NRL News

Virginia Health Commissioner, appointed by pro-abortion governor, recommends gutting protective abortion clinic regulations

by | Oct 2, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Virginia Health Commissioner Marissa Levine

Virginia Health Commissioner Marissa Levine

I started to count all the stories we have written about the attempts of pro-abortionists to gut clinic regulations in Virginia and stopped when I reached a dozen with plenty more to come. That latest update—utterly, utterly predictable—is that Health Commissioner Marissa Levine (appointed by pro-abortion Gov. Terry McAuliffe) recommended that Virginia “overhaul its strict hospital-style regulations on abortion providers,” according to the Washington Post’s Jenna Portnoy.

Understand that “strict hospital-style regulations” is the caricature opponents use to try to position the rules as extreme.

Portnoy wrote

“In a letter to McAuliffe on Wednesday, Levine said she took into account the 14,279 comments that activists submitted on the issue, the majority of which urged her to repeal the regulations outright. But, she said, the state board doesn’t have that authority.

“Levine, whom McAuliffe appointed in February, instead recommended amending the construction and design rules, better aligning rules for drug storage and dispensing to state code and improving standards for medical testing, lab services, emergencies and anesthesia. She also said rules around parental consent required before an abortion should be clarified.”

We can only guess what the latter means, but we know it is not good. When the former is spelled out, we will see that it is obviously intended to require abortion clinics to make only the most minimal improvements.

NRL News Today asked Oliva Gans Turner, President of the Virginia Society for Human Life, for her take on Levine’s letter. She said

“The actions of pro-abortion Gov. McAuliffe and Virginia’s equally pro-abortion Attorney General, Mark Herring, proves unequivocally that elections have consequences! The commitment they both made to pro-abortion groups to reverse the reasonable and much needed protective abortion facility regulations is coming to fruition now.”

“The word games being played by pro-abortion lobbyists disguise their desire to stay in the business of killing unborn babies, even as they continue placing their mothers at risk as well. Virginia’s abortion industry have true friends in McAuliffe and Herring.”

To make an incredibly complicated story relatively straightforward, the crux is the 2011 law which required abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities. But the specifics of implementing the law–formulating the rules–were left to someone else—in this case the state Board of Health. Pro-abortionists successful prevented the rules from taking effect until McAuliffe was elected governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2013.

Click here to read the September issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

Once he became governor, McAuliffe “stacked the 15-member health board with five new abortion rights supporters, after nudging four members to wrap up their terms a month early,” the Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella.”

The Health Board will vote on Levine’s recommendation at its December 4 meeting.

“If the board goes along with Levine’s decision, Health Department staff will write preliminary draft text, a process that could take many months and incorporate the input of medical professionals,” Portnoy wrote. “When the draft text is ready, the Health Department will share it with the board and open another round of public comment.”

There was a lot of chatter in other stories about all this taking “years.” Two things about that. In the interim, however long that is, abortion clinics that perform at least five first-trimester abortions will be free to go their merry way.

Second, this will give McAuliffe more time to appoint still more members to the Health Board who share his dislike for requiring abortion clinics to upgrade—and those “years to complete” will suddenly disappear once he has a sufficient number of compliant board of health members.

Mrs. Turner told NRL News Today that Virginia Health Department inspections have revealed many unsafe and unsanitary conditions. She also emphasized that concerned citizens in the Commonwealth should be sure to “contact the members of the Board of Health, and the Governor and Attorney General’s office to express distress about this careless and politically motivated action.”

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