State Sen. Ruben Diaz (with mic) and his wife, Leslie, at a pro-life vigil on Dec. 19 (Photos by Alma Watkins)
Dr. Pierre Renelique used to practice obstetrics and gynecology in Florida. That was until the Florida Board of Medicine revoked his license early this year following a botched abortion. Now he’s working at Clinton Place Medical Center in University Heights, to the horror of the local pro-life movement.
Two Saturdays ago, about 80 people, including State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. and his wife, Leslie, held a prayer vigil near the center, to bring attention to Renelique’s past, and to demand action from the New York State Medical Board.
“We want to expose this clinic across the street and we want to expose the doctor,” Leslie Diaz told the crowd.
“Apparently Dr. Renelique is not good enough for Florida but he is found good enough for the women of the Bronx,” said Father Peter West of Priests for Life, a national pro-life organization.
Renelique was found guilty last February of medical malpractice, after he failed to show up for a late-term abortion in July 2006. The mother went into labor (because of drugs given to her by Renelique the day before) and unlicensed staff delivered a live baby girl, according to news reports. The baby was stuffed into a plastic bag and left to die. Police found her body a week later.
Renelique moved to New York earlier this year, and began working at Clinton Place Medical Center, at 8 Clinton Place, just west of Jerome Avenue. In November he was tracked down by Fox 5’s Arnold Diaz, for one of Diaz’s “Shame, Shame, Shame” reports. In the video clip, Diaz (no relation to the senator or his wife) is shown chasing Renelique down the street, peppering him with questions, before Renelique bats the mic out of his hand.
Many of the protesters clutched signs with pro-life messages
The vigil was organized by Advocates for Life, a Yonkers-based group, and many of the speakers spoke out against abortion and pro-choice groups, in addition to criticizing Renelique.
“A baby is a baby no matter how small it is,” said Ana Sosa, a 19-year-old local resident, and a member of In His Image, a youth group at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church on University Avenue.
Abortion is “genocide,” said Sosa, rosary beads wrapped tightly around her wrist.
“They are murderers!” said Senator Diaz, pointing at Clinton Place Medical Center across the street, which was shut that day. (Diaz, a Bronx Democrat and Pentecostal minister who typically leans right on social issues, is an ardent pro-life supporter. In the past he’s called abortion “the American holocaust.”)
Clinton Place Medical Center was closed the day of the vigil
Diaz’s words aside, it’s unclear whether Renelique and his colleagues actually perform abortions. A woman who answered the phone there last week said they didn’t; Renelique himself didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Regardless, the fact that Renelique is here in the Bronx, and still practicing medicine, gave the crowd reason to pray and protest.
“Enough is enough! Enough is enough!” they shouted in unison.