MCCL Legislative Director tells committee why state regulation of abortion clinics is vitally important

By Dave Andrusko

MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau

MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau

As NRL News Today reported yesterday, the Minnesota Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy committee just approved two measures. I would like to focus here on S.F. 704 (H.F. 811), authored by state Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R).

The bill would require facilities that perform 10 or more abortions per month to be licensed by the state commissioner of health. Given how abortion clinics, when given advance notice, will clean up, the bill also authorizes the commissioner to perform inspections of abortion facilities as deemed necessary, with no prior notice required.

The requirement would apply to the state’s five abortion facilities. Those five perform 99% of all abortions in Minnesota. You say you didn’t realize abortion clinics are not licensed in many states? Regardless of their position on abortion, most people assume that, at a minimum, abortion clinics are already licensed and inspected–and if they are not, they should be.

I would like to quote from the testimony of Andrea Rau, who is legislative director for Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, (MCCL), NRLC’s state affiliate. She illuminates why legislation such as S.F. 704 (H.F. 811) is absolutely essential.

Ms. Rau talked about abortionist Kermit Gosnell, now serving three consecutive life sentences for murdering babies he deliberately delivered alive and then brutally severed their spinal cords. He operated essentially unchecked for decades, in the process killing hundreds of viable babies and at least one (probably two) women.

Rau quoted from the Grand Jury Report: “Gosnell’s deplorable crimes could escape detection only because his facility went uninspected for more than 15 years.” She told the committee, “Pennsylvania had a law requiring inspection of abortion facilities, but for political reasons, the inspections didn’t happen. Remember—Minnesota doesn’t even have an inspection requirement for abortion facilities.”

Rau firsttalks about industries which are not state-regulated where significant problems have cropped up. What follows is the bulk of the last third of her riveting testimony.

When looking at abortion facilities, it is important to note that most patients won’t even bother to file a complaint, even if they have significant concerns with something that happened at an abortion facility. We know this anecdotally—think of how long Gosnell’s clinic operated before being shut down—and intuitively.

Unlike patients who go to a clinic and have an ongoing relationship with the facility and medical staff, but very much like others who receive care at an outpatient surgical center, abortion facility patients typically have a one-day relationship with the facility. They go for their “procedure,” and don’t plan to go back.

This in itself is a reason that many abortion patients are less likely to report a problem with the facility. But when you add to the fact that women who have abortions typically tell few people and don’t want others to know—you end up with a scenario where women are very unlikely to report problems.

To the best of our knowledge, none of the five abortion facilities in Minnesota come anywhere near the unsanitary, illegal and unsafe conditions that were found at the clinic in Pennsylvania; but we believe the state should act to ensure that such conditions never occur in our state.

This can be done by providing common-sense licensing and inspection standards for abortion facilities that provide 10 or more abortions per month. The legislation before you today would merely require such facilities to be licensed by the state and subject to the outpatient surgical center licensure requirements.

“Common-sense licensing and inspection standards,” who could object to that? How about the entire abortion industry?