Lack of Oversight Gives Illinois Abortion Clinics a Pass

Illinois abortionA recent Associated Press article by writer Carla Johnson reported that some abortion clinics in Illinois have gone up to 15 years without an inspection, and that several other abortion clinics in the state—including all of those run by Planned Parenthood—aren’t licensed or inspected by the state at all.

In response to inquiries from Johnson, Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler provided numerous documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding abortion clinic inspections. He was also quoted in the article:

Anti-abortion activist Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, said Illinois is “one of the most pro-abortion states in the nation” and he believes it gave the clinics “a pass.” The state has shown “a systematic unwillingness to step away from the ideology and look at these facilities objectively,” he said, calling for more stringent inspections.

Gosnell Clinic Prompts Spate of Inspections

Reports of Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” abortion mill in Philadelphia in early 2011 prompted the Illinois Department of Public Health to “quietly begin increasing the inspections” of its clinics a few months later, according to IDPH supervisor Karen Senger:

“It was a departmental decision,” Senger said, adding the Philadelphia case “gave us a focus” and motivation to find out “when was the last time we were in these facilities?”

Not for years, it turned out.

In 2011, Illinois inspectors visited all nine licensed abortion clinics that are defined as pregnancy termination centers, a category that limits them to first-trimester abortions [sic] * and no other procedures.

It was these inspections that led to the closing of the notorious Northern Illinois Women’s Center in Rockford.

More Unsafe Clinics Come to Light

These inspections also resulted in a state order issued October 21 prohibiting Women’s Aid Clinic in Lincolnwood from performing surgical abortions.

And although the article reports that Women’s Aid is closed, phone calls made to the facility confirm that it is still, in fact, open, but it is only able to do medical abortions—i.e., the abortion pill commonly known as RU-486. (Inexplicably, however, the Women’s Aid website still indicates that it offers surgical abortions.)

So Women’s Aid is still operating, only now without a license (to perform surgical abortions), which it surrendered to avoid paying a $36,000 fine. And thus, it will now no longer be inspected by the state.

Clinic Owner Blames Deceased Victim of Malpractice

According to the article, the fine was for “violations including the clinic’s failure to perform CPR on a patient who died after a procedure [emphasis added].”

What was the response of Women’s Aid’s owner, Larissa Rowansky?

Its owner told the AP her clinic was safe and she felt victimized by the surprise inspection after 15 years.

Yes, you read that correctly: after a woman died following a legal abortion, the abortion facility’s owner is the one claiming victimhood.

TV Dinners in the Biohazard Freezer?

There’s more. After the article goes on to mention Illinois inspection reports that detail other such violations as “frozen TV dinners stored in a biohazard lab refrigerator that also held placental or fetal tissue,” as well as “dusty equipment” and “lack of a supervising registered nurse,” it comes back around to the woman who died:

Rowansky said that patient didn’t need CPR because she was speaking to emergency workers when she was taken to a hospital after her abortion. The patient “lied about her condition,” Rowansky added, saying the woman had bronchial pneumonia and was too ill to have an abortion.

A woman dies following a legal abortion, and the owner of the abortion clinic throws her under the bus. Have you ever seen a more breathtaking example of blaming the victim?

Rowansky went on to say the other violations found by IDPH inspectors were mere technicalities, claiming the facility’s first inspection in 15 years was “unfair”.

Unfair? Hardly. Unbelievable? Yes.

Illinois’ Massive Financial Crisis Leaves Many Clinics Uninspected

The article goes on to say that the “state’s inspectors are spread thin” and that “lack of money prevents the state from hiring more inspectors.” The IDPH’s Senger says her department plans to inspect the four abortion facilities in the state that are classified as ambulatory surgical treatment centers. If that actually happens, it will be the first inspection for three of three four since the 1990s:

And remember, as mentioned earlier, there are other abortion clinics in Illinois that aren’t inspected at all:

A third type of health facility providing abortions isn’t licensed or inspected in Illinois. These clinics are considered to be similar to doctors’ offices, which aren’t licensed by the state, and the majority of their services aren’t surgical procedures. Planned Parenthood clinics fall into this category.

Pro-choice activists crow incessantly about the need to keep abortion “safe and legal.” But if abortion clinics are rarely — or never — inspected, it’s pretty clear that the facilities performing legal abortions are anything but “safe.”

* Pregnancy termination specialty centers (PTSCs) in Illinois can actually perform abortions up to 18 weeks gestation.


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