Abortion Facility’s License Stripped!: Secretary Greenstein and DHH Force Closure of Facility Under Act 490

Editor’s note. Great news from Louisiana Right to Life. A local abortion clinic has been closed. I will begin with Louisiana RTL’s analysis and then add a few details.

Pro-Life Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed Act 490 in the 2010 Legislative Session giving DHH the power to immediately close an abortion facility under certain circumstances.

New Orleans, LA: The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) has issued a notice of license revocation to the “Gentilly Medical Group for Women,”  an abortion facility near the corner of Gentilly Blvd and Elysian Fields Ave in New Orleans.  The order requires the facility to immediately cease operations.  

The revocation follows the passage of Act 490 in the 2010 Louisiana Legislative Session giving DHH the power to immediately close an abortion facility under certain circumstances. 

On September 3rd, 2010, DHH utilized Act 490 for the first time to revoke the license of “Hope Medical Group for Women” in Shreveport.  Unfortunately, a temporary restraining order was issued by a District Judge Michael Caldwell in Baton Rouge on September 14th, 2010, and “Hope” remains open upon appeal.

Prior to the passage of Act 490, DHH revoked the license of the Gentilly abortion facility in January of 2010 due to similar problems.  However, the revocation has remained under appeal since that time.

“The implementation of Act 490 is one important way to ensure that abortion facilities are in compliance with the many pro-life laws passed by the Louisiana legislature,” said Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life. “We thank Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein and the DHH for their continued work to ensure that women are protected.  We hope that this revocation will mean the end of the notorious Gentilly abortion facility.  If a restraining order is sought by the Gentilly facility, we ask that no judge come between the responsibilities of our government and the health and safety of our citizens.”

“We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the health and safety of people receiving services in facilities licensed through our Department,” Secretary Greenstein explained on the DHH webpage.  Referring to Gentilly, he added, “This abortion facility continues to have significant repeated violations that put women at risk. We are thankful to have this law behind us to ensure we can take action when standards are not met.”

DHH Health Standards conducted its most recently inspection of the clinic on May 6. “This most recent survey found the clinic, once again, to be in violation of standards for abortion clinic licensure,” DHH reported.

“Specifically, the facility failed to provide nursing services to meet the needs of its patients and adequately monitor women in recovery following a procedure.  The Secretary determined that the facility’s non-compliance and violations posed an imminent threat to the health, welfare or safety of the patients. The abortion facility was notified of the revocation action and immediate suspension Wednesday morning. “

The Times-Picayune reported this is not the first time the state has moved against the Gentilly abortion clinic. Its license was revoked in January 2010 after inspectors said the clinic had been operating without a registered nurse on staff, without a controlled dangerous substance license, and without registering with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“But under state law in effect then, it was able to reopen while it contested the action in state court,” according to reporter Bruce Nolan. Stephen Russo, executive counsel for the state health department “said that litigation was still under way three weeks ago when Greenstein moved again against the clinic with the new, tougher enforcement tool of Act 490, passed by the Legislature last year.

“Under that law, the clinic remains closed during its appeal, unless it files for special relief like a permanent injunction or temporary restraining order, Russo said. Backers of the legislation championed it as a patient safety measure they said puts abortion clinics on the same footing as other institutions, like adult residential day-care centers and substance abuse clinics.”

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