Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ Abortion Clinics Safe? Prove It.

Carol Brite

Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Carole Brite at a rally in downtown Chicago in February 2011 [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

In a Daily Herald article on this past weekend’s Speakout Illinois Conference, Planned Parenthood’s Carole Brite claims the organization “adheres to the highest standards of medical care for all of our reproductive health care services.”

To that, I respond, “Prove it.”

Unfortunately, there’s no way to verify Brite’s claim. We’ll have to take Brite’s word for it, because Planned Parenthood’s Illinois abortion clinics are not subject to state inspection.

In fact, only 13 of the state’s 22 surgical abortion facilities are subject to inspection—the 9 classified as “pregnancy termination specialty centers” (PTSCs) that do abortions up to 18 weeks, and the 4 classified as “ambulatory surgical treatment centers” (ASTCs) that do abortions up to 24 weeks.

Outlandish Abortion Clinic Classification Regime

The PTSCs were inspected last year—many of them for the first time in decades. The ASTCs have not been inspected recently (some of them not since the 90s).

The remaining 9 surgical abortion clinics—including Planned Parenthood’s Chicago and Aurora clinics—are unlicensed and not subject to any state inspection. This is thanks to a loophole in the state’s complicated abortion facility regulatory scheme that does not classify clinics as PTSCs unless abortion comprises at least 50% of their business.

This means that Planned Parenthood’s Chicago abortion facility, quite possibly the busiest abortion clinic in the state, doing abortions five days a week is not considered a PTSC, while a whole host of clinics around the state that are open only one day a week are.

Planned Parenthood’s Aurora clinic, also one of the busiest in the state, is likewise not classified as a “pregnancy termination specialty center,” despite the fact that they are a center that specializes in pregnancy terminations.

HB 4117 Would Make Abortion Clinic Standards Uniform

This outlandish abortuary classification system would be remedied by HB 4117, sponsored by Illinois State Representative Tom Morrison. The bill would amend the Illinois Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act to cover any facility that performs more than 50 abortions a year, bringing them all up to the same standards found in other outpatient medical facilities.

This bill failed to pass the House last year, and would likely be rejected by the heavily pro-abortion Illinois Senate, not to mention Governor Pat Quinn, who has recently strengthened his ties to the abortion lobby.

However, the permanent closing of the controversial, unsafe Northern Illinois Women’s Center last month—as well as an abortion clinic in Lincolnwood—along with significant media attention to the abortuary regulation mess may inspire lawmakers to take another look and put women’s safety ahead of pro-choice ideology.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to take Carole Brite’s word for it that Planned Parenthood’s clinics are safe for their clients. We already know for certain they’re fatally unsafe for unborn children.

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