May 30, 2011

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation May 12 that would require abortion clinics to adhere to the same standards as other outpatient health facilities.

The measure mandates more stringent fire and safety regulations, personnel and equipment requirements, and adherence to quality assurance procedures.

The bill will be sent to the state Senate.

It began as a response to a grand jury report that detailed deplorable conditions at the Women's Medical Society, a clinic that Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran in West Philadelphia.

The report cited illegal late-term abortions that Gosnell performed there, which led to the death of one woman and at least seven newborn babies.

The deaths, according to the report, resulted from "the reckless and illegal manner in which Gosnell operated his clinic."

"The investigation of Dr. Gosnell's government-approved clinic revealed filthy, unsafe conditions and evidence that unlicensed workers illegally treated patients," said Amy Hill, communications director for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops.

"Basic standards of cleanliness and infection control were not met.

The office had no access for a stretcher in the case of an emergency.

Exit doors were padlocked shut or blocked, resulting in a delay in the ability to respond in previous emergencies," she said.