June 06, 2017
Americans need to understand that when organizations like Planned Parenthood insist that women have a "right" to abortion, they don't mean a safe one. In clinics across the country, vulnerable women are shuttled in and out of clinics that look more like combat zones than surgical centers. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of 261 pages of horrors at his Philadelphia clinic, put a real face on the "choice" movement. For his patients -- and so many others -- "choice" means being subjected to rusty equipment, bloodstained blankets, and untrained staff.
And unfortunately, Gosnell is just one example of a nationwide nightmare. In Pennsylvania, Gosnell's bloody legacy lives on in a shocking case of clinic neglect. While the infamous "doctor" may be behind bars, area clinics are showing how little they learned from the tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of two women (and countless innocent children). Inspectors filed a blistering report this month against the Hillcrest Women's Medical Center, which officials were shocked to find in complete disarray. Apart from using "expired medical supplies," it had "no record of patients receiving anesthesia, didn't run the legally required background checks on employees who work with minor patients, and didn't have a registered nurse or doctor supervise patients" recovering from surgery. Staffers failed to do even the most basic tasks like check women's blood types, secure the office drug supply, and use needles and syringes that aren't old, yellow, and "physically deteriorated."
Like Gosnell's "house of horrors," this clinic isn't just unsafe for patients -- but staff too. That's part of the reason state senators are so upset. "These health and safety violations are obviously deeply troubling," they write in a letter to the agency. "However, even more problematic appears to be [the Department of Health's] response, which was to allow the abortion clinic to continue operating while granting Hillcrest a six month grace period to correct the cited 'deficiencies.'" The trio goes on, "We would like an explanation as to why DOH did not immediately move to suspend or revoke Hillcrest Women's Medical Center's license upon finding such numerous egregious violations."
Six years ago, with the haunting images of Gosnell's urine-stained walls still fresh on everyone's minds, Pennsylvania passed a law that forced abortion clinics to undergo surprise inspections. With these revelations, people are rightly wondering whether state officials have done enough. Believe it or not, abortion continues to be one of the least regulated surgeries in the United States. A lot of state clinics have fewer regulations than beauty salons or public schools. That has started to change with a wave of laws that force abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory hospitals. That means more licensed staff, better sanitation, bigger rooms, and safer equipment.
To most of us, that only sounds logical. But to abortion clinics, the bulk of which cut corners to make a profit, it represents a huge hurdle in doing business. For them, the emphasis has always been on revenue, not patient safety. When they're asked to comply with strict new health standards, most would rather shut down than protect women. And while groups like Planned Parenthood claim that safety is their number one priority, the reality is that they're part of the coalition spending millions of dollars to fight these common-sense regulations. That, more than anything, should expose the pro-abortion movement for what it is: cold, calculating opportunists who see women as profit, not patients.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.