News Abortion

Former Nurses Testify in Hearing on Alleged Unsafe Practices at Delaware Planned Parenthood Clinics

Robin Marty

Planned Parenthood representatives say issues cited earlier this year by the state health department have been addressed, while a state agency is arranging a hearing to investigate allegations against a physician who until recently performed abortions at the clinics.

Two former nurses for Planned Parenthood of Delaware testified May 29 about what they claim were unsafe practices they witnessed while working at two of the organization’s clinics. Planned Parenthood representatives say issues cited earlier this year by the state health department have been addressed.

The nurses’ allegations have not been substantiated by any other source.

Joyce Vasikonis and Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich testified that dangerous practices were routine at the Planned Parenthood clinics in Wilmington and Dover where they worked until August 2012. They cited sped-up procedures, non-sterile rooms and equipment, expired medication, and poor training, among other issues. Mitchell-Werbrich, who said she worked for the organization for just under four weeks, said the group provided “meat-market-style, assembly-line abortions.” They also said that patients with Rh-negative blood types were not provided with RhoGam shots, when not doing so could endanger future pregnancies.

The Washington Post described the May 29 hearing as “bipartisan,” sponsored by a Republican and a Democrat state senator. But according to the Delaware State News, the hearing featured “mostly GOP legislators.” The Democrat, state Sen. Robert L. Venables Sr., (D-Laurel), is an anti-choice legislator.

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Both nurses left the organization well before what Operation Rescue claims was a series of medical emergencies at the clinic (once, anti-choice protesters saw a gurney being taken out of the clinic, but were not inside the clinic to know the nature of the transfer; on another occasion the group obtained 9-1-1 records about another hospital transfer from the clinic). It was also months before the nurses then went to the media to tell their story.

The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services told the news stations that it investigated one clinic after receiving a complaint in October 2012, but saw no health violations of the type described. Another investigation was conducted this year after the series of clinic incidents witnessed by Operation Rescue “sidewalk counselors.” At that time, the department cited 14 kinds of violations at the Wilmington clinic, including “inadequate documentation of narcotics, supplies that had exceeded expiration dates, lax practices to ensure sterility, unlabeled bottles of fluid, overdue or uncertain maintenance records,” the Delaware News Journal reports.

Planned Parenthood of Delaware CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby noted in a statement that the Delaware Division of Public Health says the clinic is back in compliance, and all violations have been addressed. “In recent days, the Delaware Division of Public Health has stated that they have concluded their recent survey of our health centers and that we have complied in areas that were noted in their last unannounced visit. The findings of the recent survey were immediately rectified. While it is important to adhere to every medical regulation, the Division of Public Health findings do not in any way support the allegations of former employees who are now working with organizations whose mission is to oppose our services,” Lytle-Barnaby said in a statement.

Another state agency is arranging a hearing to investigate allegations against a physician who until recently performed abortions at the clinics. The State Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline has filed a formal complaint against Dr. Timothy F. Liveright, the abortion provider at the Delaware clinics, calling him a “clear and immediate danger to the public.” Dr. Liveright has been accused of incompetence, negligence, unprofessional conduct, and sexual harassment. The Washington Post reports that Dr. Liveright retired from practicing medicine in Delaware in April.

News Abortion

Delaware Bill Allowing Employees to File Complaints About Abortion Clinics Heads to Governor’s Desk

Robin Marty

A Delaware bill will change who can file complaints regarding abortion clinics as well as make it more difficult to achieve accreditation.

A new bill that will allow employees, and not just patients, to file complaints against abortion clinics via the Department of Health and Human Services is on its way to the desk of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell for signature.  According to the Associated Press, the bill was passed through the state house with no debate after already being approved by the senate.

SB 140 was written to directly respond to allegations from former nurses at Planned Parenthood of Delaware, the organization that provides the state’s only abortions. The nurses testified during a hearing in May that each of the two clinics in which they were employed at the time were using “dangerous” practices, with one nurse, who was employed for roughly one month, declaring it provided “meat-market, assembly-line” procedures.

The clinics were investigated by the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services after a 2012 complaint, but investigators found no evidence that supported that complainant’s claim. The Wilmington clinic was investigated again in 2013 and was cited for 14 violations, which the clinic stated were addressed and cleared by the department in May.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has had a consistent pro-choice record in office, with a “100% pro-family planning/pro-choice” rating from Pro-Choice Delaware, the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Delaware. However, he did sign into law a 2011 bill requiring clinic accreditation, which was written as an alleged response to the Kermit Gosnell case. This new bill makes changes to the 2011 accreditation requirements as well. Should it become law, clinics providing abortions need to be accredited by an outside, “independent” entity approved by the state. Previously, accreditation by the Planned Parenthood organization was sufficient.

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News Abortion

Planned Parenthood in Arizona Resumes Abortion Services at Two Clinics

Robin Marty

Two of the clinics that were unable to provide abortion services due to the new state law requiring all abortions be done by a doctor will be resuming the practice.

Two of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Arizona that could no longer provide abortions due to a new state law that made it illegal for anyone other than a doctor to dispense abortion drugs or do a surgical first trimester abortion will soon be resuming services.

Via AZ Central:

Planned Parenthood of Arizona will resume abortion services at its north Phoenix and Chandler clinics by the end of the month.

The organization halted abortion services at all but three clinics statewide in late August after several state laws went into effect requiring that only physicians dispense medication abortion pills or perform first-trimester surgical abortions. Before, a nurse practitioner or physicians assistant could perform those duties. Planned Parenthood at the time was unable to find enough doctors to continue providing abortions at all of its locations, particularly those in the more rural areas of Flagstaff, Yuma and Prescott Valley.

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The only three clinics that continued to provide abortions were in Tucson, Tempe and Glendale.

Sadly, the news does little to help the women in rural areas, where clinics are still without doctors to provide abortion care, forcing them to incur large expense and travel to obtain their own legal, safe abortion.