Massive investigation of Texas abortion clinics discovers serious legal violations
AUSTIN, Texas, March 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Filthy clinic conditions, massive privacy violations, illegal dumping of human tissue, staff members coaching underage girls to hide statutory rape: these, according to the pro-life group Operation Rescue, are just some of the numerous abuses committed at Texas abortion clinics uncovered during a three-month investigation.
The pro-life group conducted the investigations with the help of the pro-life group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
“This investigation shows that violations of the law at abortion clinics are a widespread crisis of epidemic proportions,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “The evidence we uncovered of illegal activity reveals a systemic problem throughout Texas that is not confined to one particular clinic or group of clinics.”
Investigators with the two organizations who phoned clinics posing as potential patients found that many of the clinics were failing to follow the state’s informed consent law, which requires abortion-bound woman to hear about the procedure’s risks.
According to OR, some clinics provided only recorded messages, which violates the requirement that patients be able to ask questions, while others openly refused to state the mandated information. One abortionist, William West of Whole Women’s Health, dismissed the abortion risks as false, saying such information was simply an attempt by “anti-abortion folks” to “scare you out of having an abortion.”
Undercover calls and visits to the abortion clinics also revealed a pattern of willingness to help minors evade parental consent laws and ignore the mandatory reporting of child sex abuse. In one case, reports OR, when the “boyfriend” of an underage pregnant girl called the Whole Women’s Health in McAllen, a staff member explicitly told him that she would not report him for rape.
OR also reported “massive violations” of federal law requiring protection of patients’ medical records: hundreds of patient names and sensitive medical information were found illegally dumped by several clinics.
The group also found hazardous bio-medical and infectious waste, including tissue appearing to be the partial remains of aborted babies, being disposed of along with regular trash in dumpsters. The group also noted the illegal dumping of vials still containing controlled substances and blank prescription slips.
(See Operation Rescue’s website for the full report)
Last Wednesday, OR President Troy Newman was joined in Austin by the Survivors and about 30 members of other pro-life organizations for a press conference on the investigation.
The group says it has hand delivered copies of a report detailing the abortion clinic violations to every member of the Texas House and Senate. They have also taken evidence of the alleged abortion clinic crimes to the Texas Medical Board and the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, which OR said were less than happy to see them.
“We were given the run around at the Medical Board and the TCEQ, even though we were willing to share with them the actual evidence that violations are occurring,” said Newman. “We are in the process of filing formal complaints complete with affidavits and other evidence with these two agencies that they will not be able to ignore.”
Operation Rescue’s Chief Counsel Brian Chavez-Ochoa met privately with representatives in the Texas Attorney General’s office to discuss the apparent illegal activity discovered at abortion clinics all over the state.
Whole Women’s Health, one of the clinics that was the subject of the investigation, issued a press statement Tuesday denying the allegations and accusing Operation Rescue of making up the evidence.
“The evidence speaks for itself and we believe it will hold up in a court of law,” responded Newman. “We found reprehensible conditions and treatment that no woman should have to endure. Of course the abortion mills will deny this. We say, let the investigations begin.”
Last week, YouTube yanked a short video published by Operation Rescue detailing the abuses discovered at the Texas abortion mills. OR maintains that the video violated none of YouTube’s policies.