From the Virginia Catholic Conference that led efforts to oppose proposed measures undertaken by the Virginia Board of Health:
“The Virginia Board of Health capped a 12-hour meeting yesterday by voting to hollow out critical regulations for Virginia abortion clinics, placing the profits of the abortion industry above the health and safety of Virginia women. The board’s vote included dozens of votes on amendments never vetted with Virginians as required by state law, and came despite repeated warnings from medical experts about inadequate infection control standards, and concerns voiced by fellow board members that the board was exceeding its authority.
The Board, comprised of 15 members, all but 4 of whom were appointed by Governor McAuliffe, opted to weaken the very regulations that in March of this year allowed state health inspectors to uncover filthy conditions at a Fairfax abortion clinic reminiscent of the infamous Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.” That inspection led the State Health Commissioner to suspend the clinic’s license indefinitely.
The Board passed originally proposed amendments that dealt primarily with construction standards, but it also passed additional amendments—first offered yesterday—thereby dramatically exceeding the scope of the original Notice of Intended Regulatory Action. Hence, in addition to weakening 22 different areas of the regulations, the Board acted illegally by passing amendments never before submitted for public comment. Among the most egregious amendments that threaten Virginia women:
The Board passed an amendment offered by member and former State Senator Mary-Margaret Whipple giving the Health Commissioner unprecedented authority to grant permanent waivers to the regulations without any explanation. This effectively allows the Health Commissioner to unilaterally ignore the regulations, including those that have uncovered unsanitary conditions in Virginia abortion clinics.
It repealed a regulation requiring abortion clinics to maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a local hospital in case a patient requires hospitalization after an abortion due to complications. This requirement is currently followed by all Virginia abortion clinics.
It repealed a regulation requiring abortion clinics to provide or refer to resources for post-abortion counseling, a regulation supported by none other than the abortion industry “regulatory” agency, the National Abortion Federation.
It struck all references to CDC Infection Prevention Guidelines, the standard adhered to by health care facilities across the nation.
The Board passed these and many other amendments weakening the regulations despite the objection of board members who repeatedly cautioned fellow members that the board was exceeding its regulatory authority.
During a two-hour comment period earlier in the day, several medical professionals, including OB/GYNs, nurses, and infectious disease specialists urged the Board to maintain basic clinical operating standards for abortion clinics. Their remarks were ignored and jeered at by pro-abortion forces.
Yesterday’s outcome proves that the health and safety of Virginia women is negotiable. The abortion industry, which contributed $2 million in campaign contributions to the current governor, was the clear and predetermined winner.
The next step in the process is a review of the approved amendments by both the Office of the Attorney General and the Governor. However, yesterday’s vote will likely lead to costly and lengthy litigation, further delaying protection for women who visit abortion centers.”
The American Solidarity Party opposes abortion but is opposes also the degradation of health code standards for one surgical and medical industry. This is political favoritism at the expense of women, many of them poor and struggling. Virginia abortion clinics have been found in the past to be unsanitary and unsafe by any standard. This is not pro-women; this is pro-abortion industry. The American Solidarity Party calls on all Virginians of good will to demand that the Governor and Attorney General support protections to women’s health and make these regulations stand.