WaPo Editorial: “No Evidence of Serious or Widespread Unsanitary Conditions” in Virginia Abortion Clinics. Really?

Planned Parenthood's inspection failure report

The Washington Post published an editorial this week that almost reads like a press release from NARAL or Planned Parenthood.

The WaPo editors say that if Ken Cuccinelli is elected governor of Virginia, “most of the remaining 18 (abortion) clinics are likely to shut their doors within months.”

Would that a governor could actually shut down a double-digit number of abortion clinics, just like that, in one fell swoop!

As pro-life blogger JivinJ points out:

Their evidence for this assertion is nowhere to be found and how Cuccinelli would go about this is left up to the reader’s imagination.

Being in favor [of] regulations which closed a couple of clinics (at the time abortion advocates claimed the regulations would close nearly all the clinics) apparently means Cuccinelli will be able to close more than half of the remaining clinics since they claim they won’t be able to meet Virginia’s standards.

Here’s the editorial’s most outrageous paragraph:

There is no evidence that women are at risk in Virginia’s abortion clinics, nor is there evidence of serious or widespread unsanitary conditions that endanger women’s health. The state’s clinics are pawns in the clash over abortion rights.

“No evidence?”  Really?

On the contrary, there is a raft of evidence of “serious [and] widespread unsanitary conditions that endanger women’s health” in Virginia’s abortion clinics.

Not a Single Abortion Clinic in Virginia Passed Inspection in 2012

The Pro-Life Action League has obtained records of the inspections conducted at the 20 abortion facilities in Virginia by the state’s Department of Health in 2012 (two of which have since closed). 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 worst 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.

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.”

What’s more:

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.

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?

Earlier this year on a HuffPost Live interview, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Executive Director Tarina Keene said that when Department of Health inspectors showed up at Virginia’s abortion clinics last year, they all —all—”passed with flying colors.” Either Keene was lying through her teeth, or else she really was clueless and had absolutely no idea what the inspectors actually found.

The same can be said of the WaPo editorial writers who claim there is “no evidence that women are at risk in Virginia’s abortion clinics, nor is there evidence of serious or widespread unsanitary conditions that endanger women’s health.”

The most likely explanation is that they’re clueless.  But in any event, they can’t be taken seriously.


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