NY Post: The state Health Department is failing to inspect many of New York’s abortion clinics — with some facilities escaping scrutiny for more than a decade, bombshell documents obtained by The Post reveal.
Health inspectors regulate 25 diagnostic and treatment clinics and surgery centers that provide abortion services — though pro-choice advocates say there are 225 abortion service providers in New York state.
Eight of the 25 clinics were never inspected over the 2000-12 span, five were inspected just once, and eight were inspected only twice or three times — meaning once every four or six years.
A total of just 45 inspections were conducted at all 25 facilities during the 12-year period.
By comparison, city eateries are inspected every year and graded, while a new law requires tanning salons to undergo inspections at least once every other year.
Meanwhile, state officials — citing prior threats and violence against abortion providers — refused to identify the names and locations of the clinics it did inspect.
Health officials acknowledged the dearth of inspections, in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Chiaroscuro Foundation, a conservative think tank that works to reduce abortions.
Chiaroscuro’s executive director, Greg Pfundstein, sought the information following a scandal in Philadelphia, where abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder for cutting delivered babies’ spines with scissors and 21 counts of performing late-term abortions and other medical violations.
Gosnell’s clinic hadn’t been checked for 15 years before inspectors raided his facility in an unrelated prescription investigation and stumbled upon a house of horrors.
In New York City, 73,815 pregnancies were aborted in 2012. There were over 130,000 abortions statewide.
“New York has one of the highest abortion rates in the country. More oversight is needed. Abortion clinics are as much a public concern as tanning salons. There should be regular inspections of all licensed abortion clinics,” Pfundstein said. “Right now, New York is only inspecting a fraction of abortion providers, and only very rarely. It’s hard to know which facilities are safe.”
In response to the legal request, the state Health Department noted it inspects only a limited number of abortion providers. And the facilities it does inspect are checked infrequently, according to the data it provided.
“Some facilities are not required to have ‘abortion services’ in their operating certificates in order to perform abortions,” Health Department records-access official Elizabeth Sullivan wrote in a letter, explaining why other abortion providers are not inspected.
“The Department does not otherwise maintain a list of every Article 28 facility that performs abortions.”
She said the agency only took legal action against one abortion clinic over 12 years. It provided the plaintiff the court papers but redacted the names, citing safety concerns.
The Health Department declined further comment.