Alabama Abortion Business That Closed Over Problems Files Bankruptcy

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alabama Abortion Business That Closed Over Problems Files Bankruptcy Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 12
, 2006

Birmingham, AL ( — An abortion facility that closed down in July after a nurse illegally gave a woman late in pregnancy the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug has filed for bankruptcy. The Summit Medical Center abortion facility filed a voluntary petition last Thursday in Bankruptcy Court in Birmingham.

The petition seeks permission to liquidate its assets for sale to pay off debts.

Managed by a Connecticut company, the abortion center lists debts of $231,897 and assets of just $62,000, according to a Birmingham News report.

The newspaper reported that the debts include $44,000 owed to the Connecticut management company, and $140,000 in loans to the Lipton family.

David Lipton and Rita Lipton of Connecticut are shown on legal papers to be the officers of the abortion facility and reportedly have the same address as the management company.

According to the legal papers, the abortion business had fallen on hard times prior to its state health code violations.

In 2004 the abortion center made $1.1 million, but its income dropped to $735,000 in 2005 and just $371,000 during 2006 before it was forced to close.

SMC was closed in July after the incident with the abortion drug and after it fabricated its health records in an attempt to cover up what happened.

The woman Summit gave the abortion drug to had a severely high blood pressure and needed medical attention, and later gave birth to a stillborn baby. According to the suspension order obtained, the woman had a "critical and dangerously high" blood pressure reading of 182/129.

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.

Levich and King have been prohibited from working with each other again after Levich allowed King to dispense the abortion drug.

At Summit, state health officials said they found "egregious lapses in care, including non-physicians performing abortions, severely underestimating the gestational age of a fetus, failure to appropriately refer or treat a patient with a dangerously elevated blood pressure, and performing an abortion on a late-term pregnancy."

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.

Following the incident at Summit, the state began inspecting the state’s other abortion facilities, which led to finding problems at Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery.

The Alabama Department of Health suspended RHS’s license in August saying that the abortion business did not have a backup physician on hand kept inadequate medical records and conducted poor follow-up abortion care.

State health officials postponed a September hearing on the suspension. Because the facility says it is working on making improvements, State Health Department attorney Pat Ivie said the agency decided to postpone a hearing.

Previously, the health department had set up a September 18 hearing on the suspension but Ivie told the Associated Press that the abortion center showed a plan for correcting the abuses.

Ivie indicated RHS must satisfy its requirements and sign a consent agreement to abide by the state health rules before it can reopen.