CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A gynecologist whose statement is at the center of a lawsuit against a Charleston abortion clinic says he sees patients "weekly" with complications from abortions.
Dr. Byron Calhoun, vice chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at West Virginia University Physicians of Charleston, wrote a letter outlining his concerns about West Virginia's abortion clinics to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Calhoun is also the national medical adviser for an anti-abortion group.
Morrisey is in the midst of a review of the state's abortion clinic regulations. He recently accepted public comments on the issue. He has so far not released the results of that comment period.
The Gazette obtained the letter, dated June 31, 2013, via a public records request.
"We commonly (I personally probably at least weekly) see patients at Women and Children's Hospital in our emergency room or our ultrasound center with complications from abortions at these centers in Charleston: so much for 'safe and legal,' " Calhoun wrote to Morrisey. "These patients are told to come to our hospital because the abortion clinic providers do not have hospital privileges to care for their patients, so we must treat them as emergency 'drop-ins.' "
Calhoun, national medical adviser for the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an anti-abortion group, gave an expert statement in the case of Itai Gravely vs. Dr. Rodney Stephens.
In the lawsuit, Gravely alleges Stephens, a physician at Women's Health Center of West Virginia, botched her abortion and left part of a fetus in her uterus.
Calhoun reviewed Gravely's case and wrote a screening certificate of merit affirming that Gravely's procedure had been botched. 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.
In his letter to Morrisey, Calhoun called the state's lack of regulations for abortion clinics "shocking."
The medical staff at abortion clinics, like in other medical facilities, are overseen by licensing boards.