The attorney general for the state of Michigan has permanently closed down two abortion centers in the state, saying they had been operating without a valid license since last summer.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette had filed a lawsuit in Eaton County Circuit Court to permanently close two abortion centers, the Health Care Clinic in Delta Township and the Women’s Choice Clinic in Saginaw. The lawsuit follows one Schuette and the Michigan Department of Community Health filed earlier this year against the Lathrup Village-based WomanCare of Southfield abortion center.
The action comes as the result of an Attorney General investigation into allegations of improper medical records disposal at the clinics. In addition to the lawsuit filed today, Schuette referred evidence uncovered by investigators suggesting possible regulatory violations to the Bureau of Health Systems and the Bureau of Health Professionals, agencies within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Today, Schuette’s office informed LifeNews that the permanent dissolution of Health Care Clinic, of Delta Township, and the affiliated Women’s Choice Clinic, of Saginaw, has taken place. The top attorney said they had been “operating without the proper physician ownership required by State law.”
According to an agreement submitted by Schuette and the clinics’ owner and approved by Eaton County Circuit Court Judge Calvin E. Osterhaven, the clinics will permanently dissolve. The clinics’ owner, Richard Remund, as well as his wife and corporate officer, Margaret Remund, are banned from ever organizing another abortion clinic.
“Profit should never come before patient safety, and that’s why state law requires medical facilities to be run by licensed medical professionals,” said Schuette. “Facilities that fail to follow this important safeguard should not be in business.”
According to paperwork filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the clinics, which have been closed under temporary restraining order since Schuette filed suit on November 7, 2011, have now officially been dissolved. A consent order approved in Eaton County Circuit Court today makes that dissolution permanent.
The lawsuit against the clinics was filed after an Attorney General investigation into allegations of improper medical records disposal at the clinics revealed evidence suggesting the clinics were not properly incorporated. To ensure patient safety, state law restricts the organization of for-profit corporations that provide medical care services to licensed medical professionals only. The clinics’ owner, Richard Remund, and his wife, Margaret Remund, are not licensed medical professionals.
Schuette noted evidence uncovered by investigators suggesting the improper disposal of medical records at the clinics has also been referred to the State Bureau of Health Professions for review. Disposing of medical records improperly may subject the associated licensed medical professionals, physicians contracted to provide abortions at the illegal clinic, to disciplinary measures.
Before today’s announcement, Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing applauded the lawsuit, saying, “I laud Attorney General Schuette for following the law and pressing charges against these two abortion businesses. Those involved in the occupation of abortion are not above the law. Our attorney general has uncovered violations which should result in Health Care Clinic and Women’s Choice Clinic being shut down.”
Two state legislators also applauded the attorney general for taking the action.
“It’s widely known that employees at these facilities tossed unborn babies in the trash, so it is not surprising to find more evidence of callous disregard for state laws intended to protect patient safety,” said Senator Rick Jones. “I applaud Attorney General Schuette for taking steps to hold these facilities accountable.”
“This commonsense enforcement of state law governing medical clinics is long overdue,” added Representative Deb Shaughnessy. “No one should be exempt from following laws passed to preserve health, safety and welfare. I thank Attorney General Schuette for working to shut down this clinic and put patient safety first.”
Schuette had asked the State Bureau of Health Professions to review evidence suggesting the improper disposal of medical records at the clinics. Disposing of medical records improperly may subject the associated licensed medical professionals to disciplinary measures.
After receiving a complaint in April 2010 documenting the improper disposal of unborn babies with ordinary trash in dumpsters outside the Health Care Clinic in Delta Township, the Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation in coordination with the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department, Eaton County Prosecutor Jeff Sauter, and the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department. Results of the joint investigation included evidence the clinics were improperly incorporated and may have violated additional state regulations
Due to shortcomings in the law, Representative Jones has since introduced legislation that would create a civil penalty for the improper disposal of fetal remains. Senate Bill 25 establishes requirements for the proper disposal, and SB 54 requires physicians to inform parents that state law mandates them to authorize the final disposition of their baby. Schuette supports the legislation, which has been approved by the Senate and is now before the House for consideration.
View a copy of the complaint.