This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
A major hospital in Pennsylvania has been cited by the state for closing its annual meetings to pro-life community members in violation of state rules.
Ryan Navarro, a therapist in Pittsburgh who formerly interned and worked at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, had filed a complaint about the hospital with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and now has reported on the results in a column at the Federalist.
"Magee was cited for violating 28 Pa. Code 103.3, 10, iii, which requires hospital governance to hold at least one meeting per year in which members of the community can be in attendance," he reported. "According to the hospital inspection report, 'Based on a review of facility documents and staff interview (EMP), it was determined that the facility failed to provide an opportunity, at least annually, for the public to attend a meeting of the Governing Body.'"
The inspection found that members of the public were not allowed to participate in annual 2021 and 2022 meetings through attendance, using teams, call-ins or in-person."
"Board Chairman William Pietragallo II refused on two separate occasions to directly answer my question about why members of the community were not allowed to view the remote meetings," Navarro reported.
Most recently, when Navarro asked about members of the public not being allowed to participate, Pietragallo said, "We have your ongoing correspondence. We respect and appreciate your deep and abiding commitment to the multiple issues relating to abortion. Please know that the UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, its Board of Directors, and its officers, serve the entire community in which there are alternative points of view. As such, our commitment is to fully comply with the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and to the highest medical ethical standards."
The report confirmed, "The hospital’s board of directors meeting was last accessible to the public in 2019. Magee became a lightning rod for controversy the following year upon the publication of an immunology study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh in which fetal scalps were grafted onto mice and rats. Unborn babies aborted during the second trimester of pregnancy at Magee were indicated as the source of fetal tissue in the study. The hospital holds the distinction of providing more abortions than any other hospital in Pennsylvania and is the primary source of fetal tissue for Pitt researchers."
Further, watchdog Judicial Watch in 2021 released the contents of a 2015 grant application that discussed the ability "to minimize the time between the collection of fetal tissue and cooling the tissue for storage to 'ensure the highest quality biological specimens,' leading to questions about whether the university was harvesting organs from babies born alive at the nearby hospital," the report explained.
The report said, "Following the state Department of Health citation, Magee leaders met on March 13 to create an acceptable plan of corrective action. Moving forward, the hospital has committed to holding the 2023 meeting 'in person and/or via audio-video technology as applicable,' which they say will be 'evidenced in the public board meeting minutes.'"
The HHS Office of the Inspector General continues to investigate, the report said.