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Abortion Centers in Texas Evade Laws, Dump Records and Waste

by Steven Ertelt | Austin, TX | LifeNews.com | 3/1/11 1:59 PM

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A three-month-long investigation conducted by a pro-life group into abortion centers in Texas reveals a pattern of evading parental consent laws and illegally dumping both medical records and hazardous waste.

Operation Rescue today released the results of its probe on the widespread abortion abuses it uncovered during an investigation conducted from August 2010 through February 2011. The report contains evidence that crimes have been committed by a dozen abortion clinics throughout Texas.

The pro-life group told LifeNews.com today it is in possession of the names and other medical information of hundreds of patients who obtained abortions during the time period because staff at the abortion centers illegally dumped the records outside the facilities in violation of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The organization plans to turn over documents, photographs and other evidence of the crimes to the custody of the Texas Attorney General’s office tomorrow.

“This investigation shows that violations of the law at abortion clinics are a widespread crisis of epidemic proportions,” said Operation Rescue president Troy Newman.
 
“The evidence we uncovered of illegal activity reveals a systemic problem throughout Texas that is not confined to one particular clinic or group of clinics,” he explained. “These violations endanger the heath of women, violate the rights of women to be informed and have their medical records protected, and present health hazards to the general public.”

The investigation also involved undercover calls and visits to the abortion centers that OR says revealed a pattern of willingness to help minors evade parental consent laws and ignore the mandatory reporting of child sex abuse. The calls found widespread abuses to the Texas-mandated informed consent laws, the 24-hour waiting period that requires abortion centers to give women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives prior to the procedure.

“We also found disturbing evidence of attempts to evade parental consent laws and child sex abuse reporting laws. This illegal activity endangers the safety and welfare of children throughout Texas,” Newman said.

“Our investigation focused on what the average woman would experience if she sought an abortion in Texas, and how the abortion clinics appeared and operated on an everyday basis,” said Newman. “From what we found, women are subjected to a variety of abortion abuses as a matter of routine. Violating the law is standard operating procedure for abortion clinics in Texas.”

During one conference call recorded on January 10, 2011, abortionist William West of Whole Women’s Health can be heard mocking the information he is required by law to tell women. After he says that he is required to say that abortion presents a risk for breast cancer, he launches into a mocking rebuttal of the information he just told them.

The anti-abortion folks have waged this fear campaign for years now, um, making numerous false charges about the quote dangers of abortion, and uh, one completely fictitious this is drummed up spread all around is that there is an increased risk of breast cancer and interfernce with future childbearing and so forth. None of these are true. It’s their attempt to scare you out of having an abortion.

“If this does not violate the letter of the law, it certainly undermines the intent of the legislature, which determined that women should have certain information on which to make an informed decision,” said Newman. “It is his remarks that are grossly untrue, and he should be held accountable for misleading women about abortion risks.”

Later in that same call, one woman expresses concern that her appointment is not 24 hours from the time of the conference call, as required by law.

Caller: Hello?
West: Yes.
Caller: My appointment is tomorrow morning and if I called now, is this enough time? It’s less than 24 hours.
West: Yes.
Caller: And that’ll be okay?
West: Um-hm.
Caller: Thank you.

One undercover conversation with a receptionist named “Lupa” at Franz Theard’s clinic, Hill Top Reproductive, in El Paso was particularly disturbing. The caller posed as a 17-year old minor who wanted an abortion. The receptionist quickly scheduled an abortion for her for the following Saturday at 9:00 am and told her to bring and I.D. and $460. That is when the call to a disconcerting turn.

Caller: Can I get a note for the doctor? Um…
Lupa: Why?
Caller: For school?
Lupa: [Unintelligible]—school?
Caller: ‘Cuz I’m still in high school.
Lupa: How old are you?
Caller: Seventeen.
Lupa: If you’re 17, your parent needs to come with you.
Caller: Oh, uh, I don’t want the–
Lupa: Do they know you’re pregnant?
Caller: No. No.
Lupa: We have another clinic. It’s in Sunland Park in Santa Teresa–
Caller: Santa Theresa where?
Lupa: Uh-huh. There you don’t need an appointment and you don’t need your parents. You could go on Tuesday.
Caller: On Tuesday? Oh.
Lupa: Yes, and it will be at 1:30.
Caller: 1:30? With the same doctor?
Lupa: Yes, ma’am.
Caller: Okay. So on Tuesday, in Santa Teresa I can go–?
Lupa: –address?
Caller: I need the address.
Lupa: It’s 5290 McNutt Road.

Lupa then assures the caller that she will see Dr. Theard and that she does not need to tell her parents.

Santa Teresa is a community across state lines from El Paso in New Mexico, where abortion laws are essentially non-existent. It has become obvious that Theard keeps this clinic open for the purpose of circumventing Texas abortion laws that require minors must have the consent of their parents before abortions can be done.

“If encouraging a minor to cross state lines to evade the laws of her home state isn’t illegal, it ought to be,” said Newman. “Those laws were enacted to protect young girls and to protect the integrity of the family and parental rights. Theard is openly defying the intent of the Texas legislature and trampling the rights of parents while profiting off the vulnerability of their underage daughters. It’s really quite despicable.”

Operation Rescue will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol Building to discuss the findings. The pro-life group is currently in the process of filing complaints with the Texas Medical Board against each abortion practitioner involved in the violations. A complaint filed with the Texas State Department of Health has prompted an investigation that is currently underway, the group told LifeNews.com.

“There is little doubt based on the evidence that crimes have been committed. We will be turning over all of the evidence we collected to the Attorney General’s office for his review,” said Newman.

The youth group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust assisted Operation Rescue in this investigation.