Thursday, August 31, 2006

Abortion: An inherently dangerous business

Hat tip to Marti

Abortion: An inherently dangerous business

Posted: August 30, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

This natural life being ... the immediate donation of the great creator, cannot legally be disposed of or destroyed by any individual, neither by the person himself nor by any other of his fellow creatures, merely upon their own authority.
– Sir William Blackstone, "Commentaries on the Laws of England," Vol. I, p. 129 (1765)

Recent investigations at abortion clinics in several states have shown that such businesses are not just a danger to unborn children, but also to the immediate health and welfare of the mothers that enter their doors. In the past two months, Alabama's health department has shut down two of the state's 10 abortion clinics for health code violations and Florida's health department has shut down five.

Summit Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., was closed in June after a client was told she was only a few weeks pregnant and was given abortion drugs by an unauthorized staff member. Three days later, the horrified mother gave birth to a dead but nearly full-term baby. This traumatic event sparked investigations into the clinic, which surrendered its license rather than face public exposure of its operations.

After getting pressure from state pro-life leaders to increase the frequency of inspections and enact stricter requirements, the Alabama health department closed Reproductive Health Services, an abortion clinic in Montgomery, for failing to have a backup physician with local hospital admitting privileges, among other legal violations. The health department admitted that it had not inspected Reproductive Health Services for six years. By contrast, all restaurants in Alabama get inspected three times per year.

It is unconscionable that the health department has not given abortion clinics in Alabama the scrutiny of a fast-food restaurant. When clinics like RHS are finally inspected, it is not surprising that they fail to achieve even the minimum standard of care.

The Florida health department recently closed five abortion clinics and suspended the license of James Pendergraft for performing two late-term abortions without a second opinion. These abortions were not done in a hospital, as required by Florida law, and drugs were administered without legal authorization. Pendergraft charged $12,000 for one illegal late-term abortion.

In July, a baby born alive at a Hialeah, Fla., abortion clinic was killed when it allegedly was stuffed in a biohazard bag by the clinic owner. Hialeah Deputy Police Chief Mark Overton noted, "They can slaughter anyone they want according to the statutes before birth, but not after." The clinic's owner has surrendered her license and homicide charges will soon be filed.

These disturbing stories of abortion clinic illegalities and irregularities should hardly be surprising for a business dedicated to taking the lives of unborn children. In such an industry, the physical or mental health of its clients is not a high priority.

Lack of regular inspections of abortion facilities by state health departments is only one problem arising from this inherently dangerous business. Clinic directors and abortionist are often not licensed to practice in the state they are performing abortions, and are therefore not available for the necessary oversight of the facility or for the patient's care. Patients are given drugs and medical advice by unlicensed and unqualified individuals; sexual abuse, rape and incest are often not reported as required by state law; and licenses of facilities guilty of such violations are not immediately or timely revoked, oftentimes due to pressure from such liberal groups as National Organization for Woman and Planned Parenthood.

Some common-sense regulations that state legislators and health officials should adopt include: required inspections conducted at least annually and results made available to the public; physicians licensed in-state and with local hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the clinic; required pre-abortion counseling by the doctor to perform the abortion; $3,000 license fee per annum; and mandatory reporting of suspected sexual abuse of pregnant, underage girls. Mississippi has become a model state for demanding such strict standards for its abortion clinics: There is now only one abortion facility remaining in the entire state.

Thomas Jefferson identified "the first and only legitimate object of good government" to be "[t]he care of human life and happiness and not their destruction." When our country was born in 1776, Americans believed that life began in the womb as "the immediate gift of God." Until the unalienable right to life is once again guaranteed for unborn children in America, many steps can and must be taken to ensure that the same health standards applied to medical facilities that preserve and improve human life are also applied to abortion clinics in the inherently dangerous business of destroying human life.

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