On Monday, the $1 billion abortion industry got what it paid for; politically motivated protection from Terry McAuliffe. Despite overwhelming evidence uncovered by inspections of abortion centers, including bloody, unsterilized medical equipment, doctors and nurses not washing hands or re-gloving between patients, untrained and unaccountable staffing, and hundreds of other deficiencies, the Board of Health, populated by those who passed the Governor’s pro-abortion litmus test, did as they were ordered and watered down health and safety standards. During this sham process demanded by the Governor, the Board also violated the clear law of Virginia regarding the transparency and ethics of the adoption of regulations.
Some of the more radical changes to the health and safety standards (there were more than 20) include:
Removed the requirement that abortion centers meet the CDC’s minimum standards for preventing infections. Incredibly, one McAuliffe appointed Board member attempted to suggest that the CDCs standards, evidence-based, were not necessarily the best standard to go by, but believes the abortion industry will provide itself adequate standards.
Granted the Commissioner of Health unparalleled and unlimited power to ignore what health standards for abortion centers are left through “permanent” variances. Essentially, the Commissioner can unilaterally decide if any safety standard is unnecessary and cease to enforce them.
Removed requirement that women be offered resources for post-abortive counseling, a standard suggested even by the abortion industry’s own “regulatory” body, the National Abortion Federation.
Removed a requirement – already fulfilled by every abortion center in Virginia – for a facility to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital in case a patient suffers an emergency. One of the Board members told of how even the dentist she takes her son to has a transfer agreement because he does oral surgery.
Of course, all the media will talk about is the Board's decision to remove construction standards, though having adequate space for emergency personnel would seem a reasonable safety feature. The Board also based many of its decisions on a radically aggressive interpretation of a Supreme Court decision from earlier this year.
By the time the Board was done eviscerating the standards, when the Department of Health sends public health inspectors into abortion centers – if it even does – they won’t know what to look for or what standards to hold the facilities accountable to, making it a political farce.
Over and over those members of the Board of Health not controlled by the abortion industry and Terry McAuliffe offered legal and reasonable explanations for keeping the current health and safety standards. Over and over they objected to having to vote on amendments that are outside the original “Notice of Intended Regulatory Action,” making the amendments illegal, and over and over they were defeated by McAuliffe’s appointees.
For our staff, the day began as early as midnight Sunday night, when we had people on the property of the hotel where the meeting was to be held out of concern the rules sent to us late Friday about how entrance to the meeting and signing up for public comment would be enforced. Sure enough, despite being told by both the Department of Health and the hotel management that no one would be allowed to line up until 6:30 am, pro-abortion activists began lining up before 2:00 am. Despite our repeated effort to get the rules enforced, both law enforcement and the hotel refused. Only because so few pro-abortion activists showed up was our side able to gain access to the room.
Several doctors and medical professionals argued during public comment that watering down the health and safety standards flew in the face of any reasonable medical practice and puts women in danger, but their pleas were largely ignored.
The actions of the Board that violate state law and the Board’s disregard for the clear intent of the General Assembly have opened Virginia to costly litigation. We have known from day one of this administration that abortion will be protected at all costs – including ignoring the well-being of the women who make the unfortunate decision to entire an abortion center in Virginia. Under Terry McAuliffe and Mark Herring, the political ends justify illegal means.
But mark my words, this fight is far from over.