Virginia Board of Health

Tomorrow Is Your Chance To Stand Up To Virginia's $1 Billion Abortion Industry!

When does David get to face off against Goliath on equal terms? In our democratic process. Tomorrow, at the Virginia Board of Health meeting. That's when volunteer, pro-life grassroots activists will have their chance to express their support for abortion center safety standards in the face of Virginia's $1 billion abortion industry, which is mobilizing college students and protestors to flood the meeting in hopes of intimidating the Board into watering down the proposed health and safety standards.

Of course, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are counting on your silence. If there's any doubt as to what their ultimate, ghastly aims are, please see this video of a Planned Parenthood lobbyist.

Please do all you can to join us Friday and show that we are the voice of Virginia. We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority! This could be a seminal day in the pro-life movement in Virginia.

By voting to adopt the standards tomorrow, the Board will ensure that Virginia's abortion centers will be required to meet basic health and safety standards and will no longer be protected by a veil of secrecy. Showing up and voicing your support of these new standards is extremely important in the fight for life as it is crucial the Board see and hear from pro-life Virginians when deciding on final passage of the regulations.

Please plan to join us tomorrow and forward this link to your pro-life friends and share it on your social media sites. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, 23233) at 7:00 a.m. (earlier if possible) to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. Seating is very limited, so not everyone will be able to get into the meeting, which is why it's important to arrive early. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The public comment period will be in the morning, so if you want to speak in support of the regulations, please prepare a two-minute testimony (you cannot testify if you are not in the room, so you have to be there early to get in line). A final vote will likely take place after lunch, and the meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00.

For a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Board meeting, click here. Please contact The Family Foundation if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

The regulations, passed by the Board this past September, would promote safer conditions in Virginia abortion centers, resulting in a higher level of respect and dignity for the women who make the unfortunate choice to get an abortion. Since the announced inspections of Virginia's 20 abortion centers, more than 100 health violations have been discovered. Some of these include:

» Blood-stained tables and equipment

» Unsterilized equipment

» Untrained staff members

» Crucial parts missing from emergency life-saving equipment

You can read more about the grisly findings here.

Voicing your support of these new standards is imperative. Please join us at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond tomorrow. Do not let NARAL and Planned Parenthood speak for Virginians in your silence. Make it known that Virginia is a pro-life state!

Of course, if you cannot attend the meeting, please take time today and tomorrow to pray for the meeting, the outcome, the Board members and for the safety and protection of pro-life activists in attendance.

Stand For Life At Friday’s Board Of Health Meeting!

Join us this Friday at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond, where it will decide whether or not to adopt the abortion center safety standards made possible by legislation passed at the 2011 General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bob McDonnell. Pro-life Virginians must attend and show that we are the voice of Virginia! There was, of course, a Board of Health meeting last September, where we mobilized a terrific turnout as the Board voted to pass the standards, so there may be some confusion as to why it is meeting again and why we another turnout of pro-life Virginians. Quite simply, the regulatory process is arduous, consisting of many votes, executive branch review, and public comment periods. So while we considered the September vote a major success, we cannot let up until the standards are completely finalized by the Board.

Showing up and voicing your support of these new standards is extremely important in the fight for life. It is crucial the Board see and hear from pro-life Virginians when deciding on final passage of the safety standards. We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority.

Please plan to join us this Friday, April 12. Please forward this link to your pro-life friends and share it on your social media sites.

Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, Va. 23233) at 7:00 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. Seating is very limited, so not everyone will be able to get into the meeting. That's why it's important to arrive early. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. There is likely to be a public comment period, so if you want to speak in support of the regulations, please prepare a two-minute testimony. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m. Depending on when the vote is held, it may become a day-long event.

For a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Board meeting, click here. Please contact The Family Foundation if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

The safety standards, as passed by the Board last September, would promote safer conditions in Virginia abortion centers, resulting in a higher level of respect and dignity for the women who make the unfortunate choice to get an abortion. Since the announced inspections of Virginia's 20 abortion centers — inspections that were part of the temporary rules passed by the Board, and the first inspections of abortion centers in decades — more than 100 health violations have been discovered. Some of these include:

» Blood-stained tables and vials

» Unsterilized equipment

» Untrained staff members

» Crucial parts missing from emergency life-saving equipment

The Family Foundation recently released new violations that have been found just since June. One report from the Roanoke Medical Center states that:

Staff used . . . a sponge to clean the procedure jars and failed to disinfect procedure jars and stoppers between patients . . . failure to disinfect three (3) of three recovery cots between patients and one (1) of one lab chair . . . 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.

This is just one example of why these standards are needed more than ever. Americans expect to undergo a medical procedure in a sterile environment with trained doctors and nurses. Why is the same standard not met for women who choose abortion?

Voicing your support of these new standards is imperative! Please join us at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond on April 12. Do not let NARAL and Planned Parenthood speak for you in your silence!

This Friday Is Deadline To Submit Abortion Center Comments To Board Of Health!

The deadline for online comments on the proposed Board of Health safety standards for abortion centers is this Friday, March 29, at 11:59 p.m. We encourage you to to do your part, if you have not already, to make your voice heard to the Board of Health to ensure the abortion center safety standards are made permanent. If you haven't already, please submit your comments before the online public forum closes. If you have, please share and forward this link to as many pro-life friends as possible through e-mail or your social media sites.

Click here to visit the Virginia Board of Health's Online Townhall. It is easy and take little time to submit your comments.

Our friends at the Virginia Catholic Conference have more information here, including bullet points on the issue and a sample letter. 

It only takes a few minutes to compose and submit comments online. For those who could not make it to the public forums in Richmond and Alexandria earlier this month, this is the ideal method for making your voice heard. A few minutes of your time can make a difference in a generational switch in policy to benefit the unborn and the safety of women who make the unfortunate choice of having an abortion. The other side is mobilized and submitting comments. It is essential that pro-life Virginians make their voices heard as well in this convenient, yet very effective way.

After filing your comments, please consider attending the Board of Health meeting in Richmond on Friday, April 12, where it will vote on whether to adopt the current abortion center safety standards permanently. Pro-life Virginians must demonstrate strength in numbers, both online and in person. The meeting will be at the Virginia Department of Health 2nd Floor Conference Center, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. Due to limited space inside the meeting room, those who wish to attend are highly encouraged to arrive by 7:00.

The safety standards, which improve upon the emergency temporary standards that have been in place for more than a year, will continue to protect Virginia women who use abortion centers. Health inspections of these facilities, a feature of the current  temporary standards, have uncovered hundreds of violations since they  have been in place — demonstrating that the commonwealth's abortion industry cannot self-regulate itself. Permanent standards will ensure abortion centers' accountability for deficiencies.

If you plan to attend the Board of Health meeting, please e-mail Roger Pogge at roger@familyfoundation.org or call (804) 343-oo10.

Life Is A Beautiful Choice, Indeed

I got such a great response from the video I posted yesterday, that I found another from the 1990s pro-life media campaign sponsored by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation. (One wonders whatever happened to that campaign and why did the DeMoss Foundation end it?) With the abortion debate about to get the full attention of the media again in the next several days as the Virginia Board of Health begins the final process of establishing abortion center safety standards (and its already raging online), it's is always worth the while to feel the positive, affirming message of the Culture of Life.

Life isn't only a beautiful choice, it's the only honest choice.

More Blood, Safety Violations Found In Virginia Abortion Centers

Today, the public comment period opens on the abortion center health safety standards in the regulatory process.

Click here and then click "Enter a Comment" to post a comment and ensure that the voice of pro-life Virginians is heard loud and clear!

The standards, passed by the Virginia Board of Health in September, now will go through a 60 day public comment period. After that, the board will vote again, likely in March, before the standards go back through more review. Currently, emergency health and safety standards similar to the final permanent standards are in effect.

Earlier this year, The Family Foundation examined inspection documents obtained from the Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act that found more than 80 health and safety violations in only nine of Virginia's 20 abortion centers. The violations included bloody examination tables, unsterilized and outdated medical equipment, untrained staff and more. The abortion centers have received licensing under condition of correcting all the violations found.

Today, we released to the media newly discovered violations at the other abortion centers inspected since June. Incredibly, even after the discoveries of so many violations at abortion centers earlier in the year, the abortion industry did not clean up its act. For example, at one center in Falls Church, according to the inspection reports:

. . . dark reddish substance on the inner surface of the hub where the vacutainer tube for blood collection attached … Staff #8 was asked to observe the inner surface of each vacutainer he/she had designated as clean. Staff #8 stated "That looks like blood. They aren’t clean." An observation was conducted in Procedure room #1 at 11:16 a.m., with Staff #8. Staff #8 reported the room was ready for the procedures scheduled for the day. The observation revealed the procedure table had visible dried blood on the metal joints (Bilaterally) that connected the metal leg stirrup/supports.

At the Alexandria abortion center:

On 7/19/12 the following observations were made: the attending physician was sitting at a desk reading the newspaper. He put the paper away when the patient arrived. The physician interviewed the patient. The staff escorted the patient to the exam room. The physician went into the room. ... The physician put on gloves and preceded to perform a vaginal ultrasound of the patient. Once the procedure had been completed the physician told the patient to get dressed and he would see her outside the exam room. ... The physician picked up the patient's medical record and began to make notations. He removed a prescription pad from a drawer. At no time was the physician observed washing his hands or performing hand hygiene. The observations were pointed out to the physician who stated, "I was not doing a procedure only an ultrasound. If I had been doing a procedure I certainly would have washed my hands." The above information was discussed with the administrator who stated, "He never washes his hands, he always uses gloves." When it was pointed out that sometimes the gloves may have holes in them the administrator stated, "Oh! That is gross!"

At the Roanoke Medical Center for Women abortion center, the inspection reports found:

Staff used . . . a sponge to clean the procedure jars and failed to disinfect procedure jars and stoppers between patients . . .  failure to disinfect three (3) of three recovery cots between patients and one (1) of one lab chair . . . 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.

While focusing on the construction standards included in the health and safety standards, the media has almost completely ignored the blood stained and unsterilized equipment, along with all the other health and safety violations. The construction standards are necessary to improve access for emergency personnel and equipment when medical emergencies take place, but the rest of the standards are basic to any medical facility that puts its patients ahead of its profits.

With the discovery of dozens of health and safety violations through the initial announced inspections of abortion centers, the need for these standards became even clearer. The billion dollar abortion industry simply cannot be trusted to put patient safety ahead of profit. While the regulatory process isn't complete, the steps taken to this point have made Virginia's abortion centers a little safer for the women facing unplanned pregnancies who make the unfortunate decision to end the life of their unborn child.

Please don’t remain silent and in your silence allow abortion advocates to speak for you! Click here and then click "Enter a Comment" to post a comment in support of the abortion center health safety regulations!

Campaigns End, But Shaping The Culture Continues

Now that the campaign season is but a memory — all that time and money come, gone and spent in what seems like a flash now, though we thought it interminable when it was in full swing — except here in Virginia, where the campaign year hasn't even come upon us and it's already making national news, it is good to reflect on how to raise the culture as opposed to raising issues for candidates to address. Campaigns once were the place to educate the electorate about issues and sway voters to one side or another. Now, regular voters are so polarized, campaigns are nothing more than a race to identify the voters who mostly agree with either candidate and get those people to the polls. But by educating people in the absence of the vitriol of an election campaign, and instilling a sense of the proper culture, we can do more for our commonwealth and country than $100 million in television ads.

One way we try to do that is through our Pastors for Family Values ministry. During the fall, we hosted our annual Pastors Summit. It already has produced fruit and we are excited about how long lasting the impact will be on Virginia. More than 400 pastors ministry leaders attended and left Richmond motivated, informed and encouraged to be culturally engaged.

The summit, co-hosted by CitizenLink, featured Del Tackett. Dr. Tackett, a former Air Force officer and architect of The Truth Project, was superb in his two speaking sessions, tracing the origins of modern skepticism and presenting a contrast between the God-focus of a Biblical worldview and the self-focus of the secular humanist worldview that is common in the emerging generation. A man of remarkable insight and discernment with a gift for teaching, Dr. Tackett showed how the modern concepts of heart and mind differ from the Biblical view and what implications that has for the core beliefs that shape our thought and actions. It was a clarion call for pastors to affirm a Biblical worldview in such a way that it becomes a transformational belief at the center of who we are.

Pastors also heard from Erik Stanley, senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, about their rights as pastors to speak out on issues and on ADF's "pulpit initiative." ADF is seeking pastors with the boldness to ignore the threats of intimidation by the IRS, and the likes of Mr. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and try to force the IRS to go to court over its attempts to limit free speech. Former U.S. Representative Bob McEwen of Ohio wooed the group with his analysis of the state of the government and its threats to our liberty.

At a separate evening event, Dr. Tackett addressed a crowd of nearly 500 at Richmond's Grove Avenue Baptist Church, where he talked about the inevitability of consequences to our actions, and the fact that acts based on truth bring better outcomes than those based on our emotional decision.

Pastors, and attendees at the evening event, were incredibly motivated. In fact, several pastors attended the Virginia Board of Health meeting the following morning after being motivated to take action at the summit. We are still hearing about pastors around Virginia who have gone back to their churches and are boldly speaking on cultural issues and the necessity of action by the church in Virginia! There is no doubt that this year’s summit will have a lasting impact on the culture of Virginia.

We appreciate all the pastors, ministry leaders and individuals who attended the Summit and the evening with Dr. Tackett. We pray that all who attended were blessed in a unique way and that the excitement and motivation of these events, and others we are planning and which will take place in the near future, will last long into the future. Because long after campaigns are distant memories, long after office holders names are forgotten, the day-to-day efforts needed to educate, motivate and shape the culture will continue to be necessary.

The Official Word

By the way, speaking of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli certifying the new abortion center regulations earlier today, here's an interesting note: Readers may notice that we refer to the places where abortions take place as "abortion centers." The abortion industry and their supporters in the Mainstream Media for decades have softened up the image of these grisly places by referring to them as "clinics." So much so, unfortunately, that the phrase has seeped into the every day lexicon of the general public. We long ago tried to change the terminology because "clinics" are places people go to get well. Many pro-life organizations and individuals have picked up on this and now also refer to them as "centers." More and more people and new media outlets also have changed their phrasing. Anything but "clinics." It was gratifying, then, to see that the State Board of Health agrees. In its official terminology, on materials distributed to media and board members, it refers to such places as "facilities," just as it was reflected in the attorney general's memo and news release in the previous post.

At the well publicized Board of Health meeting two weeks ago, a spokesperson for the department said it another way when I asked her about it, but the premise was the same: Since these places do not treat people for sickness or injury, they are not referred to as "clinics," but rather as "facilities." Still, the Mainstream Media, which proclaims no bias or agenda, but objective reporting, swallows the abortion industry language in order to provide a false impression of what goes on at these centers — and not the official medical branding of these facilities.

What has been the refrain from the pro-abortion side throughout this entire debate? "Stick with the medicine"? Thank you. We are.

Breaking: Attorney General Cuccinelli Certifies Abortion Center Regulations

The Office of Attorney General just released this news release:

Attorney general certifies abortion facilities regulations 

RICHMOND (September 26, 2012) - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office sent notice today to Dr. Karen Remley, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, that it has certified that the Board of Health had the statutory authority under Virginia law to adopt the abortion facilities regulations it adopted at its September 14 meeting. The office also certified that the proposed regulations are constitutional and do not conflict with existing federal or state laws or regulations. A copy of the letter is here.

After executive branch review, if the governor approves the regulations, they will be published by registrar of regulations for a 60-day comment period, then they will return to the Board of Health for final consideration.

The referenced letter, dubbed a "Memorandum," on the AG's letterhead, reads as such in its entirety:

MEMORANDUM

TO: Dr. Karen Remley

Commissioner

Virginia Department of Health

FROM: Allyson K. Tysinger

Senior Assistant Attorney General/Chief

Health Services Section

DATE: September 25, 2012

SUBJECT: Regulations for Licensure of Hospitals in Virginia

12 VAC 5-410-10 et seq.

Regulations for Licensure of

12 VAC 5-412-10 et seq.

I have reviewed the proposed amendments to the Regulations for Licensure of Hospitals in Virginia, 12 VAC 5-410-10 et seq., and the proposed Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities, 12 VAC 5-412-10 et seq., that were adopted by the State Board of Health on September 14, 2012. The Board has the statutory authority to adopt these Regulations under Virginia Code § 32.1-12 and § 32.1-127. The proposed Regulations are constitutional and do not conflict with existing federal or state laws or regulations.

 

 

Pro-Life Motorcycle Ride, Phone Banks Tomorrow

Several motorcycle groups from around Virginia will ride in Richmond to celebrate unborn life tomorrow, beginning at noon at the Richmond Outreach Center, then traveling through Capitol Square. These groups, who will come from across Virginia, want to express their support for unborn life in a unique way — by riding their motorcycles through Richmond and Capitol Square. Last Friday, hundreds of pro-life Virginians attended the Virginia Board of Health meeting in support of important health and safety standards for Virginia’s abortion centers. Now, tomorrow, more pro-lifers again will show Virginia that we are the majority!

The bikers will form at the Richmond Outreach Center at 5501 Midlothian Turnpike in Richmond beginning at 10:30 a.m. There will be a brief program beginning at noon, with speakers Kim Warburton of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Metro Richmond; Michael Hirsch, pastor of Calvary Christian Church in Fredericksburg; and myself. The bikes will then ride from the ROC to downtown Richmond, down Bank Street in front of the state Capitol, and then around Capitol Square.

If you are in the area and have time to come out to the ROC or wave at the bikers as they ride by the Capitol, please come out and join us!

Help Identify Conservative Voters!

Also tomorrow, The Family Foundation Action will join in a concerted, nation-wide effort to call undecided voters and to remind them that with gas prices approaching $4 per gallon, unemployment over 8 percent and the national debt at $16 trillion, we need a change in the economic policy of the nation. If you live in the N.Va., Richmond, Harrisonburg or Tidewater area, please join us at one of the phone banks listed below. We will have food, good fellowship, prizes and lots of fun.

Fairfax County: Javier Road, Suite 110, Merrifield, 22031, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. (or later if anyone wants to stay). Contact Ed Newland at 515-505-5383.

Loudoun County: 44084 Riverside Parkway, Suite 350, Lansdowne, 20176-6823, 12:00 - 5:00 p.m. Contact William Zimmerman at 703-568-4092.

Prince William County: 17323 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Suite L-1, Dumfries, 22026. Contact: Bill Pfister for times at 515-505-5209.

James City County: 7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, 23188 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. Contact: Tim Pogge at 515-505-5224.

York County: 4521 George Washington Memorial Highway, Yorktown, 23692, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Contact: Tim Pogge at 515-505-5224.

Harrisonburg: Blessings Christian Bookstore, 313 Neff Avenue, Harrisonburg, 22801 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Contact: Greg Culbertson at 505-515-5280

Richmond: 10:00 - 12:00 noon, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., various locations. Contact: Ron Gallagher for locations at 804-591-5909.

 

Paid for by The Family Foundation Action.

Pro-Lifers Rally, Board Adopts Regulations!

The Virginia Board of Health Friday voted to adopt strong abortion center safety standards after a long day of competing protests, debate and tension. An estimated crowd of 500 people lined up at the building where the board met, evenly divided between pro-life Virginians and abortion supporters. It was a stark contrast to the June meeting where more than 100 abortion protestors dominated the day and where the board voted to water down abortion center regulations to exempt existing centers from important building standards required by the Code of Virginia. Because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify those regulations — they didn't meet the demands of the code — the board had to revisit the issue Friday. For weeks both pro-life and pro-abortion groups encouraged people to attend, and hundreds did, in addition to several dozen uniformed and plain clothes police who where there to ensure security.

The day began early, as Family Foundation staff began lining up outside the building at 6 a.m. to ensure we would be in the meeting room to testify. Only 100 seats were available in the room, and only those in the room could testify. After going through security checks, including metal detectors, we settled into the room for a long day.

The difference between this meeting and the one in June was remarkable. That day, the room was dominated by radical pro-abortion protestors and, quite honestly, it was a very spiritually dark day. Friday was radically different. In the room were dozens of pro-life supporters, including several pastors. Those who attended both meetings could feel the difference in the atmosphere. A few pastors who attended our Pastors Summit in Richmond Thursday were there, as were several from the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists.

We could feel the prayers of pastors and pro-life Virginians! I cannot express enough of my gratitude for all of you who attended today's meeting, or who prayed for us. The support was incredible, and I have no doubt it made an impact on the results. During a year where elected officials and others have been viciously attacked by the abortion industry and media, and abortion supporters have mobilized in large numbers, pro-life Virginians needed to show up and prove again that we are the dominant voice in Virginia . . . and show up we did!

Public testimony was extended to one hour (normally 20 minutes) in an attempt to accommodate the crowd. In my testimony, I told the board that after the uncovering last week of more than 80 health and safety violations in nine abortion centers, the industry, which has claimed for years to be safe and in no need of oversight, was not in a position to be trusted and therefore should have no say in how it is regulated. Several other pro-life organizations also testified including the Virginia Catholic Conference, Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, Family Research Council and the Rutherford Institute. Others attending included the Virginia Society for Human Life, Students For LifeAmericans United for Life and Concerned Women for America Virginia. Our special thanks to Alliance Defending Freedom, which sent a letter to members earlier this week to clarify the board's legal authority and to other groups who encouraged the turnout.

In addition, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) testified that the General Assembly did not intend to exempt any abortion centers. In 2011, Delegate Byron amended SB 924 to include abortion centers. She said that during the legislative debate, the intent was clear and that the bill was passed by chambers controlled by different parties. Her testimony was crucial to clarify some misunderstanding on the board over whether the General Assembly wanted existing abortion centers to be "grandfathered in" without the building standards. We so appreciate Delegate Byron's willingness to once again stand up for life in a hostile atmosphere, as she did time and again during this year's General Assembly.

Representatives of the abortion industry continued their pattern of deception. Incredibly, one person testified that the industry “supports regulations” but just opposed the building standards. The same individual has testified several years in a row at the General Assembly against bills that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment!

They also attacked The Family Foundation's release this week of inspection records showing widespread health and safety violations, saying that the centers inspected had received their licenses anyway and that the violations were minor. We don't consider a bloody patient table minor. We don't consider a freezer two-thirds filled with fetal remains and blood minor! But they do. The fact is, however, that those centers were not licensed until after they submitted plans to correct the violations and those centers are now subject to unannounced inspections. For years, they fought against the very inspections they now say they support and that uncovered the problems listed.

But the primary target of the abortion industry was, and still is, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They continued their assault because he made the decision to uphold the law of Virginia and not certify the regulations in June. Of course, I'm sure they'd rather pick on the AG and cry "politics" instead of having to answer to questions about bloody patient tables, frozen fetal remains and untrained staffs.

The board, however, was not fooled. By an overwhelming vote of 13-2 it rejected several more attempts by one board member to water down the regulations and then voted to adopt the standards by the same vote.

While a major victory, the process to finalize these standards is not finished. They must go through several more steps in the next several months, including two lengthy public comment periods. It is crucial that pro-life Virginians make their voice heard once again during that time. If you spoke or wanted to speak Friday, please write your comments down and hold on to them for submission during the public comment period. We will provide ample notice.

Thanks again to everyone who attended Friday's meeting, testified or prayed. A special thank you to those post-abortive women who attended, some speaking publicly for the first time. We are so grateful and encouraged by your support, and I know the Board of Health members were as well. To get a feel for what it was like at the meeting, please click here for a series of photos.

Pro-life Virginians were not out manned at the crucial Board of Health Meeting Friday. For more scenes from the historic vote, click here or the image above.

Board Of Health Adopts Abortion Center Safety Standards 13-2!

This afternoon the Virginia Board of Health adopted new, permanent abortion center safety standards that include important building codes for all abortion centers. In June, the Board voted to exclude existing abortion centers from building standards. But today, in a whopping 13-2  bipartisan vote, it reversed that decision. Four members appointed by former Governor Tim Kaine voted for the amendment, two voted no; all nine members appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell voted for it. Before the final vote on the amendment to the June version of the safety standards, the Board heard and debated three substitute amendments. Each was defeated 13-2. Predictably, after the final vote, several moments of chaos erupted when pro-abortion advocates stood up and screamed, chanted and harassed Board members. They were escorted out of the building by police, who were out in force. (The Washington Post documents some of the craziness, here.)

Pro-life Virginians turned out in great numbers at the meeting in western Henrico County. That made a huge difference in the outcome. We will send a complete report of today's events later. Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb released this statement:

We are pleased that the Board wasn't fooled by the abortion industry's distractions from the real issue of abortion centers in Virginia found with bloody patient tables, unsanitized conditions and untrained staffs. An industry that has such widespread failure to protect the health of women should have no say in how it is regulated. Virginia's women are better off after today's vote.

The hysterical claims of the abortion industry that today's vote denies access to health care are simply untrue. Today's decision simply requires the industry to clean up its act. These centers can continue to offer any other service they provide even it they can't meet these reasonable guidelines. They simply have to stop performing surgery unless they meet these standards.

One of our many great allies, the Virginia Catholic Conference, issued this statement, through its Executive Director Jeff Caruso:

Today’s debate and resounding vote once again affirms that it is a matter of common sense that the abortion industry be subject to reasonable regulations. Abortion is not health care because it ends lives rather than healing them, but the abortion industry must meet clear safety standards if it is allowed to operate under the guise of health care. Today’s vote is a huge step forward.

The Board-approved safety standards, which replace a temporary emergency version as part of a 2011 law, now proceed to executive branch review. After that, they will be open to another comment period before the Board takes a final vote next year.

Sign language: Police made sure people standing in line to get inside the Board of Health meeting behaved. While there was no verbal taunting, signs voiced people's opinions and clearly showed their disregard for life and creation.

Official Statement Of Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb On Today's Board Of Health Vote To Adopt Tougher Abortion Center Safety Standards

Statement from Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, regarding today's vote by the Virginia Board of Health

We are pleased that the Board wasn't fooled by the abortion industry's distractions from the real issue of abortion centers in Virginia found with bloody patient tables, unsanitized conditions and untrained staffs. An industry that has such widespread failure to protect the health of women should have no say in how it is regulated. Virginia's women are better off after today's vote.

The hysterical claims of the abortion industry that today's vote denies access to health care are simply untrue. Today's decision simply requires the industry to clean up its act. These centers can continue to offer any other service they provide even it they can't meet these reasonable guidelines. They simply have to stop performing surgery unless they meet these standards.

BREAKING NEWS: Fetal Remains, Blood Found In Virginia Abortion Center

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 12, 2012

Fetal Remains, Blood Found in Virginia Abortion Center — Department of Health Inspections Find 80 Violations in Nine Centers —

RICHMOND — Documents obtained by The Family Foundation of Virginia from the Virginia Department of Health through the Freedom of Information Act show widespread health and safety violations at Virginia’s abortion centers, the pro-family group announced today, including the discovery of improperly stored fetal remains and blood at one facility.

“Some of this is just horrific.  Now we know why the abortion industry fought so vehemently over the years against even simple legislation that required only inspections, licensing and emergency equipment in their centers,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation.  “They were hiding for a reason.  Even with time to prepare for announced inspections these centers were found to be what I think most reasonable Virginians would deem unsafe in many cases and utterly disgusting in others.  Now, the same industry claims it should be trusted on the construction standards as well, but these inspection reports show that the industry simply cannot be trusted on anything.

“Perhaps the most frightening aspect of these reports isn’t the blatant disregard for basic health standards, but the fact that even with notice of inspection the operators of these facilities thought they were safe for women.  Apparently, if the abortion centers just scrub off the blood they can keep on operating.”

An inspection of the Tidewater Women’s Health Clinic in Norfolk found:

The freezer which is used to store the collected conception material, had blood and un-bagged conception material frozen to the inner bottom surface.  An observation was conducted of the freezer kept in the clean utility room.  Staff #3 reported after inspection of the conception material, it was poured into plastic storage bags and the bags are stored in the freezer until the next weekly medical waste pick up.  The observation revealed that some of the plastic bags were open and had spilled their contents onto the bottom of the freezer.  Approximately three-fourths of the freezer’s bottom and shelf was covered with frozen blood and conception material.

An inspection of the A Capital Women’s Clinic in Richmond found  that the staff doesn’t change the MetriWash solution in the sink every time dirty instruments are brought in (instructions for MetriWash say to change the solution every time) and that a sponge used to clean instruments is only changed once per week.

At Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia’s clinic in Virginia Beach, the inspector’s report states, “Employee #4 was asked how she could tell which of the containers (used to transport/clean instruments) were dirty or clean.  Employee #4 stated, ‘I can’t.  I guess we need to have a different color to put the instruments in once they are clean.’”

According to Commissioner Karen Remley’s report to the Board of Health at the June 2012 meeting, nine of 20 abortion centers applying for licensing had been inspected by the Department of Health.  According to the Commissioner of Health, none had been “deficiency free.”

Some key findings:

  • The nine centers inspected had received 80 citations
  • 18 citations for personnel issues, including no background checks, no ongoing plans for staff training, no maintenance of personnel files, no policy requiring staff to be CPR trained, no policies setting experience and training required to practice
  • 13 citations for infections prevention issues, including seven clinics with no clear division between clean and dirty utility areas, four centers where personnel weren’t using personal protective equipment and a host of record keeping issues
  • 10 citations regarding the administration, storage and dispensing of drugs including four with expired drugs in stock, and others with improper labeling of drugs, no medication dispensing policy
  • 10 maintenance of equipment citations including equipment not in good repair, no preventative maintenance plan
  • Six citations for local and state building code violations

“The same abortion industry representatives who claim that their centers are safe and healthy want the Board of Health to weaken the safety standards that were recommended by the Department of Health,” added Cobb. “The conditions found in these reports existed as the very representatives of the industry that own and operate abortion centers were testifying to the Board that their facilities are safe.  With such disregard for the truth, for the well-being of women, how can its claims of safety be trusted?  No longer can the abortion industry claim that it puts women’s health ahead of its profits.”

Board Of Health To Vote On Abortion Center Safety Standards Week From Today, Please Plan To Attend

Pro-abortion defenders are demanding that members of the Virginia Board of Health, who might actually have "religious and personal" views on the topic of human life, recuse themselves from voting at next Friday's crucial Board of Health meeting. So please plan to join us Friday at the Board of Health meeting in Richmond. Pro-life Virginians must attend and show that we are the voice of Virginia. The efforts to silence pro-life Virginians is just another example of the radical, secular Left's desperate and relentless attack on religious freedom and our rights as citizens to make decisions according to our faith. Their distorted and fraudulent understanding of America's First Freedom, our right to exercise our faith in the public square, is simply antithetical to all that they are trying to accomplish.

In fact, our own state constitution’s Statute for Religious Freedom makes it clear that we are free to hold religious views and those views cannot "diminish" or affect civil capacities, such as serving on a citizen board, saying:

. . . but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

At June's Board of Health meeting, where radical protesters from MoveOn.org and "Occupy Richmond" turned out in droves, perhaps the most fascinating and oft-repeated testimony by the pro-abortion activists was that the health and safety standards for abortion centers amounted to a "violation of the separation of church and state." Somehow anyone who actually believes that the abortion industry should meet some basic health and safety standards can only do so if they are somehow motivated by their faith, and that if they are, somehow they do not have the same citizenship rights to influence the political process as any other American. The tone of many of the opponents was often very disrespectful and angry, and certainly not "tolerant" of opposing viewpoints.

Unfortunately, some members of the board appeared to be swayed by the arguments of the protestors and voted to water down the proposed safety standards. But the standards are back before the board because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to approve its decision to change the standards because it is his obligation, under Virginia law, to ensure that they meet all the requirements of the Code of Virginia.

Now, one militant group calling itself "Cooch Watch" is inciting student activist groups around Richmond to attack board members who might actually believe in protecting human life. We anticipate hundreds of college students led by these left-wing groups to protest at the Board of Health meeting next Friday in hopes that they will intimidate the board. They are mobilizing, and have even booked hotel rooms near the board meeting.

We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority.

Please plan to join us next Friday, September 14. Please forward this link to your pro-life friends and share it on your social media sites. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, 23233) at 7:30 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. Seating is very limited, so not everyone will be able to get into the meeting. That's why its so important to arrive early. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00, so depending on when the vote is held, this may become a day-long event. Please contact us if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

We must make our voice heard before the radical, secular Left succeeds in silencing the voice of religious Americans!

TFF's Victoria Cobb On WINA's The Schilling Show

Last Thursday, June 20, Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb appeared on The Schilling Show on Charlottesville's WINA-AM/1070 with host Rob Schilling to discuss the latest from the Virginia Board of Health's decision on abortion center regulations. Click here to download to the podcast, which includes other guests. You can also click here and scroll down to the show listed as 6-20 and including Victoria's name, for other options to listen to the interview.  

Breaking: Board Of Health Strikes Construction Codes From Abortion Center Regs On 7-4 Vote

The Virginia Board of Health is voting right now, after hours of testimony beginning early this morning, to consider permanent regulations for abortion centers. This follows the emergency regulations that were put into place last September. In fact, it voted 7-4 a few minutes ago, to strike the construction codes from the previous, emergency regulations. Members of our staff, on hand to provide testimony in support of strong regulations, have described the scene as a circus, with dozens of signs, and protesters both inside and outside the meeting room, some yelling at security guards. The pro-abortion crowd appears to outnumber those standing up for the unborn and women who make the unfortunate choice of abortion by about a 7-to-1 margin. We had a "great cloud of witnesses," though, from several allied pro-life organizations testify on behalf of making the regulations permanent. We will have more details later on what exactly was adopted, what wasn't and what it all means.

Who's Extreme? Quinnipiac Poll Shows Large Majority Of Virginians Support Abortion Center Regulations

Christian conservatives are extremists. Out of touch. Want to force their view of the world, indeed, their religion, on all of us. 

That, basically, is what the Far Left, posing as pragmatists, even as self-styled libertarians, would have the public believe about Christian conservatives and the pro-life movement. No matter how much common sense a law about abortion center safety makes, for example, the Far Left rants hysterically about lost rights and a pending Christian theocracy. They pontificate about diversity of thought and redefine the founding ideals of Virginia and America — which is perfectly peculiar: Who knew there was a range of thought on the deaths of babies and the potential serious physical injuries to women as well as subsequent mental problems? In fact, don't the abortion-on-demand crowd cite vague "mental health" concerns as a be-all exception to allow abortion?

More disturbing is the pro-abortion side's assertion that Americans, and Virginians in particular, have somehow removed themselves from their centuries-long shared traditions, upbringings, faith and shared sense of values because fleeting, temporary political winds, often mild, and rarely caused by a serious discussion of "social issues." The fact is, whether rank and file Democrat or Republican, the vast majority of Americans and Virginians understand common, practical sense and know what is patently wrong and unfair. They know injustice and they know danger. They know a problem when they see one and demand it get fixed. Some things are simply inherent and instinctive.

Now, on the heels of tomorrow's meeting of the Virginia Board of Health to consider safety regulations for abortion centers, a Quinnipiac University Poll proves that the loud rantings of a few on the fringe mask a large consensus. Either that or Virginians are massively intolerant Christian bigots and zealots, or even uniformed, uneducated, backward simpletons, or maybe both — in the Far Left's view. Really, though, Virginians are just real. The essence of the poll:

Quinnipiac interviewed 1,368 registered Virginia voters from September 6-12 and 55 percent of them support holding abortion centers to tougher health standards and only 22 percent opposed. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Even the 50 percent who believe abortion should be legal (versus 41 percent who do not) said the proposed regulations are necessary to protect the health of women who have abortions.

Those are large numbers and you cannot get a majority on most any issue in a politically competitive state such as Virginia with only those from one party. Especially on abortion. It's an issue even many Republicans don't feel easy about. But most Virginians — Democrat, Republican, independent, Tea Party or true libertarian — know that societies form governments for core functions. Protecting its people is the primary one. It's just common sense — mainstream thought — that everyone but the Far Left has yet to figure out.

Stop Obamacare's Conscience And Religious Rights Invasion!

The abortion center safety regulations under review here in Virginia are vitally important — and we urge you to make your voice heard (find out how, here). In fact, the prestigious World magazine details the importance of the situation in this recent article, in which it cites The Family Foundation extensively. But while these important regulations are under consideration by the Board of Health here, in Washington there are equally important regulatory actions to oppose. as well. If approved, these regulations, as part of ObamaCare, would strip away our religious liberty and rights of conscience. So,we also urge you to act now to protect conscience rights and religious freedom. Here is the core of a letter from Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins outlining the significance of these proposed regulations on you, as taxpayers, and on medical professionals:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services needs to hear your voice on a critical matter related to life and religious freedom.

Because of a provision in Obamacare, HHS convened the Institute of Medicine to make recommendations for what "preventive services for women" should be mandatory in all private health insurance, with no cost to the patient. The IOM committee (which included no pro-life representation) recommended in July that free coverage of all contraceptives and sterilization services be mandatory. HHS then on August 3rd issued a "regulation" accepting these recommendations, meaning all private health insurance plans in the individual and group market will be required to cover these services with no co-pay for the patient.

To be clear, the federal government is mandating that all private health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization services (including those with abortifacient mechanisms of action) free of charge. Organizations that provide insurance to their employees will be forced to cover such services, even if they object. The effect is that the cost of these "free" services will be shifted to plan participants through higher premiums both to employees in employer sponsored plans, and to individuals in the individual insurance market.

The HHS regulation contains an exemption only for certain group plans, not insurance in the individual market. Moreover, the exemption is unacceptably narrow for churches, but would not include religious businesses or other organizations that have moral or religious objections to such coverage.

The mandate includes drugs deemed "contraceptives" by the FDA even if they can cause abortions like Plan B and Ella. (RU-486 is not included since the FDA approved it as an "abortifacient".) Employers and people who object to these drugs should not be forced to bear the costs for free abortions. This mandate will violate the conscience of millions of Americans, and it goes against the current conscience protections in law precisely to stop government discrimination.

HHS is receiving public comment only on the definition of "religious employer" that is so narrow as to only include churches, but not businesses or other groups. We are writing to ask that you speak up on behalf of life and conscience protections for all groups or individuals that have conscience objections to any contraceptives as well as those that can cause abortion. We urge you to submit "public comment" to HHS by clicking on the following link. 

Click here to provide comment to HHS on federal contraceptive regulations that lack religious and conscience protections

NOTE: Please be aware that all comments submitted on this issue are public record.

 

Sincerely,

Tony Perkins

President, FRC Action

Cuccinelli: Virginia Has Legal Authority To Regulate Abortion Centers

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued an official advisory opinion Friday that states the Commonwealth of Virginia has the legal authority to regulate abortion centers. The opinion was in response to a formal inquiries by Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Botetourt) and Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas) asking the attorney general for a legal opinion as to whether Virginia has the administrative authority to regulate facilities and providers in which and who perform first trimester abortions. The answer from the attorney general is yes, provided they meet the criteria set forth in U.S. Supreme Court precedent. He cited previous Virginia regulations and the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' upholding of abortion center regulations in other states.

For years, the Senate Education and Health Committee has killed common sense legislation, passed by large bipatisan House majorities, regulating abortion centers in a manner consistent with other medical facilities. The "Committee of Death" accepts pro-abortion claims that such regulations are "unconstitutional." But in his statement accompanying the release of the opinion, Senator Smith said, "This opinion clarifies any legal questions on the issue and sets the stage for regulating abortion clinics like other medical facilities."

In other words, even if the General Assembly does not act the executive branch may, on its own initiative, regulate abortion centers just as it does other medical facilities (of course, regulations may be changed by each administration, whereas laws are more lasting). Here are some of the more salient points from the opinion (click here for entire opinion, including footnotes): 

Medical facilities that provide abortion services in addition to many other services across a variety of disciplines clearly are subject to regulation by the Board. I note, however, that although the Board classifies "abortion clinics" as outpatient hospitals, neither the Regulations nor the Code define the term. Moreover, unlike later abortions, first-trimester abortions are not required to be performed in licensed hospitals. Health centers limiting their practice to specializing in reproductive services therefore often characterize themselves as "physicians' offices," whereby they are exempted from the Board's licensure requirements. Nonetheless, the Board has broad authority to adopt regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of Title 32.1, and this regulatory authority includes defining an "abortion clinic," investigating the assertion by a facility that it constitutes physician's office, and regulating facilities beyond licensure.

Irrespective of the Board of Health's ability to regulate facilities, the Board of Medicine is vested with authority to regulate the practice of medicine, which includes providing guidelines for certain procedures and the ability to license, investigate, and discipline physicians, including those who perform abortions. The BOM's Regulations Governing the Practice of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Podiatry and Chiropractic sets forth, for example, requirements for the proper administration of general anesthesia in non-hospital settings, a procedure that may be necessary depending on the abortion method employed. ...

In addition to applying regulations governing medical facilities and health care providers in general, the relevant agencies are authorized to impose regulations particular to abortion services. The General Assembly has afforded certain agencies broad authority to regulate in the area of health and has permitted them to classify facilities, procedures and personnel as they deem necessary and to promulgate regulations accordingly. ... The potential complications of abortion procedures include hemorrhage, cervical laceration, uterine perforation, injury to the bowels or bladder and pulmonary complications. Furthermore, these complications "must be immediately and adequately treated." Regulatory boards may distinguish between abortion and other procedures because, "'abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures," and "for the purpose of regulation, abortion services are rationally distinct from other routine medical services if for no other reason than the particular gravitas of the moral, psychological, and familial aspects of the abortion decision."

Based on Virginia's police power to protect its citizen's health and welfare, the broad authority granted to the regulatory boards, and the extensive statutory and regulatory scheme currently applicable to physicians performing abortions and the facilities in which such services are available, I conclude that the Commonwealth, by the Virginia Board of Health, the Virginia Board of Medicine, or any other proper agency, has the authority to continue to promulgate regulations affecting the performance of first trimester abortions. ... 

Virginia previously exercised this authority, when on November 12, 1981, the Virginia Board of Health adopted "Rules and Regulations for . . . Licensure of Outpatient Hospitals, Performing Abortions Only" . ... the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit provides clear guidance with respect to what constitutes permissible regulation and what does not.