Official says NH abortion sites need state scrutiny
They are concerned, though, about being painted with the same brush as Dr. Kermit Gosnell, described as a "monster" by the man who successfully prosecuted him for murdering three babies who survived illegal late-term abortions and the 2009 drug overdose death of an abortion patient.
It is impossible to know how many abortions are performed in the state, Souza said, or to even know how many clinics or physician offices are performing them.
"This really highlights the need for legitimate abortion providers that adhere to standards and have a safe environment, which we do. There is no way anything even remotely like (Gosnell) could happen here," Munson said.
"There were abortion providers in Pennsylvania who complained to the state agency," Munson said. "They knew and they were getting feedback about what wvas going on. The complaints were not followed up on. It's really on the state."
She would oppose, however, new regulations aimed solely at restricting access to safe abortions.
Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices.
"In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic - the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices ... and doctors' offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II," Neilsen said.
Michael Tierney, an attorney who represents New Hampshire Right To Life, scoffed at the Neilsen's statement regarding no abortion clinics in New Hampshire.
The state could have some very limited oversight of the clinics because they dispense drugs and accept state and federal dollars, but chooses not to do so, he said.
"Pennsylvania's Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurance of quality healthcare as patients of other medical service providers," said the letter signed by committee Chairman U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and five other lawmakers.
"Do prosecutors in your state treat the deliberate killing of newborns, including those newborns who were delivered alive in the process, as a criminal offense?" asked the committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
Laura Thibault, interim executive director of NARAL-NH, said she is familiar with the congressional letters. "It's an example of extreme anti-choice members of Congress who are using current events to push their agenda," Thibault said.
"Kermit Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health care facility, and the jury in Philadelphia has punished him for his appalling crimes. The verdict is just and will ensure that no woman is ever victimized by Gosnell again."
Holli Senior, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said before Gosnell's crimes were discovered, abortion clinics were in a category of their own and inspected on a "complaint basis," though there was a failure to inspect Gosnell's practice even after complaints.
"I'm aware that (clinics) are not inspected by the state," Laughner said. "There are very few laws relative to clinics. I would love to see them regulated, licensed and inspected."
"We hope it's not happening here, but have no way of knowing," Souza said. "Look at how flagrant it was in Philadelphia."
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