Reasonable Safeguards

Women who make the difficult decision to have their babies aborted in West Virginia deserve reasonable safeguards for their own health. Yet state government has adopted something of a hands-off attitude concerning abortion clinics.

That became clear earlier this year after a lawsuit was filed against one of the state’s two abortion clinics, both of which are in Charleston. A former patient alleged a doctor at one of the facilities was negligent in performing an abortion.

Then, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey began looking into how the clinics operate, without alleging any wrongdoing.

It developed that while doctors and nurses at the clinics are licensed by the state, the facilities themselves are not inspected or regulated by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. In some ways, a veterinary clinic undergoes more oversight than an abortion provider.

A few legislators think that needs to change. About a week ago, members of the bipartisan group announced they will seek more regulations on abortion clinics.

Predictably, the nation’s largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood, didn’t wait to hear details before objecting vehemently. “West Virginians know it is important that a woman make her own personal, private decisions about her health and medical care,” an official of the organization’s state chapter argued.

Strangely, Planned Parenthood has made no similar complaint about the state taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of patients in, say, dentists’ offices or hospital emergency rooms.

The truth is that Planned Parenthood and “advocacy” groups like it bristle at any limits on abortion, even if they are intended to protect women.

West Virginia legislators should require the DHHR to provide reasonable safeguards for patients at abortion clinics.