Abortion Center Owners Officially Charged With Doing Unlicensed Abortions
by Steven Ertelt
June 23, 2008
Los Angeles, CA (LifeNews.com) — Two owners of a chain of abortion businesses in southern California were officially charged Friday with 10 felony counts of practicing medicine without a license and grand theft. Bertha Bugarin and her sister Raquel have pleaded not guilty to doing abortions despite not holding a medical license.
The pair face up to nine years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Bertha Pinedo Bugarin stands accused of telling women considering abortions that she was a licensed medical doctor. She also illegally prescribed the women drugs that only a licensed physician can prescribe.
Prosecutors said Bugarin’s actions put women at risk and cited one case involving a woman who had to be rushed to the hospital because of a life-threatening medical condition.
"This defendant preyed on women in the Hispanic community," San Diego County Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis said during the Friday hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. "By passing herself off as a doctor, she put these women’s lives in serious danger."
Dumanis said nine former patients identified Bertha Bugarin as the Clinica Medica de la Mujer abortion center owner who masqueraded as a physician.
She said one woman ultimately gave birth prematurely to a baby who lived for three hours before dying. A second paid $500 for an abortion and had to return a second time because the abortion procedure failed to remove all of the body of the unborn child.
According to the Times, Chula Vista Police Chief Rick Emerson led an investigation over a year into the Bugarins and he said patients "were subjected to pain and risk of great bodily injury because of Bugarin’s lack of medical training."
Bertha Bugarin is being held on $500,000 bond and her arraignment is scheduled for July 2.
These charges are add to Bugarin’s legal woes.
In August, 2007, Bugarin was arrested in Los Angeles after a the police raided four of her clinics. She was charged in Los Angeles County with 18 counts committing abortions without a medical license.
Her sister, Raquel, was charged with four counts of aiding and abetting her sister in their illegal abortion operation.
In addition one of Bugarin’s hired abortionists, Laurence Reich, was also arrested after he was found to be doing abortions months after losing his medical license for sexually molesting his patients.
On June 6, California Superior Court Judge Samuel Mayerson ruled after a three-day hearing that there is sufficient evidence to try the Bugarins for practicing medicine without a license.
Operation Rescue has been intimately involved in the case since 1999 and, as a result of its work, at least five of her hired abortion practitioners lost their medical licenses, and three abortion practitioners have received discipline from the California Medical Board.
"The only way to stop someone like Bugarin from hurting people is to put her in jail, because she obviously has no respect for the law or for the lives of the women she seeks to exploit," Operation Rescue president Troy Newman told LifeNews.com.
"We thank God that Bugarin is being brought to justice. We have worked for years, along with the faithful pro-lifers in San Diego, to close her shop of horrors, and now it looks like those prayers are being answered," he added.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Bugarin or has information concerning the case is asked to call the California Medical Board at 858-467-6830.
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