A Chicago judge has issued a controversial decision to reduce a fine handed down by state health department officials to an Illinois abortion clinic for violations of cleanliness and health codes. The judge reduced the massive $36,000 fine to a mere $77.
Cook County Circuit Judge Alexander White arbitrarily reduced the fine after the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) conducted a health inspection of the state’s abortion providers in 2011. The issuance of the fine was immediately disputed and has been coursing through the courts ever since.
The IDPH cited the clinic for such violations as storing food items in the same freezer that contained containers of fetal tissue, filthy floors, medication dispensing cups filled with crumbs of medication, recovery rooms with rusted walls, and other filthy conditions. The IDPH report also noted that one employee was re-using discarded paper towels on patients.
Worse, the IDPH charged the clinic for failing to perform CPR on a patient who soon died in its care.
Judge White based his reduction of the fine on the claim that the owner of the clinic closed the facilities down and had only $77 left in the company bank account.
However, theclaim that the clinic was shuttered is suspect.
The operator of the cited clinic informed the state that the clinic was closed in November of 2011, but it was soon discovered that only weeks later owner Larisa Rozansky opened a “new” clinic in the same facilities – even using the same website to advertise – without addressing the state’s health code violations.
According to the Chicago-based Thomas Moore Society, it appears that Rozansky is employing technicalities in order to avoid paying the fine.
“Compelling evidence makes it clear that Women’s Aid Clinic is attempting to duck responsibility for their flagrant disregard for women’s safety simply by making a minor, technical change to their name,” said Jocelyn Floyd, an attorney for the Thomas More Society. “How can the women of this state trust the Illinois Department of Public Health to protect female patients if the consequences for not meeting Illinois’ medical standards are just brushed aside?”
Judge White’s decision isn’t quite the end of the tale, though. The Illinois Attorney General can appeal the fine reduction. However, since Illinois’ Democratic Attorney General is an abortion supporter, an appeal isn’t likely.