An abortion doctor who lost his license in New Jersey and has been banned from practicing in other states is illegally exerting control over women’s clinics in Englewood and several other locations, the state attorney general has charged.
Additionally, the facility known as Englewood Women’s Services — one of 14 in a chain of clinics that extends to Maryland and Virginia — filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors this week after a federal judge in Maryland three weeks ago awarded $6.5 million to a former patient in a malpractice case.
Dr. Steven C. Brigham, who lost his New Jersey license in November 2014 after illegally performing abortions in Maryland, has been plagued by controversy throughout a career in which he estimated he performed 40,000 abortions — including late-term procedures — even though he never completed a residency in obstetrics or gynecology.
The website for the chain known as American Women’s Services promises low fees, immediate appointments and “private expert care with over 35 years experience.”
After New Jersey revoked Brigham’s license, the state ordered him to divest of all financial interest in the chain of clinics. The physician purported to sign over interests to another doctor who performed abortions at the clinic and then became a medical director after the state suspended Brigham’s license, the state alleges.
“We are arguing that the transfer of ownership was a sham and that through the management services agreement, Brigham is still exerting control over the practice that ought to be exercised by an owner,” said Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
There is no evidence or indication that Brigham “is engaging in any clinical practice,” Loriquet said.
The bankruptcy filing, which seeks Chapter 11 protection, lists “Dr. Steven C. Brighman” of Voorhees as an owner of the company. The Englewood clinic on Grand Avenue is behind $51,847 on rent, and an eviction is pending, according to court documents. Total assets and liabilities are estimated in the filing at no more than $50,000 each.
On Wednesday, the Englewood clinic’s landlord won a default judgment because no one appeared in court to represent the clinic, a court official said.
Hackensack lawyer Donald T. Bonomo, who is representing the Englewood clinic in bankruptcy court in Newark, said that it “will continue to operate” as it reorganizes. He declined to comment on the status of Brigham’s medical license or on clinic managers’ identities or credentials. As the bankruptcy attorney, he is not involved in those matters, he said.
A woman who answered the phone at the Englewood clinic this week identified herself as Skylar Hamilton, a “communications assistant,” and said Brigham was not available.
Joseph M. Gorrell, an attorney representing Brigham before the state Board of Medical Examiners, said Wednesday the physician has appealed the revocation, and oral arguments have not yet been scheduled. Brigham remains on the revoked physician list and owes the state more than $500,000 in fines and other costs, Loriquet said.
Began in South Jersey
Brigham, long accused of botched abortions in more than two dozen years of practice, lost his New Jersey license after questionable practices in Maryland.
He began the abortion process in a South Jersey clinic, then directed women — or had his staff drive them — to a clinic he owned in Maryland where the surgical part of the procedure would be performed. However, he was not licensed to conduct surgeries after the first trimester. In advanced cases, they have to be performed in hospitals and he doesn’t have admitting privileges or special qualifications, like residency training, which is required under New Jersey state law, officials said.
One patient from South Carolina claimed in a 2015 lawsuit against Brigham and others that in 2012 she underwent a failed non-surgical abortion at an American Women’s Services-affiliated clinic in Frederick, Md., resulting in the birth of a child more than 10 weeks premature, with hearing loss, developmental delays, heart defects and other problems.
On Aug. 5, Judge J. Frederick Motz granted the woman a $6.5 million judgment against Brigham and the other defendants.
The recent investigation into the control of the 14 clinics is tied to a complaint New Jersey filed against a physician affiliated with Brigham — Vikram H. Kaji — an 80-year-old board certified obstetrician and gynecologist, who has served as medical director at all clinic locations.
In addition to Englewood, clinics are located in: Elizabeth, Hamilton, Phillipsburg, Galloway, Toms River, Voorhees and Woodbridge in New Jersey. In Maryland, clinics are located in Baltimore, Cheverly, Frederick and Silver Spring.
In Virginia, there’s a clinic in Virginia Beach and Fairfax, but state regulators suspended the license of the Fairfax facility in April after finding a number of problems including unsanitary equipment, expired medication and failure to follow proper care protocols – 52 pages in all.
“The license remains suspended,” said Maribeth Brewster, a spokeswoman for Virginia regulators.
Kaji began working for Brigham as an independent contractor to perform abortions in 1996. In 2010, Kaji took over as medical director at all clinic locations when Brigham’s license was temporarily suspended and he was prohibited from serving in the job, according to the complaint the state filed against Kaji in June 2015.
The board received a stock certificate in March 2015 that purported to show Brigham transferred complete ownership to Kaji as a condition of Brigham’s losing his license. The two physicians also sent a transfer of ownership notice for three of the locations — Elizabeth, Englewood and Hamilton — to the state Department of Health, which registers the facilities, according to state documents.
In May 2015, Kaji testified under oath before a board panel and denied being the owner, according to the state complaint.
Kaji said Brigham continued to fulfill the obligations as owner in all clinic locations in New Jersey and beyond, state documents show. Kaji “expressly testified that ‘there is no other person around, [Brigham’s] the only one who runs the show,’” according to the complaint.
In fact, Kaji during testimony said of the ownership transfer: “It was just a technical paper transaction so the business could go on.”
Kaji “aided and abetted the unlicensed practice of medicine in allowing Brigham to maintain ownership of AWS, a professional service corporation, an activity for which a medical license is required,” the state complaint alleges.
Gorrell, who is also representing Kaji, declined to comment pending a hearing scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 on the move to suspend Kaji’s license.
‘Cut enough corners’
Brigham has been the subject of many disciplinary hearings in New Jersey and elsewhere over the last two decades. Brigham left Pennsylvania in 1992, agreeing never to practice in the state again, according to a series of stories The Record published in 1994 on a three-state inquiry into the physician.
The agreement was reached after a confidential investigation by the Pennsylvania medical board, but authorities at the time refused to divulge further information. New York and New Jersey had investigated the physician on allegations of malpractice.
In November 1994, New York revoked the physician’s license after two women undergoing late-term abortions were injured, one of whom suffered a perforated uterus and one who bled for hours before being taken to an emergency room. New Jersey was undertaking its own efforts to revoke Brigham’s license, in some instance, citing the same cases, The Record found in 1994.
The attorney general pressed the state board at the time to revoke Brigham’s license, but the board chose to allow hearings to continue.
Two decades later, the New Jersey board revoked Brigham’s license after he practiced medicine in Maryland without a license. The order cited a New Jersey administrative law judge’s findings: After reviewing Brigham’s extensive track record of disciplinary actions in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, the judge noted that “Dr. Brigham has finally cut enough corners.”
An attorney representing Brigham said there were 23 times that another doctor performed the surgery, not Brigham himself. He argued that he had a “consultive relationship” that allowed him to practice in Maryland.
“No matter how much proponents try to portray their support for this misguided bill as compassionate, the reality is that the bill is anything but,” said Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life. “The legislation is deeply flawed and will place the lives of our most vulnerable populations at risk of misdiagnosis, coercion and abuse.”
Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22) reintroduced The Senate version of the Physician Assisted Suicide bill (S2474) on August 1, 2016. According to an article written by Star Ledger reporter Sue Livio, proponents are pushing for action on the bill by the fall of 2016. Read the article
Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3) reintroduced the Physician Assisted Suicide Bill (2451) in February of 2016. The text of the new bill, A2451, is now available on-line, is the identical to the previous version. We expect the Senate version to be introduced shortly.
Background on NJ Physician Assisted Legislation
The previous bill (A2270/S382) passed the NJ Assembly by one vote on November 13, 2014, but failed to garner enough support in the NJ Senate, and consequently, expired in the last session. Read the January 12, 2016 Press Release from the Alliance Against Doctor Prescribed Suicide here
11/13/14 State Assembly Vote
To see how your Two Assembly Members voted on November 13, 2014 and for background information on the Assembly legislative process in the last session, please click here
More information on efforts to legalize physician assisted suicide in NJ can be found on our webpages.
If you don’t know who your legislators are, go to the tab on the njrtl webpage marked, “Legislation” and add your 9 digit zip code. Once you add your 9 digit zip code, click “Go. A page will open that will provide pictures and names of your federal and state elected officials. (Helpful hint: you will need to use the scroll bar on the right hand side and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find your State Senator and Two Assembly Members.)
If your Two State Assembly Members voted No previously, please contact them and thank them for their No vote. Urge them to vote No again on A2451/S2474 if it comes up for a vote.
If your Two State Assembly Members Voted Yes, please contact them and tell them you are disappointed in their vote and that you expect them to vote No on A2451/S2474 if it comes up again.
If one or two of your State Assembly members are newly elected, schedule a meeting to speak with them and educate them about the dangers of Bill A2451/S2474.
On July 12, 2016, NJRTL Executive Director was an invited guest on CNN’s Town Hall Meeting with the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan. In the segment, Speaker Paul Ryan reiterates his strong pro-life position. The segment was hosted by Jake Tapper. You can watch the video by clicking on the link HERE
Update July 1, 2016: Governor Christie once again vetoes Planned Parenthood funding bills ( A3492/S2277 and A1963/S1017)!
On June 27, both the Senate and Assembly voted in favor of A3492/S2277 and A1963/S1017 to use your hard earned tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood.
Click here to see how your State Senator and two Assembly members voted
2. View the vote tally (link above) to see how your State Senator and 2 Assembly members voted on these bills. Then call and email them. Thank those who voted No and express your outrage to those who voted Yes and tell them you expect them to Vote No on any attempt to override the Governor’s vetoes of these bills and that you also expect them to vote No on any future attempt to fund Planned Parenthood with our tax dollars. You can send a prewritten email to your legislators from our website by clicking on the tab that says, “Legislation.” It’s the third item on the page. Thank you.
Both the Senate & Assembly scheduled two bills for a vote on Monday, June 27th that will use our hard earned tax dollar to fund Planned Parenthood. They are A3492/S2277 and A1963/S1017. Take action to oppose now! On Thursday, Assembly Dems continually tried to censor the truth about Planned Parenthood. This occurred when NJRTL Exec Dir Marie Tasy attempted to tell the Assembly budget committee why Planned Parenthood should not be funded by taxpayers and was repeatedly and rudely interrupted by the Chair and only given 3 minutes to provide remarks while PP officials were allowed to provide testimony uninterrupted and were even praised and thanked by the Chair. Our comments did not make it into the News coverage even though our written remarks were provided to the press. Please take action on these bills now! Please don’t allow Planned Parenthood’s lobbyists and their bullies in the legislature to censor the truth about Planned Parenthood! Take action now to let your lawmakers know where you stand on this issue!
NJ taxpayers: Take Action to make sure your hard earned money is not used to fund Planned Parenthood! Call and write your State Senator and Two Assembly Members and tell them to Vote No on A3492/S2277 and A1963/S1017! We plan to publish these votes. Tell your legislators: A vote in favor of these bills is a vote to fund the killing of children by the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Take action at the third item on this page:
Please see below for the June 27, 2016 vote tallies on the Planned Parenthood funding bills.
Please note that a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of forcing taxpayers to fund the largest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is currently the subject of a federal investigation by Congress for selling baby body parts, which is in violation of federal law. If your State Senator and Assembly members voted for these bills, call them and express your outrage.
Please also contact Governor Christie and urge him to veto these bills.
June 27, 2016 Senate and Assembly Vote on A1963/S1017
click here for vote tally: S1017
June 27, 2016 Senate and Assembly Vote on A3492/S2277
click here for vote tally: A3492 Aca
There is substantial medical evidence that babies in the womb feel pain at a very early stage of gestation. Thanks to advances in medicine, babies as young as 20 weeks post-fertilization can survive and thrive with appropriate care and treatment. Experts in the field of Maternal-Fetal medicine routinely administer pain medication as standard medical practice because they recognize these babies as patients. There have been many instances of babies who survived abortions who were left to die or killed by abortionists. We have to look no further than the Gosnell case in Pennsylvania.
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will protect babies in the womb at 20 weeks and older who are capable of feeling pain and ensure that babies born alive during an abortion will be given the same proper life saving medical care given to premature infants. Babies in the womb experience excruciating pain during an abortion. A recent video from a former abortion provider, Dr. Anthony Levatino, explains how these abortions are done in this video (Warning: viewing content may be disturbing for some.)
Take Action Now!
We are happy to report that A3452/S2026, the NJ Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has been introduced in the NJ Legislature. We thank the sponsors of this bill for recognizing the horrific practices of the abortion industry, who callously and with depraved indifference to human life, brutally and routinely end the lives of innocent babies in the womb and endanger the lives of women. This bill is modeled after H.R. 36, the Federal bill by the same name. Passing this legislation is part of the 2020 Project, a collaborative effort by pro-life groups in NJ to protect pain capable babies. For more information on this initiative, please visit www.babiesinthewombfeelpain.com
Please go to the www.njrtl.org Legislation page and Take Action here on this legislation. It’s time we protect babies in the womb capable of feeling pain.
What do medical experts say about whether babies in the womb feel pain?
“We are obligated to protect the undefensible,” stated Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, who teaches in the Neonatology division at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Testifying before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Dr. Malloy said that advances in technology show the “viability” of human life at an earlier age than previously believed.
A child definitely feels pain at 20 weeks, testified Dr. Malloy, and it is certainly “viable.” Because of technological advancements “we have pushed back the gestational age” of when an unborn child “can be resuscitated and resuscitated successfully,” she said.
These children “are moving, reacting, and developing right before our eyes in the neonatal intensive care unit,” she said.
A June 2009 study of over 300,000 babies by the American Medical Association found that, among children aged 20 to 24 weeks post-conception, they had a steadily higher chance of survival with each passing week, ranging from 10 percent at the beginning to 85 percent at the end.
“Given these survival numbers, the NICU commonly cares for infants born in this gestational age range. We can easily witness their humanity, as well as their experiences with pain,” she testified.
The standard of care for NICUs requires attention to and treatment of neonatal pain,” she said. “There is no reason to believe that a born infant will feel pain any differently than that same infant if he or she were still in utero.”
“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection.”
Dr. Kathi Aultman, a retired gynecologist, said she had performed both first and second trimester abortions, had an abortion herself, and has a cousin who is an abortion survivor.
After performing second-trimester abortions, she recounted how she had to examine the remains of the unborn child and found “perfectly-formed organs.” While she worked in the neonatal intensive care unit by day and in an abortion clinic by night, her conscience began to be troubled by the fact that she was intent on saving babies in the NICU who were the same age as those being aborted in the clinic.
Statement by New Jersey Right to Life, 3/31/2016.
In recent days, the media and pro-abortion presidential candidates and their abortion supporters have made much of comments made by Donald Trump during an interview with CNBC’s Chris Matthews. This post is to clarify the position of the pro-life movement and expose the hypocrisy of pro-abortion candidates and supporters who claim to care so much about women.
The pro-life movement has always sought to protect women from prosecution in any pro-life laws that have passed or bills that have been introduced. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, the laws in each state would revert back to what they were before the decision became the law of the land. It’s important to note that, in NJ, women were exempted from prosecution before Roe v. Wade, so that provision would stand if Roe was overturned. Women have been physically and psychologically injured and maimed by abortion (yes, and some have even died at the hands of abortion providers) and many abortion clinics right here in NJ have been found to be in violation of health and safety regulations.
As we have seen from the Kermit Gosnell case, supporters of abortion will go to any length (even when women die) to cover up or ignore abuses that occur inside the abortion industry. This is the real war on women.
Here are fout articles which detail some of the recent abuses which have occurred inside abortion clinics in our area.
This abortionist is still managing clinics here in NJ, even though his medical license has been revoked:
4/1/16 Incident in Maryland:
The Supreme Court today held oral arguments in the potential landmark case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that concerns a Texas pro-life law. the law is arguably responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn babies by closing abortion clinics that are unable to protect women’s health. The laws protects women’s health and welfare by requiring abortion clinics to meet the kinds of medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet.
Abortion advocates challenged the law and those facility regulations and hospital admitting requirements, arguing that these clinics should not be held to the same health standards as other outpatient ambulatory facilities.
Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller argued the case before the court and he was immediately met with skepticism from the pro-abortion members of the high court.
“According to you, the slightest health improvement is enough to burden the lives of a million women,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor told him.
Justice Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote on almost any abortion case and he appeared sympathetic to the argument that abortion clinics should be expected to comply with sensible medical standards if given enough time, according to the Washington Examiner:
“Regulations sometimes take years to adopt,” Kennedy said. At another point, he suggested the lower district court could delay a final decision for a few more years, until it becomes clear whether clinics remain closed, as opponents of the law predict, or whether they manage to reopen.
Kennedy has supported some abortion limits in the past, including the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. But how far he’s willing to let states go in tamping down on abortion is not clear.
Roger Severino, director of the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, watched the oral arguments and said he thought they went as expected. He is hopeful that Justice Kennedy will side with Texas in upholding the law.
Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter.
“We had the liberal/conservative breakdown in the Court that you would expect among the justices, but Justice Kennedy, in the few questions he asked, showed some hesitation about courts second-guessing the state’s ability to regulate abortion clinics,” Severino said. “Even Justice Breyer acknowledged the state’s intent in regulating abortion clinics was a legitimate desire to help further women’s health and not for some nefarious purpose.”
“Justice Alito repeatedly challenged the plaintiffs to point to the evidence that clinics closed because of these regulations as opposed to some other reason, and asked for any evidence that the abortion industry cannot adapt to the new standards,” he added.
Severino emphasized “this case is about the ability of Texas to increase the health and safety standards at abortion clinics. The abortion industry should not get a special exemption and Texas is well within its rights to act.”
The pro-life group Texas Right to Life outlined what the court will consider when it decides the case:
Today, the Supreme Court will be considering two explicit questions in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstadt case over the Texas law:
(1) Whether, when applying the “undue burden” standard of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a court errs by refusing to consider whether and to what extent laws that restrict abortion for the stated purpose of promoting health actually serve the government’s interest in promoting health; and
(2) whether the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit erred in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health – or any other valid interest.
Both of these questions deal with the “undue burden” standard from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which has been used to challenge every type of Pro-Life legislation across the country since 1992. Whether the abortion industry is challenging informed consent laws (like Texas’ Sonogram Bill in 2011), prohibitions on late abortions (as in Arizona in 2014), or higher medical standards (as in the current challenge to House Bill 2), the plaintiffs use the vague and undefined “undue burden” standard in all cases.
The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue of abortion since 2007, when the Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in Gonzales v. Carhart.
The Daily Mail reports surrogate mother Melissa Cook gave birth to the three boys several weeks early, and the babies are being cared for at the hospital. Though Cook successfully fought to save the babies’ lives from abortion, they were immediately taken away from her because the babies’ biological father has full custody, the report states.
Cook faced pressure from the triplets’ biological father to abort one of them because he said he only could afford two children, LifeNews previously reported. The Georgia man, referred to only as C.M., threatened to not pay Cook if she refused to abort one of the babies, according to reports.
“They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” Cook said in November.
The babies were conceived using the father’s sperm and a 20-year-old donor’s eggs,LifeNews previously reported. Cook’s contract with the biological father would pay her $33,000 for the pregnancy, plus $6,000 for each additional child.
Immediately after the babies were born Monday evening, they were taken from Cook, her lawyer Harold Cassidy told reporters. Cassidy said a judge granted C.M. full parental rights, but Cook is appealing the decision.
“The hospital personnel refused to let Melissa see the children, allow her to know what their condition is, refused to tell her their exact weights, and she is not being permitted to see the children at all,” Cassidy said. “We have a mother who loves them, who fought for them, who defended their life, who stands ready to take care of them. You can’t tell a mother who gives birth to children that what happens to the children is none of her business.”
Cook is suing for parental rights of the boys, according to Fox News. She also ischallenging California’s surrogate law in federal court, claiming that it is unconstitutional.
The report continues:
Court documents reveal correspondence involving Cook and C.M., including a Sept. 18, 2015 message the father wrote to his attorney to say visits to a fertility clinic by Cook, whose pregnancy was deemed high-risk due to her age, were “draining my finances.”
“I do not want to abort twin babies, but I felt that is such possible (sic) to seek aborting all three babies,” he wrote. “I do not want to affect Melissa’s health. I do not have any more money in the bank, and my job does not pay great bi-weekly.”
Cook’s lawsuit says that, “C.M. depleted his life savings paying for the infertility doctors, paying the surrogacy broker, paying the anonymous ova donor, paying the lawyers and putting money into trust for the surrogate,” prompting “his demand that Melissa have an abortion because he could not financially afford the children and was otherwise incapable of raising the children.”
Surrogacy contracts typically allow for what is known “selective reduction,” where an embryo or fetus can be aborted, usually for medical reasons. The contract in this case was not made available to Fox News.
Last Nov. 24, according to the lawsuit, C.M. wrote: “My decision made is, requires a selection reduction (sic). I am so sorry.”
Cook, who was hired through Santa Barbara-based Surrogacy International, claims that she was threatened with legal and financial damages if she refused to undergo the procedure.
Robert Walmsley, who represents C.M., said his client asked Cook to abort one of the babies because of possible abnormalities.
The biological father also issued a statement this week, claiming that his intentions were misrepresented in the heavily publicized story.
“I have addressed those misrepresentations in the appropriate forum – the judicial system – and the appropriate Court has heard both sides and issued a correct ruling based on California law and any constitutional issues that there may be. I stand by the Court’s ruling,” C.M. said. “My interest is in protecting my three children. I continue to have concern for the health and welfare of the surrogate and wish to avoid her having unnecessary stress through a public presentation. I have no interest in sensationalizing the situation.”
The publicity surrounding Cook’s story prompted another surrogate mother to come forward and seek help for a very similar situation.
The anonymous Southern California surrogate also is pregnant with triplets, LifeNews reported in November. She said one of the parents of her unborn children is pressuring her to abort at least one of them.
After reading about Cook’s situation in the news, a friend of the anonymous woman contacted the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a watchdog group for surrogacy exploitation, and asked for legal help to save the unborn triplets, the report states.
“This woman was asked to submit to an abortion. She’s asking for legal help,” said Jennifer Lahl, director of the center. “That’s why Melissa Cook’s story was so empowering. When one woman tells her story, it encourages other women to come forward. There’s strength in numbers.”