Georgia abortion clinics dispose of tissues properly, state finds

A second state agency on Monday reported that abortion clinics in Georgia are properly disposing of aborted fetuses and fetal tissues.

The object of the investigation was Planned Parenthood Southeast, which operates a surgical facility in Augusta, but the report also cited 11 other facilities.

The Department of Community Health on Monday sent a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal stating that “each licensed facility was found to be in compliance” regarding abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy.

DCH, headed by Commissioner Clyde Reese, sent investigators to 12 facilities across the state, a broader inquiry than the Department of Public Health had undertaken.

Last week, DPH Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald sent Deal a letter saying that five facilities her department had investigated had “proper procedures in place for burial or interment of remains.”

Deal ordered the investigation into abortion clinics or agencies that run them on July 16, after a covertly filmed video showed a national Planned Parenthood official discussing the harvesting of fetal body parts after an abortion. That video, made by anti-abortion activists, enraged abortion foes. Deal, who opposes abortion, was one of the first governors to call for a state investigation to make sure that Planned Parenthood was following Georgia law, which calls for burial or cremation of aborted fetal tissue.

After more than a month of investigation into clinics in Savannah, Columbus, Marietta, Lawrenceville, Atlanta and Augusta, Reese concluded that all clinics are complying with state law. He was unavailable for comment.

Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said the report was “what we expected.”

“We follow the law,” Fox said. “We knew there would be no finding by the Department of Public Health or the Department of Community Health. I think it’s a shame taxpayer dollars were wasted on an investigation that deployed staff all over the state.”