Disciplined Doctor Reopens Troubled California Abortion Clinic

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 10, 2011   |   2:11PM   |   Chula Vista, CA

A troubled abortion center that has closed and reopened numerous times as its abortion practitioners have run afoul of the law is open again in southern California.

W. Constantine Mitchell is the latest abortion practitioner to head up the Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy, a small chain of abortion centers that prey on Hispanic women in the largely populated state. The center was last closed when its owner and founder Bertha Bugarin was sentenced in February 2009 to three years and four months in prison on charges of pretending to be a physician and doing abortions without a medical license.

The pro-life group Operation Rescue indicates Mitchell was disciplined by the California Medical Board in 1983 for billing and insurance fraud.

“Women paid cash in advance for their abortions, but Mitchell would then also file claims with the insurance companies for up to 160% more than the abortion cost. Sometimes Mitchell would reimburse the woman from the insurance money, and sometimes he would simply keep all the money himself, but in any case, Mitchell would always pocket a few extra bucks for each abortion gouged from pockets of the insurance companies,” the organization explains. “Since then, Mitchell has tried to keep a low profile. He operates out of unregistered clinics that are uninspected and have little accountability, such as the one in Chula Vista.”

Mitchell follows a long chain abortion practitioners who have been disciplined and even jailed while working at Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy.

Nolan Jones was the first to take over the abortion operations in Chula Vista and he had a long and checkered history that included multiple suspensions for botched abortions and other problems.

“He was known for preying on vulnerable Hispanic woman who were less likely to report his shoddy brand of medicine to authorities. His financial woes were so acute that Jones was evicted from his residence and was known to sleep in his car or at the abortion mill. Jones’ medical license was finally revoked in 2009 for falsifying medical records and violating his probation,” OR says.

Jones was immediately replaced by his business partner, Andrew Rutland, an abortion practitioner who had recently been granted a new medical license after his old one had been revoked in 2002, because of the deaths of at least two babies during their deliveries.

“Rutland’s problems reached a crisis when he killed Ying Chen with an overdose of drugs at an unlicensed and ill-equipped acupuncture clinic in San Gabriel. Chen’s death was later reclassified as a homicide. There questioning of the Medical Board as to why his license was reinstated. Rutland claimed all his problems were the result of an anti-abortion conspiracy. Nevertheless, he surrendered his medical license on February 11, 2011, but could still face murder charges in Chen’s death,” OR notes.

Nicholas Braemer, the medical director of the abortion centers, surrendered his medical license under pressure in 2000 after Operation Rescue exposed his numerous botched abortions and other problems. He was replaced as medical director by Laurence Reich, a convicted sex offender, who lost his medical license in 2006 for continued episodes of sexual abuse against his abortion patients.

Mitchell had a previous business relationship with Rutland and, in 1977, Mitchell gave Rutland a substantial loan to help him start a medical practice. Mitchell was also one of the physicians who was supposed to supervise Rutland when the Medical Board thought it was too dangerous for him to engage in the solo practice of medicine.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Mitchell is any better than Rutland, Jones, Bugarin, or any of the rest,” said OR staffer Cheryl Sullenger. “There is an old saying that birds of a feather flock together. There is no doubt in my mind that Mitchell is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before Mitchell runs afoul of the law again or kills someone during an abortion. It is tragically inevitable.”

She said the abortion facility “resembles a crack house more than a medical office.”

“It has a revolving door of abortion quacks killing and maiming women and children and posing a hazard to the community at large. It needs to be permanently closed, and the entire pack of offenders, including Mitchell, needs to be rooted out and brought to justice. But the system is slow, and criminal punishment is lax and often does not fit the severity of the crimes,” Sullenger said. “The best advice I have for those sidewalk counselors is to keep a camera handy and the number for the medical board on speed dial. They are going to need both.”