Note to Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH): I'd be more upset about Judge Ahler's behavior if I thought it was significantly different from the other administrative judges. In fact, I think that most of the judges are chosen because they are willing to protect public entities and other powerful interests from the inconvenience of unimportant citizens who demand their rights. In this case, we have an erratic judge who isn't far enough out of the normal range to get rid of him. Even when Judge Ahler drove drunk and killed a man, all he got was a demotion and cut in pay.
Note to anti-abortion activists: please leave good doctors alone, so we don't have bad doctors doing abortions.
I believe that harassment of good doctors by anti-abortion activists, which has even included killing some of those doctors, has caused exactly the situation that supporters of choice have warned about: too many abortions are being conducted by unqualified people.
Sadly, we also have unqualified people sitting in judge's robes at the Office of Administrative hearings. Here is the latest on the notorious Judge H. James Ahler:
Judge refuses to pull license from abortion doctor
State medical board pushes for action after death of 30-year-old patient
Published, March 2010
A Caliifornia doctor who was ordered in January not to perform abortions is being allowed to keep his restricted medical license even after an undercover investigator with the state medical board caught him scheduling a surgery for the procedure.
In an emergency hearing sought by the California Medical Board on Feb. 18, Judge James Ahler ruled that the doctor, Andrew Rutland, could not only keep his license, but could also perform non-surgical abortions.
“How many patients have to die before a doctor is shut down?” Kathleen Nicholls of the medical board said after the hearing. “It’s unfortunate someone else is going to have to die to change this order.”
Rutland’s license was partially revoked on Jan. 8 after a patient died in what was described as a “dirty, ill-equipped acupuncture clinic” in San Gabriel.
At that original hearing the judge declined to pull Rutland’s license but did prohibit him from performing abortions. A subsequent undercover sting conducted by board investigators caught him doing first trimester chemical abortions even though he has been banned from the procedure. The doctor also scheduled a surgical abortion for a later day, although Rutland’s attorney told one newspaper that the procedure was going to be done by the doctor’s daughter.
Officials with the medical board, who thought the judicial order also included medical abortions, sought the emergency hearing from the judge. The judge, however, disagreed, saying he did not believe medical abortions carry the same risk as surgical abortions.
“Folks, this is not a referendum on abortion,” the judge is quoted as saying.
[Maura Larkins' comment: Exactly, Judge Ahler. But that's what it is to you, right? You're supposed to shut down incompetent doctors. Clearly, you don't care about women's health. You only care about protecting abortion doctors. I'm pro-choice, and I believe women have a right to a SAFE, COMPETENT doctor when they get an abortion. You seem to agree with Operation Rescue that women don't have such a right. Your decision-making is so sub-standard that you have put me in the awkward position of agreeing with the leader of Operation Rescue in this case. Isn't it about time you retired?]
Rutland was being monitored after a second-trimester abortion on 30-year-old Ying Chen in July was botched. She later died of injuries related to the surgery. The medical board then filed a nine-count complaint against the doctor in December.
“This is one of those times when one has to shake his head and ask what the judge was thinking,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Rutland has a record of human destruction a mile long and he continues to flout the law and the restrictions put on him. He is a danger to the public. When Rutland injures or kills another person, and with his track record, that could be any day now, Judge Alher will have that on his conscience.”
Despite the latest ruling, officials with the California Medical Board said they will pursue the protracted process of getting a full board hearing to revoke Rutland’s license “as expeditiously as possible.”
Rutland’s license had been previously revoked in 2003, after his negligence caused the death of a wanted baby during childbirth. Rutland lied to the parents about the child’s cause of death. At that time he was on probation for the deaths of two other infants. In 2007, Rutland’s license was reinstated.
He took over an abortion clinic in Chula Vista, Calif. from abortionist Nolan Jones, who had his license revoked in March 2009, for violations ranging from botched abortions to fraud. Jones had replaced unlicensed abortionist Bertha Bugarin, who is serving nearly seven years in state prison for illegal abortions. Bugarin had stepped in after abortionist Phillip Rand surrendered his medical license due to his part in killing a woman during a botched abortion in Santa Ana in 2004.
“We pray that Rutland is the last abortionist in this cycle of abuse of women through illegal and unsafe abortions, and that this clinic will never be allowed to reopen,” Newman said.