Thursday, August 17, 2006
On this day:

Another Alabama abortion clinic has license suspended

Safe, legal, and rare, huh?

From the Montgomery Advertiser:

The state has suspended the license of a Montgomery abortion clinic for not having a backup doctor to care for women after they've had the procedure.

The Alabama Department of Health announced Tuesday the suspension of Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery, the second Alabama abortion clinic suspended in the past three months.

The Summit Medical Center in Birmingham permanently surrendered its license June 14 following an investigation by the state health department that uncovered numerous violations, including abortions being performed without a doctor present.

The latest suspension confirms the need for increased inspections of abortion facilities, said state health officer Don Williamson. He said the emergency revocation of the facility's license was necessary because the clinic didn't have a backup physician with admitting privileges capable of taking care of a woman who had an abortion.

"We see this as a very, very serious violation," Williamson said, noting the clinic also could decide to surrender its license.

Reproductive Health Services will have an opportunity to challenge the suspension or present an improvement plan at a hearing set for Sept. 18. An official with the clinic declined comment late Tuesday until more information becomes available.

Here's more from the AP:

Health officials are still reviewing records from the clinic's Aug. 2 inspection and a complete Statement of Deficiencies will be given to the clinic within a week, said Rick Harris, director of the department's Bureau of Health Provider Standards.

"We identified a lot of other problems, there were other issues," Harris said Tuesday. "We cannot have an abortion clinic doing procedures without a backup physician, so it wouldn't matter if they had other problems. This one problem is enough to shut them down at least until they get this problem fixed."

The closings of Summit and Reproductive Health leaves Alabama with eight abortion clinics, including one other clinic in Montgomery.