by Steven Ertelt
February 8, 2008
Los Angles, CA (LifeNews.com) — A woman who owns a chain of abortion businesses in southern California has pleaded not guilty to charges of practicing medicine without a license. Bertha Bugarin stands accused of putting women’s health in serious jeopardy after she and her sister were found doing abortions despite not holding a medical license.
Los Angeles police began the case when special unit of the LA Police Department called the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force raided a handful of area abortion centers last August.
They arrested the 47-year-old Bugarin was charged with five felony counts of practicing medicine without certification and two misdemeanor counts of dispensing medication without a license. Her 49-year-old sister Raquel Bugarin is charged with aiding or abetting the practice of medicine without certification.
Both have pleaded not guilty, according to a Los Angeles Times report. They are both free on six-figure bonds and could face up to six years in prison if convicted on all counts.
According to a September 1 statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorneys office, Bugarin allegedly managed four abortion businesses and has been charged with practicing medicine without a license.
The office said that when abortion practitioners were not present, Bertha Bugarin "allegedly performed medical procedures on five patients."
"In some incidents, she was allegedly assisted by her sister, Raquel Bugarin. The incidents allegedly occurred in February and March," the district attorney said.
The Times indicates the sisters have been the subject of as many as a dozen medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits, with most of them failing to recover damages from women injured by abortions.
The newspaper also indicated that the women have employed numerous abortion practitioners over the years who have come with medical problems of their own.
Phillip Rand did an abortion on one woman with a method that should only be used in the early portion of pregnancy that nearly killed her, according to Medical Board of California reports. Even the National Abortion Federation said Rand did the wrong type of abortion on the woman.
Nicholas Braemer, another abortion practitioner employed at the abortion centers was put on probation for five years for a botched abortion and then violated the probation on three occasions by doing abortions at unapproved locations.
The Bugarin sisters were ordered to stay away from the Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy abortion businesses Bertha runs, but officials with the pro-life group Operation Rescue say, two months after her arrest, Bertha Bugarin was photographed at the abortion chain’s Chula Vista office in San Diego County wearing a stethoscope around her neck.
"Since then Bugarin’s stay away order has been expanded to include the Chula Vista office and police have asked pro-lifers to notify them immediately if they observe her there again," the pro-life group told LifeNews.com recently.
The abortion chain was temporarily closed then reopened under the name Clinica Medica Feminina Para La Communidad. Operation Rescue says abortion practitioner Nolan Jones now claims to be the new owner.
The Bugarin sisters are scheduled to make a court appearance on March 3, 2008.