U.S. Supreme Court Enabled Future Gosnells

On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 against abortion clinic health and safety regulations in Texas.

Justice Stephen Breyer’s opinion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt defined Texas’ ambulatory surgical center regulations as an “undue burden” on women’s health. It also struck down Texas’ requirement that abortionists having admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Numerous cases in recent memory show how a lack of regulatory oversight puts women’s health in danger. In the case of abortionist and convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell, Pennsylvania authorities allowed Gosnell to operate on women in filthy conditions for years.

This negligent atmosphere directly led to the death of one of Gosnell’s patients, Karnamaya Mongar. Emergency medical technicians were unable to navigate Karnamaya’s stretcher through the clinic following a botched abortion. Having hallways wide enough to fit a stretcher through can make the difference between life and death, but this common-sense regulation is often cited as an attack on women’s health by abortion supporters.

Many states have experienced similar problems, including Michigan. The City of Muskegon—not state health officials—closed Women’s Medical Services in 2012 after discovering unsterilized equipment, numerous leaks in the roof and widespread general filth.

Right to Life of Michigan compiled an in-depth report at the beginning of 2012 showing multiple abuses by the abortion industry in the state, as well as state regulatory failures. Michigan began to address these serious problems on December 28, 2012 with passage of the Prolife Omnibus Act. The Act’s most important provision closed a loophole which had been allowing abortion clinics to dodge state health officials since regulations were updated in 1999.

Planned Parenthood recently announced they may take Michigan’s regulations to court. Michigan’s law is different from Texas in a couple of key ways, however.

Michigan requires abortionists to have transfer agreements with hospitals, not admitting privileges. Transfer agreements are easier to get, yet are another way to ensure a continuum of care for women who experience botched abortions.

Compared with Texas, Michigan’s regulation of abortion clinics has historically been bad. It wasn’t until the Prolife Omnibus Act that most Michigan abortion clinics were even licensed or inspected.

Requiring top-flight care at abortion clinics is now apparently unconstitutional. Despite that, the abortion industry in Michigan will have a difficult time explaining how abortion clinics shouldn’t even have to be licensed and inspected, a standard that places like fast food joints and tattoo shops manage to survive with.