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Virginia state Board of Health Exempts Existing Abortion Clinics from new regulations

by | Jun 18, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. There is still time to register for the National Right to Life convention June 28-30 and to reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in  Arlington, Virginia. Just go to www.nrlconvention.org.

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In a decision that shocked pro-life and pro-abortionists alike, The Virginia Board of Health Friday exempted existing abortion clinics from new regulations intended to treat abortion clinics like hospitals. The regulations will apply only to new abortion clinics. The vote was 7-4.

Under emergency regulations approved by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell last December, the clinics have been regulated as hospitals. Those emergency regulations were required under legislation adopted by the General Assembly last year.

“It is truly unfortunate that the deadly political motivations of Planned Parenthood of Virginia and other abortion proponents were able to sway the Board of Health,” said Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human life. “As happens too often, Virginia women and their unborn children will suffer at the hands of unchecked abortionists.”

The “Attorney General’s Office is unlikely to certify the proposed regulations and likely will send them back to the board, Senior Assistant Attorney General Allyson K. Tysinger told the board,“ The Richmond Times Dispatch reported. “She declined further comment.”

As proposed, the regulations would have applied to clinics that provide five or more first-trimester abortions a month. In addition to requiring that abortion clinics meet hospital-type standards mandating the size of exam rooms and the width of hallways, the regulations also establish new requirements for inspections, medical procedures and record-keeping.

But last month stories appeared in places like television station WTVR that spoke of pro-abortion activists “taking their case straight to the doors of the state’s top lawmakers and health officials” by “bombard[ing] all 15 members of the board of health, as well as the state’s topic lawmakers with phone calls, e-mails and even personal visits voicing their opposition to the regulations.” Pro-abortionists portrayed these common sense regulations as part of a “war on women.”

When the regulations were passed, the mantra was that they were intended not to protect women but to drive abortion clinics out of business. But in fact, according to a story in the Washington Examiner,

“since the regulations came into effect, 20 clinics have submitted applications  saying they intend to comply with the new standards. Two clinics have said they will perform less than five first-trimester abortions a month, excluding them from the requirement. One has stopped providing abortions.”

That information first became public in late April when the Examiner filed an open-records request. When that story broke, Erik Bodin, of the state Health Department’s Office of Licensure and Certification, told the Examiner’s Steve Contorno, “We didn’t get anything that said, ‘This was the end for us,’” adding, “The health department will now conduct on-site inspections and review the compliance plans.”

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