Audit: DHEC Abortion Clinic Inspections Insufficient
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, May6, 2015) — The South Carolina Legislative Audit Council has issued a scathing report criticizing the state health department for numerous deficiencies in its inspection of the state’s three freestanding abortion facilities that could “result in serious problems for patients” if the problems are not addressed.
Discrepancies were noted in the number of abortions performed at one facility and the number reported to the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Public Health Statistics and Information Services. Over a five year period between 2009 and 2013 the unnamed facility reported 471 fewer abortions than were performed, the report notes.
Among the 30 recommendations for improvement, the audit says DHEC should “conduct annual inspections as required by state law” and post the inspection results on its website. The website should be more user friendly and accurate, the audit says, and provide a toll-free number for reporting complaints against abortion facilities.
The audit calls on the South Carolina General Assembly to amend the state law to require a “pre-abortion ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the fetus for all abortions.”
The three free-standing abortion facilities operating in South Carolina are: The Women’s Clinic of Greenville, Planned Parenthood of Columbia, and the Charleston Women’s Medical Center in Charleston.
A nine-page rebuttal by DHEC concludes, “While much of the Report provides helpful input warranting consideration, it does not portray systematic failures by the Department reflecting imminent harm to patient health or safety.”
Representative Garry Smith, R, Greenville, called the LAC report “troubling.” The audit was requested by some members of the S.C. House of Representatives.
“I am very concerned about the under reporting of abortions,” Smith said, “and the failure and seeming lackadaisical attitude of DHEC for their responsibility to inspect these facilities. This report is very troubling.”
View the report here.
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