Florida inspectors cite four Planned Parenthood clinics for violations

Investigators in Florida have cited four Planned Parenthood clinics for violations, including one that kept improper logs for disposal of fetal remains, state officials said Wednesday.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration said it also found that clinics in St. Petersburg, Naples, and Fort Myers have performed second-trimester abortions without a license to do so.

"These facilities have been notified to immediately cease performing second-trimester abortions," AHCA spokesperson Shelisha Coleman said in a statement Wednesday. "The agency may take additional actions against these facilities, including administrative sanctions."

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the agency could fine the clinics up to $500 per violation. A clinic in Pembroke Pines, in Broward County northwest of Miami, has been given until Aug. 15 to submit plans to fix its record-keeping procedures related to disposal of fetal remains.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered a state investigation into Planned Parenthood after the release of graphic videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the provision of fetal tissue to medical researchers. The organization has denied that the videos show any illegal activity, while conservatives say the videos prove the organization is illegally profiting from the sale of fetal organs and tissue.

"The videos are disturbing," Scott said Wednesday. "It's against the law to sell body parts, so we did the right thing in our state to just make sure they're complying with the law."

The Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates issued a statement Wedesday denying any wrongdoing and asserting that it does not have a tissue donation program in the state. It also denied the charge that it had performed unlicensed second-trimester abortions.

"The claim that any of our health centers are performing procedures we are not licensed to perform is false and seemingly stems from AHCA flip-flopping on their own rules and definitions of gestational periods," executive director Laura Goodhue said.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is still reviewing a request by state Rep. Charles McBurney that a criminal investigation into the organization be launched.

Eleven states have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood since the release of the videos, including Texas, Ohio, and Massachusetts. Indiana recently concluded its investigation of clinics in the state and found that no laws were broken.

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