California abortionist Dr. Gordon Sean Goei of Centre Medico Planning Clinic had a long history of disciplinary action against him when he botched an abortion on 42-year-old Doloras Sandoval. She was taken to the Northridge Hospital Medical Center, where doctors treated her for heavy bleeding and performed emergency surgery to save her life.
Police arrived at Centre Medico Planning Clinic after learning that Goei’s license was suspended and that he was operating illegally. The conditions in the clinic horrified investigators. “We found a lot of things [at the abortion facility] that were very disturbing” said Det. Stephen Fiske.
One of the “disturbing things” they found was the body of Sandoval’s 26-week-old aborted baby in the trash outside the clinic. The body of the baby was found tossed into a trash bag and covered with garbage. An autopsy of the child indicated that he or she (the gender of the victim was never made public) had died from “blunt force trauma,” leading investigators to believe that the baby had been born alive.
According to police officer Lt. Richard Blankenship, “There’s very little doubt in my mind about the viability [of the baby]” (1).
This incident happened in 1998. According to medical experts, a 26-week-old premature baby delivered alive in the 1990s would have had a 80-90% chance of survival.
Although the evidence clearly showed that the baby had been violently killed, officials could not figure out what to charge Goei with. Murder charges were filed but soon dropped. Prosecutors tried to determine whether throwing the baby in the trash could be considered illegal disposal of “medical waste” but dropped that line of inquiry. Since Dr. Goei’s license was suspended at the time of the killing, he could be charged with practicing medicine illegally.
Why was Goei’s license suspended? It turned out that he had a history of disciplinary action dating back to 1979 (2). In fact, his disciplinary file was 99 pages long. His license had been suspended after he failed to take a test needed to reinstate it while he was on probation. This seven-year-long probation was given after a judge found “repeated negligent acts and incompetence” involving eight patients he treated between 1987 and 1989. That was the fourth time he had been disciplined by the medical board. He had previously been in trouble for miscalculating the age of a baby he was trying to abort in 1982. He stopped the abortion when he was unable to crush the child’s skull with his forceps. Another time, he sent a 26-year-old woman to the hospital, where she gave birth to a dead four-and-a-half-pound baby. A third woman had to be hospitalized with severe bleeding. Goei was also disciplined for practicing medicine under a false name, doctoring patient records, and conducting “unnecessary surgeries” (3).
When Goei eventually did go before a judge, it was not for murdering the baby, dumping the body in the garbage, or injuring the woman. Rather, he was charged with practicing medicine without a license.
The case was dismissed and never even went to trial. Goei’s lawyer, Trent Copeland, claimed that Goei had not known that his license was suspended and therefore didn’t mean to break the law. Goei’s roommate had originally told police that he had seen the letters sent from the board of medicine telling Goei that his license was suspended and given them to him. At the lawyer’s prompting, the roommate changed his story. He said the letters came but that he hid them from Goei, claiming that he had not wanted the doctor’s feelings to be hurt.
Trent Copeland, Goei’s attorney, told the judge that the doctor should be given “the benefit of the doubt.” He also claimed that Goei was being singled out because he performed abortions and claimed he had helped women:
I think he’s found himself on the wrong side of the political question and has faced unfair attention[.] … The tragic irony is, this is a man who has spent his life providing medical services to low-income people. (3)
Neglecting, of course, the many times when he injured those “low-income people” while killing their babies.
Apparently, though, Judge Leslie Dunn, who heard the case, was satisfied. Since Goei allegedly “didn’t mean” to break the law, the charges were dismissed. He never stood trial for killing the baby or dumping the child’s body in the trash, nor did he have to face the consequences of illegally practicing medicine. Rather, he was set free to continue aborting babies, and the whole matter was quietly swept under the rug.
Dr. Gordon Sean Goei continues to practice obstetrics and gynecology in Beverly Hills. Judge Leslie Dunn, who dismissed the charges, is now on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California.
1. Jesse Hiestand Paul Hefner “VALLEY DOCTOR HELD IN DEATH OF FETUS; ABORTION PRACTITIONER HAD LICENSE SUSPENDED” Daily News [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Mar 1998: N4.
2. Eric Rimbert “Doctor Arrested After Abortion of 26-Week Fetus; Medicine: Recently suspended physician had a record of misdiagnoses and unnecessary procedures dating from 1979. He performed latest surgery without a license.” Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Mar 1998:1
3. Marquis, J., & Romney, L. . Handful of abortion clinics put poor at risk. Los Angeles Times 1998, Apr 05