Documentation from Thomas More Society Helps to Keep it Shut, For Now.
November 29, 2011 (Rockford, Illinois) – This week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) delivered an early Christmas present for many unborn infants in Northern Illinois, when an Administrative Law Judge ruled that the suspension of the license of Rockford, Illinois’ notorious abortion provider, the Northern Illinois Women’s Center (NIWC), would be extended until January 4, 2012, when a formal public hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the Michael Bilandic State of Illinois Building, at 160 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois, Room N502, on the 5th Floor. The Judge announced her ruling during a teleconference yesterday, when IDPH prosecuting attorney, Eva Bylerly, Esq., advised the Judge that “two to three issues remained unresolved” during ongoing settlement negotiations she had been pursuing with Harold Hirshman, Esq., attorney for NIWC, over a series of charges that IDPH had brought against NIWC in the wake of public health inspections, which NIWC failed, triggering the suspension of its license earlier this year.
Last week, attorneys Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, and Jason Craddock, special counsel for the Society, wrote a lengthy letter to Ms. Byerly, expressing grave worries about a possible premature reopening of the NIWC on the part of its clients, concerned citizens residing in the Greater Rockford area, including the Rockford Pro-Life Initiative and also a Registered Nurse who had been instrumental in persuading the public health authorities finally to conduct a series of inspections of the NIWC abortion facility after a protracted period of nearly 14 years — during which no inspections had taken place. The Society’s letter pointed out that IDPH’s long overdue inspections had uncovered a laundry list of “egregious health and safety violations,” which the letter then detailed.
Among these cited violations, of which “many members of the public remain unaware,” were the following:
• “3 of 3 operating rooms inspected failed to ensure a sanitary environment”;
• Failure to prevent contamination of clean surgical equipment;
• Gynecological cannulas (surgical instruments inserted during abortion procedures) were stained with a “brown substance”;
• Shoes were stored inside an open box of surgical gloves;
• Operating room #1 contained a box of opened surgical gloves stained with a dried “brown substance”;
• Autoclave equipment used to sterilize medical instruments failed biological testing on at least two occasions; such equipment should have been tested weekly but was untested for four months and then failed, leaving an undetermined number of patients exposed to unsterile surgical instruments;
• Failure to meet legal requirement for a qualified Registered Nurse to be present in the operating room during procedures, leaving unqualified and unlicensed personnel to do tasks reserved by law for licensed, qualified professional personnel;
• Failure to keep records as to persons accompanying patients, suggesting that women were left to care for themselves after surgery;
• Repeated deficiencies in record keeping; and
• Failure of abortionists to have local admitting privileges, putting patients in life-threatening situations at risk of serious injury or death.
These and other deficiencies had been brushed off by NIWC in its written filings in the administrative proceeding. NIWC’s lawyers (who also represent Planned Parenthood in other cases in which the Thomas More Society is participating) even made the surprising claim that its patients are “safe” despite its failure to abide by legal requirements.
The IDPH will not discuss the details of its negotiations with “outsiders,” but Tom Brejcha comments, “On behalf of the good people of Rockford and its environs, including folks from Wisconsin and Iowa who may patronize NIWC, we will continue to monitor these proceedings as closely as possible and to do all we can to assure that NIWC is held fully accountable for compliance with Illinois law before it is permitted, if ever, to reopen and continue its grisly business of the mass slaughter of human beings. We pray that this Christmas season may mark NIWC’s permanent closure.”
About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that exists to restore respect for life in law. Based in Chicago, the Thomas More Society defends the sanctity of human life, the family and religious liberty in courtrooms across the country. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org