Hundreds of abortion clinics in more than 30 states were cited for 1,400 health and safety deficiencies in the past eight years, according to a report by Americans United for Life (AUL) released Tuesday, including 39 Planned Parenthood clinics.
The pro-life group logged confirmed reports of clinic health and safety violations, in an effort to provide lawmakers with a tool to argue abortion clinics are dangerous for women and should be more strictly regulated and monitored. AUL found at least 227 abortion providers in 32 states were cited for a combined 1,400+ health and safety deficiencies between 2008 and 2016.
AUL decided to take on the report after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision earlier this year to strike down two Texas abortion laws requiring clinics meet higher health standards. The court found there was not enough evidence of danger to women posed by the clinics to justify what opponents of the laws called an unconstitutional burden on access to abortion.
“The Supreme Court wrongly threw out Texas’ health and safety standards, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to support the need for the law,” AUL vice president of legal affairs and author of the report, Denise Burke, said in a statement. “That perceived deficit must be addressed wherever and whenever possible, yet this void exists, in part, because of the scandalously lax manner in which many abortion clinics are monitored.”
The 200-page report details what AUL calls “horrific abortion clinic conditions,” cataloguing confirmed instances of clinic violations such as failure to maintain sanitary conditions (130 clinics in 22 states), failure to ensure staff are properly trained (82 clinics in 14 states), expired medications and medical supplies (77 clinics in 17 states), and failure to monitor the vital signs of women in their clinics (30 clinics in 10 states).
Planned Parenthood clinics show up prominently in the report, which lists 39 clinics in 15 states with violations. At least one of those clinics showed up in each of the top ten most serious violation categories outlined in the report. In one example, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Birmingham, Ala., had its license suspended because employees were caught selling abortion-inducing drugs in the parking lot.
AUL was unable to confirm what reports exist of violations in the states not listed, but the report notes that does not mean violations aren’t happening.
“Efforts to discern the true state of abortion practices in a number of states was stymied by a dearth of protective laws in a number of states, a lack of reporting in others, and limited public availability of information on abortion providers in still more states,” the author states.
The report also looks at a widespread practice in many states of relying on traveling abortionists to perform procedures in states or clinics where they’re hard to come by, which AUL notes is likely a far cry from the doctor-patient relationship envisioned by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.
“The rising prevalence of ‘circuit rider’ abortionists shatters the myth that abortion is ‘between a woman and her doctor,'” the report concludes.
AUL hopes lawmakers will use the report to continue pushing for stricter regulation and monitoring of abortion clinics.
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