Pennsylvania Gov. Signs Bill Requiring Abortion Clinics to be Regulated as Ambulatory Surgical Facilities

By Dave Andrusko

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell

Early on it seemed as if a bill to insure there would be no more Kermit Gosnell “House of Horrors” might pass quickly. But while it took perhaps longer than expected, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 732 is now law, thanks to the signature today of Gov. Tom Corbett. What is unmistakable is that the law is a direct consequence of what took place (in the words of a hugely influential Grand Jury report)  “a baby charnel house.”

One by one Gosnell’s staff, including his wife, Pearl, have pled guilty to charges up to and including third-degree murder. Gosnell himself faces eight counts of murder—seven babies aborted alive and one woman who died of a drug overdose.

Senate Bill 732 requires that the 22 freestanding abortion clinics meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical facilities. The new law includes unannounced inspections of abortion facilities. Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia was rarely inspected and not at all after 1993.

It is telling that the raid on Gosnell’s abortion clinic in February 2010 had nothing to do with abortion. Federal agents suspected Gosnell was running a “pill mill,” illegally dispensing pills, particularly OxyContin prescription. (Last week, in a 23-charge indictment, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District charged Gosnell and members of his staff with illegally prescribing highly-addictive painkillers and sedatives.)

In that raid  agents found jars packed with severed baby feet lining the shelves; bags and bottles of aborted fetuses scattered throughout the office; bloodstained furniture and floors; and unlicensed employees who regularly injected sedatives into women having illegal, late-term abortions, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. All this led to a massive 281-page Grand Jury report and eventually to Gosnell being charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of seven babies aborted alive and reportedly then killed when their spines were severed; and with third-degree murder in the case of the 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died from a drug overdose reportedly prescribed by Gosnell. 

The legislation provides that abortion clinics would have six months to comply with the regulations.  Abortion clinics have also broadly hinted that they will apply to the state Department of Health for waivers on the requirements.

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