Virginia's abortion centers

Can't Wait For The 2013 Statistics . . .

Below is an image provided by The Human Rights and Scientific Honesty Initiative at the University of Virginia that cites dramatic a drop in abortions in Virginia since the adoption of the ultrasound law — which is probably why Senator Mamie Locke (D-2, Hampton) asked the Senate to do this a couple of weeks ago, so that Virginia's abortion centers could resume operating in secrecy and mischief. Even more encouraging is that while the drop from 2011 to 2012 is significant and encouraging, the law was only in effect for half the that year. It means the 2013 statistics should be even better and more encouraging. Of course, the abortion industry will point to other factors, but there were no new variables in play during the time in question, and none of the pro-abortion side's tried-and-failed "solutions" to prevent pregnancies would have such an immediate affect.  The drop from 2010 to 2011 was good, but nothing like the subsequent differential. We can't wait to see what the 2013 statistics show.

Abortion stats since ultrasound

 Coincidence? Probably not. The numbers tell the story and that's why the pro-abortion side hates the ultrasound law.

Responding Where The Left Goes Unchallenged

One of the great challenges of The Family Foundation is to be a voice of reason in a world where the media carries the message of the left without any challenge to its lack of logic. Within the past few days, I've encountered a number of these opportunities.

In an interview with a clearly biased reporter, which she indicated would be about abortion center safety standards, I was asked to respond to the 18 percent drop in the abortion rate over the last five years. Without more specific information, I respond that many common sense abortion laws had been passed in addition to the great work done in the area of foster care and adoption. But this response doesn't match the reporter’s narrative. The official narrative, her narrative, was that any drop in abortion must relate to contraception.

Basic knowledge of biology says that only a drop in the pregnancy rate, not the abortion rate, can be directly attributed to contraception. For simplicity sake, consider this example: Let's say 1,000 women got pregnant in 2007 and 25 women chose abortion, but in 2011, 1,000 women got pregnant and only 20 women chose abortion. In this example, the number of conceptions has not changed (still 1,000) and thus tying the decrease in abortion (25 to 20) to contraception is illogical. Rather, it means that five women made alternate choices from abortion regarding their pregnancies.

With this in mind, I found it interesting when the reporter next began to challenge me on contraception but never told me anything about the pregnancy rate or even the "unintended" pregnancy rate during the five year period.

What is known is that even the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the abortion industry, acknowledges:

In six [countries] — Cuba, Denmark, Netherlands, the United States, Singapore and the Republic of Korea — levels of abortion and contraceptive use rose simultaneously.

To get a more accurate picture of what is actually happening in Virginia, one would need the birth rate, abortion rate and the number of children given up for adoption over time. Without that, both sides of this debate can guess at a reporter's questions and the reporter can angle her story in whatever direction she chooses.

A second opportunity to be a voice of reason took place when I was asked to respond to a Washington Post poll of Virginia voters and their views on various social issues. Prior to the interview, I requested to see the poll. The response from the reporter was "I'm afraid we don't normally share the poll." Seriously? I'm supposed to listen to the reporter's summation of the results and draw conclusions based on her conclusions? Yes, that's their hope because the assumption is that like dumb sheep, the right can be led into a ditch. The reporter was obviously dismayed that I challenged nearly all of the poll's assumptions.

As an example of the problem opining without data causes, the reporter asked me if the Republican Party ought to change its position to attract more voters as a result of the alleged shift on same-sex marriage. This question required me to presume the rest of her poll that I had not seen. I mentioned that if this poll matched any other poll on this matter, then the reporter would know that minorities support traditional marriage. She seemed surprised that I would draw this distinction but fully acknowledged that my point was well taken, was supported by the details of the poll and that changing a position on same-sex marriage wasn't going to attract the minorities the Republican Party is desperate to reach. (Oh, and shockingly, no questions about the Kermit Gosnell trial or the nearly 300 health and safety violations in Virginia's abortion centers. Then again, why ask about what you refuse to report?)

This interview leads me to the final difficulty of trying to present reason in a world where narratives are predetermined. Two days ago, I received a call at home from Quinnipiac asking me to take a political survey. I readily agreed but discovered just what I feared. When asked my top issue for determining how I vote, I was given approximately 10 choices, none of which were values issues. Similarly, I was asked about the Star Scientific situation regarding both Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli but was never asked about Terry McAuliffe's false claims regarding green technology and jobs. Zero questions about the abysmal conditions found in Virginia's abortion centers. Even funnier, I was asked if I consider myself "Born Again," "Evangelical" or "None of the above." I'd love to meet someone who is "Evangelical" but not "Born Again." When the questions are this biased and misinformed, it's hard, if not impossible, for a polling company to get a clear sense of the electorate.

But then again, if the purpose of the poll is to reinforce a predetermined narrative, the pollsters, nor the media, are interested in the sense of the electorate. They are trying to steer the electorate. Which is one reason why, despite not knowing all the details, I do these interviews. If there isn't a voice of reason included in the story, the media wins without a fight.

Watch What The Media Doesn't Want You To See . . .

Yesterday was the midpoint of the 2013 General Assembly session, and a lot has happened so far this year. Some of it you may have read about in the newspaper or seen on the news, but a lot you have not. For several years, in an effort to bring you the most comprehensive information about what happens at the General Assembly, we have videotaped key debates in both sub- and full committee meetings (see our YouTube channel). At a meeting of the Senate Education and Health Committee earlier in session, at least one capitol reporter seemed a bit put off by our efforts. As one of our staff members set up our camera in the committee room, in the same place we've set it up for several years, one senior reporter asked her for whom she worked. Upon hearing that she was with The Family Foundation, he chastised her saying, "You can’t do that here. You aren't credentialed press." A quick conversation with a Capitol Police officer made it clear to the reporter that committee hearings are public meetings and we can videotape them if we want.

So, it would appear that either the reporter had forgotten that our government's actions are open to the public or, perhaps, he's a bit intimidated by the fact that the media narrative is going to be challenged by the video showing exactly what happened, not how he and his colleagues describe it in in their "stories" and "articles." Of course, maybe he just didn't want his view blocked (though our camera was right next to a large post so we wouldn't block anyone's view).

Perhaps some of the issue is that our video exposes their media myths. In a Richmond Times-Dispatch article about the Ed and Health meeting — and specifically the debate over abortion center health and safety standards — one reporter wrote:

Both sides in the abortion debate packed the hearing room with advocates of the same arguments they've used to battle each other for the past two years.

Except, that's not at all accurate. As you will see watching the video, we used material from Department of Health inspection reports that show wide spread health and safety violations at Virginia's abortion centers — something the Times-Dispatch simply refuses to cover — material that was available just this past summer. It is new evidence we obtained from the department this past summer and last month via Freedom of Information Act requests and proves why we needed the health and safety standards. It is evidence we didn't have prior to the regulations, so we couldn't have used it "to battle each other for the past two years."

Even if we obstructed some reporters' views, we didn't affect their hearing, yet the media reported we offered no new information on the abortion center safety standards debate. It is clear we had new evidence of numerous violations not previously available to the public. (The new evidence is presented at about 5:50 into the video.)

We've said for the past year that there are some capitol reporters who have exchanged reporting for opining and, in particular, have driven some of the hysteria surrounding pro-life legislation. They've ignored or dismissed the facts about what's happening in Virginia's abortion centers, and they have little interest in balance.

Many journalists in Richmond still do great work and are fair, balanced and hard workers, while several clearly have allowed their bias to affect their work. All the more reason for our being here — years ago we accounted for the reasons the changing media landscape demanded we be here — and for you to watch the video and to share it with others.

EXCLUSIVE: More Evidence Of Disturbing Health And Safety Violations At Abortion Centers

The Family Foundation of Virginia issued the following news release earlier today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 13, 2012

More Evidence of Health and Safety Violations at Abortion Centers — Roanoke Center has blood covered bed; Manassas has 17 pages of deficiencies —

RICHMOND—The Family Foundation of Virginia today released more information and documents obtained from the Virginia Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act that shows widespread health and safety violations at Virginia’s abortion centers. (See yesterday's exclusive documentation of 80 health violations at nine Virginia abortion centers. The violations cited below and yesterday cover only the nine of the 20 abortion centers in Virginia. We are waiting for information on the inspections of the other 20.)

Perhaps the most shocking information is from the inspection report of the Roanoke Planned Parenthood Health Systems center, where

An observation was conducted on July 20, 2012 on 10:20 a.m. with Staff #10, Staff #11 and Staff #12 within Procedure room (D).  The observations revealed a brownish red splatter approximately one inch diameter between the procedure table's main cushion and the end of the table support cushion.  Staff #10 initially identified the substance, but was unable to maneuver the brush between the two cushions.  Staff #10, Staff #11, and Staff #12 determined the end of the table support cushion was attached to a metal track and was removable.  Staff #10 removed the support cushion the edge of the cushion closest to the main body of the table had multiple areas of dried blood.  The undercarriage of the support cushion had multiple areas w[h]ere blood had dripped and ran down the under carriage.  The accumulation of dried blood varied in coloration and thickness.  Staff #10 acknowledged the substance was dried blood and not betadine.  Staff #10 and Staff #12 acknowledged with the accumulation of dried blood the procedure table had not been disinfected between patients.

“Eighty violations in just nine centers, including untrained staff, unsanitary conditions, improperly labeled and stored drugs, and blood on equipment are not minor to women in Virginia and indicate a complete disregard for the health and safety of the patients going to these centers,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation.  “The more we learn the more women in Virginia should be outraged at what the abortion industry considers safe and healthy.  The women of Virginia will not dismiss these reports as easily as the abortion industry has chosen to do.  The abortion industry clearly has no interest in the health and dignity of women or they wouldn’t consider a patient bed that’s covered with blood safe and healthy.”

At the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Inc. clinic in Falls Church

Employee #6 stated, "I mix the medications, applies (sic) a label and takes the vials to the procedure room for the physician to draw up and inject into the patient prior to the procedure.  They are used for numbing the cervix."  Employee #6 was asked who verified the medications she was mixing and she stated, "No one."  While observing the medications being mixed Employee #6 was observed cleaning the tops of the vials prior to the first puncture of each vial.  She did not clean the tops prior to the second puncture of the vials.  Employee #6 stated, "The current research says it doesn't make any difference.  You could lick the tops of the vials and the infection rate would be the same."

A June 1, 2012 inspection of the Amethyst Health Center for Women in Manassas found 17 pages of deficiencies including infection prevention citations, storage and dispensing of drugs citations, quality assurance citations, maintenance citations, and local and state code standards citations.  Incredibly, this came just two months after a March 27, 2012 meeting of the abortion center’s “Quality Assurance Committee” including “Administrator/Owner, Medical Director/Physician, Counselor, LPN, CNA, and a consultant” concluded, “The staff was polled regarding any concerns about patient care and nothing was identified. ... No concerns have been identified and no measures need to be implemented at this time by the Quality Assurance Committee.”

Cobb stated, “It is abundantly clear that the abortion industry has an entirely different definition of patient care, health and safety than any reasonable Virginian.  Seventeen pages of citations and the clinic staff thinks everything is just fine; a clinic worker who is completely dismissive of basic sanitary procedures when administering drugs.  This is why the industry should be completely ignored when it comes to determining what regulations it should follow.  It’s simply appalling.”

In response to the industry claims that its facilities have been licensed despite these findings, Cobb said, “That statement is simply deceptive.  The abortion centers that have had these violations of safety standards have to submit a plan to correct all of their deficiencies and the Department of Health must approve those plans before the facilities can be licensed.  To indicate that the Department simply gave its stamp of approval despite the horrendous conditions they found is simply not accurate and is yet another indication that the abortion industry in Virginia is simply incapable of telling the truth.”

House Passes Four Pro-Life Budget Amendments!

Yesterday the House and Senate were supposed to finish work on their respective budgets, laying the groundwork for the budget debate over the final two weeks. Things do not, however, always go as planned in Richmond. While the Senate postponed its budget vote until next week (waiting on Governor Kaine's latest revenue conjecture, which didn't sit well with the House because now it is out on a limb), the House proceeded and passed several pro-life amendments that protect taxpayers from subsidizing unethical and failed research, elective abortions and a wealthy, partisan organization. In addition, the House included a language amendment that raises the safety standards at Virginia's abortion centers. A description of each:

One of the adopted amendments, introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William), defunds Planned Parenthood. It passed 61-28. During this decade, Virginia taxpayers have unknowingly sent nearly $500,000 to this overtly partisan and pro-abortion organization. Its national annual budget is more than $1 billion. If the governor cut funding for abstinence education, ostensibly for cost savings, then we should not ask Virginians to send their hard earned money to this group.

Another amendment, also submitted by Delegate Marshall, prohibits the use of taxpayer funding of abortions. Incredibly, in 2006 and 2007, Virginia tax dollars funded 322 abortions (160 in fiscal-year 2007 and 162 in fiscal 2006). The federal government subsidizes abortions only when a Medicaid-eligible woman's life is at risk or in the cases of rape and incest. Virginia, however, goes above and beyond those requirements.  This extra funding should stop now.

A separate amendment, submitted by Delegate (and Majority Whip) Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), prevents the funding of failed research that requires the destruction of human embryos. It passed 79-21. As many in the scientific community abandon embryonic stem cell research for the successful adult stem cell research, some in Virginia continue to advocate for taxpayer funding of the utterly unsuccessful embryonic version that simply has not lived up to its advocates' hype — producing not one major success. Meanwhile, adult stem cell research has produced dozens of cures and treatments (recently reversing the affects of some MS patients). Investment in adult stem cell research offers hope and promise, and that's where Virginia's money should go.

Also yesterday, the House voted 61-36 to add to the budget policy language that raises the safety standards of abortion centers. Similar legislation has passed the House several times in recent years, only to be killed in the Senate Education and Health Committee. Adding that language to the budget is a creative way to try to circumvent the "Committee of Death."

The House was seemingly caught off guard by the Senate's decision to postpone its budget vote, and continued work on its budget, passing it late in the afternoon yesterday. But the Senate adjourned without taking a vote on its budget and without, apparently, changing the midnight deadline for the vote.