Official Wants Probe After Botched Abortion Leaves Baby’s Head Inside Mother

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 17, 2013   |   5:59PM   |   Charleston, WV

West Virginia state officials want to probe abortion clinics after a shocking story of an abortion that went awry and left the head of the unborn baby inside the mother.

A woman who was victimized by a botched abortion is filing suit against the abortion practitioner who left her unborn baby’s head inside of her after the failed abortion.

Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia are representing a West Virginia woman in a lawsuit against the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia abortion facility and abortion practitioner Rodney Lee Stephens of Charleston. In the lawsuit, Itai Gravely claims Stephens forced her to proceed with an abortion against her will and then left her baby’s head in her womb.

Now, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has issued letters to two abortion facilities in the state–including the one  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys have sued. The letters request information as part of an effort “to begin assessing abortion regulation in the state.”

Morrisey announced today that his Office sent letters to two clinics that provide elective abortions in West Virginia to begin assessing abortion regulation in the State.

“Recent events raise significant questions about how abortion clinics are regulated in the Mountain State,” Attorney General Morrisey explained. “Just over a week ago, a lawsuit was filed in Kanawha County on behalf of a woman who alleges a doctor at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia improperly anesthetized her during a procedure, physically restrained her, ignored her requests to stop, and failed to remove the entire fetus from her uterus. The merits of that lawsuit must still be resolved in court, but it does raises serious questions about how such clinics in West Virginia are inspected and reviewed to ensure patients are safe. These questions are particularly important in light of the conviction last month of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania for his ‘house of horrors’ abortion clinic.”

Morrisey pointed to a June 10, 2013, story in the Charleston Daily Mail in which West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources spokeswoman Marsha Dadisman said no specific agency specifically inspects clinics or facilities that perform abortions.

“The State regulates doctors, nurses, dentists, accountants, architects, chiropractors, social workers, real estate appraisers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, barbers, and cosmetologists. But abortion clinics in West Virginia are neither licensed nor regulated by the State,” Morrisey said. “Regardless of one’s position on abortion, the State needs to evaluate this basic fact.”

The letters ask the clinics to provide answers to questions related to: how often the clinics are inspected; the clinics’ understanding of state abortion laws and regulations; whether the clinics have compliance plans outlining best practices to comply with relevant federal, state, and local laws; and whether the clinics have a relationship with the National Abortion Federation, which self-regulates member abortion clinics. The letters also seek specifics about the elective abortion procedures performed at the clinics.

As West Virginia’s chief legal officer, the Attorney General is charged with overseeing State legal policy and protecting the public interest. The answers the clinics provide will help the Attorney General and his staff—who serve as counsel to the State’s existing licensing and regulatory boards—better evaluate the need for regulation.

“We look forward to the clinics’ cooperation and assistance in this important endeavor,” Morrisey said.



The letters asks the clinics to provide written answers by close of business July 1.

Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorney Jeremiah Dys, president of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, applauded the attorney general.

“We commend the attorney general for being more concerned about the safety of women than the bottom line of abortionists. What Dr. Stephens and Women’s Health Center did to Itai Gravely cannot be swept under the rug. They exposed her to extraordinary cruelty and put her life in danger. We urge the governor to take immediate action to implement sensible abortion facility regulations in West Virginia.”

Click here to read the letters to the Kanawha Surgicenter and Women’s Health Center of West Virginia.