DHEC may close two of state's three abortion clinics

Seek and ye shall find

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Shortly after the now-debunked, undercover Planned Parenthood videos took the rabid right by storm, South Carolina's very own Nikki Haley called for a DHEC review of abortion clinics in the Palmetto, and the result is predictable witch-huntery: DHEC has determined that two clinics don't meet state law and will be suspended immediately. And if they don't fix their problems, they will be closed starting Sept. 28. A press release from DHEC states:

Today, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) notified abortion clinics in South Carolina of enforcement actions following an investigation and inspections.

"DHEC remains committed to ensuring that all clinics operating in South Carolina are safe and in compliance with state and federal laws," said DHEC Director Catherine Heigel. "We take the findings of this investigation very seriously and will work together with each of these facilities to help get them into compliance as quickly as possible."

DHEC regulates and licenses abortion clinics and the management of infectious waste.

On August 18, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley requested that the agency conduct an investigation of the three clinics currently operating in the state.

As part of the investigation, DHEC reviewed prior inspection reports of these facilities and conducted onsite inspections between August 31 and September 4, 2015. All three facilities were due to be inspected by the agency later this fall.

During the onsite inspections, DHEC staff interviewed clinic personnel, reviewed documents and patient files, and conducted an inspection of the facilities.

Based on these investigative and inspection efforts, DHEC took the following enforcement actions:
  • The agency issued an Administrative Order of Suspension for Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic in Columbia, S.C., due to violations of state laws and regulations. The 21 cited violations included: non-compliance with the Woman's Right to Know Act, incomplete medical and employee records, expired medications, improper infectious waste disposal practices, and failure to report abortions to DHEC Vital Statistics in a timely manner. The DHEC order becomes final on September 28, 2015, and will result in closure of the facility unless review by the DHEC Board is requested or the facility meets the terms of the order.

  • The agency issued an Administrative Order of Suspension for Greenville Women's Clinic due to violations of state laws and regulations. The six cited violations included: non-compliance with the Woman's Right to Know Act, incomplete medical record documentation, and improper infectious waste disposal practices. The DHEC order becomes final on September 28, 2015, and will result in closure of the facility unless review by the DHEC Board is requested or the facility meets the terms of the order.

  • The agency issued a Report of Visit to the Charleston Women's Medical Center, which notifies the facility of four minor violations (e.g., documentation errors) that need to be corrected. The facility will be required to submit a plan of correction to the agency within 15 days.
Planned Parenthood of South Atlantic in Columbia, S.C., and Greenville Women's Clinic must submit a plan of correction to DHEC by September 28, 2015, show proof of staff training, and pay any assessed penalties in order to lift their suspension orders or face closure.

While every clinic should be up to current standards — even the dubious ones that are part of state law — I can't help but be reminded of that old adage: Seek and ye shall find. After all, this is the very same DHEC that knew about a TB outbreak in the Upstate for months and did nothing about it. The wonders never cease.


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