A Michigan has judge has ruled that an improperly licensed abortion business may stay open while it attempts to reconcile the situation that led the Michigan Attorney General to file a lawsuit.
Last month, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a lawsuit along with the Michigan Department of Community Health concerning the Lathrup Village-based WomanCare of Southfield that state officials say has been operating without a valid license since last summer.
The state’s top attorney filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court and said that the lawsuit comes after an investigation in 2009 that found the WomanCare abortion business was not following proper rules that apply to freestanding surgical outpatient facilities. He said the licensing is required of any private physician offices in which at least half of the patients get an abortion.
Yesterday, according to the Detroit Free Press, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford Morris ruled the WomanCare abortion business can stay pen for two more weeks while it attempts to secure the proper license. The judge also gave both Schuette and Womancare more time to develop their legal cases before appearing in court again.
“Obviously this is a very important case to the prosecution and a very important case to the defense,” she said.
Meanwhile, the newspaper indicates WomanCare lawyer Victor Norris wants to take the matter to trial because he says the abortion business believes Schuette wrongly targeted it for closure and is attempting to make it more difficult for women to get abortions.
“This is all just another attempt to hinder women who are trying to receive an abortion,” he told the Free Press, adding that he believed parts of the lawsuit are unconstitutional and place an undue burden on women and the abortion facility.
in the lawsuit he filed, Schuette said, “According to documentation obtained by MDCH, WomanCare of Southfield, P.C. has been operating as a surgical clinic by providing abortions to more than 50% of its patients, even after the clinic’s owner, Dr. Alberto Hodari, failed to obtain the clinic’s required state surgical facility license. Physicians have special duty to follow state law and regulations intended to preserve the health and safety of their patients.”
“Instead of bringing the facility into compliance with state surgical facility standards, Hodari let the clinic license expire and said he planned to operate the facility as a gynecological clinic that would not exceed the threshold of surgeries requiring licensing as a freestanding surgical facility. However, information obtained by MDCH showed that Hodari continued to operate the facility as a surgical clinic without a license,” Schuette said.
The abortion business applied to be grandfathered into the new code for licensing but was denied. During the time between the lawsuit and yesterday’s court hearing, Hodari has been attempting to become compliant. His attorney also told the newspaper that Hodari has been unable to supplement his abortion business with legitimate medical services that would put him under the 50 percent mark.
Norris, the lawyer, also said Hodari did not pursue the proper license because the requirements would have been too costly, as he would have had to have renovated his abortion center to make hallways larger to accommodate gurneys in cases when women are injured in botched abortions — as has happened frequently at WomanCare.
Assistant Attorney General Darrin Fowler told the judge the state was not trying to shut down other WomenCare abortion centers Hodari owns, just the one that is not compliant with state law. “The law doesn’t mess around when it comes to public health issues like this,” he said.
Right to Life of Michigan Director of Public Information Pam Sherstad responded to the lawsuit and told LifeNews, “Abortion is currently a legal option, but it is by no means a safe one.”
She applauded Schuette, who is pro-life, saying he is following state law.
Last year, a woman named Jennifer McCoy filed a complaint against Hodari saying she went to his abortion center for what she believed was a routine pre-natal check up for a wanted pregnancy when she was subjected to an abortion against her will. That McCoy was pregnant by a 40-year old high school teacher was also never reported to authorities as required by law for potential sexual abuse cases.
He was placed on probation in February 2010 for illegally dumping medical records and was fined $10,000 for his part in the death of Regina Johnson from a botched abortion. Acting on a tip from a local pro-life group, Michigan officials found parts of unborn children, medical waste and patient records in a dumpster outside of the Lahtrup Village abortion center.
Hodari has been involved in at least three additional abortion deaths.
Tamia Russell was only 15 years old in January of 2004 when her 26 year old boyfriend paid Hodari $2,000 in cash to abort her baby at over 26 weeks gestation. She died less than 24 hours after obtaining an abortion at Womancare of Southfield/Lathrup Village.
Her guardian was unaware she was pregnant, and had no knowledge of the abortion – until it was too late.
Chivon Williams received a suction abortion by Hodari at an unknown clinic. An hour and forty minutes later, she was discharged even though she was complaining of pain in her stomach and chest. Soon after she arrived at her home, she “became unresponsive.” At 5:17, on the same day as the abortion, she was pronounced dead.
Sherstad said, “Right to Life of Michigan wants the women of Michigan to know that there are alternatives to abortion which allow their children to have a chance at life. Pregnancy help organizations and people around the state of Michigan are ready and willing to help those who are facing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy. You are never alone. 1-800-57WOMAN is a toll-free number which offers free assistance to those in need.”