Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is sending letters to the state’s two abortion clinics, seeking details about the clinics’ compliance with federal, state and local laws, as well as “specifics about the elective abortion procedures performed at the clinics.”
Morrisey also wants to know if the clinics “have a relationship” with the National Abortion Federation, which works to regulate member clinics. He asked the clinics to provide written answers by close of business on Monday, July 1.
Clinics’ responses will help the Attorney General’s Office “better evaluate the need for regulation,” Morrisey said, since his team of attorneys serve as counsel for the state’s licensing and regulatory boards.
A press release from Morrisey’s office Monday morning referenced a lawsuit filed in Kanawha County last week against Women’s Health Center, a Charleston abortion clinic that allegedly failed to property anesthetize a patient during a procedure, ignored her requests to stop the abortion and failed to completely remove the fetus from her uterus.
Morrisey also referenced a Charleston Daily Mail story about that suit, which also pointed out that no state agency is charged with inspecting abortion clinics.
“Recent events raise significant questions about how abortion clinics are regulated in the Mountain State,” Morrisey said in the press release. “Just over a week ago, a lawsuit was filed in Kanawha County on behalf of a woman who alleges a doctor at the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia improperly anesthetized her during a procedure, physically restrained her, ignored her requests to stop, and failed to remove the entire fetus from her uterus.
“The merits of that lawsuit must still be resolved in court, but it does raises serious questions about how such clinics in West Virginia are inspected and reviewed to ensure patients are safe. These questions are particularly important in light of the conviction last month of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania for his ‘house of horrors’ abortion clinic.
“The State regulates doctors, nurses, dentists, accountants, architects, chiropractors, social workers, real estate appraisers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, barbers, and cosmetologists. But abortion clinics in West Virginia are neither licensed nor regulated by the State. Regardless of one’s position on abortion, the State needs to evaluate this basic fact.”
The Daily Mail’s story last week also pointed out that only hospitals and facilities connected to hospitals are inspected by the state. Private doctors’ office, dentists’ offices, community health clinics and other health facilities not connected to a hospital are not inspected by the state.