Two days before Virginia state health department officials consider rules related to the inspection of abortion clinics, the results of documents from the health department about prior inspects show some ghastly results.
Documents obtained by The Family Foundation of Virginia from the Virginia Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act show widespread health and safety violations at Virginia’s abortion centers. Those discoveries included revelations that one abortion clinic was improperly storing the remains of aborted babies in a freezer.
“Some of this is just horrific,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation. “Now we know why the abortion industry fought so vehemently over the years against even simple legislation that required only inspections, licensing and emergency equipment in their centers.”
“They were hiding for a reason,” she continued. “Even with time to prepare for announced inspections these centers were found to be what I think most reasonable Virginians would deem unsafe in many cases and utterly disgusting in others. Now, the same industry claims it should be trusted on the construction standards as well, but these inspection reports show that the industry simply cannot be trusted on anything.”
An inspection of the Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic in Norfolk found:
The freezer which is used to store the collected conception material, had blood and un-bagged conception material frozen to the inner bottom surface. An observation was conducted of the freezer kept in the clean utility room. Staff #3 reported after inspection of the conception material, it was poured into plastic storage bags and the bags are stored in the freezer until the next weekly medical waste pick up. The observation revealed that some of the plastic bags were open and had spilled their contents onto the bottom of the freezer. Approximately three-fourths of the freezer’s bottom and shelf was covered with frozen blood and conception material
Cobb added, “Perhaps the most frightening aspect of these reports isn’t the blatant disregard for basic health standards, but the fact that even with notice of inspection the operators of these facilities thought they were safe for women. Apparently, if the abortion centers just scrub off the blood they can keep on operating.”
An inspection of the A Capital Women’s Clinic in Richmond found that the staff doesn’t change the MetriWash solution in the sink every time dirty instruments are brought in (instructions for MetriWash say to change the solution every time) and that a sponge used to clean instruments is only changed once per week.
At Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia’s clinic in Virginia Beach, the inspector’s report states, “Employee #4 was asked how she could tell which of the containers (used to transport/clean instruments) were dirty or clean. Employee #4 stated, ‘I can’t. I guess we need to have a different color to put the instruments in once they are clean.’”
According to Commissioner Karen Remley’s report to the Board of Health at the June 2012 meeting, nine of 20 abortion centers applying for licensing had been inspected by the Department of Health. According to the Commissioner of Health, none had been “deficiency free.”
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Some key findings:
- The nine centers inspected had received 80 citations
- 18 citations for personnel issues, including no background checks, no ongoing plans for staff training, no maintenance of personnel files, no policy requiring staff to be CPR trained, no policies setting experience and training required to practice
- 13 citations for infections prevention issues, including seven clinics with no clear division between clean and dirty utility areas, four centers where personnel weren’t using personal protective equipment and a host of record keeping issues
- 10 citations regarding the administration, storage and dispensing of drugs including four with expired drugs in stock, and others with improper labeling of drugs, no medication dispensing policy
- 10 maintenance of equipment citations including equipment not in good repair, no preventative maintenance plan
- Six citations for local and state building code violations
“The same abortion industry representatives who claim that their centers are safe and healthy want the Board of Health to weaken the safety standards that were recommended by the Department of Health,” Cobb concluded. “The conditions found in these reports existed as the very representatives of the industry that own and operate abortion centers were testifying to the Board that their facilities are safe. With such disregard for the truth, for the well-being of women, how can its claims of safety be trusted? No longer can the abortion industry claim that it puts women’s health ahead of its profits.”