Bertha Pinedo Bugarin, Imprisoned Ex-Santa Ana Abortion Clinic Owner, Could Win Early Release, Claim Pro-Lifers and LA District Attorney

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Give Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley credit for this: He knows how to get anti-abortion advocates to do his bidding.

Bertha Pinedo Bugarin, the former owner of a Santa Ana abortion clinic where women were once treated like slabs in a butcher shop, was sentenced in 2009 to 10 years in state prison for performing abortions without medical training at two other facilities. Now Cooley warns Governor Jerry Brown's plan to save money by transferring 37,000 nonviolent offenders from state prisons to county jails could result in Bugarin's early release.

"Bertha Bugarin was an office manager for six medical clinics serving an immigrant, Spanish-speaking community," Cooley says in a statement his office issued blasting Brown's plan. "She had no medical training whatsoever. Ms. Bugarin personally performed abortions on patients for cash. She was charged with seven felony counts of unlicensed practice of medicine and was sentenced to over three years in the State Prison (People v. Bugarin, BA328497)."

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Operation Rescue
Bertha Bugarin faces the music in '08.
In a separate case, the 50-year-old was sentenced to six years, eight months in prison after she pleaded guilty to nine felony counts of performing abortions without a license at a clinic in Chula Vista, just a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Naturally, Cooley had Operation Rescue and California Catholic Daily at "abortion."

Bugarin had this blog twice in 2008.

She first turned up in the background passages of an August post ("A Picture's Worth a Thousand Whoop-Asses") about a physician who got physical with a photographer snapping shots of him near Clinica Medica Para La Mujer at 120 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana. The facility was once part of the Bugarin chain.

She reappeared that December after pleading guilty to the LA County charges: "Ex-Owner of Santa Ana Abortion Clinic May be Jail-Bound."

"Her release would constitute a danger to the public," Cheryl Sullenger, Operation Rescue's senior policy advisor, says in a prepared statement. "Bugarin is a ruthless predator that has demonstrated absolutely no respect for the law. If she gains an early release, I have no doubt that she will be back in business in no time. Keeping her in jail is the only way to protect the public."

After some pro-lifers launched letter-writing campaigns urging Brown to keep Bugarin in prison, a veteran of the cause warned that strategy could backfire. He pointed to Brown's pardon in 1975 of Harvey Karman, who killed a woman while performing an abortion in a hotel room. Karman also was not a trained physician, but he'd apparently won the respect of the pro-choice crowd in the early 1970s for inventing a cannula or tube to perform abortions, a practice that is now widespread.

"If Brown becomes aware that pro-lifers want Bertha to stay in prison," the unidentified pro-life vet tells California Catholic Daily, "he will go out of his way to make certain that Bertha is released."
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