The New York Department of Health says it has "vigorously" investigated complaints against 25 licensed abortion clinics in the state since 2005, despite pro-life groups' outcry that 200 continue to go unchecked.
A pro-life nonprofit organization known as the Chiaroscuro Foundation submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the New York Department of Health on April 11, 2013, to acquire state inspection records of both licensed and unlicensed abortion facilities from as far back as Jan. 1, 2000.
The Chiaroscuro Foundation found that unlicensed abortion clinics had not been inspected in more than 10 years, and among the 25 facilities that are licensed, eight also went unchecked. "A mere 45 inspections were conducted (over more than 10 years' time) and no clinics were inspected on an annual basis."
Bill Schwarz of the New York State Department of Health told CP in a Wednesday statement that the department "vigorously and aggressively investigates any and all allegations of physician misconduct, or complaints against a facility under its direct supervision. This includes 22 complaints since 2005 against the 25 DOH-regulated facilities that provide reproductive health services — all of which will also be subjected to re-inspection within the coming days."
Among the 17 licensed abortion clinics that were inspected, the Chiaroscuro Foundation says the state found "cringeworthy violations," including an "anesthesiologist cited for relying on a broken monitor to assess the patient's vital signs, failure to ensure a registered professional nurse is present in the recovery room to monitor postoperative patients and unsanitary practices of reusing suction tubing for aspiration of human contents."
"These revelations are very concerning," said Greg Pfundstein, president of the Chiaroscuro Foundation. "It doesn't matter where you stand on the issue of abortion; this is a gross failure of our public health system and puts women's safety at risk. It's absurd that restaurants and tanning salons are routinely inspected, yet the State Health Department has completely abdicated its responsibility to monitor providers of medical procedures that involve anesthesia."
The Chiaroscuro Foundation website reveals that 1,145,261 abortions were performed in New York City from 2000-2012. Forty-eight of the 225 abortion clinics in New York are owned and operated by Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider.
Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, a pro-life group based in Arlington, Va., said that her organization went to New York as part of its undercover film project, titled "Inhuman: Undercover in America's Late-Term Abortion Industry," because the state has among the highest rates of abortion in the United States.
"This is one of America's most pro-abortion states, with an outrageously high abortion rate and next to nothing in the law to protect mothers and their babies from the industry's profit-hungry vultures," Rose said. "The 'Inhuman' project showed hideous crimes being perpetrated at an abortion center in the Bronx, yet when we called for an official investigation, the state stonewalled us at every turn."
Live Action's investigative report shows an 11-year veteran employee at Dr. Emily Women's Health Center in Bronx, N.Y., describing the abortion in detail, as she advises the patient, who is six months pregnant, to flush her baby down the toilet if she goes into labor at home while undergoing a two-day abortion procedure.
"These filthy killing centers maim mothers and destroy their babies for money, and the state does nothing," Rose added.
The FOIL documents showing inspection results and corrective/enforcement actions taken at the licensed abortion facilities are available here.