Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina is demanding explanations from the North Carolina Board of Nursing following reports that a nurse performed abortions after her medical license had expired and turned “a blind eye” to the sex trafficking of underage girls. 

“It has come to my attention that Deborah Jane Walsh, a nurse who operates an abortion clinic in Charlotte, performed abortions after her medical license expired in 2015,” Budd, a Republican, wrote in a letter first obtained by The Daily Signal to the board’s chair, Ann Marie Milner. 

“Whistleblower testimony further implicates Ms. Walsh as turning a blind eye to sex trafficking of underage girls,” he added. 

The Daily Wire first reported Feb. 4 that multiple whistleblowers said that though her medical license had expired, Walsh continued operating her own abortion facility, where she kept a bed, a stove, clothing, and groceries. 

“She would tell patients unusual things, such as the abortion was only being performed on a ‘spirit’ or a ‘fairy,’” one of the former clinic employees said, according to The Daily Wire. “Ms. Walsh’s unusual behavior combined with her keeping a firearm on the premises made clinic staff, including myself, fearful for our safety and the safety of others.” 

Budd’s letter quotes another whistleblower who described seeing a man bring a girl allegedly seeking an abortion to the clinic. 

“The girl seeking an abortion appeared to be under 16 years of age, although I did not verify her age, since I was not involved in her care,” the whistleblower said, according to The Daily Wire. “Later, another worker at the clinic told me the same man had been there on prior occasions with different women or girls each time.” 

Budd said that “in light of these horrific revelations,” he was “disturbed” to discover that the state board had declined to take action against Walsh. The Republican urged the North Carolina Board of Nursing to protect vulnerable women and girls by adopting precautionary measures like the bill he introduced in late January, the Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act

The congressman’s letter asks that Milner explain, no later than March 15, 2022, whether she was aware that Walsh was practicing with an expired license and if so, why the board allowed Walsh to continue practicing. 

Budd also asked Milner to address why the state board declined to take action against Walsh, why the matter was not referred to law enforcement after the whistleblower came forward, whether any individuals within the abortion industry have pressured the state board to refrain from punishing Walsh, and what steps the board is taking to “ensure licensees protect victims of trafficking.” 

“It is clear that more must be done to protect vulnerable women from sex traffickers and hold medical professionals accountable when they witness sex trafficking,” he said. 

The Daily Signal first obtained a copy of the Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act of 2022 in late January, legislation which requires that  abortion providers notify the National Human Trafficking Hotline no later than 24 hours after consulting with a patient if they have “a reasonable suspician that the patient is a victim of trafficking.”

Should the bill be enacted into law, those abortion providers who violate the act could be fined $10,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both. 

“Abortion providers have a moral obligation to ensure that they are not aiding and abetting the abuse of women enslaved in the sex trade,” Budd told The Daily Signal at the time. “The Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act provides needed accountability to protect women and unborn children.”

The legislation cites the State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report that “indicated that sex traffickers coerce women into receiving abortions against their will,” as well as research published in the Annals of Health Law Journal

This research found that “71% of women coerced into commercial sex acts reported at least one pregnancy and 21% reported five or more pregnancies while trafficked,” according to the legislation. 

The research also found that almost a third of women trafficked “underwent numerous abortions as victims of trafficking” and that “more than half of respondents answered that their abortion while a victim of sex trafficking was a result of coercion.”

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