Unfortunately, Ximena Renaerts isn’t alone. In fact, she’s one of countless people living daily with the wounds abortion inflicts. A few of those people are children like her, who’ve somehow managed to survive the abortionist’s knife.

But there’s a much greater number of another kind of abortion “survivor” – aborted women. While most of their stories are known only to God, more and more women who’ve experienced abortion are speaking out in the here and now.

The following is a cross-section of recent abortion-related scandals.


AlbertaIn 1996, Lisa Boucher underwent a “routine” abortion at Calgary’s Kensington abortuary. After returning home, she felt new contractions, and delivered the head of her child, which the abortionist had not removed. She called the abortuary, but a staffer told her what had happened was impossible. Kensington executive director Celia Posyniak claimed complications are not common, and that the risks of abortion are explained to potential clients.


In 1992, 18-year-old Karine Rivard died after an abortion in Sherbrooke. Her father said she’d changed her mind just before the procedure, but the abortionist went ahead anyway. Just after the abortion, Karine, who had asthma, began experiencing breathing problems. After she went into cardiac arrest, she was brought to Sherbrooke University Hospital. Five days later, Karine died. The coroner noted the lack of emergency equipment in the case, and on the need for medical examinations prior to abortions. Karine’s death was ruled a “violent accidental death.”

Nova Scotia

Henry Morgentaler’s Halifax abortuary was found liable for negligence last December, in failing to provide a patient with adequate care after a 1993 abortion. The franchise was assessed damages of more than $700,000. Justice Douglas MacLellan found that although the client was “emotionally very shaky” and in pain, she was permitted to drive away from the abortuary within 30 to 45 minutes. He said the emotional turmoil resulting from the abortion caused her to faint, and then swerve into oncoming traffic. Justice MacLellan ruled the abortuary failed to protect the woman from harm by permitting her to drive off so soon after the abortion.


CaliforniaThe Los Angeles Times reported recently that thousands of southern California women, most of them low-income Latinos, have received unsafe, but legal, abortions from a handful of “high-volume practitioners” who repeatedly run into trouble with the state’s licensing board and, in some cases, the law.

In the past five years, three abortionists and an abortuary manager have been charged with felonies in connection with botched abortions. In three cases, women died.

“We call them chop shops,” obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Jorge Carreon said of these abortuaries. “They are legal, but they are practising medicine that is below the standard of care.”

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The incidents are legion. Alicia Ruiz Hanna was convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder after Angela Sanchez, a 27-year-old mother of four, died at Hanna’s Santa Ana abortuary. Prosecutors asserted that Hanna posed as a doctor, committing up to 20 abortions with no doctor present. Sanchez’s children saw Hanna try to stuff their mother’s body into the trunk of a car.

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Suresh Gandotra was accused by state licensing authorities in 1995 of botching an abortion that killed a 23-year-old Mexican woman who had travelled to his San Ysidro abortuary. The authorities came under fire because a file indicated that Gandotra had so seriously injured a woman in an abortion four years earlier that an examining physician described her anatomy as “difficult to identify.” The San Diego County district attorney’s office filed involuntary manslaughter charges in the woman’s death, but by then, Gandotra had left the country.

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Dr. Gordon Goei committed abortions throughout southern California until earlier this year, when authorities were called to a hospital where one of his clients was bleeding profusely. Officials later found a 26-week-old preborn baby in a garbage bag outside a Van Nuys clinic. Goei, who was practicing despite having his licence under suspension, was charged with providing an illegal abortion and was released on bail. It was not the first time Goei had run afoul of regulations—he has a 99-page disciplinary file dating back to 1979, when he was first placed on probation. He was disciplined again in 1984, 1992, and 1997—most recently for mishandling the cases of eight non-abortion patients. Six days before he committed the abortion that led to his recent arrest, Goei’s licence was suspended because he failed a competency exam required under probation.

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Sixty-eight-year-old Bruce Steir was recently charged with second-degree murder in the 1996 death of a 27-year-old African-American woman at a Moreno Valley abortuary. Authorities say Steir mistakenly cut into Sharon Hampton’s bowel, then, despite realizing his error, left to catch a plane without referring her to a hospital. Hampton bled to death in her mother’s car on the way home. Steir was on probation with medical authorities at the time, for problems with other abortions. He had been stripped of clinical privileges in the Navy, and had also been accused of failing to refer women injured by abortions to hospital. Critics in California say incidents such as these indicate that abortuaries often fail to meet medical standards. Abortionists can practise with little medical oversight, and often without the peer review they would receive in a hospital.

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“There isn’t anybody watching them, and too many times their qualifications are subpar,” said Julie D’Angelo, an attorney with the Center for Public Interest Law in San Diego.

Ron Joseph, executive director of California’s state medical board, conceded that abortuaries are difficult to regulate. Often authorities find out about a woman with an abortion complication “only because they are ultimately transferred to an emergency room,” he said.

In addition, cases of “substandard abortion” can be difficult to prosecute, because injured patients are often reluctant witnesses, he said. And even when the medical board revokes a licence, the decision doesn’t necessarily stand.

For example, despite former state medical board executive director Dixon Arnett’s pronouncement that Leo F. Kenneally’s case was “the most egregious I have seen, bar none,” a Superior Court judge overturned the board’s decision to pull Kenneally’s licence. An administrative law judge had found in 1994 that Kenneally had erred in his care of two women who died from legal abortions and five others who were treated in a negligent fashion.

Abortionist Albert R. Brown offered one reason why some medical practitioners undergo the risks of offering dangerous abortions: money. “People are making mega-bucks in it,” he explained. High-volume abortuaries charge as much as $300 in the first trimester and $1,200 in the second.

Brown added that Latinos are some of the best patients. “They come in and they don’t complain. Sometimes they are given abortions when they’re not even pregnant … It’s an unregulated industry.” Brown himself has been reprimanded by the state medical board for botching an abortion, and is being sued by the state attorney-general’s office after 48 children aborted at his facility were dumped into a field.


In July, police investigated the A-Z Women’s Centre in Phoenix, where a full-term baby marked for abortion was mistakenly delivered alive. The abortuary’s examination had shown the baby to be 23 weeks along in gestation, when in fact she was 37 weeks. The abortuary will abort up to 24 weeks. The baby’s mother is 17 years old.

The six-pound, two-ounce girl suffered a skull fracture and two deep lacerations, and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Centre. A Texas couple plans to adopt the girl, hospital officials said.

It was revealed that presiding abortionist Joel Biskind has been investigated in the past. He was censured in 1996 by the state medical board for gross neglect and conduct harmful to patients or the public.

Also, Biskind has been a target of two other investigations over incidents in which his patients bled to death. One death occurred in 1995. The other occurred this past April, when 32-year-old Louann Herron began bleeding internally while in Biskind’s recovery room. Abortuary employees say Herron lay bleeding for more than three hours. By the time paramedics were called, she was in cardiac arrest and died in hospital afterwards. A medical examiner ruled the death was caused by hemorrhaging after a rupture of the uterus.

Two other letters in Biskind’s disciplinary file concern mistreatment of a patient in 1989 and the inappropriate prescription of medications in 1990. Biskind was also admonished eight years ago for trying to abort another full-term infant he thought was at just 10 weeks’ development. His abortuary, meanwhile, has been the subject of several lawsuits and at least seven allegations before Arizona medical authorities.

Newspapers reported that the A-Z Women’s Centre is one of several abortuaries owned by a New York abortionist who has been the target of numerous complaints and lawsuits in Arizona and elsewhere. AtParamedics shield a woman being wheeled out of Toronto's Cabbagetown abortuary in December 1996least two cases against owner Moshe Hachamovitch involve the deaths of patients—one a 15-year-old girl—who suffered complications from abortions at his Texas and New York franchises.

Investigators say problems at the abortuaries are various, from poor record keeping to unsanitary conditions and unsafe equipment. One investigator said the Texas abortuary posed “a serious and immediate threat to the health and safety of its patients.”

The 15-year-old was admitted to hospital four days after her abortion in February 1994, suffering symptoms of blood poisoning. Doctors found she had a tear in her cervix and post-abortion infection. She was placed in intensive care but died shortly afterward from the infection.

Investigators at the abortuary found instruments with dried, red material on them, instruments that may not have been sterilized and staff who were not properly trained in cleaning instruments. The girl’s death was reported nine days after it occurred—seven days after such a report is required. The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that the A-Z Women’s Health Centre operated free of scrutiny from state health officials. An official with the Department of Health Services said most abortuaries are not licensed by the state because they are considered private physicians’ offices.

The A-Z abortuary closed its doors July 31 after being evicted by its landlord, and Biskind agreed to give up his Arizona medical licence last month after admitting to allegations made by the state about his role in both Herron’s death and the “failed” abortion. Biskind won’t be allowed to reapply for the licence.

Criminal investigations into the Phoenix incidents are proceeding. “We’re working very closely with the county attorney to see exactly where we go from here,” said Phoenix police detective Mike McCullough.


Wichita abortionist George Tiller indicated in July that he would find a loophole to slip through Kansas’s new partial-birth abortion ban, which went into effect July 1. “We are performing so-called partial-birth abortions as defined by Kansas law,” declared his abortuary’s administrative director Dena Vogler. “We have found a satisfactory method so that we can legally do these procedures and honour the desires of the women and families that require these procedures.”

Right-to-life advocates say Tiller is circumventing the intent of the law, and one of the law’s authors says he’ll make sure any loopholes are closed during the 1999 legislative session.


An abortionist at a Jackson abortion facility went on trial in April, charged in the shooting death of his wife. Malachi Dehenre was accused of murdering his wife Dr. Nyesha Dehenre, who worked with him at a family health centre. Malachi Dehenre was also primary physician at the New Woman’s Clinic in Jackson.


Pro-life activists outside an Aurora abortuary were threatened in March by a raving pro-abortionist wielding a gun. It’s alleged the man ordered pro-lifer Randy Means to remove his sign. When Means did not comply, the man asked Means if he was afraid to die. Means replied, “No, I am here in the service of my Lord and I have Him as my Savior.” The man then drew a Colt .45 and aimed it at Means, saying, “Are you sure you are ready to die?” After keeping the gun aimed at Means for some time, he drove off. Police arrested Justin Jordan after tracing his licence number. Local media were silent about the incident.


A Detroit woman sued an abortionist in July, claiming he botched her abortion and left her unaware she was still pregnant. Patrice Wimphrey had gone to Mohammed Aussie in April 1996 to abort her five-week-old preborn baby. The child, now two, has required extensive hospitalization because of injuries sustained in the procedure. Wimphrey wants Aussie and the hospital where the abortion attempt took place to pay related expenses, as well as the cost of raising the child until age 18.


Without Joyce Farley’s consent, her 12-year-old daughter was taken across the border to New York for an abortion in 1995. The girl was transported by Rosa Hartford, whose 18-year-old son had made the girl pregnant. Farley learned of the abortion only after her daughter experienced complications, including severe pain and bleeding. Hartford’s son was later convicted of interfering in the custody of a minor. Farley went on to campaign for a federal law to make it a crime to circumvent state parental-consent laws by taking minors across state lines.

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A college newspaper reported last October that abortionist Vikram Kaji had his licence suspended for three years after allegations he sexually abused three of his female clients and accusations of “indiscriminately” prescribing a controlled substance.


In May, a judge ordered the shutdown of Georgia’s biggest abortuary after he heard state claims that Atlanta’s Midtown Hospital was so filthy and badly run that patients’ lives were endangered there every day. The Department of Human Resources said the abortuary was “overcrowded, understaffed and dirty” and showed “a complete disregard for, or the inability to care for, the health and safety of its patients.”

The state based its claims on two years of investigations that revealed violations including: aborted children were expelled on the floor and in commodes, because of overcrowding and a lack of patient monitoring; equipment was not adequately sterilized; employees could not prove their qualifications; medical records were inadequate; and the hospital lacked emergency policies.

The hospital committed 7,465 abortions in 1996—more than any other Georgia facility. Administrator Ignatius DeBlasio said the hospital would fight the closing.

“The issues involved have no merit. The state is totally wrong on this issue and we will fight to vindicate our good name,” he said.

But Mary Boyert, executive director of the Georgia Right to Life Committee, said the state’s allegations were frightening. “It’s bad enough that they (mothers) are taking the life of the child, but it sounds like they’re putting their own lives at risk, too.”

North Carolina

Lawyers for the state argued in federal court in July that the state’s nine abortuaries are overestimating the costs of putting in place stricter new regulations. The facilities say the regulations could double the cost of abortions in some areas. Donald Richardson, an attorney for the state, said the abortuaries estimate a registered nurse makes $30 an hour, while the true figure is $17.50.


The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration confirmed in July that “perforation of the uterus is a known and common complication of abortion,” so it is not malpractice if a doctor “acted timely and properly when he realized that the perforation might have occurred.”

Meredith Raney, a spokesman for Christians for Life, said the statement is “irrefutable confirmation from the government of what pro-lifers have been telling abortion-minded mothers for years—abortion is not safe, even for the mothers.”

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In May, a police investigation of vandalism at Florida abortuaries revealed that an unlicensed Miami facility offers abortions. “They have medical equipment —oxygen tanks, syringes—but not a medical licence,” said Miami police spokesman Delrish Moss.


Nineteen-year-old Gracalynn T. Harris died last September, following complications from an abortion she underwent at the Delaware Women’s Health Organization. The death was ruled an accident. But a local Planned Parenthood outlet admitted complications can occur from an abortion as with any kind of “medical” procedure.

New York

A Queens gynecologist was arrested in 1992 for committing an abortion after his medical licence was revoked. State officials had found Ming Kow Hah provided abortions in a “grossly incompetent manner.” In one case, Ming left the head of an aborted child inside one of his clients.

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In 1993, in a case the judge said “shocks us all,” Abu Hayat was sentenced to a minimum of nine years and eight months in prison for severing the arm of a preborn child during an illegal abortion attempt. Hayat became the first person since 1981 to be convicted under New York law for violating a prohibition against abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy.

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In 1994, David Benjamin was charged with second-degree murder after carrying out an illegal abortion and then allowing the woman to bleed to death without offering any medical assistance.

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In September 1997, Physicians Financial News reported that a 24-year-old woman sued an abortionist after she was diagnosed as having an ectopic pregnancy after her abortion. She required emergency surgery. The suit alleged that the abortionist’s failure to examine the “tissue” he removed constituted malpractice. However, a jury found the abortionist not guilty.

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The state fined Rafael G. Cunanan Jr. of Grand Island $10,000 last October for committing two abortions without the women’s consent, and for mistakenly sterilizing a third woman.

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In February, Steven Chase Brigham was found guilty in Albany of defrauding insurance companies and evading corporate income taxes at his Colonie abortuary. In one case, a patient was billed all but $12 of a $265 abortion, while the insurance company received a claim for $780.

In another case, Brigham collected $1,504 from an insurance company, although the actual balance outstanding was just $164. One of Brigham’s attorney’s said Brigham normally charges $1,800 to $4,500, depending on the preborn child’s state of development.


A woman sued a Rutland abortuary for negligence in April after she learned she was still carrying a child three months after an abortion. Rachel L. Middlesteadt sued Southern Vermont Women’s Health Centre and Bennington Family Practice, contending that Michael Gold left “fetal tissue” behind after an abortion in January 1996.


The Queensland Medical Assessment Tribunal in Australia found abortionist Peter Bayliss guilty in February of professional and “gross, perhaps even criminal” negligence after a woman suffered oxygen starvation, leaving her in a neurologically vegetative state and on life support. A judge said the negligence “existed over a substantial period of time” and was probably motivated “at least in part by financial consideration.” Despite the findings, Bayliss was granted a six-week stay on a three-month suspension, pending appeal.


The American Journal of Public Health reported in its March issue on a French study that found women who have had an abortion are 50 per cent more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy later on. Further, women who have had more than one abortion face an increased risk of 90 per cent. The study followed 1,955 subjects between 1988 and 1991.