The Family Foundation of Virginia
Today, the public comment period opens on the abortion center health safety standards in the regulatory process.
The standards, passed by the Virginia Board of Health in September, will now go through a 60 day public comment period. After that, the Board will vote again, likely in March, before the standards go back through more review. Currently, emergency health and safety standards similar to the final permanent standards are in effect.
Earlier this year, The Family Foundation examined inspection documents obtained from the Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act that found over 80 health and safety violations in just nine of Virginia's 20 abortion centers. The violations included bloody examination tables, unsterilized and outdated medical equipment, untrained staff and more. The abortion centers have received licensing under condition of correcting all the violations found.
Today, we are releasing to the media newly discovered violations at other abortion centers inspected since June. Incredibly, even after the discoveries of so many violations at other centers earlier in the year, the abortion industry has not cleaned up its act. At one clinic in Falls Church: "dark reddish substance on the inner surface of the hub where the vacutainer tube for blood collection attached … Staff #8 was asked to observe the inner surface of each vacutainer he/she had designated as clean. Staff #8 stated "That looks like blood. They aren't clean." At the same center, "An observation was conducted in Procedure room #1 at 11:16 a.m., with Staff #8. Staff #8 reported the room was ready for the procedures scheduled for the day. The observation revealed the procedure table had visible dried blood on the metal joints (Bilaterally) that connected the metal leg stirrup/supports."
At the Alexandria abortion center: "On 7/19/12 the following observations were made: the attending physician was sitting at a desk reading the newspaper. He put the paper away when the patient arrived. The physician interviewed the patient. The staff escorted the patient to the exam room. The physician went into the room … The physician put on gloves and preceded to perform a vaginal ultrasound of the patient. Once the procedure had been completed the physician told the patient to get dressed and he would see her outside the exam room … The physician picked up the patient's medical record and began to make notations. He removed a prescription pad from a drawer. At no time was the physician observed washing his hands or performing hand hygiene. The observations were pointed out to the physician who stated, 'I was not doing a procedure only an ultrasound. If I had been doing a procedure I certainly would have washed my hands.' The above information was discussed with the administrator who stated, 'He never washes his hands, he always uses gloves.' When it was pointed out that sometimes the gloves may have holes in them the administrator stated, 'Oh! That is gross!'"
At the Roanoke Medical Center for Women abortion center, the inspection reports found: "Staff used … a sponge to clean the procedure jars and failed to disinfect procedure jars and stoppers between patients … failure to disinfect three (3) of three recovery cots between patients and one (1) of one lab chair. ..observation revealed one of the vacutainer needle holders had visible dark red splatter within the hub, which attached to the needle to draw the patient's blood."
While focusing on the construction standards included in the health and safety standards, the media has almost completely ignored the blood stained and unsterilized equipment, along with all the other health and safety violations. The construction standards are necessary to improve access for emergency personnel and equipment when medical emergencies take place, but the rest of the standards are basic to any medical facility that puts its patients ahead of its profits.
With the discovery of dozens of health and safety violations through the initial announced inspections of abortion centers, the need for these standards became even clearer. The billion dollar abortion industry simply cannot be trusted to put patient safety ahead of profit. While the regulatory process isn't complete, the steps taken to this point have made Virginia's abortion centers a little safer for the women facing unplanned pregnancies who make the unfortunate decision to end the life of their unborn child.