An answer to prayer: Abortion clinic’s license suspended

by Mike Stechschulte - January 9, 2015

The infant Jesus lies in a manger in front of the Women’s Center abortion clinic in Southfield just before Christmas as a group of pro-life volunteers stopped to pray for the clinic’s permanent closure after the state of Michigan temporarily suspended its license in late November.

Local pro-life advocates call for permanent closure, investigation of 4 others

Southfield - If frequent vigils, life chains and petitions are any indication, it seems prayer does work in powerful ways for the local pro-life community.

After a Southfield abortion clinic, the Women’s Center on Southfield Road, had its license suspended by the state of Michigan in late November for repeated code violations, local pro-life activists gathered to give thanks and call for its permanent closure during a Dec. 23 news conference.

Barb Yagley, director of the Southfield location of 40 Days for Life, called the suspension a “great blessing” and the result of many hours of prayer in front of the clinic, but added it should also make people consider the consequences of abortion.

"We’re asking the community to do a bit of soul-searching as to their perceived need for these types of services,” Yagley told The Michigan Catholic. (The licensing failure) should give people pause for thought about what is it about abortion that distorts or corrupts the people who are practitioners."

According to Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Detroit, the clinic failed several state health inspections and was ordered by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to suspend all surgical procedures, including abortions, pending a March 4 hearing by the state attorney general’s office, after an attempted late-term abortion in February 2014 resulted in a woman’s hospitalization for a perforated uterus, hemorrhaging, and emotional and physical trauma. The abortionist who performed the procedure, Dr. Reginald Sharpe, is also currently under state investigation.

According to the order, the clinic may remain open for physicals and patient counseling during the suspension, and still may refer people seeking abortions to other locations. Volunteers with 40 Days for Life-Southfield pray in front of the Women’s Center on Southfield Road in late December. The abortion clinic’s license has been temporarily suspended, with a hearing before the state attorney general’s office scheduled for March 4.

Volunteers with 40 Days for Life-Southfield pray in front of the Women's Center on Southfield Road in late December. The abortion clinic's license has been temporarily suspended, with a hearing before the state attorney general's office scheduled for March 4.

Mills said the clinic had failed at least five state inspections in the past year ranging from failure to discuss risks and complications prior to obtaining consent for an abortion, failure to offer ultrasound images to mothers and not having a registered nurse in attendance during an abortion, as well as numerous hygiene and safety violations.

Despite such frequent violations, Mills said, it was the February victim’s coming forward that ultimately spurred the state to action.

“I don’t think victims know or understand that they can file complaints and be 100 percent anonymous - not with the state, but the state will protect them against these doctors and clinics,” said Mills, who said the victim initially reached out to her after reading Mills’ pro-life blog and decided to report her injuries to the state.

"It’s unfortunate that it took for this to happen,” she said, adding that the woman and her family are now firmly pro-life. " asked her, ‘What if there was a pro-lifer out there (in front the clinic before her abortion)?’ She said, ‘I would have come up and talked to them. I had a list of questions.’

Given the woman’s allegations and documentation obtained from the attorney general’s office, Mills said she’s "positive" the state will permanently revoke the abortion clinic’s license after its March 4 hearing.

The state has confirmed four of her six allegations,” she said. “One of them was that the abortionist, Reginald Sharpe, didn’t want her going out the front door (after she was injured). They wanted her going out the side door and around, even though the EMS van was parked in the front.

Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, said while ownership has changed, the Southfield clinic is the same location where the bodies of 23 aborted fetuses were discovered in a trash bin in 2008 and later buried with the help of the Archdiocese of Detroit in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Miller said the current owner, Dr. Jacob Kalo, also owns four other abortion clinics in the Detroit area. Those clinics could also end up as the target of state investigations if the Southfield clinic is closed, she said.

"That’s really our big hope: that these five clinics all at once would just go away would be an amazing victory," Miller said.

Including Kalo’s, there are currently 13 other abortion clinics operating within the tri-country Metro Detroit area, Yagley said. She estimated the Southfield clinic performed roughly 10 abortions per week, which was down from previous years but “still too high.”

Yagley said the next 40 Days for Life prayer vigil in front the Southfield clinic is scheduled for Lent, but if the state closes the clinic for good, those plans would gladly change.

"If we get it closed permanently we will definitely hold a religious-based ceremony to thank God for removing this scourge from our community," she said.

With the suspension of the clinic coming during the Christmas season, Yagley said it recalled the “crisis” of Jesus’ birth for his mother and foster father.

"Joseph, when he found out Mary was pregnant, he was bewildered and didn’t know what to do, but his reaction was to try to protect both the mother and the child," Yagley said.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about how the angels rejoiced at the birth of a baby,” she added. “They were pleased that God became a human being; they were happy for us, that our salvation was unfolding like that. And here we’re so dismissive of children — not just the ones that we’re aborting, but even those we allow to be born. We tend to push them to the margins of our adult lives. It’s so very common, and it’s sad because even the wanted children aren’t truly wanted.