Should abortion facilities have to follow the same standards as other medical clinics?

If you thought the answer to that, regardless of your views on abortion, should be “duh,” you’d be wrong.

In fact, we had quite the spirited debate on PBS’s “To The Contrary” this week about that.  A provision in a Texas law passed in 2013 states “minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards adopted for ambulatory surgical centers.”

And what are such standards? According to documents of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals now hearing the challenge to the Texas law:

The regulatory standards for ambulatory surgical centers contain two main categories: (1) physical plant, which includes architectural, electrical, plumbing and HVAC requirements, …and (2) operations, which includes requirements for medical records systems, training, staffing and cleanliness…

Abortion rights supporters say it’s not necessary for abortion clinics to have the same standards as other medical clinics. In fact, one of my fellow panelists went so far as to claim no surgeries are happening in these clinics.

Do they really believe that?

The fact is that unless a woman is in her earliest stages of pregnancy, under eight weeks, a surgical and invasive procedure must be used. You can read the unpleasant details of what is involved right here under what Planned Parenthood calls “In-Clinic Abortion Procedures.”

Planned Parenthood specifically states that, “Even though in-clinic abortion procedures are generally very safe, in extremely rare cases, serious complications may be fatal.”

Not sure about you, but if I’m undergoing any procedure that has the risk of being fatal, I’d like the facility in which I’m having that procedure to be prepared to perform life-saving measures.

The fact is that women who undergo a surgical abortion face several of the same risks that someone who undergoes any type of serious surgery face: risks of blood clots, hemorrhaging and infection.

And because abortion clinics have not been more regulated, there is a growing list of clinics around the country now coming under investigation and scrutiny for failing health inspections and harming women. Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” in Philadelphia is not, as this listing of violations in over 15 states shows, an outlier.

Abortion advocates claim that if abortion clinics are forced to comply with these regulations they will be forced to close down because they can’t afford the upgrades.

But perhaps abortion facilities should consider asking the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, for financial assistance–it receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government each year and reported income of more than $58 million for 2012-2013.

This is one area where one would think both pro-lifers and abortion rights advocates could find some common ground.

But those supporting abortion rights seem to care more about keeping the doors to abortion clinics open than preserving the health and safety of women.