Why is Clinic That Killed Woman in 33-Week Botched Abortion Still Open?

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 6, 2013   |   1:50PM   |   Germantown, MD

A group of Maryland state legislators are asking the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) why the abortion clinic responsible for killing a woman recently in a botched 33-week late-term abortion is still open.

Jennifer McKenna Morbelli, a 29-year-old woman from New Rochelle, New York died from a botched 33-week abortion on February 7. The medical examiner’s office confirmed a botched 33-week abortion killed the young woman.

Now, Maryland House of Delegates have sent a formal letter to the Department seeking clarification of the state’s new abortion clinic licensing regulations that went into effect last year.

The February 28 letter, obtained by the pro-life group Operation Rescue, raises questions about why the death of Jennifer Morbelli of complications from an abortion at 33 weeks did not trigger the immediate suspension of license of Germantown Reproductive Health Centers (GRHC) where Carhart conducted Morbelli’s abortion.

“Specifically, if not a patient’s death, what is the trigger for immediately suspending the license of a surgical abortion facility under COMAR, in order to protect the public,” the letter asked.

The lawmakers also questioned why a previous complaint filed in November, 2012, concerning illegal dumping at the Germantown Reproductive Health Centers abortion clinic has not yet prompted an investigation and inspection of the clinic. Operation Rescue confirmed earlier that GHRS was never inspected to verify that the clinic met licensing requirements, nor had it been inspected by the time of Morbelli’s death.

The letter also has lawmakers saying they want to know why a number of surgical abortion clinics operating openly in Maryland have never obtained licensure and how these clinics are being addressed by the DHMH. The pro-life group told LifeNews it has confirmed that at least five abortion facilities are continuing to do business illegally without proper licensure. Those abortion businesses include: Metropolitan Family Planning (Gaithersburg), Women’s Health Care Center (Gaithersburg),Women’s Health Care Center (Bethesda), Femi-Care Surgical Center (Baltimore) and Gynemed Surgical Center ( Baltimore, MD).

Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, told LifeNews complaints against these facilities were filed on February 13, 2013, yet all five clinics continue to do abortions in violation of the law.

“It does no good to have laws for the protection of the public if those laws are not enforced. We again call on the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to take the concerns of the House Delegates and the public more seriously before someone else dies,” he said.

House Delegates that signed the letter to the DHMH include Nicholous Kripke, ranking member of the House Health and Operations Committee, and Kathy Atzali, (MD Dist. 4-A), who has separately asked for a “complete and transparent” investigation into code infringements at GRHS and is insisting that Carhart be held accountable for Morbelli’s death.

The chief medical examiner in Baltimore has confirmed Morbelli died when amniotic fluid seeped into her bloodstream, according to new entries on her death certificate. The entry lists “amniotic fluid embolism following termination of pregnancy” as one of two causes of death. The second is “disseminated intravascular coagulation,” a condition during which small blood cots form in blood vessels.

As LifeNews reported, papers uncovered in trash bins outside the abortion facility where a woman was killed in a botched late-term abortion are leading to questions about whether she was instructed to not go to a local emergency room after the failed abortion.

Following a new probe started by local officials, the Maryland Attorney General has opened an investigation into the late-term abortion practitioner who killed a Morbelli. The Maryland Attorney General’s office is not specifically looking into Morbelli’s deathbut it is looking at illegal dumping by the abortion clinic that could result in fines or other form of punishment.

Among the papers was a document instructing women not to go to the ER in the event of an emergency, but instead to “call and we will meet you at the clinic,” which is clearly dangerous medical advice. The number given in the instructions has now been connected to a business Carhart owns.

The Maryland Attorney General’s office notified the Maryland Coalition for Life and Operation Rescue that is has late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart and Germantown Reproductive Health Services under an active criminal investigation for illegal dumping, based on complaints made by both groups last year. This investigation is separate to ongoing investigations into Morbelli’s death, OR informed LifeNews, that are currently underway by the State Medical Examiner, the Montgomery Police Department, and the state’s Office of Health Care Quality.

David Williams of the Maryland Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit contacted Janet Kotowski, a pro-life sidewalk counselor in Germantown, to notify her that an investigation was underway. Kotowski wrote a letter last November asking the agency to look into illegal dumping of biohazardous waste and private patient information at Germantown Reproductive Health Center in follow up to a complaint filed by Operation Rescue in July, 2012.



Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue also spoke with Williams yesterday and has agreed to turn over unedited video-taped evidence of the illegal dumping documented last year to aid in his investigation.

“This is a very serious criminal investigation,” Williams told Sullenger.

In July, 2012, Operation Rescue filed a formal complaint with the Environmental Crimes Unit and released edited video and photographic evidence that showed GRHS and Carhart engaged in the illegal dumping on a routine basis. Evidence included:

1. Documents containing private patient information concerning birth control prescriptions and abortion procedures, as well as copies of patient driver’s licenses.
2. Bloody refuse blood clots and possible human fetal remains.
3. Drug control violations.

“For years we have documented Carhart’s abortion abuses. This time we pray authorities will quickly act before he has the opportunity to kill again,” said Sullenger.

Other incidents documented by Operation Rescue include the 2005 third-trimester abortion death of Christin Gilbert in Kansas, unsafe abortion practices reported by former Carhart employees in Nebraska, and the falsifying of information to gain licensure in Maryland.

Sullenger continued, “The tragic death of Mrs. Morbelli from a botched 33-week abortion may be the catalyst that will finally bring Carhart to justice. It’s too bad that a woman had to die before authorities would sit up and take notice.”

Morbelli died as the result of fatal complications suffered during an abortion at 33 weeks at the hand of late-term abortion practitioner LeRoy Carhart. The abortion took place at the Germantown Reproductive Health Center in Germantown, Maryland. Her 33-week-old preborn daughter, Madison Leigh, died in the failed legal abortion as well.

Morbelli arrived at Germantown Reproductive Health Center on February 3 to start the abortion process. Local pro-life advocates protesting outside saw her every day until yesterday, and described her as appearing “pale and weak.”