by Steven Ertelt
October 9, 2007
Montgomery, AL (LifeNews.com) — Three Alabama abortion facilities have been taken off temporary probation after correcting the health problems that state inspectors encountered. Rick Harris, director of the state Bureau of Health Provider Standards, said the three abortion centers in question are now in compliance with state regulations.
The Beacon Women’s Center and Reproductive Health Services abortion business in Montgomery and the New Women All Women Health Care in Birmingham saw their licenses downgraded to probationary status last year.
Beacon and New Women All Women Health Care were reinstated on October 1 and Reproductive Health’s license was restored in July.
Harris told AP that he thinks the state health department will continue to monitor the abortion centers.
"Essentially what we do is retroactive, so right now everything seems to be relatively quiet, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s going on," Harris said. "We could get a complaint (next week)."
Reproductive Health Services co-owner June Ayers also talked with AP about the revocation of the probationary status.
"I’m just ecstatic we’re off probation," she said. "We’ve come into compliance and we plan on being in compliance."
The actions against them came after state health officials found significant concerns at the Summit Medical Center abortion center in Birmingham.
The abortion facility that was permanently closed in June 2006 after state health officials found numerous violations, including a nurse there giving the abortion drug to a woman with severely high blood pressure who needed medical attention.
The woman later gave birth to a stillborn baby because the drug is only allowed for use in the early parts of pregnancy.
At Summit, state health officials said they found "egregious lapses in care, including non-physicians performing abortions, severely underestimating the gestational age of a fetus, failure to appropriately refer or treat a patient with a dangerously elevated blood pressure, and performing an abortion on a late-term pregnancy."
Following the incident, nurse Janet Onthank King fabricated the abortion center’s records in an attempt to cover up what happened.
Authorities arrested King in December and charged her with misdemeanor charges including performing illegal abortions.
Summit Medical Centers operates seven abortion businesses in five states.
It is the abortion business that employed Malachy Dehenre, who lost his medical license in both Alabama and Mississippi because of botched abortions.
Following the incident at Summit, the state began inspecting the state’s other abortion facilities, which led to finding problems at Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery.
The Alabama Department of Health suspended RHS’s license in August saying that the abortion business did not have a backup physician on hand kept inadequate medical records and conducted poor follow-up abortion care.
Then, in November, state officials found the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville violated 10 different health codes.
The state health department found the abortion center put women at risk by having those who called the facility experiencing medical problems after an abortion routed through to the abortion business administrator rather than a doctor.
Women who had serious bleeding or other complications following an abortion were not put in touch with a licensed physician.
Others were sent home early without allowing them any recovery time following the surgery.
The state health department also said the AWCRA abortion center routinely failed to document the gestational age of the unborn child prior to doing the abortion.