The following opinion column by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb appeared in the June 1 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. More about unsafe abortion centers in Virginia, click here to read about TFF's call for the closing of one particularly nefarious abortion center in Virginia Beach, and here for the transcript of Victoria's statement at a news conference yesterday in Virginia Beach. The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot has more about yesterday's news conference, here.
Hundreds Of Reasons Abortion Centers Are Unsafe
When Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a review of Virginia’s abortion center health and safety standards, he said, "I am concerned that the . . . regulations adopted last year jeopardize the ability of most women's health centers to keep their doors open and place in jeopardy the health and reproductive rights of Virginia women."
Note what was missing: He wasn’t concerned with the actual health of women, just their "rights" and the "ability of" abortion centers to stay open. In the three years since the General Assembly passed a law requiring abortion centers in Virginia to meet minimal health and safety standards, public health inspectors have uncovered more than 300 reasons why it is concern for the health of women, and not well-being of the $1 billion abortion industry, that begs to keep the standards in place. Included in those 300 reasons:
♦ At the A Capital Women's Clinic in Richmond, among dozens of citations, the facility didn’t "change the [sterilizing] solution in the sink every time dirty instruments are brought in (instructions for [sterilizing] say to change solution every time)" and "the sponge used to clean instruments is only changed once per week."
♦ At the Richmond Medical Center for Women, "Staff re-used sponges for cleaning blood and body fluid spills post procedures."
♦ At the Roanoke Medical Center for Women, "observation revealed one of the vacutainer needle holders had visible dark red splatter within the hub, which attached to the needle to draw the patient’s blood." There was also dried blood splatter on patient tables and patient room walls.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The abortion industry tries to distract by criticizing the requirement that abortion centers have wide enough doorways and hallways for emergency responders to meet the needs of patients in dangerous situations, but it never mentions bloody and unsterilized medical equipment, untrained staff, violations of state law and federal drug policies, and lack of policies for the reporting of possible cases of child sexual abuse that are rampant in their abortion centers.
The abortion industry continues to pronounce itself safe, but official inspection reports are indisputable evidence that its idea of safe is far different than any reasonable person could claim.
Perhaps more frightening, many of the inspections were pre-announced, meaning operators of these facilities had time to prepare for inspections and believed their facilities were clean and safe. What other medical practice sees blood-splattered equipment as safe?
Some industry representatives claim they support regulations but that Virginia’s standards "go too far." In fact, for several years they adamantly opposed legislation before the Virginia General Assembly that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment. The discovery of widespread violations of health and safety in the inspections the industry fought so hard to stop reveals that it has no credibility when it comes to which regulations are necessary and which are not. An industry that has covered up for two decades the kinds of problems found in the inspection reports does not deserve to be taken seriously when it comes to how it should be regulated.
Despite the hysterical claims of some, nothing in the health and safety standards forces an abortion center to stop providing other health care services should they refuse to meet the standards for performing abortions. Such rhetoric exposes the reality that they are in the business of abortion and not health care. Clearly, they have not been in the business of clean facilities and trained staff.
McAuliffe’s decision to ask for a review of abortion center standards is a political act motivated by $2 million of hush money the abortion industry poured into his election. The women of Virginia deserve better than to be pawns in his political aspirations.
Victoria Cobb briefs the media at a news conference yesterday outside a Steven Brigham abortion center in Virginia Beach. (Photo, courtesy Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.)