A website called Check My Clinic is dishing out facts about abortion clinics and their failure to meet the state regulations concerning safety, privacy, and documentation and saving lives.
The site claims, “All of the inspection reports on this site were acquired through public records request to state departments of health and public records online.”
Besides providing public records for abortion clinics, they also provide free downloadable resources, such as postcards, fact sheets, and posters.
It is these posters which sidewalk counselors are using to save lives of children and possibly even the pregnant women who are turning away. On November 27th, the Twitter account for Check My Clinic reported two turnaways due to the mere fact sidewalk counselors held signs stating, “This clinic failed its health inspection,” “This clinic failed to properly sterilize instruments,” “This clinic failed to screen for the sexual abuse of minors,” and “This is not your only option! We can help you.” Check My Clinic believes “An informed woman is an empowered woman,” and is working to ensure women and anyone interested has access to information they may want to know before they visit an abortion clinic.
While their facts about the shortcomings of abortion clinics can be overwhelming— check out my current state of residence, Ohio, for instance— the lack of information from other states is also eye-opening. For example, for Alaska, which has no waiting period, no ultrasound or sonogram requirement, and no gestational age limit, there is no data for the Planned Parenthood in Anchorage.
Check My Clinic reports,
“We requested inspection reports from the Alaska State Department of Health. We were told that Alaska ‘does not have inspection reports for our facilities because we don’t consider them medical clinics.’”
Yet the Anchorage location clearly performs surgical abortions, since you can schedule for them in their Book Online option. Why is a center performing surgical procedures not covered under medical clinic regulations?
Additionally, the states of Hawaii, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont have no data, either. However, for all these states, abortion clinics are considered medical clinics and therefore are subject to state regulations and inspections. So what’s up with these states?
Well, if you click on any one of these states on the map of the United States on Check My Clinic’s front page, you’ll see this message: “We have no records for inspections in abortion clinics for your state. This is either because no one is inspecting abortion clinics in your state or we have not received a response to our freedom of information act request from the state health and human services department.”
Both of the possible explanations are not good. If no inspections are happening when they should be, who knows what is going on at clinics in these states. And if there are inspections on file but the state is not releasing them, why not? What are they hiding from the public?
Even the state of New York, which does have inspection data, did not release clinic names with the reports, so you have no idea which clinics were deficient for what reasons. And take a look, because there are a lot of reasons. In fact, since 2000, eight of the twenty-five abortion clinics in the state have had NO inspection done.
Check My Clinic states,
“We have made new FOIA requests to the state of New York for inspection reports. The state of New York has asked for two extensions since our request.”
The new requests were made in April of this year, and in July and September and the New York Department of Health sent a letter saying, “this Office is unable to respond to your request by the date previously given to you because the records potentially responsive to your request are currently being reviewed for applicable exemptions, legal privileges and responsiveness.”
It sounds like the state of New York is scared to make publicly known the deplorable conditions of many of its clinics and hold any clinic accountable for failing to meet state regulations. If they respond to the Freedom of Information Act request under the conditions Check My Clinic asked, it will also become clear which eight clinics have been inspection-free for eighteen years.
The public has a right to the results of health and safety inspections of clinics they help fund with their own tax dollars. Women who are seeking abortion, medical care, birth control, or other services from an abortion provider have a right to know what they are risking by walking through those doors. They could be risking their chance at informed consent, their physical health, and the privacy of their medical records. Check My Clinic is helping inform, educate, and empower people to make healthier, safer choices and is working to expose the deplorable job many abortion clinics do at keeping up with state regulations.
With all this information available, it becomes harder and harder to say abortion is good for women, women need abortion, or being pro-choice is being pro-woman. The data on this website tells us unequivocally that abortion clinics cannot or will not follow basic safety and privacy laws and are harming women in the process.
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I love science and teaching. I am passionate about using those interests to speak for those who can't.