Louisiana Health Department Closes Abortion Center for Health, Safety Problems
by Steven Ertelt
September 6, 2010
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The Louisiana health department has closed the Hope Medical Group for Women abortion business in Shreveport. The Department of Health and Hospitals released a statement late Friday saying it issued an order for Hope to cease and desist doing abortions because it was putting women’s health at risk.
The health department noted after an investigation of the abortion facility that it found violations posing "significant health and safety risks to clients."
The suspension of the abortion center’s license to operate came under a new abortion regulation bill pro-life Governor Bobby Jindal signed giving the state health department more authority to suspend licenses when abortion centers run afoul of state health laws.
"When we see this level of egregious conduct at a facility, it is incumbent on us to take steps necessary to protect our residents," DHH Interim Secretary Anthony Keck said in the statement. "The Legislature gave us this authority because they recognized we must have the ability to stop unsafe practices that place these already vulnerable women in danger."
The health department said it found the Hope Medical Group for Women abortion center failed to ensure a physician performed a physical exam of the mother prior to the abortion and failed to properly monitor vital signs of patients under anesthesia.
It also did not have proper procedures in place for administering anesthesia and failed to have properly trained medical professionals administering anesthesia and engaging in other medical procedures related to it.
This is the first case of a Louisiana abortion center closed under the legislation, authored by Representative Fred Mills (D-Parks) and strongly supported by Louisiana Right to Life Federation, which was inspired by then DHH Secretary Alan Levine.
Benjamin Clapper, director of Louisiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com late Friday: "Today, the health and safety of women in the Shreveport-Bossier area have been protected by the immediate closure of the Hope abortion facility. We are thrilled that the Jindal Administration and our DHH has enforced the newly enacted law protecting the citizens of Louisiana."
"We thank former DHH Secretary Levine, interim DHH Secretary Tony Keck, and Representative Mills for their leadership in the legislation and its enforcement. Clearly, this legislative success resulted in lives saved and women protected," Clapper said.
The closure of the abortion business came as the Shreveport-Bossier Right to Life group had plans to begin its first 40 Days for Life campaign on September 22 at the Hope abortion clinic.
Emily Nickelson, the president of the local pro-life group, added, ""We are overjoyed at the closure of the Hope abortion facility."
"Over the past few months in anticipation of our first 40 Days for Life campaign, we saw a record number of Shreveport-Bossier citizens joining together to pray for an end to abortion. This closure is an answer to the prayers of so many," she said.
The Louisiana health department shut down a New Orleans abortion center in January for putting women’s health at risk.
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