DHH responds to concerns about abortion clinic

By Brittany Pieper – email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) –Thursday, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals responded to concerns about the Hope Abortion Clinic in Shreveport.  The DHH shut down the clinic last week after their inspection cited that the clinic failed to ensure a physician performed and documented a physical exam on each patient prior to a procedure. The report also says the clinic failed to follow several mandatory procedures involving anesthesia.

It was the first clinic in the state to have to shut it's doors under a new state law that allows the DHH to close an abortion clinic immediately if any health or safety concerns are found, but the clinic founder has said she feels the closure is political, not medical.

While anti-abortion protestors celebrated the Hope Clinic's closure, another woman worried about her health. She sent KSLA News 12 an e-mail that said. "Do I need to go get checked by another doctor for anything cause I was just at Hope getting a abortion. 8/21/10 is when I got the abortion and I am a little' worried."

KSLA News 12 took her concerns to the DHH, and asked them to explain exactly why they decided to close the clinic. Dr. Jimmy Guidry says his biggest concern with the clinic is that they didn't properly monitor the anesthesia levels during procedures.

"The other thing that was, that they didn't literally have a physical exam before undergoing the procedures," said Guidry.

He claims the health risks found are serious.

"The one thing about anesthesia and sedation is that it causes respiratory depression, which means that it can cause your breathing to get shallow. It can get you into serious trouble if you're not being monitored," said Guidry.

However, Dr. Guidry says women who have already gotten an abortion here at the Hope Clinic do not need to worry about their health.

"The risks that we found, that we cited in the visits, had to do with at the time of the procedure. It's not a risk that would continue past the procedure," he said.

Guidry says if the clinic wants to reopen they will need to change some of their policies, "they would have to make sure that the people who are doing these procedures are have proper credentials and are trained."

The founder of the clinic, Robin Rothrock, says their lawyers are working to find a way to reopen the facility as soon as possible.

The DHH says it also inspected the abortion clinic in Bossier City, but did not find any serious violations there.

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