MIAMI (AP) — Three of the 16 Planned Parenthood facilities inspected in Florida last week were performing procedures beyond their licensing authority, and one facility was not keeping proper logs relating to fetal remains, officials announced Wednesday.
The Agency for Health Care Administration released a report saying clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples were performing second-trimester abortions when they were only licensed to perform first-trimester abortions. The report also found that a Pembroke Pines clinic was not following its own procedures for the labeling and dating of the disposal of fetal remains.
Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Executive Director Laura Goodhue said in a prepared statement Wednesday night that the licensing violations resulted from the AHCA changing its definitions of gestational periods and that the centers were operating in compliance with Florida law.
"In the health centers AHCA reported on we only perform first trimester abortions, which we measure according to accepted medical guidelines and in accordance with Florida regulations as up to 13 weeks and six days from a woman's last menstrual cycle," Goodhue said in the release. "This, as defined by rules, is still the first trimester. AHCA has never before indicated any different interpretation of this — including at inspections performed as recently as two weeks ago. AHCA's new interpretation is grossly inconsistent with years of previous inspections and outside of both the regulations and accepted medical standards."
Goodhue's statement didn't address the improper logs at one clinic.
Gov. Rick Scott ordered the inspections last week. He said he was troubled by recent videos describing the organization's procedures for providing tissue from aborted fetuses for research.
"We did the right thing in our state by making sure they are complying with the law," Scott said during a Florida Cabinet meeting Wednesday.
When asked whether the inspections were politically motivated, he said, "The videos are pretty disturbing. So the right thing to do is to let the public know we are responding by doing an investigation to make sure they are complying with the law. It's against the law to sell body parts."
Planned Parenthood has come under national attention and congressional scrutiny in recent weeks after the release of two stealthily recorded videos that showed officials discussing how they provide aborted fetal organs for research. Abortion opponents say the videos show the organization is illegally harvesting and selling organs.
Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, has said the group has done nothing illegal and is the target of a political smear campaign. The videos were part of longer discussions, and Richards said the longer videos showed doctors repeatedly saying that Planned Parenthood does not profit from the tissue donations and it receives only reimbursements for costs of providing tissue donated by women.
Goodhue previously noted that Florida doesn't even have a tissue donation program.