John Jalsevac

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12 of 16 Maryland abortion clinics fail inspections

John Jalsevac

May 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) announced on Friday that of 16 abortion clinics inspected in the state, 12 of them have failed to meet the state’s safety regulations. The state's new regulations for abortion facilities went into effect in July of last year.

In a letter dated May 24, Joshua Sharfstein, the secretary of the Maryland DOH, said that among the three most common violations discovered was the “failure to maintain a sanitary environment at all times and to consistently use chemical indicator strips in sterilized equipment packing."

Other common violations included the “failure to obtain information about the professional credentials of physicians on staff from the National Practitioner Data Bank,” and “failure to include a discharge diagnosis in the medical record." 

As LifeSiteNews.com reported on Friday, the emergency suspension of the licenses of four of the clinics, all owned by Associates in OB/GYN Care, was deemed necessary earlier this month to protect “public health, safety or welfare.” 

Investigators had discovered that non-physicians at the four abortion clinics were routinely distributing the abortion drug misprostol to women who had never been seen by a physician and who were up to 11 weeks pregnant. In addition, at one of the clinics an unqualified staff member was performing ultrasounds and dispensing misoprostol.

The remaining clinics were permitted to remain open after providing satisfactory plans of correction, outlining how they would bring their facilities up to code.

Among the 12 abortion clinics caught violating state regulations were all three of the state's Planned Parenthood abortion facilities, as well as that of notorious late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart. While the violations found at the Planned Parenthood facilities were relatively minor, at one facility one staff member was not certified in basic life support or trained in emergency transfer of patients to hospital or the delivery of sedation medications via IV. 

Carhart, whose abortion business was hounded of out Nebraska in 2010 after the state passed legislation banning late-term abortions, was responsible for performing the abortion that led to the death of 29-year-old kindergarten teacher Jennifer Morbelli earlier this year. While Carhart was cleared on Friday by the Department of Health of wrongdoing in Morbelli’s death, the department was less impressed by what it found when it inspected Carhart’s clinic. 

Investigators discovered some eight pages of violations, including a nurse whose RN license had expired, nurses who weren’t properly trained in administering sedation drugs through IV, and failure to train staff in the emergency transfer of patients to the hospital. 

In addition, investigators found that patient records did not included a discharge diagnosis, as required, and staff were improperly cleaning surgical instruments. 

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However, according to pro-life groups, this may only be the tip of the iceberg of violations at Carhart’s clinic. In July of last year pro-life groups filed a complaint with the Department of Health after they said they discovered that Carhart’s clinic was illegally dumping biohazardous waste, private patient medical information, and dangerous drugs. 

Between August, 2011, and May, 2012, trash generated by Germantown Reproductive Health Services was inspected and photographed by pro-life activists. The pro-lifers said they found documents containing private patient information, including photocopies of patient drivers licenses, information about birth control prescriptions, and detailed information about a 15 week abortion for which the patient was charged $2,200. 

Also discovered was bloody refuse including bloody sanitary napkins and blue pads, some of which contained blood clots and possible human fetal remains, and partially full bottles of IV drugs that are classified as controlled substances and other drugs. 

Leading pro-abortion groups, including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the National Abortion Federation, routinely oppose any and all regulations on abortion clinics. However, the recent case of Kermit Gosnell, whose 'House of Horrors' clinic escaped inspection for years despite numerous complaints, has drawn attention once again to the often subpar conditions that exist in abortion facilities. 

Earlier this year, two former nurses at a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Delaware described what they said was a “meat-market” style of performing abortions, in which the abortionist refused to wear gloves, surgical instruments were reused without being cleaned, and 'bloody drainage' remained on abortion tables between procedures, exposing women to blood-borne diseases. 

As well, shortly after Gosnell was convicted on three counts of first degree murder, three former assistants of Texas abortionist Douglas Karpen stepped forward to describe conditions so appalling that they were arguably even worse than those found in Gosnell’s clinic – including the routine practice of murdering newborn babies born alive after failed abortions. 

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