Phillip Rand, Doctor in “Barbaric” Abortion in Santa Ana, is (Lone) Star of Texas Law Debate

The hot topic of abortion is en fuego in Texas. A new law that requires physicians who perform the procedures to maintain hospital privileges within 30 miles of their clinics was blocked by a federal court judge, whose ruling was reversed Thursday by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Pro-choicers are outraged, maintaining the law endangers the health of women. But Operation Rescue, taking a victory lap, is arguing the opposite, saying the law protects the health of women. The main evidence: a woman's death in Orange County … California's Orange County, not Texas.'


Cheryl Sullenger begins her opinion piece about the new law already having “closed 16 Texas clinics and saved the lives of 50 babies” with this:

Austin, TX (OperationRescue) — Angela was twenty weeks pregnant when she walked into a dingy abortion clinic in Santa Ana, California, on August 7, 2004. Her abortion was completed in five minutes with little or no pain relief by an 84-year old abortionist, Phillip Rand, who rotated his time between several clinics throughout Southern California.

When he was done with Angela's abortion, he got in his car and began the three-hour drive on congested California freeways to another abortion clinic in Chula Vista, near the Mexican border, where he had more patients waiting. But when Angela started bleeding heavily, the two medical aids, who were the only ones left in the clinic, didn't know what to do. One called Rand and asked him to return to the clinic to help the hemorrhaging women, but Rand refused. He was already an hour or so away and didn't want to go back and risk losing business in Chula Vista. He told them to call 911 if she got any worse.
16 abortion clinics have stopped supplying abortions in Texas thanks to the new law.

Angela did get worse – much worse. By the time paramedics arrived, it was too late. They found her in a pool of her own blood. There was no oxygen or no crash cart at the clinic, but it is doubtful that the two minimally-trained aids would have know how to operate them if they had been available. Angela was transported to a local hospital where she later died.

One paramedic was so incensed by how he found Angela that he reported Rand to his supervisor who, in turn, notified the Medical Board. A signed declaration from the paramedic noted, “This was the worst post-partum patient situation at a medical clinic I have ever encountered during my time as a paramedic.” Twenty months later Rand surrendered his medical license.

For Angela, there was no continuity of care. Rand held no hospital privileges. This allowed him to operate well below the standard of care at the cost of one woman's life.

As we reported below, a California Medical Board complaint accused Rand of having performed a “barbaric” abortion on Angela, calling his suction procedure a “severe departure” from a reasonable standard of care.

Ex-Owner of Santa Ana Abortion Clinic May Be Jail Bound

Our post also mentioned that the owner of the chain of women's health clinics that included Clinica Medica Para La Mujer–the facility at 120 W 5th St., Santa Ana, where Rand performed Angela's abortion–pleaded no contest in Los Angeles Superior Court to seven felony charges, including pretending to be a physician and doing abortions without a medical license.

Bertha Pinedo Bugarin was sentenced to three years and four months in prison on those counts and six years and eight months more behind bars for a similar conviction in San Diego County. But Bugarin was released early last year because of California's prison realingment program enacted in 2011.

No matter where one stands on the abortion question, it is odd that Operation Rescue had to travel 1,364 miles from Austin to find an example to defend its point of view.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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