Court Shuts Down Man Who Fakes Abortion Services in Louisiana
08.03.04 - After a hearing today, Judge Stanwood R. Duval of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction against William Graham, a Louisiana man who has been operating a fake abortion referral service. The Causeway Medical Clinic and women duped by Graham sued him for false advertising, trademark infringement and fraud. The plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Morrison & Foerster of New York, and Rittenberg and Samuel of New Orleans.
For at least a decade, Graham has falsely advertised in the phone book as an abortion referral service, co-opting the name of Causeway Medical Clinic. Once a woman contacts him, he claims to set up a doctor's "appointment," then repeatedly "reschedules" it. He then strings his victim along for weeks and sometimes months, intending to deceive her past the time for a legal abortion.
New Orleans - According to Judge Duval’s order, William Graham must stop using the name "Causeway Center for Women" or any other name that is confusingly similar to "Causeway Medical Clinic" in directory assistance listings; disconnect his telephone number currently listed under the name Causeway Center for Women; stop presenting himself as an abortion referral service, orally or by advertising; and stop making false statements about Causeway Medical Clinic.
"We are thrilled with the court’s decision today. Now, William Graham can no longer terrorize women in Louisiana. This man takes advantage of women during a particularly vulnerable time, interfering with their most basic right to make a decision about their own lives," said Suzanne Novak, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "Our clients have had to quit their jobs, quit school. Their lives have been endangered because of health concerns. One of my clients is now worried that she and her children will be homeless. All because this man decided they should carry their pregnancies to term."
Over the last decade, anti-choice extremists have set up fake clinics to dupe women into contacting them, only to intimidate them and prevent them from having abortions.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against Graham on June 7. Since that time, an additional dozen women have come forward with stories of being victimized by Graham.
One woman, a 24-year-old student, was date-raped and discovered she was pregnant several months later. A doctor highly recommended she contact the legitimate Causeway Medical Clinic to get an abortion. She and her mother looked the number up in the phone book and contacted William Graham, listed under the name Causeway Center for Women. Graham pretended to set up numerous appointments, assuring her that she could receive an abortion past the legal time. But by the time she discovered Graham was a fake, it was too late for her to have the procedure.
Women who have been victimized by Graham should contact the Center for Reproductive Rights at (917) 637-3600 and ask for the person who handles Domestic Intakes.
Women looking for legitimate abortion referrals should call the National Abortion Federation Hotline, (800) 772-9100. The hotline offers providers in the caller’s area; referrals to funding sources; factual information about pregnancy, abortion and state abortion restrictions; and confidential support.