Last year, Maryland passed a law that required more regulations and inspections for state abortion clinics. This has now resulted in the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene deciding to suspend the licenses of three abortion clinics, one of which where a patient had died. The suspensions mean that the clinics can no longer provide surgical abortions. They can, however, remain open and provide non-surgical abortions as well as OB/GYN services.
State health officials have suspended surgical abortion procedures at three clinics, including one in Baltimore where a patient suffered cardiac arrest and died.
The physician who performed the abortion at Associates in OB/GYN Care LLC on North Calvert Street wasn’t certified in CPR and a defibrillator at the facility did not work, state officials said in a letter Friday to the General Assembly.
The other two clinics that lost surgical privileges, located in Landover and Silver Spring, also are owned by Associates in OB/GYN Care and also had licenses suspended for issues related to the ability to respond to life-threatening problems during surgery.
These inspections were prompted by a letter from 17 House delegates, written after the tragic death of 29-year-old Jennifer Morbelli at the hands of LeRoy Carhart, whose clinic had never been inspected. None of the other clinics licensed under Maryland’s new law had been inspected, either. And despite Morbelli’s death after a botched abortion – and the fact that Carhart left the state immediately after the procedure – Carhart was not found to have committed any negligence, and his license was not suspended.
Carhart is still allowed to practice in the state of Maryland, even though there have been two patients who lost their lives at his hands, and complaints against him go as far back as 1991. Inspectors claim that there were no safety reasons which necessitated the closing of his clinic or the suspension of his license. Lawmakers say his clinic continues to undergo further investigation, though.
Meanwhile, the doctors who had their licenses suspended could potentially be allowed to resume performing surgical abortions. This means they are getting away with gross negligence with little more than a slap on the wrist. From ignoring a patient’s medical conditions to performing surgical abortions without bothering to maintain necessary emergency equipment or certifications, these clearly do not sound like doctors concerned with the well-being and safety of their patients. The fact that the state is performing inspections is a step in the right direction, but unfortunately, it doesn’t go far enough.