The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt on March 2. This is the most important case regarding abortion to be argued before the Supreme Court in almost a decade.
Nationally, an estimated “26,500 women experienced complications and approximately 3,180 required hospitalization in 2011” for first-trimester abortions alone.
In addition, as Federal Judge Edith Jones noted in her opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on this case: “Planned Parenthood conceded that at least 210 women in Texas annually must be hospitalized after seeking an abortion.”
One group estimates from court records that the number is closer to 1,000 Texas women annually who need to be hospitalized after an abortion.
Just earlier this week, at a Dallas abortion center, another woman had to be transported by ambulance following abortion complications.
Regulating abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities. Mandating basic sanitary and mobility standards within abortion centers and then requiring government oversight of them is plain common sense. Women should not be subjected to substandard health conditions when they walk into an abortion center.
The Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case is centered on two Texas abortion facility regulations. First, the Texas law proposes that fundamental health and safety standards be applied to abortion facilities—standards that are currently applied to ambulatory surgical centers. These regulations are designed to safeguard against unsanitary conditions, inferior equipment, and the employment of unsuitable and untrained personnel in abortion facilities.
Second, it requires that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility when something goes wrong with the abortion and the woman needs to be hospitalized (as is often the case).
The National Abortion Federation recommended in its publication “Having an Abortion? Your Guide to Good Care” (2000) that “[i]n the case of emergency, the doctor should be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital (no more than 20 minutes away).”
As one amicus brief to the Supreme Court filed in the Whole Woman’s Health case by a coalition of religious organizations noted, “[t]his requirement, proposed by the abortion industry’s own trade association, is more rigorous than Texas’s requirement.”
When such regulations and oversight are not implemented, the consequences are grave: Over the last six years, “more than 150 abortion providers in at least 30 states and the District of Columbia have faced criminal charges, investigations, administrative complaints, and/or civil lawsuits” related to substandard practices or substandard operation of these abortion facilities.
For example, now imprisoned abortionist Kermit Gosnell profited because of a lack of oversight of his gruesome “House of Horrors” in Philadelphia. His barbaric practices led to women being hurt or killed in his facility, in addition to the thousands of babies killed in his 30-year abortion career.
His center was not inspected for 17 years, even after multiple complaints to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. His facility was shielded from inspections in the face of the insistent demand of those advocating abortion at will that there be no “barrier up to women” considering abortion, even if this means exposing women to unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Fire Department lieutenant Don Burgess testified to the jury that the Gosnell facility hallways were so narrow that it was impossible to use a stretcher to take Karnamaya Mongar, a woman who was severely injured during an abortion, to the hospital.
An emergency door was only a few steps from the abortion procedure room, yet it was “chained and padlocked and neither Gosnell nor his staff had the key.” Burgess ordered his firefighters to open the door with a bolt-cutter. It was all too late: Mongar died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
According to the Grand Jury Report, when one of the Department of Health’s lawyers was asked about it, he said the department had no legal obligation to monitor abortion clinics. Another lawyer defended the department’s indifference by saying, “People die.”
The Grand Jury Report also detailed how the team who entered Gosnell’s facility described it: “filthy,” “deplorable,” “disgusting,” “very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,” and “by far, the worst” that these experienced investigators had ever encountered.” The report described what they found:
There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.
All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates.
Investigators found the clinic grossly unsuitable as a surgical facility. The two surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary – Agent Dougherty described them as resembling “a bad gas station restroom.” Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed. There was no functioning resuscitation or even monitoring equipment, except for a single blood pressure cuff in the recovery room.
How could this go on in any facility in America? A society that purports to be civilized should be horror-struck that such things even exist within its borders.
The Texas law cracks down on other Gosnells—and there are many.
For example, abortionist Douglas Karpen, who practices in Houston, appears to be worse than Gosnell, if one can even imagine that. Photo evidence and witness testimonies surfaced alleging that he kills babies born alive and twists off their heads, yet he was cleared of any wrongdoing. A 15-year-old girl named Denise Montoya died following a botched abortion at his hands.
There is also LeRoy Carhart, who does abortions through the third trimester at his Maryland and Nebraska locations. Twenty-nine year-old Jennifer Morbelli died at his hands in 2013 following complications and hospitalization after her abortion. Carhart left town after the abortion and could not be reached when Morbelli needed emergency assistance.
Complications and hospitalizations abound, and thanks to a running blog with video footage, 911 calls, and public records of medical emergencies occurring at abortion centers all across America, we have proof of the extent of the abortion industry’s damage.
The majority of states regulate and inspect restaurants; public pools; veterinary clinics; and hair, nail, and tanning salons. They also regulate ambulatory surgical centers. Why should abortion facilities get a free pass?
The abortion industry has a dangerous disregard for women’s health and safety. It opposes these standards because these laws threaten its bottom line: profit. Abortion is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the U.S. alone.
Anyone who truly cares about women’s health and safety will support these basic and necessary standards.