Abortionists like to tout the safety of their procedures, for women if not for their babies. But reports detailing substandard health conditions at abortion centers across the country tell a different story.
Abortion isn’t safe for anyone, and initiatives by two pro-life groups aim to raise awareness of abortionists’ disregard for even basic healthcare standards.
A new website targeted toward women searching for nearby abortion centers displays state health reports detailing deficiencies: improperly labeled anesthesia and medications, failure to obtain consent for procedures, failure to report suspected abuse of minors, and failure to follow up on cases of major complications, including one instance of a patient with a perforated uterus.
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood manager who now leads pro-life group And Then There Were None, told me she hopes the site will dispel the idea that abortion centers are safe.
“In order for an abortion to be successful, an individual human being must be killed, so that can never be safe,” Johnson said, adding women should never consider the abortion industry their “go-to” for health-related advice. “That should not be the first place that they turn when they’re in a crisis pregnancy, because they truly do not have the health and safety of women listed as a priority, as you can see through all of these violations.”
The health and safety violations found in abortion centers are part of a nationwide “systemic problem,” Johnson added.
Many states require routine inspections of abortion centers and reports of any health and safety violations found. These reports often include a plan of correction for the abortion center and a follow-up visit from a health inspector the same year.
But some states don’t require inspection reports, a lapse that prompted Americans United for Life (AUL) to promote legislation putting those rules in place.
In a 2016 report titled Unsafe, AUL cited 1,400 health and safety violations at abortion centers across the country during an eight-year period. That data has served as the backdrop to AUL’s current push for better reporting legislation, lead counsel Deanna Wallace told me.
“I think [the report] has been a really good resource to show people, especially pro-choice people, just exactly why it’s important to have health and safety regulations in the first place, why they need to be inspected,” Wallace said.
Her group is watching the progress of an Indiana bill based on AUL’s model legislation, which would require annual inspections of abortion centers and require doctors to report any complications that arise from abortions. It also updates the state’s safe haven law regarding babies left at fire stations and hospitals. Both the state House and Senate passed the bill by wide margins, with the Senate sending it back to the House with amendments on Thursday.
Reporting requirements are good, Johnson said, but they can go unenforced, one reason her group wants to raise awareness for how unsafe abortion centers really are.
“We cannot wait for legislators to do this work,” she said. “We can’t wait for legislators to close these clinics down. We can’t wait for state agencies to close them down. We have to start informing women about what is going on inside these clinics so they can make informed decisions about the facilities they are walking into. Our hope is that they’ll come to our site and see that there is no such thing as a safe abortion provider … and hopefully make a choice for life.”