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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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