Tomorrow, the Virginia State Board of Health will meet to discuss the permanency of abortion center safety regulations it adopted last year after historic legislation passed the 2011 General Assembly giving the board the authority to do so. Those regulations, however, are "emergency regulations" that went into effect in January. Further action needs to be taken in order to make the regulations permanent, hence, tomorrow's meeting. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia have asked their members to make their voices heard. It is critical that Planned Parenthood and NARAL's voices are not the only voices heard by the Board of Health.

Please contact the Board of Health and urge them to make the abortion center safety regulations permanent!

After two decades of working toward this day, we must make our voice heard on this important issue. Virginia's abortion industry and its allies on the editorial pages of Virginia's newspapers are using misinformation and inaccuracies to frighten people into opposing the regulations. However, as we've seen recently, left unregulated, abortionists like Dr. Joel Match and abortion centers like NOVA Women's Healthcare will continue to violate commonsense health standards and put the lives of women and children in jeopardy.

However, the Richmond Times-Dispatch today did print an op-ed by Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb (see here). In three of its countless double standards, Planned Parenthood claims that abortions make up only five percent of its business. If so, these regulations will have not much to do with its centers. It also claims that the expense of implementing the regulations would put them out of business, although it brings in $1 billion annually (including tax dollars). It also claims abortion is "safe" but there is no way of knowing other than by chance reports that make the media because there are no federal or state reporting requirements for abortion center accidents. These regulations would require that in Virginia. Writes Victoria:

The industry claims the standards being voted on by medical professionals on the Virginia State Board of Health are too stringent and will force centers out of business, thereby denying other forms of "health care" to women. Yet, in a recent Washington Times report, industry representatives claimed they plan to keep at least 20 of the commonwealth's 22 known abortion centers operating. 

Regardless, even if they refuse to spend adequate resources to bring their facilities up to basic health standards, there is nothing that keeps these entities from providing other services even if they fail to meet the abortion center standards and no longer offer abortions. Planned Parenthood claims that abortion amounts to less than 5 percent of its services, so why is losing that small percentage cause for closing their centers?

Abortion industry apologists argue profusely that health and safety standards are unnecessary, that the abortion industry has "a good safety record." Yet statistics often cited are either woefully outdated or industry-produced. Efforts to require the medical community to simply report complications to abortion, as when a woman shows up in an emergency room with a perforated uterus or undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy due to abortion doctor negligence, were opposed by the very industry that claims to be safe. In effect, no record is being argued as a record of safety!

The Family Foundation and our allied pro-life organizations, both nationally and from around Virginia, will be at tomorrow's Board of Health meeting to testify on behalf of permanent regulations. But we need your help as well.

Please click here to contact the Board of Health and please forward this link to as many of your pro-life friends as possibleTalking points are provided. It is important that e-mails to the board be reasoned and thoughtful. Comments may also be faxed to Joseph Hilbert, Director of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, at 804-864-7022. Comments must include your name and address.

Here are some points to keep in mind when composing your message to the Board of Health:

1. For too long Virginia's abortion centers have gone un-inspected and unregulated. Permanent health and safety requirements protects women in Virginia.

2. The regulations proposed by the Department of Health are reasonable. Requiring that these facilities have emergency equipment, basic sanitary procedures and proper medical personnel are all commonsense measures.

3. Virginians overwhelmingly support commonsense, reasonable abortion-related laws.

4. Most of Virginia's abortion centers are owned and operated by Planned Parenthood, a $1 billion industry. That business has the financial resources to meet the regulatory requirements.