By Maria Gallagher, Legislative Director
A Philadelphia abortion facility has failed to ensure parental consent for some abortions, a clear violation of the long-standing Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act.
PA Health Department inspectors found that, in half of the ten pediatric medical records reviewed, the Philadelphia Women’s Center neglected to obtain parents’ permission before administering chemical abortions.
The RU-486 abortions took place in February, May, June, July, and November of last year, without the parental oversight required by state law.
The health inspection report states that a “request was made…on February 12, 2020, for a policy that addressed parental consent for medications that are included in the termination of a pregnancy for pediatric patients. None was provided.”
In case after case, the health department documents that “there was no parental or legal guardian consent” for the use of Mifepristone and Misoprostol, the drugs used in RU-486 abortions.
Lack of parental consent for abortions in Pennsylvania is egregious under any circumstances and violates a key provision of the 1989 Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, which was the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling known as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Other provisions of the landmark law include a 24-hour waiting period for abortions and informed consent, meaning that a woman must be told the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion prior to an abortion taking place.
Ironically, the Health Department report also shows that the Philadelphia Women’s Center “failed to establish a patient safety committee, as required by the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act of 2002.”
In addition, Health Department inspectors found in February that the abortion center “failed to establish an infection control committee.”
Given the crisis ultimately created by the COVID-19 pandemic, this omission is all the more alarming—especially in Philadelphia, which is now considered a Coronavirus hot spot.