Pennsylvania Abortion Clinic Shut Down by Health Department

abortion clinic
AP/Eric Gay

A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania abortion clinic has been shut down after the state Department of Health found serious violations affecting the safety and health of patients.

State Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy ordered the Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center to suspend its services following a June 5 unannounced inspection found “serious deficiencies and violations,” said a press release.

Three Pennsylvania state senators responded to the report of Hillcrest’s violations with questions about why the Department of Health (DOH) has not revoked the abortion clinic’s license, reports CatholicNewsLive. Hillcrest has violated the state’s health laws four times in the past six years.

State Sens. Joe Scarnati (R), Bob Mensch (R), and John DiSanto (R) wrote to Murphy:

The DOH inspection report portrays a facility which is clearly unsafe and unhealthy for both patients and staff alike. Given this, we would like an explanation as to why DOH did not immediately move to suspend or revoke Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center’s license upon finding such numerous egregious violations.

These health and safety violations are obviously deeply troubling. However, even more problematic appears to be DOH’s response, which was to allow the abortion clinic to continue operating while granting Hillcrest a six month grace period to correct the cited “deficiencies.”

During an inspection in February, the abortion clinic was found to have improper staffing – no registered nurse on staff, and failure to show documentation that its physician was a board eligible OB/GYN, the Department of Health’s report says.

Hillcrest was also found to have failed compliance with the state’s Child Protective Services Law. The clinic has been treating girls younger than 18 years of age, though at least eight staff members had not had the background checks required for working with children.

According to the report, the Department of Health reviewed 12 patient records and found all 12 patients had no nursing care or monitoring while recovering from anesthesia administered during surgical abortion.

Murphy said in the department’s statement:

The health and safety of patients served at any Pennsylvania health care facility is a top priority of the Wolf Administration. On Monday, Department of Health staff conducted an unannounced monitoring visit to Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center. The department concluded that it was no longer safe for the facility to continue providing medical services to patients. Therefore, I have ordered the facility to suspend all services until such time that it can demonstrate it is safe for women to receive care.

While the June inspection found that a registered nurse was on the premises, additional violations were identified – including expired sterilization and medical supplies – that led to the decision to close the clinic.

“The Hillcrest Women’s Medical Center deserved to be closed down, but the truth is that the March deficiency report was far from the worst we have seen in our research of abortion facilities,” says pro-life Operation Rescue president Troy Newman. “All abortion facilities that cannot pass health inspections should be closed. We urge every state to conduct unannounced inspections of abortion facilities so they can see the real conditions and practices women face at these abortion dumps on an everyday basis.”

Hillcrest’s violations come after Pennsylvania enacted a law in 2011 requiring abortion clinics to be subject to unannounced inspections. The law was passed following the case of West Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in 2013 of murdering babies born alive during abortions by cutting their spinal cords. Gosnell, who operated a clinic that became known as the “house of horrors” because of its filthy conditions, also was found guilty in the death of one of his patients.

The abortion industry and its political and media allies continue to fight against states in court that pass health and safety laws that would raise the standard of care in abortion clinics to those of other outpatient treatment facilities. The abortion lobby claims these laws are unfair to women who wish to access the procedure.

In its latest investigative report, pro-life organization Americans United for Life (AUL) provides details of hundreds of violations of state laws regulating abortion clinics.

The 200-page report, titled “Unsafe: The Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women,” challenges the narrative advanced by abortion advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the recent Texas case of Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt prevents state legislatures from requiring health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

“This report is the tip of the iceberg as too many state officials are turning a blind eye to this red-light district of medicine,” said AUL’s vice president of legal affairs Denise Burke. “AUL is calling on state attorneys general and governors to order inspections of abortion clinics and on state legislators to enact the enhanced protections for women and their unborn children featured in AUL’s Women’s Protection Project and Infants’ Protection Project.”


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