LifeNews.com reports the owner of a chain of women's health clinics that caters primarily to Latinas - which until recently included Clinica Medica Para La Mujer at 120 W 5th St., Santa Ana, the site of an alleged assault by a physician on a pro-life photographer we blogged about in August - is likely headed to prison for up to 10 years.
Bertha Pinedo Bugarin, 48, (shown at left) pleaded no contest in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday to seven felony charges including pretending to be a physician and doing abortions without a medical license. As part of a plea deal, Bugarin will pay $7,800 in restitution to 16 former patients she performed abortions on or gave the drug RU 486 to without having medical training. But she still faces sentencing on Jan. 20, Shiara Davila, an LA County District Attorney's spokeswoman, told the Associated Press.
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Bugarin pleaded not guilty to similar charges in San Diego County in July. Trial is expected some time next year. A guilty verdict in that case could get her another nine years behind bars, reports LifeNews, which quotes Operation Rescue president Troy Newman as saying, "We are praying that Ms. Bugarin goes to jail for a very long time."
No Orange County charges are pending. Bugarin apparently sold the Clinica Medica Para La Mujer in Santa Ana around the time the state closed her Chula Vista clinic, which was just before she entered her plea in San Diego.
As our August post mentioned, a California Medical Board complaint accused Dr. Phillip Rand of having performed a "barbaric" abortion at the Santa Ana location in the summer of 2004. Then in his early 80s, Rand administered no anesthesia or painkillers to a woman identified as Angela P. before he performed a vaginal suction procedure. Paramedics later arrived at the clinic to find Angela lying in a pool of her own blood, her pulse racing and her blood pressure dangerously low.
The medical board complaint stated Rand's suction abortion was a "severe departure" from a reasonable standard of care. He had determined that Angela was 20 weeks pregnant, well into her second trimester. The National Abortion Federation reportedly claims that vacuum aspiration procedures are normally performed on women who are up to 14 weeks pregnant. After 14 weeks, a more complicated procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, is standard.
Rand surrendered his medical license in 2005.