Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Columbia was able to open again Tuesday, after state regulators said the abortion clinic submitted a plan to fix its health violations and paid a $7,500 fine.
The clinic had until Monday to submit its response to 21 violations that state public health officials cited when they issued a suspension order earlier this month. Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) did so, but also asked the state Department of Health and Environmental Control board to reconsider 4 of the violations. That delays any potential license suspension until the board reconsiders the DHEC findings.
Meanwhile, DHEC staff is reviewing Planned Parenthood’s corrective plans to fix the violations. The nonprofit also paid a $7,500 fine.
Gov. Nikki Haley had ordered DHEC to do new inspections of the three abortion clinics in South Carolina last month after videos of the group discussing the potential donation or sale of aborted fetus tissue angered conservatives. The DHEC inspection results announced two weeks ago did not find any evidence of fetal tissue sales in South Carolina, but did cite other violations, including some deemed “serious,” at the Columbia clinic. The violations included lack of documented safety training for some employees and improper disposal of medical waste. Regulators gave the clinic two weeks to come up with a corrective plan or risk losing its license.
Another clinic, the Greenville Women’s Shelter, (which is not affiliated with Planned Parenthood) was also served a suspension order. A DHEC spokeswoman said last week that the Greenville clinic had reached an agreement with the state on a proposed solution and the order was withdrawn with a $2,700 fine.
PPSAT’s CEO Jenny Black said the group met with DHEC staffers on Monday. “The health and safety of our patients and the compassionate care that we have provided to thousands of women, men and young people in South Carolina for over 50 years is our top priority,” she said in a statement to media before the meeting. “We take our role as an essential community health care provider very seriously, and are committed to keeping our doors open to all South Carolinians that rely on us for access to critical health care.”
If DHEC agrees with Planned Parenthood after reconsidering, the citations will be removed and an amended Report of Visit will be sent to the facility. If DHEC disagrees, then the facility will be required to submit a plan of correction that also addresses those citations.
The next DHEC board meeting is October 8.