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No Settlement Yet in case Against Northern Illinois Abortion Clinic

by | Nov 15, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Northern Illinois Women’s Center

The Rockford Register Star reported on its webpage today that contrary to expectations, a settlement was not announced this morning between the Northern Illinois Women’s Center and Illinois Department of Public Health  over violations that shut the region’s only abortion clinic down September 30. The Health department had found conditions at the abortion clinic “that are directly threatening to the public interest, health, safety and welfare requiring immediate, emergency action,” according to a three-page notice that was dated September 29.

Corina Curry reported that Eva Byerley, a lawyer for the department of public health, told Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Ramirez that she and Harold Hirshman, the clinic’s attorney, “have made progress but have not yet agreed on terms” of the settlement.

There will be another teleconference November 28, meaning the abortion clinic will be shut down for at least two more weeks.

Resolution could range from “revocation of the clinic’s license to allowing the clinic to reopen,” according to Curry.

The Health Department first conducted an inspection over a three-day period in June. Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman, told the Register Star that the abortion clinic was given a plan of correction for its violations of the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Licensing Requirements Code and Illinois Administrative Procedure Act, and informed that its progress would be monitored.

The state returned to the Northern Illinois Women’s Center on September 15. Some violations had been addressed, but others hadn’t and new ones were discovered when the state re-inspected the clinic, according to Curry.

The list of violations, according to the newspaper’s summary of the suspension notice, included

* Neither of the abortionists on staff had maintained surgical practice privileges with an Illinois-licensed hospital, presumably in case there was a medical emergency

* The absence of a registered nurse to direct and supervise the nursing personnel and the nursing care of patients.

* “The facility did not ensure the presence of a registered nurse in the operating room during all invasive and operative procedures.”

The health department issued an emergency license suspension in September, and fined the Northern Illinois Women’s Center $15,000.  

The abortion clinic challenged the suspension, Curry reports. “[T]he clinic states the necessity of a registered nurse for certain procedures is not apparent, that it has an agreement with a Rockford physician with admitting privileges at a Rockford hospital if the need arises and that there is no evidence that the clinic’s failures in these areas threatened the health, safety or welfare of its patients.”

If a hearing is needed, Ramirez set a date of January 4. Previously attorneys Byerley and Hirshman told the judge that a hearing would be unnecessary.

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Categories: Abortion Clinic