emergency care for women who may suffer from botched abortions.

Health officials said the abortion center did not have a backup physician as required by state law in medical emergency cases.

The suspension follows on the heels of the closing of a Birmingham abortion business that fabricated official health records after a nurse illegally gave a woman late in pregnancy the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

NOW also complained that state health officials met with representatives of pro-life groups on August 8 and said the timing of the closing of the abortion centers was suspicious.

In the Montgomery case, the health department suspended the license of the Reproductive Health Services (RPH) abortion business.

The agency also said the abortion center failed to have a doctor with admitting privileges at a local hospital to be able to admit women who may need emergency medical treatment following a botched abortion.

The health department said the violation "constitutes a danger to public health and welfare."

Bureau of Health Provider Standards director Rick Harris told the Associated Press that health officials are still reviewing RPH’s records from a second inspection authorities conducted. A full report on the problems is expected soon.

The suspension of RPH’s license comes two months after Summit Medical Center in Birmingham closed permanently.

The woman Summit gave the abortion drug to had a severely high blood pressure and needed medical attention, later gave birth to a stillborn baby.

Only a doctor is supposed to dispense the dangerous abortion drug and the mifepristone pills are only intended to be used in the early stages of a pregnancy. The woman went to an emergency room six days later and gave birth to a 6-pound, 4-ounce stillborn baby.

The state medical board has also temporarily prohibited abortion practitioner Deborah Lyn Levich and Summit Medical Center nurse Janet F. Onthank King from practicing medicine.

Levich and King have been prohibited from working with each other again after Levich allowed King to dispense the abortion drug, as only licensed physicians are allowed to do that.

Following the incident, Harris began inspecting the state’s other abortion facilities, which led to the findings of the problems at RPH. Last week, he said current rules are apparently not clear enough for abortion facilities to understand and implement.

Christian Coalition of Alabama president John Giles participated in the meeting NOW objected to that also included former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Giles told that those present "conceded that the Summit Clinic closing in Birmingham was a wake up call about the danger to public health and welfare."

Giles told in a statement that he was "confident" that the state health department "has made the upgrading of regulations, inspections and enforcement of standards a priority."

Summit Medical Centers operates seven abortion businesses in five states and has another abortion center in Montgomery, Alabama.

It is the abortion business that employed Malachy Dehenre, who lost his medical license in both Alabama and Mississippi because of botched abortions.