by Steven Ertelt
September 3, 2007
Cherry Hill, NJ (LifeNews.com) — New Jersey women in the Atlantic City area have been traveling to Cherry Hill to get abortions after the state’s health department shut down an abortion center there for violations. Officials closed the Alternatives abortion center in June after they found multiple health code violations.
The problems at the Alternatives abortion center were so profound that state officials could not let it stay open.
Officials found the abortion center had problems with infection control issues, poor documentation and record-keeping and problems with the facility itself.
Since the closing, women are making the trip north to Cherry Hill, a Philadelphia suburb, which has the next closest abortion center, the Cherry Hill Women’s Center.
"We have seen a spike in patients traveling from the shore area," said Jennifer Moore Conrow, told the Press of Atlantic City.
"It’s very valuable to have a local provider," Conrow told the newspaper. "For one, this is definitely a time-sensitive (procedure). But, also, patients are normally nervous coming in and these patients from the shore have it worse because they’re traveling out of their comfort zone."
Elizabeth Barnes, the vice president of the Cherry Hill abortion business, told the Press that she was worried New Jersey residents would worry that all abortions centers in the state had health code problems because the Alternatives business and another in Englewood have been closed.
"We were concerned that the closure of the (Atlantic City) facility would make it seem like there weren’t any safe clinics to go to," she said.
However, like Alternatives, the Cherry Hill Women’s Center is one of several abortion facilities state health inspectors have not probed despite a state requirement to do so. Health officials say they don’t have enough inspectors for cover all of the medical center in the state.
As a result, Cherry Hill Women’s Center has not had a proper state health inspection since December 2004, and other abortion centers have gone longer.
Barnes told the Press newspaper that the Cherry Hill abortion center recently had an inspection but that the state has not published the results. She said officials found problems with improper documentation and temperature control issues.
The 2004 report found dirty, dust-covered poles used for IVs and "white scum" on them as well as not having proper anti-hypothermia drugs in place and improper infection control records.
The Cherry Hill Women’s Center reportedly issued a corrective report to the state a month later fixing the problems.
Meanwhile, the newspaper says the Alternatives abortion center is still closed and has been for two months and that state Health Department spokesman Tom Slater said it has yet to correct the problems.
The state normally fines centers $2,500 a day for every day they are closed and do not fix the issues inspectors find. As of now, Alternatives owes $167,000 in fines over its health violations.