The Virginia Board of Health today took no action as it learned that a review of abortion center health and safety standards has already been initiated by the Commissioner of Health at the request of Governor Terry McAuliffe. The Board met in Richmond and heard a brief review of the process that will take place over the next several months. In my testimony during the Board's public comment period, I urged the Department of Health to close down the Virginia Beach abortion center of the notorious abortionist Dr. Steven Brigham, the same plea I made at a press conference outside that facility on Tuesday.
You can read more about our press conference here, in story from Wednesday's Norfolk Virginian Pilot. And, you can read more about Steven Brigham and why we believe he should be prohibited from owning or operating abortion centers in Virginia, here. You can read my complete press conference remarks, here.
At today's Board meeting, members learned that the Department of Health will conduct a review over the next several months of Virginia's abortion center health and safety standards adopted just last year. The review will be completed by October 1, but the Board will not likely take any action on what the Department recommends until December. At that point, the Board could reject the Department's recommendation, or begin the arduous 18-month process of redoing the regulations.
For over 20 years abortion centers in Virginia went unregulated. After legislation was passed in 2011 requiring the Board of Health to adopt health and safety standards, it took two years before the standards were finalized. Since the initial inspections of abortion centers began in 2012, more than 300 violations have been found. Multiple abortion centers had bloody and unsterilized equipment. Multiple abortion centers had untrained staff. Multiple abortion centers misused drugs. The list goes on and on.
Incredibly, the same abortion industry that fought for two decades against health and safety standards, including opposing legislation in 2011 that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment, now claims to want "reasonable regulation," but asserts that the current standards are too strict. The industry gave Terry McAuliffe $2 million of hush money during his campaign in hopes that he'd reverse the standards. Honestly, how strict can the regulations be if someone like Steven Brigham can still own or operate two abortion centers in Virginia?
Our hope is that the Commissioner of Health and the Board members do not allow themselves to be bullied by Terry McAuliffe and the abortion industry, and keep the current standards in place.