Abortion Facilities in TN: Half Unlicensed, Others in Violation of Health Codes

The Knoxville News Sentinel recently featured a pro-abortion op-ed opposing Amendment 1 by Corinne Rovetti, a director at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Care abortion facility. One of Ms. Rovetti’s claims was that abortion facilities in Tennessee are uniformly licensed, regulated and inspected by the state Department of Health. Unfortunately, this is not true. As a result of a 2002 lawsuit in which owners of other abortion facilities in Tennessee successfully sought relief from the statute requiring licensure of the state’s abortion facilities, half of those facilities advertising and performing abortions in our state remain unlicensed, uninspected and unregulated by the Tennessee Department of Health.

Knoxville Center for Reproductive Care is among those abortion facilities which willingly submits itself to state inspection and licensure--something no longer legally required under Tennessee state law. However, as a 2013 inspection report by the TDOH indicates, Knoxville Center for Reproductive Care falls far short of Ms. Rovetti’s description of “high-quality” and “professional” services.    

 Please review the documentation for yourself.  Among the 57 pages of deficiencies noted by the Tennessee Department of Health:


“…Abdominal and Transvaginal… Ultrasounds were performed on patients by the “counselors” to determine the gestational age of the fetus. Further interview revealed counselors are non-licensed/non-certified staff members who had been trained by the NP to perform the ultrasounds… Review of facility personnel files revealed the facility had one Director of Counseling who held a Masters in Divinity and no health/medical licenses, training, or certifications…”  Pages 3, 4


“Interviews with the [Nurse Practitioner]…confirmed the [Nurse Practitioner] had not been credentialed and did not have delineated privileges to include performing ultrasounds, but was responsible for the training of “counselors” or non-licensed/non-certified staff members to perform the abdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds on patients.” Pages 8, 9


“Further review revealed the facility had, on staff, a Nurse Practitioner (NP) who was an employee of the facility and no credentialing or privileging had been completed…Continued interview with the NP revealed 'they knew me before I started working here so there was no need.' ”  Pages 3, 18


“Interview…in the sterilization room where the narcotic box was located, with the NP, revealed “…wrote the prescription to (named individual) who is an employee at the facility…rarely use Hydrocodone for our patients so the employee got the prescription filled and we give the patients the medications out of the bottle and log them…it is not economical for the facility to purchase the pills in bulk…” Page 1


“Observation…in the clean sterilization room where sterile instruments and equipment are packaged and sterilized, revealed individual ceramic dolls…on the counters.”  Page 19


“Interview with the Administrator and the facility Nurse Practitioner (NP)…confirmed the personal employee items were stored with clean sterile supplies.  Continued interview revealed the clean vaginal speculums were unwrapped and stored next to personal items.  The Administrator and NP confirmed clean items were stored with dirty items.” Page 19


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