We're all thankful to God the General Assembly met for only 45 days this year. Given the traumatic end of the  session last week — where the Republican legislature and governor piled on Virginia families what many call the largest tax increase in state history, even as many still struggle to get ahead with the ongoing recession and rising prices for gas and food — who knows what more damage they would've inflicted had they met for 60 days? Or longer? But as the legislative process is relatively short — it only seems like an eternity — the regulatory process continues year-round. While GOP leaders took "social issues" off the table this year at Mr. Jefferson's capitol because they are "divisive" and "a distraction" — if only they were distracted long enough not to raise our taxes, expand Medicaid and divide their own caucuses, what say all you self-styled libertarians now about how "social issues" bring down Republicans? — state regulatory agencies continue with their work, and none is more important, nor will be more contentious, than the Board of Health deciding whether to make permanent the temporary abortion center safety standards.

On the heels of more findings earlier this year of unsanitary and unsafe abortion centers discovered during announced inspections under the current, but temporary, safety standards  (imagine what inspectors would find if the inspections were unannounced), the Board of Health is accepting public comment until March 29 as to whether or not to make them permanent.

The Board will have two public forums, one in Richmond and one in Alexandria, and we will be there to testify in favor of the permanent standards. Your attendance at those events is important. But so are your comments, especially since the public forums only sample a relatively small percentage of Virginians.

Please click here and take a few moments and ask the Board to make the safety standards permanent.

Meanwhile, here are the locations and dates of the two public forums:

» March 7, 1:00 p.m., at the Virginia Department of Health, 2nd Floor Conference Center, 9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond.

» March 12, 1:00 p.m., at the John Marshall Public Library, 6209 Rose Hill Drive, Alexandria.