Abortion Backers Ignore How Unsafe Abortions, Clinics Are Hurting Women

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortion Backers Ignore How Unsafe Abortions, Clinics Are Hurting Women

by Denise Burke
October 12, 2010

LifeNews.com Note: Denise Burke is the Vice President for Legal Affairs for Americans United for Life, a pro-life group, in part, that works with state legislators to pass pro-life laws.

“Practitioner Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Killed Woman in Failed Abortion,” “Abortionist Agrees to Suspended License,” and “Abortion Clinic Closed After Regulators Find Aborted Baby Parts in Jars” – these are just a few of the recent headlines that have Americans rightly questioning the safety and legitimacy of abortion practice in this country.

Abortion advocates have consistently argued that legalized abortion is beneficial to women’s health. When abortion is legal, women are not supposed to be at the mercy of unskilled and incompetent butchers and unsanitary and unsafe clinics.

All too often, however, today’s abortion clinics have become the true “back-alleys” of abortion mythology.

Imagine walking into a Kansas abortion clinic in 2003 and finding fetal remains stored in the same refrigerator as food, a dead rodent in the hallway, overflowing and uncovered disposal bins containing medical waste, improperly labeled and expired medicines, and visible dirt and general disarray throughout the clinic.

Or imagine finding out that your daughter has died from “cardiac pulmonary arrest” during an abortion and that the abortion provider did not have the necessary equipment to monitor her vital signs, did not have oxygen or a functioning blood pressure cuff, "failed to adhere to a basic cardiac life support protocol," and refused to call 911 in a timely fashion. This is the horror that one Massachusetts family faced in September 2007, and which led to the abortion provider being convicted of manslaughter just this month.

Consider the implications of a Philadelphia abortion clinic where, in March 2010, state inspectors found “deplorable and unsanitary” conditions, including blood on the floors and parts of aborted children stored in jars. State inspectors also discovered that the clinic’s director sanctioned the performance of gynecological exams and the administration of controlled substances by non-licensed clinic staff.

Sadly, these incidences are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Cases of substandard abortion practice have arisen in states from coast to coast and each year brings new outrages over appalling patient care.

So, what is being done about this persistent problem? Surely, given their self-touted concern for women’s health and safety, abortion advocates must be leading the charge to ensure that abortion clinics are properly regulated and inspected and that all necessary steps are being taken to protect women.

If this is what you think and hope, you would be wrong. Rather, pro-life advocates and like-minded state officials are the ones who work tirelessly to remedy the epidemic of substandard conditions at the nation’s abortion clinics, promoting medically-appropriate and comprehensive health and safety regulations for these clinics. They also defend these regulations when they are challenged in court by abortion providers more concerned with plying their trade without legitimate oversight and protecting their “bottom-line” than with safeguarding women’s health and safety.

Just over a decade ago, in response to well-publicized cases of substandard abortion care, a handful of states including South Carolina, Texas, and Arizona began enacting comprehensive abortion clinic regulations based, in large part, on the abortion industry’s own standards. Legislators in these states used practice guidelines obtained from Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation to craft rules and regulations designed to help ensure that women receive medically-appropriate care at abortion clinics.

How were they rewarded for their efforts? Abortion providers immediately filed federal lawsuits vociferously complaining about the costs of complying with the new laws and arguing that they should not be required to comply with their industry’s own standards.

Abortion advocates are not the protectors of women’s health that they so publicly hold themselves out to be. Nor can they be counted on to police themselves.

Disturbingly, while virtually every state heavily regulates the provision of veterinary services, only 27 states regulate – to widely-varying degrees – abortion clinics. However, only about a dozen states have implemented comprehensive, abortion-specific regulations requiring that medically-appropriate standards for clinic staffing, equipment, sanitary conditions, and patient care are implemented and enforced.

It is a sad state of affairs when the family pet is protected more than a woman entering an abortion clinic, but that is the alarming reality of abortion practice today. And for the sake of American women, it is a reality that must be confronted and transformed through the implementation of stringent and medically-appropriate standards for abortion patient care.


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