Planned Parenthood owes more to Delaware’s women

    Planned Parenthood of Delaware has been under fire over the way it has responded to the allegations of former nurses who say conditions in the clinic were not up to standards. Rob Tornoe has a comment and an illustration.


    Here is Rob Tornoe’s commentary:

    I am proudly pro-choice, and I agree with former President Bill Clinton, who said abortions should be safe, legal and rare. That’s why what’s been happening at Planned Parenthood of Delaware over the last couple of months is so unsettling. First, there is a former manager and two former Planned Parenthood nurses that are claiming deplorable and almost unbelievable conditions at the Wilmington clinic, including not notifying women of positive STD results, unsanitary conditions and relying on untrained employees that put patient’s health at risk. There is no way to know if the claims made by these former Planned Parenthood employees are true. All have noted they are strongly pro-choice, so ordinarily I wouldn’t have a reason to suspect their motives. Unfortunately, they are also being dangled like puppets by pro-life organizations with an agenda to end all abortions in the state. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to see these women manipulated into helping a political agenda over the negative experiences they had while working for the clinic. Part of the problem in Delaware is abortion clinics are not subject to routine inspections. The state really only steps in when it hears a complaint, making clinics like Planned Parenthood essentially responsible for inspecting themselves. We saw the problem with that policy when Kermit Gosnell’s clinic went unsuspected for over 17 years. In Planned Parenthood’s case, complaints were received back in July 2012 about  unsanitary conditions and other unprofessional conduct going on at the organization’s Wilmington clinic. DHSS investigated, and according to spokesperson Jill Fredel, the didn’t find much wrong. Fast-forward to 2013. After five patients were allegedly rushed from the clinic to the emergency room, Planned Parenthood was investigated again. This time, the state did find conditions unsanitary and unsafe enough to temporarily halt procedures and cause on doctor to surrender his medical license. Since then, the clinic has reopened, and according to Fredel, corrective actions were put in place at the clinic, and no new transgressions have reportedly taken place. The issue with me is Planned Parenthood’s monopoly over certain services that poor women depend on. Planned Parenthood is the only provider of early-term abortions in the state, and shutting them down would put women without the means to travel elsewhere in a precarious position. On the other hand, there were definitely issues in Planned Parenthood that should cause even the most strident pro-choice supporter to pause their unilateral support. Our support of women’s health shouldn’t stop at access to abortion – it should continue to make sure the services women receive are safe and sanitary. Woman have a right to choose. That should also mean they have a choice to visit a clinic where they don’t have to worry about unsanitary conditions or making a visit to the hospital afterwards. If Planned Parenthood can’t guarantee that basic bottom-level of care to their patience, it’s time for someone else to come in and take their place. 

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    Rob Tornoe is on twitter @RobTornoe.  He can also be on the New Jersey page of  

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