May 19, 2014Following a report revealing the state has failed to regularly inspect abortion clinics overseen by the Department of Health, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis has introduced legislation that would require the health commissioner to inspect clinics once every two years.
The legislation (A.9538) is a result of a report, compiled by the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a pro-life organization that received the information through a FOIL request, found that of the 25 clinics overseen by the state DOH only 17 have been inspected. Only 45 inspections were conducted from 2000 to 2012, with eight clinics going uninspected, according to Malliotakis' office.
"Whether pro-choice or pro-life, we can all agree that the health and safety of women is paramount and this is an issue that needs to be addressed," said Malliotakis, R-Staten Island. "This legislation deals with the critical concern of women's health — real women's health issues that could potentially mean life or death for a young woman visiting one of these clinics. It is the responsibility of the Department of Health to ensure the cleanliness and safety of these facilities by conducting regular inspections."
The bill would require the health department to define what kind of facility is considered an abortion clinic; require the commissioner to inspect the clinics at least once every two years and create a report of the findings and submit it to the Legislature and to the Governor's Office.
"New York is the abortion capital of America, and its clinics are not being regulated. That's unconscionable," said Greg Pfunstein, president of the Chiaroscuro Group.
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, a multi-sponsor of the bill, said it was disturbing to find out some many clinics have gone uninspected.
"As state lawmakers, ensuring the health and safety of our citizens is the top priority," said Corwin, R-Clarence. "We must make sure that women have safe and legal health care. It is disturbing to find out that so many facilities in our state have not been inspected over the last decade. It is imperative that we correct this — and that the legislature take action now."
The bill has been referred to the Health Committee and at press time, has no same-as bill in the Senate.