Photos show abortion clinic violations
Clinic shut down by fire marshal; will not re-open
Updated: Tuesday, 08 Jan 2013, 11:50 AM EST
Published : Monday, 07 Jan 2013, 8:40 PM EST
Mich. (WOOD) - Photos reveal some of the unsanitary conditions that led
the Muskegon Fire Marshall to shut down an abortion clinic. Authorities
say the code violations put the health and safety of patients at risk.
The photos, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, were taken by police when they entered the Women's Medical Services Building on Dec. 26, 2012 to investigate a break-in.
The photos show unsanitary conditions, including stained medical equipment near an examination chair, trash near lab equipment and discarded in a storage room, and water stains and holes in a leaky ceiling that is falling apart.
The investigator also reported "blood dripping from a sink p-trap in a room used by patients."
Police did find evidence of a broken rear window connected to the break-in. But it's what they found inside the clinic that prompted the fire marshal to shut the place down.
The photos document a long list of violations that pose a danger to "human life and public welfare," according to city documents.
Among the 11 violations noted by the fire marshal
was the improper disposal of syringes and needles, unsterilized medical
equipment and dumping of chemicals and other liquids down the drain.
Target 8 investigators spoke with Dr. Robert Alexander, who ran the clinic, over the phone. He blamed the mess on whoever broke in.
"The last time I was there, when I left, it was pristine," he said. "It was good."
Alexander told Target 8 that he hadn't seen the pictures, but wouldn't
comment further because he said it was part of a crime scene.
The list of violations have been passed on to the state, which is also investigating a September 2012 complaint by Operation Rescue - an anti-abortion group out of Kansas.
Police were also called out to the clinic in May on reports that a group of local protesters was outside harassing patients as they walked in. Police questioned the leader of the protest and the group broke up without incident. In that incident, Alexander didn't want to file a formal complaint.
Target 8 has learned there are only four licensed abortion clinics in the state. Heritage Clinic for Women in Grand Rapids is one of them. A clinic must be licensed if they perform abortions on 50% of the women that come in for an exam. Women's Medical Services in Muskegon was a non-licensed clinic.
City officials tell Target 8 the clinic will not re-open.