DURHAM, NC, August 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Despite vows by its owner that it would reopen, a North Carolina abortion facility has permanently closed after failing an inspection earlier this summer.
Dr. John Baker of the The Baker Center for Women in Durham voluntarily surrendered his license to operate on August 21.
In July, the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the facility had failed its first inspection since opening in January. Inspectors suspended the facility's license on July 5.
Baker told WRAL news at the time that he took full responsibility for what he described as a minor infraction. “This was on me. So my bad,” he said.
Baker had 60 days to appeal and originally swore he would take “corrective actions.”
However, his decision to surrender his license means the facility will be closed for good.
Meanwhile, a second abortion facility has reopened after being cited earlier this summer for “egregious violations” of the state health code.
Inspections on July 18 and 19 had found that FEMCARE Inc. in Ashville posed “an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients.” Violations included shoddy maintenance of anesthesia equipment that could have resulted in women undergoing an abortion while not fully sedated. The facility also did not have a contract with an anesthesiologist or pharmacist.
DHHS ordered FEMCARE closed on July 31. But inspectors authorized its reopening on Wednesday, saying the problems had been rectified.
A third abortion center, A Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte, had been closed on May 10 for failing to verify that abortions were fully completed before releasing women, and for having women swallow a drug intended to be injected by needle. It reopened five days later.
The actions come as the state is preparing to implement new, tighter health regulations on abortion facilities.
Baker told the Durham Herald Sun that he believes the legislation has “absolutely nothing to do with patient safety,” and that pro-life lawmakers want to “legislate abortion out of existence.”
But the law, which Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed after very public intraparty haggling, says that regulators must assure the new regulations are “not unduly restricting” women's access to abortion.
To implement the new rules, the state is doubling the number of DHHS inspectors from 10 to 20.
This did not sit well with Paige Johnson, vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, who suggested the state should be looking at other health care providers instead.
“What about hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, assisted living facilities? What has changed to make the state focus on abortion providers?” she asked.