Haskell’s Abortion Biz: Going but not Gone
by Senior Editor Gail Deibler Finke
After a judge upheld the Ohio Department of Health’s order shutting down surgical procedures at late-term abortionist Martin Haskell’s Sharonville building this fall, abortions haven’t ended.
The abortion business at Haskell’s two Ohio locations has been rearranged. The Sharonville building appears to be for sale — it’s listed on a commercial real estate site — but in the meantime, the Sharonville abortion business is open two days a week.
Until this spring, both the Sharonville and the Kettering “Women’s Med Centers” offered surgical abortions.
Surgical abortions are no longer allowed at the Sharonville business because the center failed to follow Ohio law requiring ambulatory surgical centers to have arrangements set up in case of emergencies. Because many hospitals are prohibited by law or religious tenets from making formal arrangements with abortion centers, Ohio law allows them (and only them) to make alternative arrangements with other doctors.
When one such agreement ended, Haskell did not find different backup doctors. After losing his court battle to do abortions without medical backup, Haskell wrote an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer depicting himself as a friend of the poor, particularly poor minority women, who is being oppressed by the state of Ohio. His wife Valerie, who runs the clinics, told the Enquirer that the decision was the fault of John Kasich, a “despotic governer” whose “presumption is that his beliefs are morally superior to the exclusion of others.”
Ohio pro-life leaders, many of whom have fought abortion since the 1970s, scoff at this dismissal of their work as 40 years of meaningless activity, but rejoiced in the victory.
“This is a glorious day,” Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Prolife Outreach and Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life said after the verdict. However, the hoped-for “out of business” sign never materialized.
Instead of operating four days a week, the Sharonville center is now open two, but the Kettering center has seen an increase in business.
Mary Jo Suer, who heads the interfaith Sharonville Respect Life Ministry that has protested the clinic since its clandestine move from Clifton, says clinic staff appears to consult with women and do ultrasounds, referring them to Kettering for abortions.
In Kettering, where a daily protest in front of the center has gone on since the 1980s, pro-life activists have noticed many more cars in the parking lot, and recently a horse trailer loaded with what observers say seems to be medical equipment has made several deliveries when the building was closed.
Rev. Katherine Marple, who heads the Kettering demonstrations, says an anesthesiologist is now at the building twice a week instead of once. Indiana license plates are common on cars at the clinic, she says, because Indiana abortion laws are stricter and Haskell owns an Indianapolis clinic that refers women to Ohio. But now, she says, “we see many tags from Hamilton County and Kentucky.”
Marple also says that the number of red medical waste tubs leaving the building have increased. “I have never personally seen more than two tubs before, and that was only once,” she says. “This tells the tale of more late-term abortions here.”
The tubs, she says, are for bodies. Although both the Sharonville and Kettering facilities offered surgical abortions, only the Kettering building has ever advertised abortions at 14-22 weeks gestation (when the bodies are larger). But some long-time protesters believe that the Sharonville clinic performed them as well, based on their observation of the building over months or years.
Haskell is known for late-term abortions, having helped to pioneer and teach the now-banned “partial birth abortion” technique. Instead of dismembering the baby inside the mother’s womb, which can be dangerous for the mother, the doctor would poison the child and induce labor, removing the baby’s brains by suction while it was still in the delivery canal. Since that procedure was outlawed, abortionists now either remove the body (either whole or in parts) or induce labor after killing the baby.
“Our staff love their jobs,” the Haskell clinic web site states. Their jobs consist of what Haskell insists is an essential medical service for area women: Killing their children. Most women who have abortions in Hamilton and Montgomery Counties are poor; most are also African American.
“He is certainly no friend of the poor,” says Rev. Arnold Culbreath, Urban Outreach Director of Life Issues Institute, Inc., and director of its Urban Outreach Initiative, Protecting Black Life. “Being a friend to the poor does not mean killing the poor. That presupposes that because a woman is in poverty she is destined to stay in poverty, which is not the case.”
In contrast to Haskell’s brand of “helping,” Culbreath says, “Protecting Black Life is working hard to protect and preserve life, families, and futures.”
Ana Radcliff, campaign director for 40 Days for Life Sharonville, says the 7 am – 7 pm vigils will continue until the end of the campaign, and daily vigils will continue after that until the business closes. “This week the abortion mill was open on Tuesday and, sadly, the parking lot was full,” she wrote in a weekly update for supporters. “We still have a lot of hours to fill… please join us in prayer so we can close this clinic permanently.”
Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Right to Life, says the fight will not end until the “closed” sign goes up. “Prayers and witness will continue until this facility truly is completely closed, and women and their unborn babies protected!”
Click here for information about 40 Days for Life Sharonville.
Click here for information about 40 Days for Life Dayton.
Click here for information about 40 Days for Life Cincinnati.
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