Regulations On Abortionists And Abortion Facilities Means Safer Conditions For Women

Arina Grossu is Director, Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council. This article appeared on, May 28, 2014.

Activists and some news outlets have expressed anxiety over reports that Texas abortion facilities are closing because they fail to meet new regulations enacted by Texas last year. These reasonable standards were recently upheld by the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The National Journal reported, "The added difficulty of finding qualified doctors, getting new licenses, and navigating state health department regulations is a hurdle higher than most closed clinics are likely to clear."

Shouldn't abortionists be qualified and abortion facilities regulated? That's a no-brainer. One MSNBC reporter lamented that "Texas women are running out of options." Well, what kind of options are they running out of, exactly? Unsafe, unregulated ones?

Few are aware of the atrocities that women have suffered in under-regulated, unsafe abortion clinics. Karnamaya Mongar, for example, died of a drug overdose and cardiac arrest at Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell's squalid abortion facility - a facility that remained uninspected for seventeen years in the name of not "putting a barrier up to women" despite complaints and reports of malpractice, injuries, and deaths. Then there's Tonya Reaves who died ofhemorrhaging after an abortion at a Chicago Planned Parenthood in July 2012. Most recently, Lakisha Wilson died this March of cardiac or respiratory arrestafter a botched late-term abortion of her five-month-old unborn child. These are just three cases of the many women who have died as a result of legal abortion. Not to mention the many more women who have been physically injured by abortion.

We need common-sense laws that protect women against unlicensed abortionists, unqualified medical personnel, abortion facilities and equipment that do not meet medical code, and drugs being administered that do not meet FDA regulations. In addition, common sense dictates that abortionists should have admitting privileges at an appropriately-equipped hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility in case of emergency, and that abortion facilities should meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. These laws protect the health and safety of vulnerable women. After all, shouldn't abortion facilities be at least as regulated as restaurants, tanning salons, and pools?

It is incongruous for those who claim to care about women to fight laws that actually do protect women. It is a woman's right to have the highest level of medical care available in a regulated facility by licensed doctors. No ideology should stand in the way of that.

Complications from abortions abound but are seldom reported because of an abortion facility's conflict of interest. When profit and reputation are in question, abortionists and abortion facilities have chosen to sweep evidence of malpractice and abuse under the rug, unless of course a woman has to be hospitalized following a botched abortion. Judge Edith Jones, one of the three judges on an all-female Fifth Circuit panel that unanimously decided to uphold the Texas pro-life law as constitutional, said that during the proceedings Planned Parenthood conceded a shocking statistic: At least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion. Operation Rescue, a pro-life group that uncovers the illegal activity and wrong-doing of abortionists, released numbers that were close to five times higher than that. They say court records indicate nearly 1,000 abortion patients are likely hospitalized annually in Texas. This number takes into account complications from chemical abortions and second trimester dilatation and evacuation abortions, which were not included in the initial numbers.

We must demand that abortion facilities are held to the same or higher standard of oversight as other medical facilities. We owe it to women. Bravo Texas, for paving the way for higher medical standards for women's health and safety.