BATON ROUGE, LA, May 21, 2014 ( – U.S. Sen. David Vitter has asked Louisiana state authorities to investigate a Baton Rouge abortion facility for “mishandling the private health information of its clients.”

“As you know,” national health law “exists to protect patients’ right to privacy and requires Delta Clinic to acquire a signed disclosure from any patient before releasing any of her private information to anyone else, especially the public,” Vitter wrote. “I believe my office has received credible information that Delta Clinic has clearly broken this law, and thus should be held accountable for its illegal practices.”

He asked Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Kathy Kliebert to “immediately and thoroughly investigate” the office, located at 756 Colonial Drive, and impose “serious consequences if the allegations are proven true.”

“The abortion industry in Louisiana, and the Delta Clinic in particular, have a long and undisputed history of reckless and illegal behavior and disregard, not only for the privacy concerns of their clients, but also for the most basic health and safety regulations,” Vitter wrote. “These clinics simply must be held to the same standards as medical facilities, and I am sure you agree there is no room for compromise when it comes to the protection of women and the lives of the vulnerable unborn.”

Kliebert said that she has referred the investigation to the Obama administration.

“Due to the seriousness of the allegations, DHH immediately referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, which is the agency responsible for the enforcement of the HIPAA Privacy Rule,” Kliebert said.

Senator Vitter, a Republican, previously asked the state to investigate the Baton Rouge facility after he learned the facility employed Kermit Gosnell associate Eileen O'Neill, who worked at Delta from 1998-2000. Last May, O'Neill was convicted of practicing medicine without a license. “I loved all my patients,” she tearfully told the judge at her sentencing two months later.

The Delta Clinic has a troubled history stretching back 40 years, including facing lawsuits over two women's deaths within six years. In 2011, a botched abortion required a woman to have a hysterectomy. The National Abortion Federation suspended its ties with the office.

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Analysts say its future is imperiled by a bill swiftly making its way through the state legislature, which would require all abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. That hospital must also offer OB/GYN services. Delta's supporters say that would force the facility to close its doors.


Ellie Schilling, the lawyer who represents the state's abortion industry, told local media, “It seems like very suspicious timing that David Vitter would release information about an investigation the day before the House hears the bill for final passage.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the bill into law.