Abortion Clinic: Biogenetics, Chicago

 

The Biogenetics abortion clinic was also known by the names “Abortion Hotline,” “Bio Enterprises,” and “Women’s Ltd.” It was co-located with another abortion mill named the “Women’s Medical Facility,” also known as “Women’s Rights, Inc.”

Biogenetics was shut down by the State of Illinois late in 1978 in wake of allegations of dangerous conditions. Despite the clear and present danger to women’s health Biogenetics presented, its lawyers won a stay of suspension which was overturned and then appealed.

Biogenetics was originally known at the Women’s Medical Facility at the same site. It was shut down by the State of Illinois for doing abortions on non-pregnant women. It re-opened as Biogenetics within a month. Investigators suspended the abortion mill’s license and ordered it closed based on allegations of unlicensed persons performing abortions, unsanitary conditions, “illegally accepted jewelry, welfare checks, and cash payments from pregnant welfare recipients” despite regulations against doctors collecting money from welfare patients; complaints about quality of care, with patients “saying they had to stay at home for weeks after the operation or even enter a hospital;” billing separately for excessive lab tests for abortion patients, although lab tests are supposed to be included in the one-time abortion fee; identifying welfare patients as “new” even if they had prior visits because billing is higher for new patients; lab overbilling estimated at $35,000 annually.

One woman reported being required to cash her welfare check at the abortuary, after the deduction of a $20 fee. A teenager said she was told that Medicaid would cover the entire cost of her abortion, but was then required to leave her watch and a Christmas gift from her boyfriend because she did not have the required $20 fee. She did not return to get the watch back “because of my bitter experiences with that place.” Another woman said a Biogenetics abortionist told one welfare recipient her pregnancy was too far advanced for an abortion, yet agreed to meet her at a West Side clinic where he would “cut the water bag” and induce the abortion for $188. Though the woman refused, she said the abortionist called her three times at home trying to change her mind.” Kenny Yellin’s lawyer identified the abortion mill as a “million-dollar-a-year business.”

The Biogenetics abortion mill had a long history of dozens of botched abortions, including the following incidents;

— Abortionist Dusan Zivkovic killed Brenda Benton during a botched 1987 abortion at Biogenetics. He also botched 1977 abortions on Sherrell Denise Jones and Deborah Rudowicz at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Inno Obasi killed Synthia Dennard during a 1989 abortion and tubal ligation at Biolgenetics, and also botched a 1989 abortion and tubal ligation on Juanita Solideo.

— Sandra Lynn Chmiel, age 35, the mother of four, bled to death after her uterus was punctured during an abortion at Biogenetics on June 3, 1975. The abortion was performed after 12 weeks gestation although at that time such abortions were only legal in Illinois if performed in hospitals. The clinic claimed that the doctor had only repaired the damage caused by a self-induced abortion, but settled out-of-court with her survivors for $75,000. Her death certificate attributed her death to “massive hemoperitoneum due to traumatic perforation of uterus,” and lists the manner of her injury as undetermined as to accident, homicide, or other ["The Abortion Profiteers," Chicago Sun-Times, November 11, 1978; Cook County Death Certificate #614138].

— Abortionist Carlos Baldoceda botched abortions on Tanya K. Kroetz, Shirley Moreno and Lidia Roe (all in 1978), Shelly Cole (1981), Closteen Jackson and Towanna Mitchell (1982), Nancy Stinger, Shelley A. Paytch and Patricia Weidner (all in 1983), and Ruth Ann Wills (1985), all at Biogenetics. In 1978, Acqunetta Young went to Baldoceda at Biogenetics for an abortion. She was rushed out of recovery, boarded a bus for home, began to hemorrhage, got off the bus, stumbled into a public library where librarians called ambulance, lost 2 pints blood, went into shock, and had to have a hysterectomy ["The Abortion Profiteers." Chicago Sun-Times, November 19, 1978].

— Abortionist Ho Young Kim botched abortions on Georgina Rodruguez (1989); Cheryl Duncan, Chiquita Rattler and Tammy Dudley-Roach (all in 1991); and Felisa Scott (1992) at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Philip Okwuje botched abortions on Susie Werncher (1980); Maria Negron (1987); Belinda Tinsey (1988); and Kristi L. Fernandez (1989), all at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Francisco A. Molina botched abortions on Ella Patterson and Cheryl Pitts in 1984 at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Carlos Baldoceda botched an abortion on another patient (name withheld) in 1990 at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Helio M. Zapata botched a 1988 abortion on Stephanie Johnson at Biogenetics.

— After her July 7, 1992 abortion at Biogenetics, D’Jamaa Edwards had to be admitted to a hospital to have fetal material surgically removed [Cook County Circuit Court Petition #93L-38920].

— Karen Daylie went to Biogenetics for a pregnancy test on April 29, 1983. According to her lawsuit against the abortion mill, Biogenetics personnel “Willfully and wantonly kept essential information from Karen Daylie or willfully and wantonly attempted to mislead Karen Daylie into believing that its purported abortion was necessitated by the results of the test performed by the medical center personnel.” Daylie underwent an abortion that day based on Biogenetics staff assurance that her pregnancy test was positive. At her follow-up visit, she was diagnosed with a severe infection and had to be hospitalized. She suffered “disability and disfigurement,” according to her suit. She had in fact not been pregnant in the first place [Cook County Circuit Court Case #83L-12294].

— Abortionist Arnold Bickham botched abortions on Bonnie Jean Deane and Ada Roldan in 1975 at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist P.C. Okwuje botched a 1980 abortion on Edna Yeboa at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Theodore Jarrett botched an abortion on Yolanda Kirby [also known as Yolanda Johnson] in 1982 at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Scott M. Pierce botched an abortion on Mary Najera in 1981 at Biogenetics.

— Abortionist Myriam Wilson botched a 1975 abortion on Granada Williams at Biogenetics.

Other botched abortions at Biogenetics included Pamela Harrington in 1976, who suffered hepatitis attributed to unsanitary, improperly sterilized insturments [Cook County Circuit Court Case #78L-9382]; and an unnamed women in 1975, who alleged failure to provide competent a physician, perforation; “severe and disabling injuries, both enternally and externally,” and medical and hospital expenses [Cook County Circuit Court Case #77L19761]

This grisly reality was the total opposite of what the Biogenetics abortion mill claimed in its glossy brochure: “From admission to recovery, patient ease and comfort are first considerations. She is encouraged to ask questions, and share her feelings or misgivings.” Although the brochure claimed all women were counseled individually, investigators found that all women were counseled in groups of ten to twelve. One Biogenetics worker said that she was “ordered by her supervisor to stop counseling a distraught patient and get back to the reception desk,” and was told “Don’t tell them it hurts. Don’t answer too many questions because the patient gets too nervous, and the next thing you know they’ll be out the door.”

One abortion mill patient told the Chicago Sun-Times that she was not counseled, was not sure she wanted an abortion, but ended up going through with it anyway. Another patient told a Sun-Times reporter that she cried as she heard the suction machine going on and off closer and closer to her room as abortionist Pankaj Thaker made his way down the hall doing abortions. One undercover investigator reported that the abortuary ran referral “hotlines,” and one 7-line phone had a note taped to it that said “The call we miss, our competitors will get.” Biogenetics counselors answering the referral hotline were instructed to inform women that “We have always gotten good feedback from a place called Biogenetics,” and if asked for another abortion mill, to say “We’re only recommending Biogenetics at this time. Would you like an appointment?”

One woman called the hotline to complain of a botched abortion at Biogenetics, and to warn the counselors not to send other women there. Undercover investigators also alleged employees withheld pregnancy test results, selling women menstrual extraction “just to be safe.” The Biogenetics administrator reminded his staff that “We have to sell abortions,” and that “rules have to be broken.”

Another news article described how a 21-year-old patient paid $50 extra for additional painkillers, but her abortion was inititated before drugs could take effect. She told a reporter “He didn’t wait five seconds. He started right in. I was screaming, and squirming all over the table. I asked him to stop until the anesthetic took effect. It was killing me. I continued to scream.” The same news article described how an undercover investigator heard a lab technician complaining of a hangover from drinking and “smoking dope” at a party the night before. Curiously, all of the pregnancy tests he ran that day were coming up positive. The news article described how both abortionists Carlos Baldoceda and David Aberman did abortions after drinking several glasses of champagne at a lunchtime staff birthday party.

Yet another news articles described how a 14-year-old abortion patient was found slumped on the floor by an undercover investigator. The young girl had been ejected from Biogenetics’ recovery room “so the clinic could close.” The investigator was not permitted to put the girl in one of the beds because they’d already been made up for business the following day.

Hospital residents would “audition” for medical director Carlos Baldoceda by performing abortions as he observed. One patient said that Jovenal DuBois performed her abortion with a director instructing him. She said “It must have been his first abortion. He was picking up the wrong things, dropping the wrong instruments.” Weeks later, she “was still suffering cramps, passing blood clots and complaining of terrible pain.” Another patient alleged moonlighting resident David Aberman parformed her abortion without anesthetic, then announced halfway through that she was not pregnant ["The Abortion Profiteers"].

“The Abortion Profitters” series reported that the Biogenetics brochure offered “all board-certified physicians,” but it had none. One woman reported undergoing a post-operatiave examination by “Dr.” Shastia Khan. She reported that “She said I was fine, but my own physician said I had all sorts of complications. I had missed tissue.” The series reported that Khan did post-op exams, inserted IUDs, and prescribed contraceptives and other drugs under abortionist Pravin Thakkar’s name, and billed Public Aid under other doctor’s names. The Biogenetics director initially denied Khan’s employment, then reported that she had left the staff. The series also said that Luis Garcia Nique, licensed in North Dakota but not in Illinois, performed at least five abortions at Biogenetics. The director “couldn’t recall” having employed Nique.

The series describes how one woman was about to be discharged without a RhoGam RH-incompatibility shot she knew she needed, and she had to ask for it. Another patient said she reminded a technician that she had paid for RhoGam and had not received it, and was told “We’re too busy to think of everything.” An undercover investigator reported Biogenetics employees checking off “no complications” on patient charts “even though an alarming number of patients phoned or revisited the clinics with complaints of serious complications. Some of them required hospitalization” for infections, perforations, and retained tissues.

“The Abortion Profiteers” series also indicates that Biogenetics owner and manager Clifford Josefik hired Regaldo S. Florendo as his Medical Director after he had been suspended from Medicaid, and that Florendo’s name was on a “requisitions for laboratory work done on public aid patients,” but bills were submitted by David B Aberman. Another article alleged that patients told an investigator they were operated on by a Black doctor, but abortion bills were submitted in the name of a White Cook County Hospital resident.

After a major expose entitled “The Abortion Profiteers” in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1978, Josefik reported that “business is fine,” and that nothing had changed at Biogenetics as a result of the newspaper’s coverage of allegations and state investigations.

Biogenetics administrator Kenneth “Creepy Kenny” Yellin was gunned down in gangland-style execution November 3, 1979, as he was walking from a parking garage to Biogenetics, which remained open for business that day.

References: Chicago Sun-Times, December 15, 1978, January 5, 1979, April 12 and 20, 1979, October 19, 1979, and November 4, 1979; Chicago Tribune, November 21, 1976 and November 4, 1979; Chicago Daily News, May 3, 1977.

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