File this one under strange-but-true: The State of New York has stricter regulations for pizzerias and tanning salons than it does for abortion clinics. A new bill proposed by State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) seeks to change this disturbing fact, and would require the state to inspect abortion clinics every two years and report on these findings.
According to language in the bill, there is no current inspection requirement for clinics, and eight of New York's 25 clinics have gone without inspection for over a decade.
From the bill (emphasis added):
According to the Public Health Law, the Department of Health is required to supervise and regulate the sanitary aspects of businesses and activities that affect public health. It does not, however, require the Health Commissioner to conduct periodic inspections of abortion clinics on a periodic basis. A recent Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request uncovered the fact that only 17 of the 25 abortion clinics in New York had been inspected between 2000 and 2012, and five of those 17 had received only one inspection during that time period. Eight abortion clinics received no inspections.
Restaurants in the state are inspected yearly, and tanning salons are inspected every two years.
Not inspecting abortion clinics can have deadly cases. The Women's Medical Society of Philadelphia, where convicted serial killer Kermit Gosnell regularly murdered newborn babies who survived their abortions, went 17 years without an inspection. The FBI's initial raid of the clinic in 2010 was on suspicion of the sale of illegal prescription drugs. They found much more than that. Investigators found severed human feet and hands stored in freezers, and toilets were clogged with fetal remains. Presumably this would have set off alarm bells in an inspection and would have resulted in the facility being shut down, but Pennsylvania ended regular clinic inspections in the early 90s.
People on both sides of the abortion spectrum should support this bill. At the very least, clinics should be held to the same standards as a tanning salon.