Sunday, April 09, 2006

Possible good news for Florida women

Vital Signs Blog: Florida Supreme Court: Abortion Clients Have a Right to Know
The Florida Supreme Court ... has made a truly astonishing decision in favor of a woman's right to know the facts about abortion that abortionists have tried desperately (and successfully) to keep hidden. Even more remarkable is that the decision was unanimous and that it actually overturned two lower courts who had kept the Women's Right to Know Act from becoming law.

"The termination of a pregnancy is unquestionably a medical procedure and we conclude that, as with any other medical procedure, the state may require physicians to obtain informed consent from a patient prior to terminating a pregnancy," the court said in an opinion written by Justice R. Fred Lewis.

That 'informed consent' will include such things as a brochure on abortion's risks to the mother and available alternatives to abortion. It will also present facts about the development of her baby before birth ... including pictures. Pro-life advocates know that when such basic information is communicated to women, the number of abortions drop dramatically so this is a very welcome development.

It must also be said, though, that the abortion clinic which originally challenged the Women's Right to Know Act has 15 days to ask the Florida Supreme Court for a re-hearing and even then the law will not yet go into effect because some other constitutional issues remain at the trial court level. Let's pray they will be quickly ironed out so that Florida women who are considering abortion will be given more light, more freedom, and more respect so that they (and their preborn children) can experience life at its best.

Florid is the home of FLAC, the FLorida Abortion Council, formed in response to the Miami Herald expose of seedy Miami abortion mills. Abortion clinic owners (rightly) feared that public outcry over fraud and malpractice would lead legislators to try to crack down on such things. FLAC was formed to establish industry toadies in key positions and prevent any oversight of abortion.

You can go here to learn about Dadeland, the featured abortion mill. Dadeland was run by Betty Eason and her felonious children. Eason would admonish patients, "Don't go out and put yourself in the hands of quacks, dear. There are plenty of places that don't care about women like we do."

But thanks to FLAC, Florida is full of places that care about women pretty much exactly the same way Betty and her kids did.

Richard Litt, who performed abortions at Dadeland until 1981, told the Miami Herald that he quit because the Easons wanted him to do too many abortions in a single work day, and wanted him to do abortions too late into the pregnancy. He also complained that somebody in the clinic stole his prescription forms and forged his signature in order to get narcotics in bulk. Litt said Dadeland "is a scum hole. I wouldn't send a dog there. They should be put in jail."

When the Miami Herald did its investigative report on Dadeland, the reporter noted that Dadeland "lured clients with misleading ads, using more than three dozen names in the phone book." The report also noted that although other area clinics were having each physician do about 30 abortions a day, Dadeland was having a single doctor do as many as 60 abortions a day.

Other allegations raised in the report included that Dadeland was reusing disposable instruments, that the doctors were leaving the facility while patients were still in recovery, that there were no nurses on staff, and that "recovery was monitored by employees with no formal health-care training." Even though the doctors left the premises while the patients were still in recovery, the patient charts said, "Discharged by doctor." The article also said that the stirrups on the procedure tables were covered with blood, and that the oxygen mask had lipstick on it from the previous patient.

As part of their undercover investigation, the Miami Herald sent 10 non-pregnant women to Dadeland for pregnancy tests.

Two of the non-pregnant women were told they tested positive for pregnancy. The other eight were told that their tests were negative but that it was "probably a false negative." One of the women was asked if she could rush home and get cash for an abortion. Staff told her that she shouldn't wait, because if she waited until next week, the abortion would cost $450 instead of only $250. She was encouraged to go ahead with an abortion despite the negative pregnancy test because she was "probably pregnant, but either too far along or not far enough for the test to show positive."

According to the Miami Herald, a woman identified as "E.B." said that "No one made sure she or of any other woman understood the long, dense forms." There was no counseling, nobody asked if the women had any questions. According to E.B., Eason told her, "It's just cleaning out the uterus. It's just cleaning out two periods. Many women who aren't even pregnant have it done so they can get pregnant."

When E.B. told Eason that she didn't want to hurt her baby, Eason told her, "Oh, you're pregnant. But there is no baby there. Get that out of your head. You know how much blood there is on the pad during your period? That little bit? Well, this will be twice as much. Two periods. And some water." (E.B. was diagnosed as 8 to 10 weeks pregnant. That's past the point where the fetus is fully formed, down to the fingers and toes.)

Dadeland was responsible for the horrible death of Ellen Williams, who developed peritonitis after a Dadeland abortionist had punctured her uterus and bowel.

It wasn't botched abortions, selling abortions to women who weren't pregnant, or other patient care problems that closed Dadeland. It was the IRS. Dadeland's assets were seized by the IRS for unpaid taxes. The only bidder on the equipment and furnishings was: Betty Eason. Since she owned the building, she was able to re-open in just over one month, re-incorporated as Tarus Management Services. She went back into the abortion business as Women's Service Center.

A Health and Rehabilitative Services investigation found that of the six physicians there, only five had current licenses. The other was dispensing medications without a license. The clinic did not employ an RN or LPN.

Two unlicensed staff were performing patient care: an employee who had dropped out of school in the ninth grade was prepping patients, prepping and sterilizing equipment, assisting during abortions, packaging fetal remains for pathology tests using a blood-contaminated kitchen strainer, and dispensed and administered medications; the other unlicensed employee monitored the patients in the recovery room. Laboratory tests were performed on-site by unlicensed personnel.

Single-use equipment was being reused. The paper used to wrap instruments for sterilization was repeatedly reused until it was bloody or ripped.

The Miami Herald spoke to an inspector. One said, "It was 10 times, 100 times worse than I thought it would be. As a nurse... I was appalled."

The state managed to obtain an emergency closure of the facility, but Eason was able to re-open after agreeing to 22 stipulations, including "definitively determining pregnancy" prior to abortions, and ensuring that the medical equipment was "free from contamination and foreign matter."

Prochoice activist Janis Compton-Carr told the Miami Herald,"In my gut, I am completely aghast at what goes on at that place [Dadeland]. But I staunchly oppose anything that would correct this situation in law." Compton-Carr meant what she said. She founded FLAC. And nobody in his right mind could claim that abortion practice in Florida has improved as a result:

Pamela Colson was sent home with a fatal tear in her uterus after a 1994 safe, legal abortion in Pensacola.

Carolina Gutierrez died a horrible death, with her limbs going black from gangrene, after a nice, safe, legal abortion performed at a Miami abortion mill in 1995.

Seedy mills, it seems, continue to thrive. But that might be due to change soon, if FLAC loses its grip on the Florida legislature, judiciary, and bureaucracy.

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