Planned Parenthood must be held to high standard
Reports citing unsafe, unsanitary conditions at two of Delaware’s Planned Parenthood clinics are deeply disturbing, and charges of unprofessional conduct filed after these conditions came to light are too little, too late.
Those who hope problems at Planned Parenthood will shut down clinics where women can obtain abortions should take note: One in three medical appointments for reproductive health in Delaware takes place in one of these clinics. Planned Parenthood services are a vital part of healthcare for Delaware women.
Those who would defend Planned Parenthood as a beacon of women’s rights should also take note: Former employees report serious lapses in basic medical care – sterilizing instruments, providing clean examination rooms, and administering necessary medication – and possible abuse of patients.
After concerns became public, state regulators issued a complaint against a Planned Parenthood physician who had already surrendered his license. But the physician had been allowed to practice after complaints first surfaced, betraying a serious lapse in commitment to the principles on which Planned Parenthood was founded.
Beyond that, in the wake of the Earl Bradley child abuse debacle, officials implemented new regulations requiring all medical professionals to report unprofessional behavior and even suspected unprofessional behavior. If state regulators found sufficient reason to file a complaint against a doctor, then every medical professional who practiced at facilities where he practiced was required to report the doctor’s behavior. Why didn’t that happen?
Every medical professional who knew about unsound practices but failed to report them should face charges under Delaware’s reporting requirements. Health Department officials also said they investigate Planned Parenthood facilities only after a patient complains or, as in this case, after an ambulance was called.
That practice makes no sense. Women who rely on Planned Parenthood clinics may not be prepared to take on the state bureaucracy and file a complaint. These facilities must be subject to frequent inspections and held to the highest standards. Delaware women have a right to expect affordable, reliable, top-quality healthcare, exactly the kind of care Planned Parenthood was once known to provide.