Virginia Abortion Clinics get reprieve
From the Washington Post:
RICHMOND — Virginia’s Board of Health offered a surprise reprieve Friday to abortion clinics, voting to exempt existing facilities from new rules that would require extensive renovations.
The board’s decision on imposing stricter building requirements is not the final word. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) still must weigh in on the softened regulations, which had been among the toughest in the nation. His office declined to state an immediate position.
“The Governor will review the final regulations when the board submits them for his review,” McDonnell spokesman Jeff Caldwell said in an e-mail.
The board’s decision came as a shock to people on both sides of the abortion debate.
“It is totally unexpected,” said Rosemary Codding, director of patient services at the Falls Church Healthcare Center, which sent seven staffers to the board’s day-long meeting in Richmond. “I’m so encouraged to think that they’ve done the right thing.”
Many legislators are up in arms. The Board of Health is not the final say-so on this but they were expected to rubber stamp draconian measures through. Pro-choice activists were delighted that the Board of Health showed some surprising gumption. Most of the clinics in Virginia could have been shut down.
Dick Black was perhaps the most outspoken:
“If the purpose of this is to provide protection for women, which I believe it is, then the idea that you would [grandfather in] unsafe conditions seems senseless.”
If his real intent was to protect women then he could start by insisting that all other outpatient surgery facilities meet the same standards. Certainly cosmetic surgery, colonoscopes, and oral surgeries carry most of the same risk that abortion carries. Procedures that involve general anesthesia, rarely used in first trimester abortion, carry more risk. That isn’t going to happen. It is all disingenuous.
Governor McDonnell has yet to comment. Virginia’s new law would be one of the strictest in the United States. Again, strange how Republicans want less government, less intrusive government, and still want to regulate the most personal of decisions. Its very obvious that this move, like the trans-vaginal probe, is just a way to make abortion more costly and less accessible.
Politicians need to leave health care to health care experts and start minding their own business. Today, the health care people brought an unexpected show of sanity to a debate that just needs to go away.