1-9-12: Regulating Abortion Clinics

January 9, 2012 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

[audio http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wypr/local-wypr-999317.mp3]

On Friday, Maryland begins taking public comments on proposed regulations covering facilities where abortions are performed. The draft regulations come in response to a bungled abortion 17 months ago at a clinic in Elkton, in northeastern Cecil County, that critically injured an 18-year-old woman.  She had to be airlifted to Johns Hopkins hospital for emergency surgery.

The young woman’s abortion had been started at a clinic in New Jersey, and she had been told to drive to Maryland the next day to finish the procedure; at the Elkton clinic, her uterus ruptured.  Investigating her complaint a few days later, Elkton police raided the clinic and found nearly three-dozen frozen late-term fetuses.

Late last month, two doctors who practiced at the clinic were indicted on fetal homicide charges.  Dr. Steven Brigham was charged with five counts of first-degree and second-degree murder, the Cecil Whig reported. He was arraigned Friday, with bail set at $500,000. The indictment of Dr. Nicola Irene Riley remains sealed; she is in custody in Utah, with an extradition hearing scheduled for today.

Late last week, attorneys for one of the doctors asked the court to hold Cecil County’s top prosecutor and Elkton’s police chief in contempt  for discussing the sealed indictment.  We intend to examine that in a future segment.

The Elkton clinic has been shut down, but there are about a dozen other private facilities that have not been subject to any regulation by the state up to now.

Sheilah talks about how that might change with Frances Phillips, Deputy Secretary for Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Entry filed under: Crime, Health, On Air. Tags: , , .

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