Are abortion clinics in Virginia “beautiful, immaculate, clean facilities” that pass inspections “with flying colors”?
According to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene and her Huffington Post water carrier, the answer is yes. But are they right?
In March 2011, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law regulations that required the State’s Board of Health to write new rules for regulating abortion facilities, which had been largely unregulated for more than 20 years.
Late last month, McDonnell signed into law permanent regulations that will now hold the state’s abortion facilities to the same health and safety standards as hospitals. To no one’s surprise, abortion advocates are gnashing their teeth about these regulations, which they contend are unnecessarily “burdensome” and will serve only to limit “access” to abortion.
A recent segment of HuffPost Live looked at the issue of the situation in Virginia, and it’s well worth watching.
Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall and Operation Rescue‘s Troy Newman did an admirable job of explaining why regulation of abortion clinics is so vitally necessary, but you have to hear for yourself the jaw-dropping claims uttered by NARAL’s Keene.
The first one comes at the 3:40 mark, in which Keene says that most of Virginia’s abortion facilities “have been operating for decades, and they have totally been offering the most, the top-notch care that most abortion providers across the country already offer women.”
Later, at the 10:55 mark, after Troy Newman highlights some of the most outrageous conditions found in numerous abortion facilities across the country in recent years, HuffPost Live host Alicia Menendez throws Keene the softest of softballs:
The challenge seems to be that there are beautiful, immaculate, clean facilities that are there to provide the women of Virginia with safe, legal abortions — abortions that, again, law of the land allows them to have. Should those facilities be penalized because there are these very rare outlier facilities?
Newman then jumped in to point out the insanity of using such fawning words to describe abortion clinics. Menendez then threw Keene another softball, and Keene responded:
All 20 of our state’s abortion providers…have been given unconditional licenses by the Department of Health. So let me just say that when you get an unconditional rating from VDH, that means that there are no safety concerns. They have passed the first test already. They have already lived up to the all of the other regulatory requirements in putting together new protocols that are in line with hospitals. And that was no easy task.
They passed that with flying colors. And when the inspectors came in, they also passed with flying colors.
The Pro-Life Action League has obtained records of the inspections conducted at the 20 abortion facilities in Virginia in 2012 by the state’s Department of Health, and they tell a very different story. All 20 abortion facilities had deficiencies, meaning that not one Virginia abortion clinic passed inspection.
In fact, under the specific category of infection prevention, only one out of 20 was not cited for deficiencies.
Some of the most outrageous examples [PDF] are detailed below.
Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic in Norfolk was inspected in May 10, 2012. Among its deficiencies:
The freezer which is used to store the collected conception material, had blood and un-bagged conception material frozen to the inner bottom surface. The air vents in the clean utility room had a thick dust build up. …
A bucket that held water to rinse the suction pump lines after procedures was turbid with floating black particles.
Doesn’t sound very “beautiful,” “immaculate,” or “clean,” does it?
Roanoke Medical Center for Women was inspected on July 18, 2012. Inspectors cited its staff members for reusing vacutainer blood collection tubes, with one staff member claiming that “there was no need to clean” them between patients, despite the fact that inspectors found one vacutainer that “had visible dark red splatter within the hub, which attached to the needle to draw the patient’s blood.”
Falls Church Healthcare Center was inspected on August 2, 2012. Among its deficiencies: In one procedure room, an observation “revealed the procedure table had visible dried blood on the metal joints that connected the metal leg stirrup/supports.”
Observations in the “Second Recovery” area revealed four of the five recovery recliners had an un-identifiable substance spilled on the lower inner rail.
Richmond Medical Center for Women was inspected on May 16, 2012. Among its deficiencies, an observation in one recovery room:
revealed two (2) of the three (3) Recovery recliners had an area of five (5) inches or greater of dark reddish brown substance on the sling between the seat and the footrest. Staff #2 identified the dark reddish brown substance as dried blood.
Not “clean,” and definitely not “immaculate.”
Then there’s Peninsula Medical Center for Women in Newport News, which was inspected on May 31, 2012. From its inspection report:
Based on the review of the facility’s policies and interview there were no policies/procedures for the facility management of: hand hygiene, cleaning, disposal, storage and transport of equipment, linen and supplies; product specific instructions for use of cleaning agents; procedures for handling, storing and transporting of medical waste; policy/procedure for pest control/ and other infection prevention procedures necessary to prevent/control transmission of an infectious agent in facility.
One has to wonder: Did they actually have any policies or procedures for anything?
Recall, once again, that NARAL’s Tarina Keene said that when Department of Health inspectors showed up at Virginia’s abortion clinics last year, they all “passed with flying colors.” Either Keene is lying through her teeth, or she has absolutely no idea what the inspectors actually found.
In any case, it’s clear that the elected officials of Virginia have done the right thing by enacting into law more stringent regulations of abortion facilities.