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West Virginia Anti-Choice Doctor’s Complaint Against Nurse-Midwife Is Dismissed

Teddy Wilson

A complaint from anti-choice advocate Dr. Byron Calhoun arguing that criminal charges should be brought against a nurse-midwife whose patient needed an emergency cesarean section has been dismissed by the state's nursing board.

Click here for all our coverage of Dr. Byron Calhoun.

A complaint from a doctor and anti-choice advocate against a West Virginia nurse-midwife has been dismissed by the state’s nursing board.

As the Charleston Gazette reports, Dr. Byron Calhoun, in a letter originally sent to the West Virginia attorney general in July, claimed that nurse-midwife Angelita Nixon was unable to care for a patient who wanted to have a home birth but who needed to be transferred to a hospital for an emergency cesarean section; he also noted in the letter that Nixon had no backup nurse available. Calhoun demanded that criminal charges be brought against Nixon and that her nursing license be revoked. Nixon’s patient, Sarah Brown, refuted the charges, telling the Gazette that “[Nixon] provided excellent care” and that Calhoun would have reached the same conclusion if he had “consulted with [Nixon] or me about my care, or taken the time to review my medical record.”

The Gazette reports that the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses has now informed Calhoun that it will not take any action against Nixon. Complaints about nurse-midwives usually go through the state nursing board, and not the AG’s office. In West Virginia, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has a history of targeting abortion providers. Rewire reported earlier this year that Morrisey had launched an investigation into the state’s reproductive health-care facilities.

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Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of reproductive rights group WV Free, told the Gazette that Calhoun has “a very rigid perspective about what women’s health care should and shouldn’t be” and “attacks” other providers approach to medicine that do not conform to his ideology.

Calhoun is National Medical Advisor for the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, an anti-choice organization that, according to its website, “provides life-affirming PRCs [pregnancy resource centers] with legal counsel, education, and training.” The taxpayer-funded crisis pregnancy centers to which NIFLA provides legal support have been known to spread false and misleading information about abortion.

Nixon’s lawyer, Frank Hartman, told the Gazette that his client was pleased with the outcome but that they would be exploring further legal options. He said Calhoun’s letter was “malicious and contained information he knew, or should have known, to be false” and that they “intend to right that wrong.”

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