Late Friday afternoon, the Department of Health released its proposed regulations for Virginia's abortion centers. The regulations are now available for public review by clicking here (scroll to page 25). The Board of Health will vote on the proposed regulations at its meeting September 15.

It is imperative that you contact the Board of Health and urge them to pass the regulations!

While we understand that this is only the first step in a long process, we believe that the regulations presented to the Board of Health by medical experts at the Department of Health would sufficiently improve the health and safety of Virginia's abortion centers.

The proposed regulations would improve the health and safety standards by providing for regular and unannounced inspections of abortion centers. Until now, abortion centers operated outside the mainstream of the medical community with little or no state supervision. The regulations also require standards regarding medical personnel like requiring that the doctor stay on premises until a woman is actually ready to be discharged, improved sanitary conditions, and emergency equipment for cardiac arrest, seizure, respiratory distress and other critical medical situations. Abortion centers would also have to be built, or improved within two years, to meet medical standards appropriate for the procedure. If these regulations threaten Virginia's abortion centers, one has to wonder just how bad things have been. Abortion centers will also have to report deaths of patients resulting from abortion procedures.

Of course, the abortion industry has responded with hyperbole, misinformation and fear tactics (see Washington Post). Planned Parenthood and NARAL are urging pro-abortion Virginians to contact the Board of Health to vote against these reasonable, common sense measures. They are well motivated and unified in their opposition to any and all regulations. It is essential that the Board hear from pro-life Virginians!

It is important to remember that the abortion industry just this year rejected legislation that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment. It is clear from its rejection of that legislation and these common sense regulations that they oppose any and all efforts by the Commonwealth to ensure women's health and safety in their abortion centers. Their predictable and short sighted response reveals that they do not take the health of women in Virginia seriously.

Please contact the Board of Health and please forward this information to as many of your pro-life friends as possible! The Board of Health needs to hear from you. It is important that our e-mails to the board be reasoned and thoughtful. Let's leave the harsh rhetoric to the supporters of the abortion industry.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments for the public comment file may do so by mail, e-mail or fax to Joseph Hilbert, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, 109 Governor Street, Richmond, VA 23219, or 804-864-7022 (fax); or e-mail by clicking here. Written comments must include your name and address. In order to be considered, comments must be received by the last day of the public comment period, which is September 15.