5th Circuit:Texas can enforce most abortion restrictions; clinic chain to close 3 centers, substandard clinic remains open

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that most of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions can take effect immediately — a decision that means as least 12 clinics won’t be able to perform the procedure starting as soon as Friday.

A panel of judges at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the law requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital can take effect while a lawsuit challenging the restrictions moves forward. The panel issued the ruling three days after U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said the provision serves no medical purpose.

In its 20-page ruling, the appeals court panel acknowledged that the provision “may increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.” However, the panel said that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that having “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate” a law that serves a valid purpose, “one not designed to strike at the right itself.”
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WWHweb1

One of the abortion clinic chains in Texas has already tweeted that they will close three abortion clinic in the state because of the ruling.

Oct2013 Tweet on 3 clinic to close

OCT Clinics Closing _n

WWH Abortion clinic beaumont

Whole Woman’s Health abortion clinic has been in the news many times, quoted by the news media as opposing regulations by the state under Texas’ new abortion laws. The media has allowed this clinic owner to talk Amy Hagstrom Miller, about how she will be forced to close and have sympathized with her regarding regulating abortion clinics.

But a new report which received little media attention shows that one of the two abortion clinics which WWH will leave open was cited for several health violations after a recent inspection:

WWH Beaumont abortion clinic 13 health violations
The Beaumont abortion clinic has been flagged on 13 violations by the Texas Department of Health.

WWH abortion clinic health violations Oct 2013

The October 3 inspection at Whole Woman’s Health of Beaumont turned up potential health issues.

The report says the facility failed to provide a safe environment for patients and staff. The suction machines which were used on patients had numerous rusty spots which, “had the likelihood to cause infection.”

Whole Womens Health Abortion clinic inspection Oct 2013

The report also says, “the facility failed to have the EKG monitoring equipment ready if an emergency situation occurred…”

The clinic was also cited for expired drugs on the premises:

Whole Womens abortion Beaumont Inspection Oct 2013 expired drugs

As well as having documents not signed by a physician:

Whole Womens Abortion Inspection Oct 2013 non Physician

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This resembles conditions found at a Philadelphia abortion clinic run by convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell. The state found the following there:

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT : NO RESCECITATION EQUIPMENT: CRASH CART/EKG
• *although Pennsylvania’s abortion regulations, 28 Pa. Code §29.31 et seq., require abortion providers to have functional resuscitation equipment and drugs “ready for use,” Gosnell had no such provisions. The clinic’s one defibrillator, the device used to help revive cardiac arrest patients, had not worked for years. There was only one suction source – the one Gosnell used for the abortion procedures – and no equipment to assist with breathing. And on February 18, 2010, three months after Karnamaya Mongar had died of an overdose of anesthesia, there was no “crash cart” with the drugs necessary to reverse the effects of just such overdoses. Had a ny of these items been present in the clinic, as the law requires, Mrs. Mongar might be alive.

• *Gosnell’s facility also lacked equipment legally mandated for monitoring sedated patients. According to Kareema Cross, the clinic owned one old electrocardiogram (EKG) machine to monitor heart rate and a pulse oximeter, an instrument that is attached to the patient’s finger and measures oxygen saturation in the blood, but these had not worked for at least six years. These instruments are the minimum equipment required to monitor patients who are sedated, according to the certified gynecologist and obstetrician who shared his expertise with the Grand Jury.

UNSTERILE CONDITIONS:

*The walls appeared to be urine-splattered. The procedure tables were old and one had a ripped plastic cover. Suction tubing, which was used for abortion procedures – and
doubled as the only available suction source for resuscitation – was corroded. A large, dirty fish tank stood in the waiting room, filled with turtles and fish. The dirt-floored
basement was stuffed with patient files, plants, junk, and boxes of un-disposed-of medical waste. The entire facility smelled foul. These were the conditions after the facility had been shut down and cleaned.

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