Public Access to Abortion Records in Jeopardy

If the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) prevails, pro-life groups across the country could ultimately be prevented from exposing the dangers of poorly run abortion facilities.

The case, now before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, involves an attempt by the Maryland Coalition for Life (MCFL) to obtain public documents on the licensing of abortion facilities in that state.

The state filed suit against MCFL Director Andrew Glenn, asking the Baltimore City Circuit Court to deny the request on the absurd claim that making such information public could subject clinics and doctors to “harassment and violence.”

It didn’t take long for Judge Emanuel Brown to issue a one-page ruling upholding the state’s case. The judge only cited “public safety concerns” as the reason for his ruling without further explanation.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represented Glenn, immediately filed an appeal with the higher court. That appeal is still pending.

Glenn simply made a legal public records request following reports that doctors whose licenses had been suspended or revoked in other states were setting up practice in Maryland, thereby jeopardizing patients’ lives.

”If this case is ultimately decided in favor of the state, it could very well set a terrible precedent for other states,” explained Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) President Dan Becker. “It certainly would be damaging here in Georgia where we know we have similar problems.”

Last fall, GRTL called on state authorities to investigate documented cases of malpractice, at least one death, unsanitary conditions, nonsurgical injuries on patients and staff, and Medicaid fraud.

GRTL also has proof that at least two disgraced abortion providers from other states—North Carolina and Alabama—have found a safe home in Georgia.

To date, the Georgia officials have taken no action.

“This is particularly alarming in light of the Kermit Gosnell situation, which was clearly the result of failed regulatory oversight,” Becker said.

In Maryland, MCFL hoped to use the information to cross-reference names of Maryland abortionists with those in other states who had been deemed too dangerous or incompetent to practice.

One such doctor, Steven Brigham, set up a secret abortion clinic in Elkton, MD., where a patient was seriously injured.

Brigham already had his license revoked in New York, Florida and New Jersey, and did not have one in Maryland.

Public outcry over the Brigham scandal led to the passage in 2012 of legislation requiring, for the first time in Maryland, that abortion facilities must be licensed and undergo inspections.

In Georgia, only abortion facilities performing second and third trimester abortions are operated as ambulatory surgical centers and require a license from the state. Abortion facilities performing first trimester abortions are considered private physician's offices and do not require a license or oversight.

GRTL collected evidence of the problems in Georgia over several years. Information was courageously provided by current and former abortion industry workers, private watchdog organizations, and patients who have suffered at the hands of those whose bank accounts are fuller than their hearts.

The facts are stunning and provide a behind-the-scenes look at an industry that is far from being the loving, women-centered service so skillfully portrayed to an unsuspecting public.

“GRTL’s mission is to end all elective abortions,” Becker said. “But until that goal is reached, we believe women deserve nothing less than the highest standard of medical care.”

The people of Georgia need to ask their state senator and representative to sponsor and support legislation that holds abortion facilities accountable and provides public access to records that ensures that will happen.

Sources:  DefendLife.org; wnd.com; aclj.org; philly.com

By Wayne DuBois  
Media Relations Advisor