PITTSBURGH, May 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Tougher safety regulations passed in the wake of grisly discoveries at Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” abortion facility have resulted in the closure of five Pittsburgh abortion centers since last June.
Act 122, which took effect last June, requires abortion facilities to meet the same standards as other outpatient surgical facilities in the state.
While some abortion centers have been able to bring their facilities up to par, five facilities in the Pittsburgh area have been shut down. One was closed by the state health department; the others closed voluntarily.
There are now only two abortion centers operating in the Pittsburgh area.
The new, higher health standards have cost remaining facilities hundreds of thousands of dollars as they struggle to elevate their traditional practices.
One of those is Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood, which had to spend more than $300,000 on upgrades to the facility and the hiring of additional staff to meet basic safety requirements. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Rebecca Cavanaugh told the Tribune-Review that the cost of the upgrades may have to be passed on to their consumers.
“A lot of clinics have spent a significant amount of money, and that cost has to go somewhere,” Canavaugh told the Tribune-Review, noting clients currently pay between $300 to $900 for an abortion. “Hopefully, we don't have to increase rates.”
The new law was passed in the aftermath of an FBI drug raid at Gosnell’s abortion facility that revealed unsafe and unsanitary conditions inside his Women's Medical Society, located in a poor neighborhood in West Philadelphia. It had not been inspected in 17 years, despite numerous complaints.
When the new regulations were first passed in 2011, abortionists cried foul, complaining that the costly upgrades would put them out of business.
At the time of passage, all but one of the state’s 22 abortion centers fell short of the new standards. Operation Rescue leader Troy Newman commented that the closures proved “the shoddy conditions that exist at abortion clinics, not only in Pennsylvania, but across the nation.”
The new law requires yearly random inspections of abortion facilities, along with major safety upgrades such as larger operating rooms, hospital-grade elevators, widened hallways to accommodate emergency personnel and equipment, and upgraded driveways to accommodate ambulances and stretchers in case of life-threatening complications requiring transport to a hospital.
Other required upgrades include hands-free sinks, washable ceilings and floors, and modern sterilization equipment.
If a random inspection reveals that a facility is not meeting standards, the center must submit plans to resolve all the problems.
The state's more stringent enforcement would please the act's author, Rep. Matt Baker.
“If abortions are going to be performed in this state, they shouldn't be performed at Third World-country levels. I think this verdict confirms passing the legislation,” Rep. Baker told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.