A bill introduced in the New York legislature would require the state health commissioner to inspect abortion clinics a minimum of once every two years.
Sponsored by Assembly members Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore) and Jane Corwin (R-Clarence), A 9538 would also require that a written report of the results of each inspection be delivered to the governor and members of the state legislature.
The bill is in response to documents released in April that purport to show that clinics that provide abortion services in New York state are not being regularly inspected by the state health department. The Chiaroscuro Group claims that of the 25 clinics directly overseen by the health department, only 17 were inspected and only 45 routine inspections were conducted from 2000 to 2012.
Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, told Rewire that the legislation stems from the selective release of records received by the Chiaroscuro Group, which she calls a “leading anti-choice organization in the state.”
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The Chiaroscuro Group
is the organization behind a campaign against a policy requiring that New York City public schools provide evidence-based comprehensive sex education curricula. According to Miller, the group is not just opposed to sex education, but also opposes basic protections of reproductive rights. “They’ve been trying for a very long time to gain inroads in undermining access to reproductive health care including abortion,” said Miller.
Malliotakis told the Staten Island Advance that the legislation is about the health and safety of women. “This legislation deals with the critical concern of women’s health—real women’s health issues that could potentially mean life or death for a young woman visiting one of these clinics,” said Malliotakis.
Miller took issue with the claim that the legislation is intended to improve the health and safety for women, specifically citing the Chiaroscuro Group and supporters’ ideological agenda. “They have an explicit ideological agenda, which is to limit access to reproductive health care,”
Miller told Rewire. “We know when you limit access to reproductive health care you harm women’s health.”
The legislation is similar to bills introduced and passed into law around the country that increase regulations on abortion clinics, that reproductive rights advocates claim are unnecessary and are used to specifically target abortion providers. “There isn’t any medical justification for creating extra different requirements for medical and surgical abortion providers that are separate and different and more onerous than those for any other medical facility that is engaged in similar serves,” said Miller.
“They are trying to single out abortion because they are opposed to abortion—even though it is one of the safest and most common medical procedures in this country,” said Miller. “They are trying to use the guise of protecting women’s health to actually undercut women’s health.”