Judge Allows Louisiana Abortion Facility Not Meeting Safety Standards to Reopen
by Steven Ertelt
September 15, 2010
Shreveport, LA (LifeNews.com) — A state judge has lifted the emergency suspension order issued by the Louisa Department of Health and Hospitals closing a Shreveport abortion center that failed to meet state health and safety standards.
State officials said after an investigation that the Hope Medical Group for Women had 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.
But State Judge District Judge R. Michael Caldwell ruled the abortion business can reopen for business even though it has not fixed the problems that made it a danger to the public and calls to the abortion center from Operation Rescue reveal it is now taking appointments for abortions.
Bruce D. Greenstein, Health Secretary for the State of Louisiana, told reporters he is disappointed by the ruling.
"The findings of the Department’s survey included several egregious safety violations and at least one resulting in immediate jeopardy. The Department’s conclusion was that women visiting this facility would have their health and safety compromised," he said in a statement.
He said he is upset the judge did not seek any input from his department or those who found the violations of state standards.
"So, today, we are very disappointed that the judge would put the special interests of this abortion facility over the health and safety of women. This order was signed without any notification to us and without any effort to hear from medical professionals about the risk to the facility’s clients posed by the violations our inspectors found," he said. "We will continue to fight to protect Louisiana residents and to shut down activities that put women in harm."
Benjamin Clapper of Louisiana Right to Life informed LifeNews.com: "There is an injunction hearing on Tuesday a week from today."
He said news reports on the judge’s decision "make it more final than the situation is."
A hearing is scheduled for September 21, when a decision will be made on whether to uphold the abortion center’s suspension.
"We are not looking great, but still have a shot. I do not think it is coincidental that all the kick off rallies [for the next 40 Days for Life campaign] will be on the same day as the hearing in Baton Rouge," Clapper said.
Operation Rescue spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger also commented on the decision.
"Judge Caldwell showed a gross disregard not only for the law, but for the lives and safety of women by allowing this abortion clinic to reopen under conditions that the health department has already said presents an immediate health and safety threat," she said. "This ruling is a betrayal of his oath to uphold the laws of Louisiana."
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.
The suspension was 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.
The Louisiana health department shut down a New Orleans abortion center in January for putting women’s health at risk. https://www.lifenews.com/state4743.html
Related web sites:
Louisiana Right to Life – https://www.prolifelouisiana.org
40 Days for Life Shreveport-Bossier – https://www.40DaysforLifeSB.com
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.