Germantown abortion clinic draws more controversy -- Gazette.Net


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Anti-abortion rights groups are calling for the closure of a controversial Germantown abortion clinic after a woman was taken to a hospital from the clinic Tuesday, and renewed their calls for the revocation of the medical license of a physician who works there.

“The myth that somehow abortion is safe has been shattered,” said the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition of Washington, D.C., at a news conference Thursday across the street from the clinic.

Andrew Glenn, regional director of Maryland Coalition for Life, said his group and others continue to ask the Maryland Board of Physicians to suspend the license of Leroy Carhart, the Nebraska physician who also operates at the Germantown Reproductive Health Services clinic.

The state board could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The clinic, on Executive Park Terrace, was the subject of controversy after the Feb. 7 death of Jennifer Morbelli, 29, after a procedure there.

The medical examiner’s office determined that Morbelli died of natural causes from injuries sustained during her procedure.

Thursday’s news conference came after a woman was taken by ambulance from the clinic to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville on Tuesday afternoon.

Mahoney said several anti-abortion rights activists saw the woman enter the clinic Monday and stay for several hours, then return for several hours before leaving with Carhart by ambulance at about 3:30 p.m.

He said Thursday he didn’t have any information about the status of the unidentified woman or why the ambulance was called. Because Carhart accompanied the woman, Mahoney said, he was led to believe an abortion procedure was involved.

Carhart did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.

Scott Graham, assistant fire chief for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services, confirmed that an ambulance was called to the clinic Tuesday afternoon for a medical emergency, but said he couldn’t reveal any other information about the nature of the call.

Grace Morrison, one of the volunteers who often stand near the clinic and try to talk to women as they enter, said she approached the woman as she was going into the clinic Monday and tried to explain the risks and possible consequences of abortion.

“She looked at me, but she did not respond,” Morrison said.

Organizers at Thursday’s news conference handed out copies of a March 26 letter to the Germantown clinic from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene listing eight deficiencies noted during a February inspection of the facility and requiring a written plan for how the clinic planned to address the problems.

The packet also included the clinic’s response, but not a May 7 letter from the state health agency reporting that it had reviewed and accepted the clinic’s plan to fix the problems found during the inspection.

Glenn said he wondered how the state could allow a facility to remain open when deficiencies had been found.

Mahoney said his group and other anti-abortion groups will focus on organizing events in Annapolis in the coming weeks to highlight the dangers of facilities such as the one in Germantown.

“This is a disgrace for the state of Maryland,” he said.

rmarshall@gazette.net