National Abortion Federation suspends Delaware abortion clinic

As I noted on Saturday, the National Abortion Federation deleted references on the organization website to Atlantic Women’s Medical Services late last week after my inquiries. This morning, The News Journal is reporting that the Atlantic clinics in Wilmington and Dover as well as a clinic in LA have been suspended.

The suspension, which had been recommended in a 261-page report by a Philadelphia grand jury that investigated Gosnell, came following a meeting of the executive committee of the federation’s board of directors, a federation representative wrote in an e-mail.

The suspension also applies to clinics that are affiliated with Atlantic in Louisiana, according to the statement.

Atlantic, which has clinics on Baynard Boulevard in Wilmington and on North DuPont Highway in Dover, is owned by Leroy Brinkley, who according to court papers also owns the Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge, La.

The Delta Clinic was cited by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in a 2009 for a number of health and safety violations that regulators believed put the lives of patients at risk. The clinic, however, has fixed those deficiencies, according to Louisiana officials.

As a result of the suspension, the National Abortion Federation will no longer be referring patients to the Delaware or Louisiana facilities, according to the federation. Atlantic and Delta are also no longer listed on the federation’s website under “find a provider.” But NAF did not shut the clinic down because it has no jurisdiction or authority to do so.

I started contacting both the NAF and the Wilmington clinic last week and received this statement from NAF about Atlantic late Thursday.

NAF has been cooperating with the District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia. We take the Grand Jury Report seriously and we need to understand why they made the recommendation that they did in order to determine how to proceed.

It is hard to understand what else the NAF needed in order to make a determination about how to proceed. When this statement was made, the NAF had not suspended the Atlantic clinic but had been aware of the grand jury report which recommended the reassessment of the Wilmington clinic.

The LA clinic had also been under fire from pro-life groups due to allegations of poor conditions.

Delaware does not require inspections of abortion clinics which is similar to how PA related to them until the Kermit Gosnell scandal came to light. In states where such inspections are not required, the NAF is likely the only outside entity which evaluates conditions in abortion clinics. In the Gosnell grand jury report, the NAF representative testified that Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia clinic was denied membership. However, the evaluator said that a denial had not happened before in her experience. Then she explained why such denials were rare.

The evaluator told the Grand Jury that this was the first time in her experience that NAF had outright rejected a provider for membership. Usually, if a clinic is able to fix deficiencies and come into compliance with the standards, NAF will admit them. Gosnell’s clinic, however, was deemed beyond redemption.

What seems clear is that in many states abortion is practically unregulated. If the state does not visit the clinic, clinics could go for years with no outside evaluation. The NAF only visits every 5-7 years, and their reports have no teeth legally. As the grand jury report points out, nail salons have more oversight.

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