California Catholic Daily exclusive
By Candice Clark
The Women’s Health Specialists abortion business at 1442 Ethan Way in Sacramento (aka Feminist Women’s Health Specialists) closed its doors on Friday, April 28, citing financial reasons.
Pro-life activists in Sacramento have been witnessing outside the abortion mill for years, and have turned many mothers away from abortion there.
“We have been praying in front of Women’s Health Specialists abortion business in Sacramento for decades, helping women and saving lives, including over a dozen 40 Days for Life campaigns,” said Sacramento pro-life veteran Wynette Sills in the April 26 edition of the Californians for Life newsletter. “Your prayers and your perseverance has made a difference! Thank you to everyone who has ever participated in the Sacramento 40 Days for Life for helping to make this miracle happen! They have been hurting women and killing babies for 42 years.”
The Feminist Women’s Health Centers is a chain of abortion mills that once operated under the logo of a clenched fist holding a speculum. Following the closing of the Sacramento abortuary, only three affiliates remain – in Chico, Redding and Grass Valley.
In March of last year, the Women’s Health Specialists location in Santa Rosa closed its doors after 28 years in operation, citing as a reason “not enough clients.”
The abortion chain was started in Los Angeles by Carol Downer, now 84 years old. In 1982, when the bodies of more than 14,000 aborted babies were found in a shipping container, it was Downer and the Feminist Women’s Health Center that filed a lawsuit seeking to block the burial of the babies.
In 1983, the Los Angeles Health Department cited Downer with 24 violations of the Health Code, including: “No evidence that policies were reviewed by a professional, no registered nurse, no transfer agreement with a hospital, no quality assurance program and improper disposal of fetal remains.”
In 1998, Downer orchestrated a defense for abortionist Dr. Bruce Steir, who was charged and convicted of killing Sharon Hamptlon, a young mother who bled to death after Steir punctured her uterus during an abortion. Steir, who was on probation from the state medical board at the time, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, went to jail and lost his medical license.
According to the March 29, 2016 edition of the Californians for Life newsletter, Steir “performed thousands of abortions at Women’s Health Specialists.”
As a revolutionary feminist, Downer argued that no doctors should be involved with abortion, that women should learn how to do it themselves. Downer observed abortions performed by Harvey Karman – who was not a physician – at his illegal clinic in Los Angeles, which eventually led to the establishment of her chain of abortion clinics following the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortions in the U.S.
In 1955, Karman had caused the death of a woman in a California motel room when he tried to abort a baby using a kitchen nutcracker. He served only two-and-a-half years in state prison for his crime.
Karman also worked with infamous abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell years before the Philadelphia abortionist was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for the murder of three infants who were born alive after attempted abortions.
The Karman-Gosnell connection was in 1972, in what has come to be known as “the Mothers Day Massacre.” Gosnell severely injured nine women by testing an experimental abortion device on them that had been developed by Karman. A group of 15 pregnant women had been bused from Chicago to Gosnell’s Philadelphia offices for abortions, but the women were not told that Gosnell intended to use them as guinea pigs for Karman’s new device, called a “super-coil.”
According to the 2016 Californians for Life newsletter, “The Women’s Health Specialists abortion chain has been struggling financially for several years, taking out several loans and were involved in lawsuits over forcing workers to disrobe for group ‘self-exams.’”
The Women’s Health Specialists chain is a non-profit registered with the Internal Revenue Service, but has not filed with the IRS since 2015. For 2014 the business reported revenues of more than $5 million. They receive about 60% of their income from the California Family Planning taxpayer-funded program and about 20% from Medi-Cal. More than $3 million went for salaries and employee benefits. Dr. Marjorie Shelton-Gross, who did the abortions there, received $176,271 for that year. The California Medical Board notes that Shelton-Gross has no specialty board certification.