Congress Demands States Detail Regulation of Abortion Clinics

House Republicans have sent out letters to public health officials in all 50 states, requesting information on how each state regulates and monitors abortion clinics and protects the health and safety of women. The action is taken as a jury deliberates charges against “House of Horrors” Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

According to LifeNews, on Wednesday, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to all public health officials in the 50 states and the District of Columbia following efforts by Senate Democrats to prevent adoption of a resolution, introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), which sought hearings on abortion and abortionist Gosnell.

Lee attempted to “hotline” the resolution on Monday evening, but an unknown senator, later identified as Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), objected to unanimous passage of the language.

“It is difficult to imagine why anyone would object to a non-binding resolution calling on Congress to investigate these alleged disturbing, horrific, and illegal abortion practices committed by Kermit Gosnell and others, “ said Lee.

GOP lawmakers say that the Gosnell trial raises troubling questions about abortion clinic practices and whether state health departments are appropriately monitoring these facilities. They reference the fact that the Pennsylvania District Attorney investigating Gosnell discovered that the state’s Department of Health deliberately opted not to enforce patient safety laws at abortion clinics as a key to the reason why Gosnell continued in his practice for as long as he did.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman, stated, “Planned Parenthood called Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ an ‘outlier,’ but we’re learning Gosnell is not an aberration; approached by women who complained about the disgusting conditions at Gosnell’s facility, they didn’t report it.”

Lila Rose, president of Live Action, a pro-life advocacy organization that has released four undercover investigation videos demonstrating the brutality of abortion in late-term abortion clinics, released the following statement about the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s efforts:

We applaud and fully support members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in their efforts to protect women and babies from the horrors and atrocities going on inside America's abortion centers. But this should only be a first step.  Given the gruesome revelations emanating from the Gosnell trial and Live Action's Inhuman investigation exposing many other abortion centers, Gosnell is clearly not alone. In fact, in many abortion centers these gruesome practices seem to be standard operating procedure.

Rose said, “Congress must move forward with hearings to learn more about the threat to women and babies resulting from the gruesome practices taking place in the abortion industry.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s organization, responded to the House Committee’s efforts:

Kermit Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg. Two former employees have blown the whistle on “meat market-style assembly line abortions” at Planned Parenthood of Delaware. Hollywood-celebrated late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart has been caught on tape calling babies in the womb “meat in a crock pot.” The inhumanity of the abortion industry has never been clearer and now it’s time for America to see how deep this lack of respect for life goes.

Dannenfelser added, “Congress must address its role in protecting the human rights of children late in pregnancy. The few, mere inches that separate a child in the womb from a child outside the womb should never determine whether its intentional ‘demise’ is permitted by law.”

On Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), sent a similar letter to state attorneys general.

Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association, commented:

In light of the gruesome treatment of women and babies that is on display in the Kermit Gosnell trial and the Live Action Inhuman exposé, it is entirely appropriate that the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), has sent a letter today to public health officials in each state asking how they regulate abortion facilities. Likewise, we applaud the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who yesterday sent a similar letter to the state attorneys general demanding oversight for facilities that perform abortions. The abortion practices, both legal and illegal, that have been revealed by the Gosnell trial and described by abortionists themselves in the Live Action undercover videos are a heartbreaking violation of the human rights of the least among us -- we applaud Congress for taking a first step to address this injustice.

House Committee leaders have set a deadline of May 22, 2013 for the states to respond to the letter.


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