opinion Casey Mattox, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
Remember, a decade or so ago, when the abortion industry mantra was that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare?" Those words were even in the Democrat Party platform for a while – part of an effort to brand abortionists like Planned Parenthood as reluctant facilitators of a necessary evil rather than owner/operators of a thriving billion-dollar industry.
Those days are gone. In 2011, Planned Parenthood, now the nation's largest abortion provider, carried out nearly 900 abortions per day, or just over 37 an hour—that's an abortion every 95 seconds. Which means, on average, Planned Parenthood carries out about 330,000 of the 1.2 million abortions in America annually. So while Planned Parenthood and its political allies in Washington, D.C. continue to lie about mammogram services in order to rebrand the business as a broader women's healthcare provider, there's no longer the same reticence about abortions or their frequency.
Suffice it to say, a Planned Parenthood abortion every 95 seconds is not "rare." And, as illustrated by Planned Parenthood's resistance to even basic health inspections and regulation in Virginia, any pretense of concern about real safety is also out the window. All that matters to Planned Parenthood is that abortion be unrestricted, never mind safety and rarity.
For example, in 2011, Virginia's Board of Health issued emergency regulations—over the strenuous objection of Planned Parenthood—requiring health inspections of the state's abortion clinics for the first time in two decades. Reports on those now-completed inspections have been obtained by the Virginia Family Foundation (VFF) via a Freedom of Information request.
As Victoria Cobb, President of VFF put it, "Some of this is just horrific."
The Commissioner of Health reported that every one of the nine abortion clinics inspected had some deficiency.
Those deficiencies included the remains of unborn children and blood frozen to the bottom of freezers, sponges that were used to clean surgical implements for a full week without being changed—yes, the same sponge was used over and over and over for a week—and abortion clinic staff who admitted not knowing which instruments were clean and which were dirty. And the evidence keeps growing: 80 violations have been recorded in just 9 clinics.
Again, these were not random inspections. Each of the clinics knew the inspectors were coming.
On September 14, 2012, these same Virginia abortionists came out in force in Richmond to try to stop the Board of Health from issuing final health and safety regulations. Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to members of the board urging them to enact regulations to ensure the health and safety of Virginia abortion clinics. And through the work of allies like the Virginia Family Foundation, pro-life Virginians also turned out in force, urging the board to take action to protect women's health—not the bottom line of the abortionists who prey on them.
And we won. To the abortionists' chagrin, the abortion clinic health and safety regulations were approved and are now in effect.
What does it say about Planned Parenthood's supposed concern for women's health that it would oppose these rules so aggressively? Abortion clinics will never be safe for the unborn children whose lives they take with alarming frequency. Shouldn't they at least be safe for the women?
A version of this column appeared on Townhall.com on September 14, 2012.