WASHINGTON — Some Louisiana congressmen are asking for a congressional investigation into the allegedly poor safety and reporting practices of clinics that perform abortions in Louisiana and nationwide, including Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, last month wrote a letter to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., seeking a federal investigation into clinics that he said “may be slipping through the loophole” and not being properly reviewed and regulated.
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, followed up with similar letters on Wednesday.
“I have been presented with compelling evidence by Louisiana residents that abortions are routinely being performed on minors without the regard to report these procedures to appropriate authorities,” Landry wrote.
“One of the largest clinics in Louisiana has openly admitted to engaging in a pattern of such abuses, and we strongly suspect similar practices may be utilized elsewhere to protect the clinics’ profits and to avoid negative public perception,” he added.
Landry said Wednesday that he was referring to Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge.
Although he has not visited the clinic, Landry said he has received evidence from longtime anti-abortion activist Richard Mahoney, of Baton Rouge, and others.
In 2009, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals cited the Delta Clinic for not properly filling out “Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy” forms.
But DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein said last year that multiple return visits have demonstrated such poor reporting practices by the clinic were discontinued.
Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge officials did not respond to a phone message Wednesday.
Landry and Boustany are running against each other for re-election on Nov. 6 because they were forced into the same district through congressional reapportionment based on the 2010 census.
Louisiana lost a congressional seat because of slow population growth.
Boustany on Wednesday sent letters to Upton and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas.
Upton’s office and his committee staff this past summer played a role in congressional negotiations that stripped more than $650 million in federal Medicaid dollars for Louisiana’s public hospitals and poorest residents.
Boustany’s letters specifically noted that incomplete reporting by clinics that perform abortions could protect statutory rapists.
“These physician-signed forms potentially shielded statutory rapists by listing the father’s age and state of residence as ‘unk’ or unknown in advance,” Boustany wrote.
Louisiana law requires the reporting of carnal knowledge of minors.
“Pregnant adolescents” suffer from such inaction, Boustany stated.
Last year, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., sent a letter to Greenstein and Gov. Bobby Jindal seeking more enforcement against clinics that perform abortions and sidestep regulations.
Landry said he would like to see “more action” from state government.
But because this also is a national issue, he said, he is seeking the congressional investigation.
He said he also is concerned about such clinics operating in “unsanitary” working conditions.
Landry has not yet received any formal response from Upton, but Landry said he hopes to hear back shortly after the Nov. 6 elections, if not sooner.