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Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania temporarily halts surgical abortions

| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:12 a.m.

Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania has temporarily stopped performing surgical abortions at its Liberty Avenue clinic while it renovates the facility to meet new state standards, a spokeswoman said Monday.

The clinic plans to resume surgical abortions in December and still performs medical abortions, which are induced with drugs, said Rebecca Cavanaugh, spokeswoman for the nonprofit.

“That's the plan so far, but it's construction, so you never know,” she said.

Planned Parenthood is working with the state to make sure its renovated facility meets all regulations and is referring women seeking surgical abortions to other clinics in the meantime, Cavanaugh said.

Helen Cindrich, executive director for People Concerned for the Unborn Child, said that if the delay encourages even one pregnant woman to reconsider an abortion, it's good news.

“The fact that the state has caught up with them just a little bit is wonderful,” she said.

The General Assembly in 2011 passed a law requiring abortion clinics to meet the same regulations as ambulatory surgical facilities and undergo regular and unannounced inspections.

The law was passed after a police investigation of a squalid Philadelphia abortion clinic, dubbed the “house of horrors,” where at least two women died.

The clinic's operator, Kenneth Gosnell, 71, is scheduled to stand trial in Philadelphia next year on multiple counts of murder, conspiracy and criminal solicitation, according to state court records.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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