By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
(June 24, 2008) The arrest of a 48 year old abortion clinic owner in San Diego for performing abortions without a medical license, and employing a long list of unscrupulous doctors, is revealing the dark side of “safe, legal abortion” in the United States.
Bertha Bugarin was arrested on June 19 and jailed in San Diego on ten felony counts and one misdemeanor for practicing medicine and prescribing drugs without a license. Bugarin, who has no medical training, owns five abortion mills in Southern California and has been posing as a doctor and performing abortions illegally for $500.
Bugarin’s abortion chain, Clinica Medica Para La Mujer De Hoy, preys on Hispanic women, and would often pass out abortion discount coupons in Hispanic neighborhoods.
Thus far, nine women have come forward with stories of botched abortions received at Bugarin’s hand. Many suffered from incomplete abortions and were forced to return to have their abortions done again. One woman was hospitalized three times, and birthed a live baby that died three hours later.
Bugarin was also arrested in August, 2007 after a police raid on four of her clinics resulted in 18 counts of committing abortions without a medical license. She was released on $500,000 bail. Her sister Raquel was also charged with four counts of aiding and abetting Bertha in their illegal abortion operation and was released on $100,000 bail.
Also arrested at the same time was one of Bugarin’s hired abortionists, Laurence Reich, who was found to be performing abortions months after losing his medical license for sexually molesting patients.
Even though both Bertha and Rachel Bugarin were told to stay away from the clinics, Bertha was photographed at the Chula Vista office location in San Diego wearing a stethoscope around her neck.
“Bugarin has had a heck of a time keeping abortionists over the years and has always hired the very bottom of the barrel,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, whose organization has been working since 1999 to expose the dangerous abortion practices in Bugarin’s clinics.
“It looks like when she couldn’t get one of her quack abortionists in the office, she did the job herself. Bertha is a predator who has a mercenary attitude about abortions. Laws mean nothing to her, as is the case with so many abortionists. She has been quoted as preferring to target Hispanic communities with her mills, presumably since women there may not be in the country legally and will be less likely to report problems. The sooner Bertha and all of her cohorts are behind bars, the better.”
As a result of the work of Operation Rescue, six of Bugarin’s clinics have been closed. At least five of her hired abortionists have lost their medical license and three more were disciplined by the California Medical Board.
Unfortunately, countless women have suffered injury and even death in Bugarin’s clinics. Since the early 1990s, at least 12 personal injury and malpractice opioid lawsuit and one wrongful death suit have been filed in Los Angeles County against Bugarin, the clinics or both.
“The only way to stop someone like Bugarin from hurting people is to put her in jail, because she obviously has no respect for the law or for the lives of the women she seeks to exploit,” Newman said. “We thank God that Bugarin is being brought to justice. We have worked for years, along with the faithful pro-lifers in San Diego, to close her shop of horrors, and now it looks like those prayers are being answered.”
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