Ben Johnson

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No more Tonya Reaves cases! Regulate abortion facilities, pro-life groups say

Ben Johnson

CHICAGO, February 7, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While the fact that a hospital and Planned Parenthood will pay $2 million for the wrongful death of Tonya Reaves brings closure to the family, observers say abortion facilities must face greater regulation to ensure no more women die in their facilities.

The abortion giant settled the wrongful death case brought by the husband of Reaves, a 24-year-old woman who died in a Chicago Planned Parenthood after a botched abortion in July 2012. Her surviving toddler son, Alvin, will receive the funds beginning when he turns 18.

But the problems that led to Tonya's death remain, pro-lifers say. Abortion facilities sometimes escape practically unscathed financially.

“Two million dollars is basically chump change for Planned Parenthood,” said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who now helps abortion facility employees leave the industry. “My former affiliate alone has $20 million sitting in their endowment.”

Michael New, a contributor to National Review, asked, “How much money have they spent covering up other misconduct?”

Another Illinois abortion facility has evaded $36,000 in fines levied by the state authorities for its shoddy conditions by closing down, then reopening under another name.

In September 2011, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) inspected the Women’s Aid Clinic in Chicago. The IDPH found that “the public interest, health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires” that its license be suspended.

Among other things, IDPH found that staff did not perform CPR on 18-year-old Antonesha Ross, who died of a botched abortion in May 2009.

Instead, owner Larisa Rozansky filed for bankruptcy and reopened her business as the Women's Aid Center. Her attorney argued the two were “totally different businesses.” The Women's Aid Clinic had a mere $77 in assets remaining.

Cook County Judge Alexander White allowed Rozansky to pay only $77 of the $36,000 fine the health department assessed.

Pro-life leaders say the state of Illinois must pass more stringent regulations to prevent such convenient “bankruptcies” and prevent common abortion practices that leave women grieving, injured, and sometimes dead. They urge lawmakers to pass two bills to remedy some of the more egregious holes in the law.

The Informed Consent and Ultrasound Requirement Bill requires any physician who treats a woman suffering from a botched abortion to report it to state authorities at once.

The Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Bill would require an abortionist to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of his office, specifically to combat situations like that of Reaves and Ross.

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The bills would also hold abortion facilities to the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers, require abortionists to describe the likely health risks and alternatives, and offer a woman the opportunity to have an ultrasound performed if she wishes.

Pro-life advocates say that the requirement for doctors to have admitting privileges would aid victims who suffer from botched abortions, the requirement to report injured patients would inform the health department of potential red alerts, and the regulations closing off easy bankruptcy would prevent bad actors from wriggling free of the penalties imposed upon them.

“Ms. Reaves’ tragic death demonstrates the dire need for increased inspection and regulation of Illinois abortion clinics,” Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society, told LifeSiteNews. “Abortion clinics in this state are not held to the same standards as other outpatient surgical facilities, despite the fact that the average clinic performs hundreds of invasive surgeries each year.”



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