Family Foundation Public Comments on Abortion Center Safety Regulations

The following comments in support of abortion center regulations were submitted today to the Virginia Board of Health from The Family Foundation: Dear Virginia Board of Health Members:

The Family Foundation of Virginia urges you to accept the currently proposed regulations for Virginia’s abortion centers.  While we understand that this is only the first step in a long process toward permanent regulations, we believe that the regulations presented to the Board of Health by medical experts at the Department of Health would sufficiently improve the health and safety of Virginia's abortion centers.   Providing for regular inspections, standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor be present until a woman is ready to be discharged, proper sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment seem wholly reasonable to protect the health of women who make the unfortunate decision to have an abortion.

From the death of a woman in 2002 to the multiple accusations of negligence and malpractice against an abortion doctor in Virginia Beach to Dr. Steven Brigham, an abortion center owner in Virginia Beach and Fairfax who has had his license to practice suspended or revoked in multiple states and doesn’t even have a license to practice in Virginia, just a cursory review of the Board of Medicine’s website or news stories gives significant reason to be concerned about what is happening inside Virginia’s abortion centers. 

Unfortunately, because the billion dollar abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood and NARAL, has successfully blocked all attempts at requiring that complications from abortion be reported to the Department of Health, there is absolutely no way to know how many women have been harmed due to substandard care in Virginia’s abortion centers.  As you are well aware, a woman who has suffered a complication to an abortion has to give up her privacy to file a charge against the physician.  Many choose to simply remain silent.  Indeed, even in the rare cases where there is a complaint, only the doctor is investigated, the abortion center itself is not part of the investigation.

Despite the rhetoric of the abortion industry claiming that surgical abortion is safe, statistics usually used are nearly a decade old or are the creation of the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that is heavily funded by Planned Parenthood, the largest private abortion provider in the nation.  The only “standard” of care for abortions done in Virginia during the first trimester is that they must be performed by a licensed physician, but the facilities where abortions take place are not required to meet any health or safety standards.  The truth is, because there are no requirements for complications to abortion to be reported, and no state officials are required to inspect abortion centers, we have no way of knowing if the procedure is safe. 

Just this week, in a radio interview with WVTF in Roanoke, an abortion center director confirmed our fears that serious medical emergencies take place in these centers by stating, “When we have had emergencies” leading to transport of patients (presumably to emergency rooms).  The regulations proposed to you will ensure that abortion centers have the proper medical equipment in place until emergency personnel can arrive.

Women in Virginia deserve better than misleading designer statistics and guess work.  Now, you have the opportunity to make sure they are protected by adopting the reasonable, common sense regulations you have before you.  For too long Virginia’s abortion centers have hidden behind a veil of politically motivated secrecy. 

Fortunately, the General Assembly has recognized the need to put women’s health first.  By the legislature’s action, it’s now in your hands to decide just how safe the abortion centers in Virginia will be.  The Family Foundation of Virginia urges you to adopt the abortion center regulations that have been proposed to you by the Department of Health.