Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grand jury "bewildered" that only abortion clinics weren't monitored

Page 160-165 of the Grand Jury Report on abortionist Kermit Gosnell reveals the grand jury was "bewildered" by answers from Pennsylvania Department of Health attorneys about why abortion clinics weren't inspected like other ambulatory surgical facilities.

The Grand Jury asked several DOH employees, attorneys as well as those charged with overseeing abortion facilities, why the department does not treat abortion clinics as ASFs when the language of the Health Care Facilities Acts is so clear. Their unsatisfactory answers left us bewildered.

The two attorneys closest to the issue – Senior Counsel Kenneth Brody, who advises the Division of Home Health, which currently oversees abortion clinics; and Senior Counsel James Steele, who advises the division that oversees ambulatory surgical facilities – both testified that they believe that abortion clinics such as Gosnell's fit within the law's definition of an ambulatory surgical facility. Their boss, Chief Counsel Christine Dutton, refused to acknowledge that the ASF definition would cover abortion clinics, but could not explain why it did not. She said she "would have to research that to determine if that were the case."


It was clear to us after hearing these witnesses testify that the decisions not to inspect abortion clinics or to license them as ASFs were not based on any serious interpretation of statutes or legal research. These lawyers were simply twisting and reinterpreting the law to explain policy decisions that changed with administrations, even though the laws did not......

That act gives DOH all the power it needs to assure safe abortion clinics. Yet, instead of applying the law as it is written, and counseling DOH to license abortion clinics as ASFs, these lawyers have used illogical arguments to evade the Health Care Facilities Act. They have insisted that a criminal statute, the Abortion Control Act, provides DOH's only authority to protect the health and safety of women and premature infants aborted alive within abortion clinics. Essentially, they have tied their own hands and now complain that they are powerless.

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