An investigation revealing that South Carolina abortion centers violated state laws is prompting new reforms in the southern state.
In the summer, the state launched an investigation of its abortion facilities after a series of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showed top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
State officials discovered that all three abortion clinics in South Carolina violated multiple state laws and regulations, including the improper disposal of aborted babies’ bodies, LifeNews reported. The abortion clinics, along with two waste disposal companies, face fines of up to $51,000 for dumping aborted babies’ bodies into a public landfill, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
As a result of the investigation, South Carolina officials called on state lawmakers Monday to adopt new protections for unborn babies and to clarify that it is against the law to sell aborted babies’ body parts in the state, WACH Fox News reports.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Heigel also presented several other recommendations to the state House Legislative Oversight Committee, which is overseeing the investigation. According to The Post and Courier, Heigel also recommended that ultrasounds be required before an abortion to determine the age of the unborn baby and that abortion be limited to the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.
The state officials involved in the investigation said Monday that they did not find evidence of abortion clinics illegally selling aborted babies, but they believe the law should be clarified to prevent it from happening in the future, according to the station.
They did find multiple other violations, however. In December, the Charleston Women’s Medical Center paid $1,800 in fines for not accurately reporting its fetal waste to the state, and the disposal company MedSharps paid $6,000 for improper transport, the Associated Press reports.
The report continues:
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control said [on Dec. 15] that negotiations continue with another disposal company and two other abortion clinics in South Carolina.
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They are the second round of fines stemming from the agency’s inspections this fall.
The clinics in Columbia and Greenville paid combined fines of $10,250 in September for health licensing violations.
DHEC Director Catherine Heigel told legislators last month about the additional fines related to infectious waste disposal regulations. She said then that the fines could amount to nearly $51,000.
The two Planned Parenthood abortion facilities could face even more fines. As local news outlet reports:
The proposed orders give 30 days to pay a fine, but they note the amounts are under discussion. According to the agency, the largest fine would be against Planned Parenthood.
Jenny Black, regional president of Planned Parenthood, said she’s “surprised and dismayed” to learn about the proposed amount through a legislative hearing.
“No monetary amount related to a penalty was mentioned” in the order, Black said, adding the organization will continue to cooperate fully with DHEC. “We hold ourselves to high standards and take swift action to address any shortcomings.”
In September, abortion clinic inspections uncovered a series of other violations at the three abortion facilities, including expired medicine, non-compliance with the Women’s Right to Know Act, incomplete employee and medical records, and proof of staff training, LifeNews reported.
According to the state department of health: “Additionally, DHEC initiated enforcement action related to the management of infectious waste at all three facilities and against two companies that transport waste for Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic and Greenville Women’s Clinic: Stericycle and MedSharps. Cited violations included insufficient documentation of waste disposal practices, failure to follow disposal protocol, and improper disposal of products of conception. The facilities and infectious waste transport companies have 15 days to meet with agency staff to discuss alleged violations, corrective actions, and possible civil penalties.”