Recently, a lot has been said about women’s rights. Questions have been raised about how women’s healthcare will be funded, whether –Planned Parenthood will be defunded, and in general what the fate of women’s healthcare will be.

But as we discuss care for women, we must also look at the current care being given and ask, “Is it actually good care? Is it safe? Or is it more harmful than helpful?”

Surgical abortion is an invasive procedure as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Therefore, it would seem reasonable to require abortion clinics be held to the same standard as outpatient surgery centers. But in June, 2016, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law that was designed to protect the health and safety of women seeking an abortion.

The Supreme Court’s decision was reprehensible. Their rationale indefensible.

What the media, Planned Parenthood, non-planned parenthood abortion providers, and even the Supreme Court are implying is that mere access trumps the safety of women. Those in the pro-choice arena claim that such limitations hinder access and would force women into “back alley abortions.”

The truth is that some abortion clinics are equivalent to a “back alley” experience.

There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the need for more judicious scrutiny and higher standards within the abortion industry. The public should also demand more accountability for oversight from state legislators and public health and human service agencies.

Abortion is a powerful and profitable industry.

Abortion seems to be the “untouchable” in American politics. So much so that even governmental health agencies have turned a blind eye to the abortion industry, an industry that preys on women when they are most vulnerable.

A recently published investigative report entitled, Unsafe: How the public health crisis in America’s Abortion clinics endangers women, by Americans United for Life, focuses on the safety concerns found within the abortion industry, including Planned Parenthood and non-planned parenthood facilities.  

The report is significant in that it provides a thorough, specific, and well referenced perspective on the violations and offenses that are all too common in the abortion industry. It looks at 32 states, notes 754 clinic violations, 34 license revocations, and 65 chronic offenders, 39 of which are Planned Parenthood facilities.

Below are 3 of the top 10 findings that highlight where minimum standards of health and human service agencies were violated.

  1. Failure to ensure a safe and sanitary environment and failure to follow infection control policies.

Unsafe details the many failures to meet even the minimum standards set in place by The Center for Disease Control. In many cases, clinics were chronic offenders of violations such as lack of routine cleaning, lack of oversight in the control and prevention of infectious disease, and failure to use proper personal protective equipment when in contact with body fluids or contaminated equipment. Poor safety and sanitation places women, staff, and the public at an increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases – especially blood borne infections, such as Hepatitis B and HIV.

  1. Failure to accurately document patient records and keep patient medical information confidential.

Failure to keep patient medical information confidential is a serious violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA). According to The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics states that protecting a patient’s right to privacy is a core value in health care. These rules are not arbitrary. Consistent and complete documentation of patient care is a standard component of quality patient care. Violations of these basic standards put the health and safety of patients at risk.

  1. Failure to ensure staff are properly trained for duties.

Unsafe reports numerous cases in which staff were not properly trained to handle emergency situations and others in which unlicensed/untrained staff were administering medications. Furthermore, there is a growing number of abortionists who do not remain in the clinic, or the state, following the abortion procedure, leaving women to be cared for by an unlicensed/untrained staff (e.g. an office manager). There were several cases presented which resulted in loss of life or serious complications. These violations are being overlooked despite the fact that the health and safety of women around the country is on the line.

If this were not an abortion, in any other situation, such care would be considered negligent and dangerous.

If abortion clinics are not going to be required by law to meet the same standards as other outpatient facilities, perhaps it is time for society to hold government health agencies more accountable for investigating and enforcing their regulations.

Someone has to bear responsibility for the safety of women at the hand of rogue abortion clinics and providers.

ANY healthcare facility that is a recipient of government dollars (e.g. Medicaid), regardless of whether they provide abortions or claim to use the funds for other “women’s health” care, should be required to meet the standards set by government agencies.

Violations should be met with steep fines, and repeat offenders should be required to close their doors until they can demonstrate they have made corrections.

In any case, “chronic offenders” of minimum health standards should not exist when we are dealing with the health and safety of women across the country. With its heart wrenching stories of real women and astounding statistics, Unsafe reveals a deep need for our country to take a step back from political motivations and biases regarding the abortion industry. It is time to face this violent attack on the rights of women and children and say, once and for all, “Enough is enough.”

Wendy J. Smith

Wendy J. Smith, RN, MSN, ACNP, AOCN, has worked in the medical field for over 30 years, specializing in hematology/oncology. Through advances in genetics, cellular/molecular and imaging technology (e.g. ultrasound, MRI, CT scanning) in treating cancer, Wendy has gained knowledge and insight into life from stem cells, conception, the embryo and throughout the trajectory of life. She understands that “Science is on the side of life.” She’s married to her best friend, Fred and they enjoy living in Colorado Springs close to their daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, John, and three granddaughters.