‘Abortion Queen’ makes women pay extra for abortions: ‘They shouldn’t be fully funded’

Diane Derzis, an abortion facility owner who has been nicknamed the “abortion queen,” is facing severe criticism from abortion advocates after she was found to be charging women extra money for abortions. Her reasoning was that these women need to have “skin in the game.”

STAT News reported that Stephanie Rosenwinge grew up idolizing Derzis, and was excited to work with her idol at a new facility in Bristol, Virginia. But the reality didn’t measure up to the fantasy; Rosenwinge said Derzis was telling staff to cut back on the amount of financial aid they were giving to women. Derzis also allegedly told staff that women needed to pay something out-of-pocket, even if insurance or abortion organizations covered all of the abortion expenses.

“She said, ‘I want these patients to have some skin in the game,'” Rosenwinge recalled. “‘They shouldn’t be fully funded.'”

Another staffer, Olivia Nickels, backed up Rosenwinge’s claims. “Us on the frontline, seeing patients, seeing their emotion, seeing how much they struggle, we are witnessing how terrible it might be for them,” she said. “So being told not to provide [full] financial assistance information to those patients was a stab in the gut, to be totally honest.”

Both women quit. And Derzis, in her comments to STAT News, seems to have no remorse about overcharging her patients.

“They were having women have free abortions,” she said. “They are not only using all the money, but every woman did not need to have financial assistance. The purpose of funding was to make sure there was money there for people who needed that.”

An e-mail exchange was also provided to STAT, between Derzis and another former staffer.

“[S]o we are doing abs on these women and they’re not paying a dime?” Derzis wrote, using a shorthand for abortions.

“Yeah, isn’t that wild?” an employee responded. “Happens a lot with patients who are further along. NAF” — the National Abortion Federation — “usually won’t cover the ultrasound but the other funding agencies do, so they come in ready with all of it covered.”

“I have a problem with that,” Derzis wrote back. “I firmly believe that they HAVE to have some skin in the game so to speak. [F]rom now on they have to pay at least 50 and I really think that’s not enough but it’ll do.”

When asked about the e-mail conversation, Derzis did not back down.

“Yes, I believe that patients need to put some of their money into the medical procedure. That’s just my belief. And that’s how I run my business,” she said, adding, “Everyone can come up with $50. And if they can’t, and they can say that that’s a reality of the situation, then we would have to look at it. Nothing’s in stone. … It’s stigmatizing abortion when you think that this should be free. I’m not a socialist.”

STAT said they interviewed six other abortion facility owners, none of whom said they intentionally overcharged patients to make sure the women had “skin in the game.” But one did seem to empathize with her point: late-term abortionist Warren Hern.

“I’ve had patients that show up here. They’re living in their car with their three kids, literally. And they’re going to go park in the supermarket parking lot or shopping plaza for the night because they have no place to go,” Hern said, explaining he would pay to put them in a hotel in those situations – but not happily. “I have a fee setup to pay for the costs of doing this work, and if I have to divert the money to do something else to help give the patient lodging, that’s less money I have to help other patients.”

While it’s not as clear how much Derzis makes, Hern is swimming in cash: he charges up to $25,000 per abortion. Whether it’s the patient or an abortion fund paying for it, Hern gets the money regardless. And both Hern and Derzis have been the subject of gushing media coverage, including about their lavish homes and comfortable lifestyles.

Before her Mississippi facility closed, Derzis’ Birmingham home was featured by the Daily Beast in an article lauding her decorating skills. “[H]er home with its Jacuzzi tub and skyline view was featured in a Birmingham paper recently,” the Daily Beast gushed in 2012. Hern’s home is similarly plush, according to the New York Times, which described “the stunning mountain vista framed by the front window of his living room” and mentioned how Hern’s “wildlife photography covered the walls surrounding his gleaming grand piano.”

Grand pianos and jacuzzi tubs are expensive. So are abortions, but that seemingly isn’t preventing Derzis from doing what she’s always done: make as much money as she can from the killing of preborn human beings.

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