New Jersey Government Well Behind on Abortion Business Inspections

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 19, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 19,
2007

Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — New state government papers show health inspectors are significantly behind in their task of checking on abortion centers in New Jersey to make sure they are complying with health and safety laws. The revelation follows the closing of two abortion centers there for serious violations.

State health inspectors recently closed an Atlantic City abortion business that has been found to have multiple health code violations.

The problems at the Alternatives abortion center were so profound that state officials could not let it stay open.

Earlier this year, state officials closed the Metropolitan Medical Associates abortion business in Englewood after a botched abortion went so badly that a young woman nearly died as a result.

Now, the Atlantic City Press newspaper has uncovered new papers from the state showing that health officials inspected just one abortion business in the past two years before these recent ones. That’s despite a state requirement that abortion centers be probed every other year.

The newspaper obtained state records showing that past inspections found health code violations in almost every case.

Three other abortion facilities are overdo for monitoring by health officials — including the Planned Parenthood center in Shrewsbury, which is seven years behind schedule.

The state of New Jersey also does not keep track of all abortion facilities and could not confirm to the newspaper that there are not other centers where abortions are done that should be on the list of those that need to be checked out.

State health department spokesman Tom Slater said the problem is related to a lack of health inspectors for all health facilities and he said only 17 percent of all medical clinics are inspected every two years, as state law requires.

He said there are 1,003 medical centers in the state and just 117 health inspectors.

"There has been a nationwide attrition in the health work force," Slater told the Atlantic City paper. "The Baby Boomers are retiring. Those are the type of people that took public jobs. And we are competing with the private sector."

But pro-life advocates say that the politicized nature of abortion is keeping state officials from making the inspection of abortion centers a priority.

"I think it’s been a long-standing position of the state that abortion is the great untouchable of law and politics," Marie Tasy, of New Jersey Right to Life, told the newspaper.

Her position has the support of Congressmen Chris Smith and Scott Garrett. They wrote a letter to the newspaper complaining about the lack of inspections.

"It is our greatest concern that in the state’s haste to appear supportive of abortion rights, it is failing to safeguard the health and safety of the vulnerable young women who seek abortions in New Jersey," the letter reads.

Looking at the probe of he Alternatives abortion center in Atlantic City, officials found that the abortion center had problems with infection control issues, poor documentation and recordkeeping and problems with the facility itself.

Also, state health officials closed the Metropolitan Medical Associates abortion business in Englewood after Newark Beth Israel Medical center filed a complaint reporting that a 20-year-old woman nearly died from a botched abortion there.

The abortion center failed a followup inspection two weeks later and authorities released information to a local newspaper recently on the shoddy conditions there.

Papers from the state obtained by the Bergen Record newspaper indicated that health authorities inspected the abortion center every year from 1990 to 1996 but did not show up again for an inspection until 2000 and then once again in 2002. There were no inspections after that.

In their review, health inspectors found dirt and debris throughout the abortion facility, open packages of items that were supposed to remain sterilized before their use, and other problems.