Regulating abortion clinics

Regulating abortion clinics   Washington Times - February 6, 2008

The article “Clinic must release abortion data” (Nation, Thursday), which details a Kansas grand jury’s investigation of illegal late-term abortions, exposes the fact that abortion remains one of the most unregulated and unaccountable medical procedures in the country.

As a result of secrecy and lack of accountability, our pets likely are safer at the veterinarian’s office than women are at some abortion clinics.
Occasionally, an intrepid government official, acting on a tip by a patient or employee, breaks through the stone wall of secrecy and uncovers abuses. A Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Johnson County, Kan., is facing 107 criminal counts based on a confidential review of just 29 patient records.
An abortion clinic in Kansas City, Kan., was raided after former employees told of coffee cups full of syringes, medical tools stored near toilets and fetuses stored in refrigerators used by employees for lunches. The proprietor’s license eventually was revoked when the search produced syringes of medication in an unlocked refrigerator and a dead mouse inside the facility.

Just how far abortion clinics will go in violating the law was illustrated by an undercover investigation by the pro-life organization Life Dynamics of 800 Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation facilities. Evidence includes taped conversations documenting the willingness of abortion clinic staff to illegally cover up cases of statutory rape.

According to Americans United for Life, which monitors state abortion legislation, just 23 states have health and safety regulations that apply to all abortions. Virginia only regulates abortion after the first trimester. Maryland is among eight states with abortion clinic health and safety regulations that are enjoined in litigation and/or are not enforced.

Abortion advocates successfully lobbied Virginia state senators to kill a bill that would have subjected abortion clinics to the same regulations as outpatient surgery centers. They argued that requiring such safety measures would force many abortion clinics to shut down. Advocates also contend that health and safety oversight will make abortion access more difficult, relegating abortions to dangerous “back alley clinics.”

The admission that abortion clinics would not meet health and safety standards should spur legislators to act to protect the health and safety of women. Covered up from the light of health and safety oversight and accountability, every abortion clinic remains a “back alley clinic.”

JONATHAN IMBODY
Vice president for government relations
Christian Medical Association
Washington Office
Ashburn, Va.

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