Friday, April 12, 2013

Victory Alert: Board of Health Finalizes Abortion Center Regulations


Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, April 12, 2013

Victory Alert: Board of Health Finalizes Abortion Center Regulations


This morning began with Family Foundation staff and abortion activists on both sides standing in line outside at 6AM in a tornado watch with pouring rain and lightning, waiting to get into the Board of Health meeting, and ended with the permanent abortion center health and safety regulations being finalized.  Today marks a major victory for the pro-life movement in Virginia as well as a remarkable step forward for the wellbeing of women in the Commonwealth.


Today’s story actually begins yesterday when The Family Foundation obtained documents from the Virginia Department of Health that indicated continued widespread health and safety violations at Virginia’s abortion centers and widespread failure to fulfill plans of correction for earlier found deficiencies.  At one facility, Virginia state law (parental consent and an ultrasound requirement) was actually broken … numerous times.  Startling findings included:


  • the exam room of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia had a small bin where examination instruments were placed which was filled with water and had a dead insect floating inside
  • dried blood was found on the exam light in the procedure room at Richmond Medical Center for Women
  • three of four patients having an abortion at Roanoke Medical Center for Women on December 18th were minors with no evidence of parental consent in their record
  • dried blood on a chair in the recovery room at NOVA Women’s Healthcare
  • no documentation at Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic that their three abortion doctors have valid and current medical licenses, let alone the experience and qualifications required to perform abortions


These reports from the unannounced, follow-up inspections of abortion centers continued to show dozens and dozens of deficiencies – some even worse than before.  Even after submitting plans to correct deficiencies, Virginia abortion centers have not chosen to do so.  The Board owed it to the people of Virginia, the women of Virginia, to protect the health and safety of Virginians.


So early this morning, activists packed the board room as the Board of Health began to discuss the regulations.  Click here to view pictures.  A public comment period began, led off by Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield), chairman of the Senate Education and Health committee, who encouraged the Board to pass the regulations affirming that as drafted, they fulfilled General Assembly direction.  Numerous abortion supporters followed – many taking on a satirical tone, demeaning the Board and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and suggesting that those with religious (i.e. Christian) beliefs should not be allowed to voice their opinion. 


Family Foundation President, Victoria Cobb testified revealing the results of the inspections released yesterday.  Other pro-life groups that testified included the Virginia Catholic Conference, Concerned Women for America, and the Jubilee Project, a pro-life public interest law firm.  Other groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, had submitted public comment.


After the comment period, two members of the Board attempted delay tactics and an amendment, both of which failed on a vote of 11-2.  The amendment would have “grandfathered” existing abortion centers meaning that they would not be required to meet the structural requirements mandated in the regulations. 


Board member Amy Vest struck down any chance of passage the grandfather amendment may have had by telling the Board that she recently scheduled a walk-through of an abortion center in her area and was disappointed by the health and safety risks she encountered (creaky stairs that would likely not hold the weight of EMS personnel/gurney/patient, sinks that would not allow space for proper hand-washing techniques, and hallways that would not accommodate a gurney in the case of an emergency).


The vote on passage was finally called for and in an overwhelming 11-2 margin, the regulations were finalized.  While pro-life attendees applauded and gave thanks, abortion advocates jumped to their feet, chanting “you have blood on your hands” and held up signs bearing Cuccinelli’s face.  Some had covered their hands in fake blood and waved their hands in the air.  Another man sang a dirge about refusing to be overcome, causing him to be removed by the police.  Security was eventually forced to clear the room due to the disrespect of the pro-abortion crowd.


Regardless of the pro-abortion antics, the regulations have passed and a significant victory has been won for women and for children of the Commonwealth.  Gratitude goes to the 11 Board members who voted in favor of the regulations.  Additionally, we would like to thank the state and federal pro-life organizations for their tireless support and all our loyal supporters who have sacrificed their time over the past two years writing comments to the Board, speaking during public comment periods, and showing up at the meetings to pray for and support the Board.  Today is a good day for the health and safety of women and children in Virginia.

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