MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) — Planned Parenthood is responding to allegations made by Florida Governor Rick Scott’s administration saying three clinics did not have the proper licensing to perform second-trimester abortions.READ MORE: ‘My Heart Dropped’: Parkland Woman Teams Up With Neighbors To Rescue Rabbit Found With Dart In Its Face
The organization is calling the accusations “a transparent attempt to discredit the care we provide.”
Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, issued a statement late Wednesday, hours after the state Agency for Health Care Administration said it was taking action against clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples.
“I can state unequivocally that all of our health centers are operating in full compliance with Florida law as well as best practices in reproductive health care,” Goodhue said. “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.”
Scott last week ordered AHCA to investigate 16 Planned Parenthood clinics that perform abortions. The order came as Planned Parenthood has been the subject of a national controversy that stems from the release of a series of undercover videos related to fetal tissue.READ MORE: ‘We Share The Frustration With The World’: Police Chief Takes Aim At Missing Florida Woman Gabby Petito’s Fiancé, Who Isn’t Speaking
Documents released Wednesday by AHCA alleged that the clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples were licensed to perform first-trimester abortions but performed procedures in the second trimester. The documents also indicated that Planned Parenthood and AHCA interpreted the start of the second trimester differently.
The clinics considered the first trimester to last 13 weeks and six days, while state investigators used a rule defining the second trimester as the “portion of a pregnancy following the 12th week and extending through the 24th week of gestation.”
The documents said abortions were performed, for example, at 13 weeks and three days and 13 weeks and four days. In releasing the information, AHCA said it had ordered the clinics to cease performing second-trimester abortions without licenses and said it might take additional actions, including administrative sanctions.
“Licenses are in place to protect the patient from unscrupulous operators, and the state of Florida will ensure every facility is held accountable for its actions,” AHCA said in releasing the information.
But in her statement late Wednesday, Goodhue said AHCA had not raised issues about Planned Parenthood’s interpretation of trimesters in the past — including during inspections as recent as two weeks ago. “AHCA’s new interpretation is grossly inconsistent with years of previous inspections and outside of both the regulations and accepted medical standards,” she said.MORE NEWS: Miami Heat & Miami-Dade County Team Up To Vaccinate Law Enforcement Officers At FTX Arena
(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)