Late Monday, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced that he would not certify the abortion center standards adopted by the Board of Health at its June meeting. The decision comes as no surprise as the assistant attorney general advising the Board at the meeting informed members that they exceeded their authority when they voted to make dramatic changes to the proposed regulations. Immediately following his announcement, the abortion industry went into more contrived hysterics. Since the regulations were initially proposed last year, the industry has made the AG a target of its wrath instead of making persuasive arguments about the regulations themselves. Now, they've created an "anti-Cuccinelli" website and plan to protest his public appearances. Again yesterday, industry apologists threatened yet more staged protests on Capitol Square. For an idea of the hysteria, see our News Clips feature from yesterday and today, many of which (the links with an asterisk) include mentions, quotes or sound bytes from The Family Foundation.
The industry also was enraged by Governor Bob McDonnell's appointment Friday of Dr. John Seeds to the Board of Health. Dr. Seeds is the former director of the OB/GYN Department at the Medical College of Virginia and is one of the most respected doctors in his field. Those credentials are not enough for the abortion industry, which is distraught over the fact that Dr. Seeds was a co-chair of OBGYNS for Life, a pro-life organization of medical doctors committed to recognizing the dignity of the unborn.
In 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation that requires the Board of Health to promulgate standards for Virginia's abortion centers. Later that year, it adopted emergency regulations that are currently in effect. Most of the commonwealth's abortion centers have applied for licensing, something required by the standards, and several have already been inspected by Department of Health officials. Permanent regulations are currently going through the long approval process, including review by Attorney General Cuccinelli, with final action coming from Governor McDonnell likely later this year.
Abortion apologists make the unsubstantiated claim that abortion is "safe" and does not require state standards. The fact is, however, that no federal or state law requires that records be kept by the government of complications or deaths due to abortion. There is simply no way to know how many women have been harmed by abortion. In just the past few months, we've uncovered more incidents involving Virginia abortion doctors putting women's health at risk. One clinic operator ultimately surrendered her medical license, but still is allowed to operate abortion centers.
The permanent standards proposed include licensing, inspections, emergency equipment, sanitary standards, adequate training for staff, and necessary reporting of complications and deaths. Ironically, it is liberals arguing that the abortion center standards "will cost too much," while they usually argue that regulations are not costly and burdensome to other industries. We agree that the regulations could cost the abortion industry some of its $1 billion, but it is simply a matter of whether women's health and safety are worth the investment to the industry.