Abortion Business Closed in Virginia After Officials Found Filthy, Unsterilized Equipment

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 27, 2016   |   10:18AM   |   Richmond, VA

The name Steven Chase Brigham is notorious on both sides of the abortion movement. The late-term abortionist lost his license to practice in five states, faced criminal charges for killing late-term babies, employed a sex offender and more.

Despite his disgraceful reputation, Brigham still runs more than a dozen abortion facilities in three East Coast states: Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia, according to his business website.

This month, one of his Virginia abortion clinics was shut down, at least temporarily. The Washington Post reports state investigators found filthy, dangerous conditions that compromised patient safety inside Brigham’s Fairfax abortion clinic during a two-day inspection.

After finding 26 deficiencies, the state Department of Health immediately suspended the Virginia Health Group’s operating license, the report states. The abortion clinic has stopped doing abortions, but it is still seeing patients for follow-up visits; and it is appealing the decision, according to the report.

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The report has more details about what the state found:

Inspectors observed dirty equipment, expired medication in unlocked cabinets, lax storage of medical records and a failure of staff to sterilize and maintain medical equipment and follow hand-washing protocols, according to a 52-page report.

In one case, a patient had to be rushed to a local emergency room for prolonged bleeding after sutures were not available at the clinic, the report says. In another, a nurse used a plunger to unstop a toilet and then held a patient’s hand during a surgical procedure without changing scrubs, according to the report.

The Virginia abortion center failed state inspections in the past, too. In 2014, state inspectors discovered 33 pages worth of violations at the facility, many of which were repeat offenses, LifeNews reported. These included dirty and broken equipment, improper sterilization and cleaning, and failure to provide patients with contact information where complaints may be filed, according to the state report.

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, said the state should have shut down Brigham’s abortion business long ago.

“It is absolutely appalling that it took this long for the state to shut him down, but it’s more appalling that he may still be allowed to operate,” Cobb said in a statement. “Virginians need to understand the very health and safety standards that are intended to protect women from the likes of Steven Brigham are the same standards [Gov.] Terry McAuliffe is trying to water down and eliminate.”

Even some abortion supporters are calling for Brigham’s shoddy practice to be shut down. Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, told the newspaper that the state should take action against Brigham, who has shown a “clear pattern of repeated and serious misconduct that poses a significant threat to patient safety.”

However, abortion activists also claimed Brigham is an outlier, and the abortion industry does not need to be regulated. It’s the same line they used when abortionist Kermit Gosnell was discovered in Philadelphia. He later was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and hundreds of other charges.

Authorities in the Gosnell case discovered that he got away with his murderous trade for so long because of the lack of state regulations. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said there was “more oversight of women’s hair salons and nail salons” than over abortion facilities in Pennsylvania.

The gruesome Philadelphia case led a number of states, including Virginia, to enact new regulations to ensure abortion facilities were meeting basic health and safety standards. But in 2014, Virginia granted Brigham’s shoddy Virginia facilities a variance, allowing it to avoid compliance with the regulations.

Then, last summer, pro-abortion Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe succeeded in convincing the state Board of Health to get rid of some of the new health and safety regulations.

In a potential landmark abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Texas abortion activists challenged similar regulations at the U.S. Supreme Court in March. The case involves a Texas law that protects women’s health and welfare by requiring abortion clinics to meet the kinds of medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet. Texas lawmakers enacted the regulations to protect women and babies from abortionists like Gosnell and Brigham.