Maryland Abortionists' Licenses Suspended Following Death of Patient

The medical licenses of two abortionists in Maryland have been suspended following the death of Maria Santiago, a 38-year old woman who stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest while she was left unattended immediately after her abortion in February. The license of a third abortionist was also suspended following evidence that he engaged in other dangerous conduct that could have led to the grave injury or death of another woman. 

The suspensions highlight more of the dangers facing women in the nation's abortion clinics, challenging the claim of pro-abortion supporters that "legal" abortion is "safe" abortion and demonstrating the long histories of unsafe clinics and abortionists that are only recently coming to light.

Operation Rescue, a pro-life advocacy organization, reports that the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended the medical licenses of abortionists Iris E. DominyMansour G. Panah, and Michael Angelo Basco on May 29th. All three abortionists are associated with well-known late-term abortionist Steven Chase Brigham of New Jersey. 

The four Maryland abortion clinics operating under the name Associates in OB/GYN Care, which is affiliated with Brigham, were ordered to stop all surgical abortions on May 9th. Dominy and Panah are believed to be associated with the death of Santiago.

Panah was acting as the medical director of the abortion clinic, Associates in OB/GYN Care, located in a residential condominium complex in Baltimore, and was responsible for patient care at the time of the death of Santiago.

Panah’s long history of ethical misconduct began in 1988 when he was charged with fondling and attempting to kiss patients on the mouth. In 1995, he was disciplined once again for unwanted sexual contact with patients. One patient complained that she had received as may as three breast examinations in one visit for no apparent medical reason. When she asked the reason for the repeated breast exams, Panah reportedly expressed admiration for the woman’s breasts.

In 2011, Panah was also disciplined for shoddy plastic surgery methods and sloppy record-keeping.

Dominy has been accused of “failing to perform surgical abortion services in a safe manner” and “failing to develop appropriate post-anesthesia procedures and protocols.” In addition, she is alleged to have used unlicensed, unqualified workers to evaluate patients, perform and interpret ultrasounds, and dispense Misoprostol, a drug that causes strong uterine contractions, all without her supervision at the abortion clinic.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said that the license suspensions of the three abortionists raise serious concerns about patient safety in abortion clinics.

“Basco is an abortionist that had been flying under the radar,” said Newman. “Now, the public can be warned about this dangerous man who has a history of discipline and lawsuits in other states.”

According to the suspension documents, Basco permitted an unlicensed, unqualified staff member to conduct an ultrasound exam on a pregnant woman with a multiple gestation pregnancy. When multiple gestational ages were found, the employee began the abortion, without consulting a qualified employee and in Basco’s absence, by administering Cytotec, a drug that induces uterine contractions. 

When Basco reportedly saw the woman, he refused to continue with the abortion due to the advanced fetal age and complexity of aborting twins. Basco gave the patient few options and essentially turned her away in the midst of an abortion.

Operation Rescue reports that it was standard procedure at the four Brigham-affiliated abortion clinics in Maryland to begin abortions on all women who were beyond 11 weeks of pregnancy on Cytotec prior to even seeing the abortionist. The Maryland Office of Health Care Quality determined that this practice places the health and safety of the public in danger.

In 2003, Basco was also issued a Reprimand by the Texas Medical Board following his failure to provide information about a malpractice suit against him on an application for hospital privileges. In 2011, the Texas Medical Board issued an Agreed Order, disciplining Basco for keeping inadequate medical records and for not adequately informing a patient of options prior to performing a hysterectomy. The states of Pennsylvania and Maryland both issued Reciprocal Reprimands last year based on the action of the Texas board.

“Even though Basco, Dominy, and Panah have all been suspended in Maryland, and four clinics ordered to halt surgical abortions, vigilance is still required because we have seen Brigham-operated clinics defy the law before,” said Newman. “Brigham-operated abortion mills are among the worst in the nation. He has a history of ignoring the law, hiring troubled abortionists who are at the bottom of the barrel, and evading responsibility at every turn.”

Newman said that although Brigham’s abortion clinics are continuously being closed in various states, the abortionist repeatedly seems to find ways to have them reopened.

Brigham’s website, American Women’s Services, continues to list eight abortion locations in New Jersey, four in Maryland, two in Pennsylvania, and two in Virginia. The state of Pennsylvania ordered the two abortion clinics in that state closed last year after both failed safety inspections.

Brigham was also discovered to have operated secret abortion facilities. In 2010, he and his associate, Nicola Riley, devised a late-term abortion plot that was designed to skirt around the abortion laws of New Jersey. Brigham would begin the abortions in New Jersey, then ship women in labor to an undercover location in Elkton, Maryland, where their abortions would be completed. 

That illegal operation was closed down after Riley nearly killed a patient during a botched abortion. In the police raid that ensued, the bodies of 35 late-term aborted babies were discovered stored in a freezer. Though both Brigham and Riley were arrested and jailed on murder charges in Maryland, the case was dropped when an expert witness who would have testified against them withdrew from the case. Riley’s medical license, however, was permanently revoked by the Maryland Board of Physicians on May 6th.

Newman also stated that the death of Santiago led eventually to the license suspensions of Panah and Dominy, but that LeRoy Carhart, who's patient Jennifer Morbelli also died in February after complications form an abortion, has been allowed to continue operations as usual.

Carhart was a featured speaker last week, along with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea, at a recent Women Deliver conference in Malaysia. At the conference, which was promoted by Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and focused on the reproductive rights of women and girls, Carhart reportedly wore a button that proclaimed he was a "defender of human rights," and accused the pro-life movement of harassing him and creating barriers to women's access to abortion.

"Abortion providers do not kill children," Carhart asserted.


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