Congress Demands to Know How States are Preventing More Kermit Gosnells

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 9, 2013   |   10:44AM   |   Washington, DC

Republicans in the House of Representatives have sent letters to public health officials in all 50 states asking them what they are doing to prevent “House of Horrors” abortion clinics like the one Kermit Gosnell ran in Pennsylvania.

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday sent a letter to public health officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to examine how each state regulates and monitors abortion clinics and protects the health and safety of women.

The letter follows efforts by Senate Democrats to prevent adoption of a resolution calling for hearings on Gosnell and abortion in the Senate.

The Republican lawmakers say the trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell raises troubling questions about the practices of abortion clinics, and whether state health departments are appropriately monitoring these facilities. They cite the fact that the Pennsylvania District Attorney investigating Dr. Gosnell found that the Pennsylvania Department of Health deliberately chose not to enforce patient safety laws at abortion clinics as a key problem.

The House lawmakers say laws designed to ensure women have the same safeguards as patients of other medical providers need better enforcement and said the Gosnell grand jury report states that nail salons are more closely monitored.

Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) stated, “Planned Parenthood called Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ an ‘outlier,’ but we’re learning Gosnell is not an aberration: approached by women who complained about the disgusting conditions at Gosnell’s facility, they didn’t report it.”

Blackburn told LifeNews in a statement: “When the Pennsylvania Department of Health found out about Gosnell they sat on their hands and the media was silent. Now we’re discovering that other big abortion businesses refuse to give medical treatment to babies who survive botched abortions and we’re finding out the truth from former pro-choice nurses who called their own Gosnell-like clinics ‘ridiculously unsafe’ where ‘meat-market style of assembly-line abortions’ happen. Oversight and enforcement are desperately needed so we can help stop these Gosnell scenarios from continuing.”

Health Subcommittee Chairman Jose Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, added: “The trial of Kermit Gosnell has revealed a clinic with conditions straight out of a horror movie.”

“Because oversight of such clinics was virtually non-existent, Gosnell was able to operate dangerously and illegally for years. Other states should be aware of what happened in Pennsylvania and should take strong measures to protect women’s health. We hope that our letter will prompt authorities to take responsible steps to monitor all health care facilities,” Rep. Pitts said.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group, applauded the letters.

“Kermit Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg. Two former employees have blown the whistle on ‘meat market-style assembly line abortions’ at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. Hollywood-celebrated late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart has been caught on tape calling babies in the womb ‘meat in a crock pot.’ The inhumanity of the abortion industry has never been clearer and now it’s time for America to see how deep this lack of respect for life goes,” SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told LifeNews.

“Leadership in investigation and oversight is encouraging and the vital first step. Congress must address the multi-state breakdown of oversight in the abortion industry as well as the barbarism of abortions performed on children capable of feeling pain and surviving outside the womb,” she added.

Dannenfelser concluded: “Congress must address its role in protecting the human rights of children late in pregnancy. The few, mere inches that separate a child in the womb from a child outside the womb should never determine whether its intentional ‘demise’ is permitted by law. Americans overwhelmingly oppose late-term abortions and the law should follow their instinctive resistance to this dehumanizing and degrading practice.”



In the letter to the state health officials, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Oversight and Investigations Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations and Health Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) requested state officials provide details on state licensing of abortion clinics and providers, information on revoked licenses, state inspections of clinics, whether states monitor complaints or adverse health events related to the procedures, disciplinary action, and rules and regulations on facilities and providers.

The committee leaders set a May 22, 2013, deadline for the states to respond. Click here to read a copy of the letter.

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), sent a similar letter to state attorneys general.