No matter what you think about abortion centers or the standards of health and safety that govern them, there is one thing on which we should all agree: The law matters.
It would seem to be a matter of bi-partisan concern, then, when over the course of more than three years, the Virginia Department of Health, at the prompting and with the aid of the Governor and Attorney General, engaged in actions which violated numerous provisions of the Administrative Process Act, various other sections of the Virginia Code, and Gov. McAuliffe’s own Executive Order clarifying the rules of the regulatory process. In doing so, the Department impermissibly expanded its amending of six regulatory sections to a total of twenty-one sections, and the public was effectively shut out of the process. Their goal: to roll back as many of the health and safety standards for abortion centers as possible in order to shield the abortion industry at all costs. (With over 1,400 individual violations cited in VA’s abortion centers since 2012, is it any wonder?)
The Family Foundation and others fought the Department every step of the way. We warned them that their actions could lead to costly litigation. Those warnings fell on deaf ears. Eventually, political might won out, as the watered-down standards were rammed through. The administration’s actions appear to be unprecedented in the extent of their lawlessness. Sadly, over the past four years, such actions have come to be expected of this administration when it comes to providing cover and resources for abortionists like Planned Parenthood.
Yet in a society where the rule of law has the final word, political might cannot make “right.” The rule of law must reign supreme. Not even the king himself is above the authority of the law. (See The Magna Carta) The Family Foundation still believes this, and that’s why we’re suing Governor McAuliffe’s Department, Board, and Commissioner of Health.
Some notable pro-abortion activists have suggested that this suit is simply a “last-ditch attempt” to maintain the previous health and safety standards. Well, yes, that’s what lawsuits typically are – a party’s last resort in vindicating the rights to which they are legally entitled. Having exhausted all other political and administrative remedies, we are now left with one of only two options: Lie down and watch the law be trampled, and with it, the lives and health of vulnerable women and babies, OR appeal to the third branch of government, the courts, to ensure the law is upheld as we continue to fight for women and babies.
We’ve chosen the latter.
The rule of law and its impartial application to every person – big and small, powerful or weak – is what holds us together as a society and fosters peace and stability more than anything else. It is indispensable to freedom, and it is our principal safeguard against tyranny. In any contest, our side may not always win, but we are able to accept temporary defeats when we know that all sides played by the same rules agreed to from the start. But when one side ignores the rules and cheats in order to win, we expect – even demand – their “gains” to be reversed. It can be no different with Terry McAuliffe’s Department of Health in its illegal reversal of many of the critical health and safety regulations for abortion centers in the state.
Governor McAuliffe, you leave us no choice. We’ll see you in court.