FLASHBACK: Notorious, Abusive Abortionist Sentenced to 34 Years in Prison

As part of The Arizona Conservative’s 10-year anniversary celebration, we re-post this story of a notorious Arizona abortionist who was sentenced to prison on 22 counts of sex abuse of his patients. This story defeats the leftist argument that abortion is a private matter between her and her doctor. Why? Because an abortionist is not her doctor. A doctor has an ongoing relationship of care-giving for women, but an abortionist does not. The abortionist merely shows up in a room to kill the child of a woman in a crisis pregnancy whom he does not know and has never provided “medical care” for. And then he leaves the room and his so-called “relationship” with the woman abruptly ends. And when the abortionist messes up and there are complications, the woman is carted off in an ambulance to a hospital where a real doctor provides emergency care and treatment. Return now to 2004 and the sentencing of the criminal abortionist Brian Finkel.

By Sue Widemark | January 2, 2004

Abortionist Brian Finkel was sentenced Friday to more than 34 years in prison and 99 years probation to begin when his incarceration ends, after a tearful speech in which he assured the court that he never committed sexual abuse. Late in 2003, Finkel had been convicted by a Phoenix court on 22 counts of sex abuse directed toward former abortion clinic patients.

“Because I am exercising my right to appeal doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilt,” Finkel, 54, said when asked by the judge if he had any remorse. “I feel guilt that the victims were so traumatized by the trial.”  He also said  that he was remorseful for not understanding the victims’ needs. “I was constantly being terrorized by domestic terrorists. I am not Dr. (Marcus) Welby,” he said, referring to the 1960’s TV show doctor.

Finkel admitted that he may have been blunt or even rude, at times, to the victims when he “counseled them about their bad relationships and poor life choices.” Finkel also stated that he cared about every one of his patients and was sorry that his efforts to examine them thoroughly had been misunderstood by the victims. Finkel then stopped rather abruptly, telling the court that his attorney said he was done.

Finkel’s attorney added briefly that Finkel had not done anything that any other gynecologist does not do in the course of an examination. He also cited “mitigating circumstances” — Finkel’s operating in a stressful environment and told the court that Finkel had helped thousands of women during the course of his career. Finkel added tearfully at this point that he was sorry he had embarrassed his wife of 31 years and his children and that he hoped to be reunited with them soon.

Presiding Judge Cates did not buy the mitigating circumstances. “I don’t know of any ‘Domestic terrorists,'” he said, adding that the victims had been traumatized by what Finkel had done to them and not by the trial which he felt had been conducted well. He complimented the work of the jury, saying they had listened carefully to all the evidence. “I was ready to accept whatever the jury decided,” said the Judge, “and they decided you are guilty of the 22 counts.”

Judge Cates added that what Finkel had done in the course of his examinations had not been in the framework of gynecology and that Finkel had violated one of the most sacred trusts in our society, the trust between a doctor and his patient. Addressing the “mitigating circumstance” of no prior criminal history, the judge said this would be negated by the fact that Finkel had been committing these crimes over a 15 year-period and just had not gotten caught previously. He said that he didn’t feel Finkel was declared guilty because of being rude, but if that had been the case, he would have been found him guilty on all 66 counts. Finally, the judge stated he did not feel that Finkel was the victim of any political agenda.

“On the positive side,” Judge Cates said, “I don’t feel Finkel is a danger to the community if he is not practicing medicine.”  That being said, the judge reminded the court that Finkel had caused grave emotional and physical harm to his victims causing depression and fear. He did not feel that he saw any remorse in Finkel, commenting that “this does not look well for rehabilitation.”

Judge Cates patiently assigned a prison sentence to each count of sexual abuse, identifying all counts in the class 5 felony category. Some of the conditions of the lifetime probation will begin after incarceration. The judge forbade Finkel to drink any alcoholic beverages, ordered the payment of a probation fee of $50 a month for life, invoked a requirement to register in the national database as a sexual offender, revoked Finkel’s ability to work  in the medical field, and issued a requirement that Finkel inform any future employer of his conviction as a sexual offender.

Finkel then stood by the bailiff, dressed in his wrinkled stripped prison outfit, his feet chained together as he waited for them to take him away to jail. (A request by his attorney to allow him to dress in a suit had been denied.) Gone was Finkel’s cocky demeanort. He will remain in the city jail for two weeks before being transferred to prison.

The atmosphere in the courtroom was tense.  Observers seemed to be mostly victims and members of the media. Finkel’s wife sat in the front row, flanked by two physician friends.  They joked loudly before the sentencing, one of the physicians saying in a somewhat booming voice, “My bets are he walks in six months.” The other physician shook hands with him on this.  Their jovial attitude seemed to evaporate as they listened, grimfaced, to Finkel’s sentencing.

Finkel’s wife cried when Finkel said he was sorry to have embarrassed them. She soon dried her tears and following the sentencing, she was again joking with her friends.

Blaine, one of the prosecuting attorneys, said he felt the trial went well and was very pleased with the sentence and that he appreciated how Judge Cates considered each count separately.

“This started out to be a three-hour procedure,” one of the victims told the court before the sentencing, “and it has now drawn out to be seven years and will probably last for a lifetime. I don’t think Dr. Finkel knows how many people he has hurt.”

“I don’t think he got enough time, ” said the sister of one of the plaintiffs, Rose, afterward. “He could be back on the streets again,” she said, adding, “He is a sick, pompous man who still doesn’t understand what he did and how he has affected the lives of the victims. It’s been seven years since my sister saw him and she still to this day, cannot go to a gynecologist as she is so afraid of doctors, because of what Finkel did to her.”

Finkel, who performed some 20 percent of Arizona’s abortions each year and up to 30,000 total in his career, may not have much hope for a successful appeal. Judge Cates’ fair and careful handling of this case would seem to make a reversal of the verdict highly unlikely. But Richard Gierloff, the attorney for Finkel, said he will appeal the conviction.

“I hope he dies in prison,” said one victim, acidly, only for a moment conveying the deep suffering resulting from her encounter with Finkel, which will likely last a lifetime.

 

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