Yesterday the Virginia Health Department temporarily suspended the license of “Virginia Health Group,” an abortion clinic in Fairfax, Virginia. This comes after Virginia’s governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, not only vetoed a bill to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood, but while visiting an actual Planned Parenthood, just to make a point.
During a two-day inspection this month, the Department of Health found 26 deficiencies, listed in this detailed 52-page report. Subsequently, the department immediately suspended the clinic’s operating license.
Inspectors observed, among other things: dirty equipment, unlocked and expired medication, inaccurate and absent medical records, unsterilized or improperly sterilized medical equipment, bloody gowns, and one of the physicians wearing dirty scrubs and working out of a dirty office. Here are portions of the report documenting such things:
the surveyor observed that exam room 1, where a surgical procedure was being performed, did not have a sink available for handwashing. While performing the surgical procedure, Staff #1’s gloves were observed to be visibly soiled with blood… the surveyor observed Staff #1 clean exam room 1 after Patient #7’s surgical procedure. The surveyor noted that the rolling exam light which was touched by Staff #6 while wearing contaminated gloves during the procedure was not cleaned, the ultrasound machine sitting in the room beside the patient was not cleaned, neither the can of Hurricane numbing spray nor the bottle of Monesl’s solution were wiped off after having been used, and only the top of the vacuum suction machine was cleaned.
After completing the examination, weighing and packaging of the POC, Staff #2 removed the gloves, goggles and gown. Present on the gown was blood stains. Staff #2 held up the gown and looked at it and proceeded to hang it on the back of the door for future use stating ‘Oh it’s not that bad’, referring to the amount of blood on the gown.
Perhaps the most disturbing account in the report is when a patient is transported to the emergency room after abortionists botch an abortion:
In February 2016, Patient #2 had a surgical abortion performed at the facility. Documentation in the clinical record revealed the patient experienced prolonged bleeding and had to be transported to the local emergency department for treatment. Further review of the record revealed a discussion with the facility provider and the ‘on call’ emergency room provider which documented, ‘(time) laceration on internal cervix os (os is the part of the cervix that can be seen from inside the vagina during a gynecologic examination is known as the ectocervix. An opening in the center of the ectocervix, known as the external os, opens to allow passage between the uterus and vagina) sutured and patient sent home…’ Review of the facility adverse occurrence log revealed ‘no sutures were available…’ on that date but that the facility had obtained the supplies.
The Next Kermit Gosnell
The Washington Post reported the clinic is registered to Steven Chase Brigham, according to state records: “It is one of 14 facilities in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey listed on the website of corporate parent American Women’s Services.” Brigham has a history of running clinics much like the one in Virginia, in a handful of other states including the aforementioned and New York. In October, 2013, all four of the Maryland clinics Brigham owned shut down. In 2014, The New Yorker reported,
[T]he New York Department of Health moved to discipline Brigham for botching two advanced-gestation abortions. One of the women had bled for three hours before being taken to the emergency room. The other had suffered injuries when Brigham continued the procedure even after he accidentally perforated her uterus [Brigham] he had never completed an ob-gyn residency and had never received a certificate for the course, which, in any case, focussed on first-trimester abortions. It charged him with gross negligence and revoked his license.
Even the National Abortion Federation has disowned Brigham. In a statement, President Vicki Saporta said, “Evidence of wrongdoing at Brigham’s American Women’s Services facility in Fairfax is part of a clear pattern of repeated and serious misconduct that poses a significant threat to patient safety, and which cannot be allowed to go unchecked in Virginia.” The Fairfax clinic appealed the suspension; there will be a hearing next month.
Brigham told the reporter in The New Yorker profile, “I thought that I could go into this and just be a doctor. And the politics so overwhelm the medicine, and they overwhelm the medical boards, they overwhelm everything we do. The whole thing is just disappointing. It’s disappointing when it’s unfair and unjust—when there are unfair or unjust criticisms levelled at you.”
Weird: Hacking Apart Moms and Babies Isn’t Safe?
Brigham has two things (kind of) right: The murder of unborn babies and treating their precious moms like this is unjust. What’s just is the creative means through which pro-life lawmakers have worked to decrease abortions, especially in ghastly clinics and under abhorrent circumstances like the ones in this Virginia clinic. After years of banging their heads against the wall, tormented over Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers finally found an effective way to reduce abortions. In 2011, the General Assembly adopted legislation which required abortion clinics to operate with certain health and safety standards.
As pro-life activists had hoped, the number of abortions in the last few years and in Virginia has declined more rapidly than ever. While many pro-choice advocates claimed these closings would put expecting moms in a bind, the opposite is true. Other clinics, which advocate that women bring their babies to term and provide counseling and care, are increasing to fill Planned Parenthood’s gruesome void.
While it’s nauseating to see how women—many of whom were undoubtedly afraid, lonely, poor, and unsure—were treated at this Virginia abortion clinic, the fact that now its license has been temporarily suspended due to legislative efforts to require basic medical standards in abortion clinics is encouraging for those fighting to protect life in all its stages. It’s also encouraging to the moms struggling or afraid because of an “unplanned” pregnancy, because it means they are more likely to find a better, safer, way for them and their babies.