CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Charleston physician whose statement is at the center of a lawsuit against a local abortion clinic is the medical adviser for a national anti-abortion group.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, vice chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at West Virginia University Hospitals' Charleston Division, reviewed the case of the 26-year-old woman who claims she got a botched abortion at the Women's Health Center in Charleston, according to the woman's lawsuit.
Calhoun is the national medical adviser for the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an organization that trains and provides legal counsel to "life-affirming" pregnancy resources centers, according to the group's website.
The group's mission is to "provide pregnancy resource centers with legal resources and counsel with the aim of developing a network of life-affirming ministries in every community across the nation in order to achieve an abortion-free America," according to its website.
Calhoun, who is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, gave the screening certificate of merit in a lawsuit against a Charleston abortion clinic.
Under state law, screening certificates of merit are required to be filed in malpractice cases by a health care provider who is an expert in the particular field of medicine associated with the case.
The lawsuit, filed June 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court, alleges that Dr. Rodney Stephens, of Women's Health Center of West Virginia, performed a botched abortion on Itai Gravely, 26, of Charleston.
Gravely alleges in her lawsuit that she had changed her mind about having an abortion when she found out that the center couldn't give her adequate anesthesia and that Stephens and his staff ignored her demands not to begin the procedure, physically restrained her and started the abortion. She was sent home but went to an emergency room the next day, where doctors found the head of the fetus left in her womb, according to the lawsuit.
Attorneys for Stephens and the women's health center have denied the claims and said they will fight the lawsuit.
Earlier this year, Calhoun spoke at a national conference for Students for Life, a group whose mission is to "abolish abortion in our lifetime," according to the group's website.