Who Keeps an Eye on Abortion Clinics?

For years, pro-lifers have been talking about how dangerous the abortion industry is, due in no small part to the fact that it has fewer regulations governing it than legitimate areas of medical practice. This lax oversight is what allows many abortionists to actually break the law — and although some do get caught, many don’t. It’s also what allows abortionists like Leroy Carhart to set up shop in some really dingy places (something pro-choicers don’t like to be reminded of). I recently looked up the regulations on abortion facilities in Illinois (the state I live in, and where our office is located). Here, many abortion facilities are governed under regulations for pregnancy termination specialty centers (PTSCs). PTSCs are one subset of ambulatory surgical treatment centers (ASTCs). I’ve listed below some of the regulations for ASTCs generally that PTSCs (abortion clinics) do not have to follow:

The administrative and public areas of the facility are not required to comply with Section 205.1350. [Section 205.1350, among other things, requires storage space for office supplies, sterile supplies, medical/surgical supplies and equipment, pharmaceutical supplies, and housekeeping supplies and equipment. -JJ] Each room in which procedures to terminate pregnancy are performed shall be at least 120 square feet in size with a minimum dimension of at least 10 feet. Exceptions will be made when the center demonstrates that the room size is adequate to accommodate the equipment required for the procedures, to facilitate the performance of the procedures safely, and to protect the patients and staff in the event of fire or other emergency (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1360(b)(1)). [Section 205.1360(b)(1) requires “[a]t least one procedure room with a minimum clear area of 250 square feet and a minimum dimension of 14 feet”. -JJ] A communication system between the control station and each procedure room is not required (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1360(b)(3)). The recovery area is not required to include a drug distribution station, charting facilities, nurses station, or storage space for supplies and equipment (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1360(d)(2)). A control station for the operating suite is not required (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1370(a)). A separate soiled workroom is not requiredAnesthesia and medical gas storage facilities are not required (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1370(h) and (i)). Ceilings in procedure and recovery rooms shall be cleanable, but are not required to be washable (in lieu of compliance with Section 205.1400(n)(l)). [Section 205.1400(n)(l) states: “Ceilings shall be cleanable, and those in sensitive areas such as surgical rooms shall be readily washable and without crevices that can retain dirt particles.” -JJ] Ventilation, air change, and air filter requirements do not apply

If pro-choicers really are all about women’s health, how can they stand for this? Shouldn’t they be leading the charge for stricter standards for abortion clinics? And yet they’re not. What’s more, when a woman dies at the hands of an abortionist, pro-choice organizations have nothing to say. That tells us a lot.

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