Opinion

“Fabulous” abortion facility suing Texas was caught using dirty instruments

Let’s say you walk by a building with the word “clinic” on it–what do you think they do in there? Test for low blood sugar? Lance boils? How about stick rusty objects in people? If you see the name “Whole Woman’s Health,” then guess number three is your best bet.

Whole Woman’s Health (WWH) owns facilities in multiple states. Despite the name, their services are pretty limited: they won’t remove stitches or give you an inhaler. So what will they do? According to their website, they “provide fabulous abortion care.” Providing “safe and sanitary equipment” isn’t as big of a priority.

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That’s what the Texas Department of State Health Services found, anyway. A 2013 inspection of WWH’s center in Beaumont revealed “numerous rusty spots on the suction machines,” something that “had the likelihood to cause infection.” They also noted the potential for “rodents to enter the facility.”

These weren’t the first problems in Beaumont: a 2012 inspection revealed “infection control issues” as staff didn’t “perform the correct procedure for the sterilization of the surgical instruments.” Back in 2007, WWH was fined for not having “a midlevel provider, a registered nurse, or a  licensed vocational nurse” there either:

Meanwhile, WWH’s San Antonio facility lacked “acceptable environmental controls in cleaning and preparing instruments for sterilization.” Of WWH’s five centers in the state, four of them racked up multiple violations.

But WWH isn’t the only outfit in Texas to operate this way; inspection reports show that over a dozen others have gotten similar citations. And substandard abortion centers certainly aren’t unique to the Lone Star state.

Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich and Joyce Vasikonis learned that when they worked at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. During a 2013 state legislative hearing, the two nurses described their workplace as a “meat market” where women were exposed to bloody tables and unsterilized equipment. The facility’s former director, Melody Meanor, testified that drugs were mishandled and patients weren’t informed of positive STD tests. Planned Parenthood also employed Dr. Timothy F. Liveright there, an abortionist who’s been hit with multiple complaints.

Dr. Steven C. Brigham has gotten his share too. After he inflicted serious injuries on a patient in 2010, authorities in Maryland discovered that Brigham lacked a state medical license and had been storing fetuses in a freezer. There have been plenty of other abortionists who’ve also harmed women, with one getting international attention.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell made headlines when Bhutanese refugee Karnamaya Mongar died from a Demerol overdose at his Philadelphia abortion facility. For years, Gosnell ran a filthy environment that used dirty equipment and unqualified personnel. When paramedics arrived, they found that the building’s elevator was broken and the emergency exit had been locked.

How did Gosnell get away with that for so long? Pennsylvania’s hands-off approach to abortion facilities definitely helped: the subsequent grand jury report mentioned that nail salons faced more oversight.

Even some in the abortion industry will acknowledge that dangerous conditions are prevalent. One of them is the CEO of StemExpress, Cate Dyer.

StemExpress acquires human body parts from abortion facilities and supplies them to researchers. In undercover footage released by the Center for Medical Progress, she admitted that those facilities can pose a major hazard:

SE: We’ll do testing on our side, so we’ll be able to see, you know. And sometimes we’ll find that it can be clinic-specific. I’ve seen really rampant, rampant problems with bacteria in certain clinics. [laughter] Some where you’re kind of in question of should they really, you know, [laughing]

Buyer: Right.

SE: I’ve seen staph come out of clinics.

Buyer: Wow.

SE: So, I mean, I’ve seen all sorts of things come out of clinics, so.

To protect women, Texas passed legislation in 2013 holding abortion facilities to the same standards as other surgical facilities. It also required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

While these are common sense moves, they promptly faced a court challenge. From who? Why from Whole Woman’s Health, of course. When she isn’t touting how men can benefit from abortion, WWH’s founder is fighting against improved standards.

The Supreme Court is set to begin hearing oral arguments in WWH’s case on March 2.  Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: while it’s tough to see anything “fabulous” about abortion, the use of unsanitary equipment in a building with “infection control issues” definitely isn’t it.

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