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Alabama abortion facility did not clean tables between abortions, inspectors find

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HUNTSVILLE, AL, March 6, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Huntsville abortion facility did not clean exam tables between abortions, dispensed expired medication, and failed to comply with state informed consent laws, Alabama state health inspectors have discovered. The revelations come as the state legislature is debating stricter health and safety regulations of the state's abortion businesses.

During an unscheduled inspection of the Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives on January 9, an official witnessed the staff not cleaning the “bottom portion” of the “procedure tables.”

According to their “Statement of Deficiencies,” an employee at the business verified that “patient exam tables were not cleaned between patients.” Blood pressure cuffs received similar treatment.

The center also “failed to remove medication which had expired from inventory,” giving pregnant women expired doses of the anesthetic Lidocaine and Clonidine, a blood pressure medication. Inspectors had to remind the facility, located at 612 Madison Street in Huntsville, that “medications and supplies which have deteriorated or reached their expiration dates shall not be used for any reason.”

Abortion facilities must “provide a safe and sanitary environment,” the report states.

Employees may also have violated the state's informed consent law by not ensuring all patients had the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before proceeding with the abortion.

Alabama law states that “the woman shall complete a required form to acknowledge that she either saw the ultrasound image of her unborn child or that she was offered the opportunity and rejected it.”

Dr. Walter T. Geary, the director of the state health department's Bureau of Health Provider Standards, said he found “very small, minor things” during inspections of the state's five abortion facilities. The Huntsville facility is expected to come up with a plan to remedy the deficiencies, and the bureau will later verify compliance.

News of the report broke today, as the Senate Health Committee approved H.B. 57, the Women's Health and Safety Bill. The proposal would require abortion businesses to meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical units and mandate they have one doctor on hand who has admitting privileges at a local hospital. Many of Alabama's abortionists live outside the state and drive or fly in to perform terminations.

State Senator Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bill to exempt the state's five abortion facilities under a grandfather provision.

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“These facilities should follow fire safety codes and have hallways wide enough for stretcher access,” stated Alabama Citizens for Life. However, Nikema Williams, Planned Parenthood Southeast vice president of public policy, said the measures represent "onerous attacks on women's rights."

Republican Governor Robert Bentley said this week that he will sign the bill if it comes to his desk.

The drive for more stringent health laws comes one year after the Alabama Department of Public Health revoked the license of the New Woman All Women Health Care, where inspectors documented enough violations to fill a 76-page report. 

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