By Dave Andrusko
Not being on the ground, it’s difficult to know how serious the Illinois Department of Public Health is about making inspecting abortion clinics a “priority.” But as we have reported (including yesterday), the IDPH, which had turned a blind eye and a deaf ear for decades to abortion clinics, has now reviewed the state’s nine abortion clinics (this is limited to first-trimester abortions).
The focus of a piece in yesterday’s Peoria Journal-Star was the National Health Care Services abortion clinic in Peoria. According to director Margaret Van Duyn, the clinic was last inspected about 15 years ago, which surprised her.
“We always expected them, but they didn’t show up,“ Van Duyn told reporter Pam Adams.
Spurred by the discoveries at abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and the subsequent murder charges, the IDPH made inspect a “priority,” according to Adams. Those inspections took place last May and June.
As NRL News Today reported, those inspections have resulted in the closing of two abortion clinics.
Having made some corrections and then given the choice between paying a small fine and closing, the Rockford-based Northern Illinois Women’s Center surprisingly voluntarily closed. The Associated Press (AP) reported that last October the Women’s Aid Clinic in Lincolnwood “closed when the owner decided to surrender its license rather than pay a $36,000 fine or endure an expensive legal fight with the state. The fine was for violations including the clinic’s failure to perform CPR on a patient who died after a procedure. Its owner told the AP her clinic was safe and she felt victimized by the surprise inspection after 15 years.”
Of the remaining seven first-trimester abortion clinics inspected, the National Health Care Services had the most violations, according to Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for IDPH.
“’The other six had minor deficiencies, maybe a page or two, compared to Peoria’s 22 pages of deficiencies,’” Arnold told Adams. “IDPH inspectors also made two return visits to the Peoria clinic, which was not necessary at the others.”
Arnold added that the National Health Care Services’ problems were “clearly” not as serious as the Northern Illinois Women’s Center and the Women’s Aid Clinic. But reading the list of “changes” the abortion clinic made after the inspection, you might easily come away with the impression that they were still plenty serious.
For example, according to Adams, they included “rewriting charts to indicate physicians reviewed patient medical histories and physical exams; renewing and updating files on physicians’ credentials and hospital privileges; and training or re-training staff on pre- and post-operative emergency procedures.” Beyond that, “A maintenance log has been established to document regular equipment sterilization and all medications and narcotics will be locked away at all times.”
A separate architectural inspection resulted in replacing wooden doors of two storage rooms with fireproof doors, according to Van Duyn. Clearly, however, there is a ways to go.
What about centers “that perform more services than first-trimester abortions and are classified as ambulatory surgery centers”? Karen Senger, who supervises licensing and regulation of health care facilities in Illinois, said she didn’t know how many there are of them (local pro-lifers told the AP there are four), but in any event, they weren’t inspected.
The AP reports that there is a third category of facilities which isn’t licensed or inspected in the state—those that “are considered to be similar to doctors’ offices.” And “Planned Parenthood clinics fall into this category.”
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