Thomas More Society and Illinois Right to Life Call for Health Violation Fines to be Upheld
(Tuesday, February 11, 2014 – CHICAGO) Today, Thomas More Society attorneys along with Illinois Right to Life issued a women’s public health memorandum demanding the Illinois Attorney General’s office appeal Judge Alexander White’s decision to permit a $77 payment to satisfy the Illinois Department of Public Health’s $36,000 fine against Women’s Aid Clinic.
According to the women’s public health memo, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) conducted its first health inspection in 15 years of Women’s Aid Clinic on September 9, 2011. Following the inspection, the IDPH shut down the women’s clinic on an emergency basis, assessing countless sanitary violations. Some of these violations included storing frozen tv dinners in the same biohazard refrigerator as eight containers of fetal tissue. All five recovery rooms contained rust and nearly twenty medication cups with Motrin and Tylenol also had crumbs in them. A technician was observed by inspectors as “retrieving a paper towel from a garbage receptacle and using the same paper towel to cover a tray that would serve food items to patients.” The IDPH inspection report also cited the women’s clinic for failing to perform CPR on a girl who died following an abortion.
“The women of Illinois deserve well-kept and sanitary health centers, not substandard ones,” said Emily Zender, executive director of Illinois Right to Life. “We demand the Illinois Attorney General’s office treat women better by holding this women’s health center fully accountable for abusing their female patients. Failure to appeal the ruling effectively creates get-out-of-jail-free cards that allow health centers to skirt fines by playing Chicago-style politics with women’s health.”
According to the memo, after the IDPH inspection and assessment of fines, Women’s Aid Clinic owner Larisa Rozansky informed the IDPH that “…Women’s Aid Clinic, IDPH LIC. NO. 7001647 will be closing as of November 10, 2011.” However, the memo details evidence that Rozansky closed Women’s Aid Clinic only to promptly open Women’s Aid Center in its place—at the same address, with the same phone number, and using the same website.
“Compelling evidence makes it clear that Women’s Aid Clinic is attempting to duck responsibility for their flagrant disregard for women’s safety simply by making a minor, technical change to their name,” said Jocelyn Floyd, an attorney for the Thomas More Society. “How can the women of this state trust the Illinois Department of Public Health to protect female patients if the consequences for not meeting Illinois’ medical standards are just brushed aside?”
According to the public health memorandum, strongly persuasive evidence was produced to Judge Alexander White that Women’s Aid Clinic changed its name and filed a new business registration to avoid paying the sanitary violation fines. However, the women’s health center’s attempt to skirt the law was ignored and its fine was reduced to $77, which was the amount claimed to be remaining in the bank account on the entity.
The Illinois Attorney General has until February 13, 2014, to appeal Judge Alexander’s January 14th ruling that allows a $77 payment to suffice for $36,000 worth of violations.
A copy of the memorandum can be viewed here.