abortion center regulations

Stand For Life At The Board Of Health Meeting

On Friday, September 14, the Virginia State Board of Health will reconvene in Richmond to vote once again on the proposed permanent abortion center safety standards to replace the current interim regulations. Will you clear your calendar to be present and invite your pro-life friends to this crucial meeting? The implications of non-mobilization are drastic. Can I be so bold as to ask that if you have prior plans to reschedule them so that you can be in attendance? We need to mobilize hundreds of pro-life Virginians at this meeting to show the Board of Health, the media, elected officials, and the electorate that we are pro-life, we are passionate, and we are the majority. Once the Board of Health adopts the regulations Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli again will review them for "certification," ensuring that they line up with constitutional and Virginia Code requirements. You may remember the craziness that ensued at the June Board meeting and the changes the Board made to the regulations, for which they have no authority. That action necessitated this additional meeting.

Pro-abortion activists see this as their final shot at preventing commonsense safety standards from being implemented at abortion centers and they are doing everything they can to derail the regulations. One pro-abortion organization has even gone so far as to call for the recusal of one of the Board members, stating that "his religious and personal views should not affect the women of Virginia and their access to healthcare." This is the pro-abortion movement's unabashed attempt to silence those who dare exercise their faith in the public square.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion groups have told their members to show up at the Board of Health meeting at 7:30 a.m. in order to guarantee themselves a seat in the "seating-is-limited" board room and to block pro-life attendees from equal participation. Pro-abortion activists are hoping for a repeat of the last board meeting at which their angry outbursts, hissing and booing disrupted the meeting (see picture below) and temporarily prevented the abortion center safety regulations from passing. We will not let this happen again!

We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority. Please, add Friday, September 14 to your calendar and forward this e-mail to your pro-life friends. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, Va., 23233) at 7:30 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m., 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).

Thank you in advance for your attendance and for your willingness to stand in support of life. Together, we look forward to the coming day when Virginia will have permanent health and safety standards for the abortion industry for the first time in more than two decades. We are confident that those regulations will be the strongest possible.

"Abortion Is The Safest Procedure . . ."

We hear that over and over and over year after year after year at the General Assembly from abortion industry lobbyists and their apologist legislators when refuting the need for abortion center regulations. They speak blindly, of course, because there is no way to know since abortion centers do not have to report statistics to any oversight entity, unlike health care facilities or hospitals. With effective abortion center regulations, now hotly under debate, Virginians finally may get some answers as proposed regulations would require reporting injuries and deaths caused by abortions. What we do know, and what the abortion industry lobby and its legislative partners nonchalantly ignore over and over and over year after year is that there are more than enough anecdotal incidents to require statistical reporting and, therefore, regulations for the safety of women. For instance, we know several years ago there was a death at a Northern Virginia abortion center and recently  there was another major injury — a woman hemorrhaged severely after an abortion in Northern Virginia and was rushed to a hospital last spring.

We also know about the unscrupulous, law-skirting abortionist and arrested Steven Brigham as well as about the unethical exploits and suspended licenses of abortionists Joel Match and Mi Yong Kim. We also know there was an abortion related death in New York a couple of years ago. Imagine what might be uncovered if states required as much transparency in the abortion industry as it does in productive, wholesome industries?

Now we know of another abortion related death. Last Friday, in Chicago, a 24-year-old mother of one died due to a botched- abortion-caused hemorrhage at a Planned Parenthood abortion center (see Chicago Sun-Times). Her family, including twin sister, has a simple question: Why? As of now, no one knows because Planned Parenthood isn't talking. CBSChicago.com reports this however:

Her death was ruled an accident, but the Reaves family wants to know more, especially Tonya’s twin sister Toni.

“We were born the same day. She was my other half,” Toni said.

Toni Reaves said the family is trying to get through this.

“It happened so fast. She was just fine one day and then the next day she was gone. We’re just trying to figure out what happened… what happened,” she said.

Toni Reaves said her sister was engaged to be married and had one son — Alvin — who just had his first birthday.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois did, however, showed depths of its compassion (read: cover up) in a statement that read in part:

While legal abortion services in the United States have a very high safety record, a tragedy such as this is devastating to loved ones and we offer our deepest sympathies. Planned Parenthood of Illinois cares deeply about the health and safety of each and every patient. ...

High safety record? Are you kidding? After what we and other pro-life organizations have documented? What type of elective surgery produces so much injury and death? Name one. Again, Planned Parenthood asserts its safety record but provides no proof, while the anecdotal evidence could not be more contradictory. More insulting is Planned Parenthood's refusal to recognize the double tragedy involved. We can only imagine how many deaths and severe injuries happen each year during abortions. We have to imagine because, for now, there is no way to discover the actual statistics. We do know, whatever they eventually reveal, they will be unimaginable. Just ask Toni Reaves in Chicago. But don't ask the abortion industry lobby or its General Assembly apologists.

Click here to hear the CBS Radio report and interview with the victim's sister.

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.  

Just Learned: N.Va. Woman Rushed To Hospital Last Month After Botched Abortion

Steven Ertelt, editor of LifeNews.com, and one of Planned Parenthood's 10 most hated people, broke a story last night that flew through cyberspace at Twitter speed, which is how I became aware of it. It concerns a 35-year old diabetic woman who suffered heavy bleeding after a failed abortion on March 3 at Nova Women's Healthcare in Fairfax County (see article). The news came to light after investigative work by Operation Rescue, which had plenty of reason for concern about the abortion center, which is still  operated by Mi Yong Kim, even though she is at the center of several previous botched abortions and  surrendered her license in 2007. In fact, a long series of abortion injuries and standard of care violations at her abortion center go back as far as 1998 and include deaths women in 2002 and 2005 from botched abortions. The 2005 death resulted from an improper sedation and subsequent cardiac arrest. Kim did not attempt to resuscitate her. In 2007, the health board concluded she did not perform proper followups with her patients and in 2009 she and the abortion center were sued, according to the article . . .

for conducting an abortion on a woman with an ectopic pregnancy. The patient was told the abortion was successful and sent home. The ectopic pregnancy later ruptured and caused a painful, life-threatening emergency for the woman.

Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, told LifeNews.com:

There can be no doubt that Kim's policies and procedures . . . are in place at Nova and are endangering the lives and health of women every day. She has no business operating any kind of facility. We are filing complaints and urging the medical board and the health department to step in and close the clinic on an emergency basis in the interest of public safety.

Operation Rescue was at the abortion center when the ambulance arrived to take Kim's latest victim to the hospital and video taped it. It then, through Freedom of Information Act requests, secured the audio of the 911 one call (see below).

Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the abortion industry call abortion "one of the safest medical procedures." But this is only one abortion center. Imagine the aggregate number of emergencies, injuries and deaths to women, not to mention the unborn children. Yet, we still hear the howls of indignation over abortion center regulations. How can abortion proponents in good conscience defend self-governance by these abortion centers when more and more of these instances are coming to light?

Furthermore, where are the mainstream media, political pundits and activists who were all over the news during the General Assembly? If the media devoted even five percent of its coverage to this story as it did to the ultrasound bill, maybe it wouldn't have taken a chance viewing on Twitter for me to hear about this. Sad but true: We will hear more about these injuries and deaths eventually; but to hear about them they have to happen. As long as there are determined abortionists willing to skirt abortion center safety regulations, at any risk, they will indeed continue to happen.

Another botched abortion, another ignoring of it by abortion-on-demand apologists and the media. Besides, there's no need for abortion center regulations, right?

Truths And Facts About The Abortion Industry: What It Doesn't Want You To Know

Last week and the week before, in the run-up to the vote by the Virginia Board of Health's vote to approve abortion center regulations drafted by the Department of Health, we posted on our Facebook page and tweeted one truth or fact per day about the abortion industry in order to cut through the misinformation pumped out by its well funded and powerful lobby. Below, we have reconstituted them, added four more, expanded on others, and provided a couple of reference links as we continue to provide more information about the nefarious abortion industry and as public sentiment continues to grow in favor of these common sense measures — even though the Mainstream Media continues its pandering to the pro-abortion side (see The Daily Press as an example). Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, this is a good time to remind you that if you do not follow us on those social media networks yet, be sure to join us there and remind others you think would be interested. We post exclusive content there, link to newly written blog posts, announce breaking news from state government and politics, capitol square, the General Assembly and important regulatory meetings, as well as provide Family Foundation, grassroots activist and pastors updates. Click here to join us on Facebook and click here to follow us on Twitter.

Truths and Facts about the abortion industry:

Truth: Waivers available through regulations give abortion centers ability to make a case to the Department of Health that some construction standards are not necessary for the procedure.

Fact: The abortion industry claims it self regulates, but the National Abortion Federation standards allow non-physicians to perform surgical abortions!

Truth: During the last three General Assembly sessions, the abortion industry rejected "regulation lite" — just an annual inspection, licensing and emergency equipment. It simply does not want even the slightest independent oversight. (See Thomas Peters at LiveAction.org's blog.)

Fact: Currently, a woman who wants to report a medical complication resulting from an abortion must give up her privacy.

Truth: The abortion industry claims it is safe, but there is absolutely no way to know. It has blocked efforts to require reporting of medical complications due to abortion.

Fact: In Arizona, the legislature called the abortion industry's bluff, and codified the abortion industry's supposed self-governing regulations. The abortion industry immediately sued Arizona!

Truth: Planned Parenthood is a $1 billion industry (see Lisa Grass at LiveAction). It can easily afford the cost of the regulations to its facilities.

Fact: Abortion center regulations are not politically motivated. The Department of Health that drafted them is directed by an appointee by former Governor Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

Truth: Opposition to abortion has and always will be bi-partisan. Of the 12 votes in last week's 12-1 vote by the Board of Health to approve the Department of Heath's abortion center regulations, three were by appointees of former Governor Kaine. (A fourth was the lone dissenting vote and not one of his amendments received a seconding motion.)

Fact: Of the 15 board members, nine are Republican appointees and six are Democrats (two did not attend). 

Fact: Planned Parenthood says abortion is only a small part of its business, that it offers a full range of medical services — even to men. If so, then how can abortion center regulations put them out of business?

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.

BREAKING: Abortion Center Regs Released

Late this afternoon the Department of Health released proposed regulations for Virginia's abortion centers. You can read the regulations by clicking here, then scroll to page 25.

The Family Foundation will reserve comment on the regulations until we've had time to adequately review them.

Saslaw: "80 Out Of 81 Ain't Bad" Unless Your The Unborn

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) is known for his bluntness. Sometimes that's refreshing in politics. But there's a fine line between blunt and crude. Today, on Washington station WAMU-FM's The Politics Hour, he offered this braggadocio when asked about the abortion center regulation amendment to SB 924 that the Senate approved on a 21-20 vote, as reported by Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog:

"Let me just say this: Over the last decade, it's no secret. I happen to be pro-choice. I've been pretty much responsible for bottling up or killing 80 bills."

He noted that most of those anti-abortion bills have died in the Senate's Education and Health Committee, whose pro-abortion rights membership, he said, he'd helped "engineer."

"One finally got through through circuitous means," he said. "Eighty of 81 ain't a bad batting average."

Not bad at all, senator, unless you're one of the hundreds (even thousands) of unborn babies who've died because of your obstruction. On the other hand, he didn't try to fool anyone — no pretense of "safe, legal and rare," so many liberals try to effect to appease some voters as a sensible position. He gladly took credit for the out of proportion stacking of the Education and Health Committee, as well. But it was nice to see Ms. Helderman's equally frank, fair and accurate description of Senator Saslaw as "pro-abortion," a term we expound upon here as the true motivation of many who call themselves "pro-choice."

Speaking of stacking committees, he was equally blunt on redistricting, saying he expected to redraw district lines in an effort to elect more liberals. The interview also included a surprise caller that sparked real fireworks. It's worth a listen. You can find the audio here.

Abortion Center Safety Passes Senate On Lt. Governor Bolling’s Tie-Breaker Vote!

After a long and passionate Senate floor debate that spanned a few hours over two days, the Virginia Senate voted 20-20 this afternoon to direct the Department of Health to promulgate regulations for abortion centers. After a brief pause for the Senate clerk to announce the vote, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling cast his constitutionally authorized tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill. It now will go to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature. After more than two decades of hiding behind a veil of political secrecy, abortion centers in Virginia will face greater scrutiny and better health standards. It was the first time ever that such legislation has even reached the Senate floor, despite numerous bills passed by the House. Each year, including earlier this session, the Senate kills the legislation in committee. But all 18 Republicans held together and two brave pro-life Democrats, Senators Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), resisted pressure from their caucus' leadership.

While the session has gone according to script this year, with the House passing and the Senate Education and Health Committee killing pro-life legislation, a dramatic turn occurred only a few days ago, in last days of session. SB 924, patroned by Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4, Hanover), which directs the Board of Health to promulgate regulations for certain health care facilities, passed the Senate and went to the House of Delegates. Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) offered an amendment to add abortion centers. Liberals challenged its germaneness, but after consulting with his parliamentarian, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) ruled it in order and the House passed it overwhelmingly. That change required it to return to the Senate where the GOP caucus began to coalesce around the amendment. The vote was scheduled yesterday, but after a half-hour of debate it was passed by until today. Senate Democrat leaders pressured its two wayward colleagues, but at the outset of the tenor of today's 90-minute debate it was apparent there were no cracks in the coalition.

Unfortunately, opponents devoid of logic but full of less-than-genuine arguments, demagogued the issue. At one point Senator Janet Howell (D-32, Fairfax) mocked Senator Mark Obenshain's (R-26, Harrisonburg) recitation of federal court decisions upholding abortion center regulations, even though he was replying to her colleagues' calls for proof of legal precedent. It prompted this exchange. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) told his colleagues to "get a life!" if they thought the bill was about women's safety, ignoring his own colleagues' faux concerns for the constitution.

Senator John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke) repeatedly claimed the bill was unconstitutional with wild assertions and vague stretches of case law, all of which were refuted by Senator Obenshain, who cited federal appeals and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. One was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which Senator Edwards said ruled such regulations illegal. Senator Obenshain replied that "standing up and saying so doesn’t make it so," and read from the court’s opinion which plainly disproved Senator Edwards' assertions.

Several liberal senators predicted horrors such as back alley abortions even though states such as South Carolina regulate abortion centers with no such reports and Virginia regulated abortion centers until 1983. They also claimed first-trimester abortions were among the "safest procedures" despite absolutely no corroborating evidence because there are no reporting requirements mandated in Virginia. Senator Dave Marsden (D-37, Fairfax) even compared the bill to the poll tax and efforts to keep minorities from voting in the Jim Crow era.

Another desperate aspect of the debate was the demand by several liberal Democrats that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issue an opinion, perhaps the first time they've wanted his advice. Of course, it was a tactic to delay and kill the bill. Senator Edwards sarcastically said the attorney general would love to defend the bill if it became law because of the other legal actions he’s pursued. But the fact was, and they knew it, he issued an opinion in August in support of the constitutionality of such regulations. He even accommodated senators with a letter composed during a Senate recess — which added to the longevity of the debate.

Opponents' arguments, so twisted, inevitably contradicted each other, with Senator Howell's unwitting admission that abortion is, in fact, used for contraception when she said the bill would take away one method of "determining the size of families."

This was a monumental vote and a historic day. The forces of life, after years of pursuit, finally won an incremental and commonsense victory. Thank you to all who contacted their senators on this important issue! We now look forward to working within the regulatory process to ensure the regulations by the Board of Health ensure abortion centers are safe for women who make the unfortunate choice of abortion.

Abortion Industry Opposes Safety, Loses Case It Brought Against Its Own Standards

Last week, in a victory for women's rights, abortion center regulations that were passed into law more than a decade ago finally went into effect in Arizona when a court there ruled the law constitutional (see Americans United for Life blog). It took that long because of an irony only the abortion industry could engineer: Pro-abortion groups sued Arizona to stop the law — even though the language in the law used Planned Parenthood's and the National Abortion Federation's own suggested safety regulations! The same people who claimed they had standards of care didn't want to be held accountable to their very own standards! For several years The Family Foundation has advocated for common sense standards of care for women who go to abortion centers in Virginia. These facilities essentially are unregulated, viewed as doctor's offices by state regulators, instead of as the outpatient surgery centers they are.

Of course, the abortion industry, led by the $1 billion behemoth Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the ACLU have  fought desperately against even the simplest of regulations, such as licensing and inspections of abortion centers, and a requirement to have resuscitation equipment on premises.

In recent years, opponents to safety have championed the so-called NAF standards as proof that no state regulations are needed. A thorough review of NAF's "standards," however, reveals that they are even less protective than the one requirement we do have in Virginia — that a doctor must perform the abortion procedure. Incredibly, NAF would allow nurses to perform this invasive surgery. (With fewer doctors willing to perform abortions, the industry is getting desperate.)

Arizona's new regulations include a proposal that The Family Foundation  also has supported, that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at an accredited, local hospital. Decent medical care requires that a doctor performing a surgery should have some responsibility for follow up care should something go wrong. This is the very least we can do to ensure women’s health. Again, this proposal has not seen support in the General Assembly.

The Arizona regulations were instituted after a woman died at an abortion center due to substandard care — the doctor involved was convicted of manslaughter in the case! Sadly, the death of a woman in Virginia a few years ago resulted in no outrage from women's advocates in the General Assembly. In fact, it met with a shrug and "no" votes against better standards. Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) shouted "That [death] has been beaten to death here" during debate over abortion center safety in one Senate Education and Health Committee meeting.

However, there may be hope in the future, given a recent legal opinion issued by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The Family Foundation once again will support abortion center safety standards in the upcoming 2011 General Assembly session. We owe it to the women of Virginia.