Lax abortion standards put women at risk of infection, death
by Sarah CrawfordTuesday, February 12, 2013
Last week, a young woman and her child both died allegedly at the hands of notorious late-term abortionist, Leroy Carhart, in Germantown, Maryland. Texas Right to Life is saddened by these untimely, preventable deaths. We are even more determined to hold negligent abortionists accountable to the law.
What happened to 29-year-old Jennifer Morbelli can happen again, right here in Texas, because of the lax standards to which abortionists and abortion centers are held.
Just like Carhart, abortionists in Texas may operate out of one of many abortion facilities. When abortionists skip from town to town and do not acquire admitting privileges at local hospitals, fatal problems arise. When Carhart’s victim began to suffer complications, the local emergency room was unable to obtain information from either Carhart or the abortion facility. Had Carhart been required to contract with a hospital, Morbelli’s life could have been saved when her symptoms were first realized.
Furthermore, abortion facilities in Texas put the women who visit them at risk of infection, abortion complications, and even death. Currently, abortion centers are required to be inspected just once a year by the Department of State Health Services. Per a freedom of information request, Texas Right to Life obtained inspection reports of all abortion centers in Texas from July 2011-2012, and the results are shocking.
Fourteen abortion centers were cited as having infractions that violated inspections, yet due to the weakness of the current law, only one was fined by the state. Although many of the violations were recorded, much of the reports was blacked out. Below is a summary of the little that is actually legible:
The Reproductive Services Abortion Facility of El Paso was fined for performing two abortions where the unborn child was over the age of 16 weeks, but the center is only licensed to perform abortions up to 16 weeks. The original fine of $1,300 was administered, but was later reduced to only $200.
Another facility, Whole Woman’s Health in Beaumont was the worst violator and had a 17 page report. Several of the pages and plans for corrective actions were blacked out and remain unknown. From the pages that were not blacked out, the inspectors noted that staff was not trained in sterilizing surgical instruments and many sterile instrument packages were found with holes in them. No full-time nurse was on staff as required by state law, and the part-time nurse, who lives in Houston, had never been oriented to the facility. Staff at the center had never been properly trained, educated, and oriented for their job description, facility personnel policies, philosophy, and emergency procedures.
The state found that the center failed to provide a safe and sanitary environment:
State-required evacuation plans were not found posted anywhere in the building and all three fire extinguishers were expired. Employees had never participated in and the facility had failed to conduct fire and disaster drills. However, Whole
Woman’s Health was not fined for any of the violations recorded by the state.
Of the remaining centers, many were cited as unable to keep routine surgical and emergency equipment sterile and up-to-date with staff unable to identify and use emergency equipment. Though the equipment was expired, it was still available for use on women. Many open, expired, and unsecured vials of medication were identified by inspectors. The points below are in addition to many of the violations listed above.
Abortion Advantage - Dallas
Routh Street Women's clinic - Dallas
West-Side Clinic, Inc. – Fort Worth
Suburban Women’s Medical Center – Houston
This center had a seven-page report with the majority of which was blackened or blurred out. Some of the corrective plans for the clinic were legible, giving indication of what the violations were. Requirements include:
AAA Concerned Women's Center, Inc. - Houston
These violations are serious and put women at very real risk. Do you think the media ever cites these ghastly infractions or how these abortion centers jeopardize the lives of women? Of course not. In fact, CNN just praised Whole Woman's Health on national television.
Clinics that perform elective abortions in Texas need to be held accountable to the state and the medical community that is responsible for actually serving the health needs of Texan women. This accountability will not occur without new legal requirements.
Abortion advocates wax poetical about being there for women and having their best interest at heart. But do these violations and facility standards bear out that claim?
Abortion facilities need to put their money where their mouth is. And the Department of State Health Services must assure women, and the state of Texas, that the Jennifer Morbelli tragedy does not happen in Texas.